Author:  Kerry Dwyer
Publisher: Create Space Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN-13: 978-1478392767

                                                      Blarney- the Likes You’ve Never Known

As is clear from the title, this is a chatty account of a walking holiday that the author took in the south of Ireland. She was accompanied by her husband, Bernard.

Their trip started from the city of Cork. Their first stop was at Sheep’s Head, where they walked a distance of sixteen km around the Sheep’s Head loop on a moderate to difficult terrain. The next day, they covered the Bullig Bay Loop, a distance of four km over laneways and forest tracks. On the third day, a Tuesday, they did a distance of 6.3 km on the Derrynane Mass Path, from Derrynane House to the National Heritage Park on minor roads and a shoreline. On the fourth day, they walked a distance of fourteen km around the Fermoyle loop on a minor road. The following day, they walked the Benteen loop, a distance of nine km on steep ascent mountain paths. On the last day, a Friday, they did a distance of fifteen km around the Muckross Lake and Torc Waterfall, through woods and lakeside tracks.

If you like your travelogues to be short and snappy, you can stop reading this review at this point and give this book a go-by. Because with every incident connected with this book, and even without, we get to see generous tidbits of Kerry’s life and who she is, inside out. We get to know her background in England, both her parents and their singular characteristics, her closest friends and associates, vignettes of her working life, her daughter, her husband and his parents to name a few. We get to see why this trip materialized, how they chose the bags to take along and what they packed inside.

The air trip to Cork is described in detail as is the arrival at Cork airport and the subsequent journey in a hired car to a village in Sheep’s Head, where they receive a warm welcome at a B&B. The rest of this trip is equally detailed and embellished at various tangents, with more details and incidents from Kerry’s life, that she was reminded of when writing this book. She mentions her (mis)adventures while reading maps, her experiences with walking boots and getting them drenched in the rain during this trip, and of course, the food (the pair of them) like to eat in general, and the food they ate on this trip in particular. At the end of your read, you will know every possible detail of Kerry Dwyer’s life that you would ever want to know, even her underwear and pee-ing habits are not spared.  Not to forget, a chapter on books and the effect they have had on herself and her family.

Interspersed with details of herself and her family, Kerry provides interesting and informative nuggets of information on the places they visit. She also relates the conversations she had with Bernard on this trip as they visit one beautiful landscape after another, and one gets a glimpse of a rare togetherness that the walking in this trip instilled in them, a special shared intimacy that made them plan to do this trip once again in the future.

As stated earlier, if you want the bare facts about your walking trip to south Ireland, don’t read this book. For those who want to look at a deeper level at what a visit to Ireland and a one-to-one interaction with its friendly people can do for you, this bit of Irish blarney can attract you like a magnet attracts iron. You truly get to feel the laid back Irish soul within its pages.

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