In Search Of Ireland Again

John Butler (2012)

Hobbies / General Interests   Non-fiction   Travel

The book is a personal account of my tours of Ireland. I compare the country I see to that which H.V. Morton describes in his ‘In Search of Ireland’ written eighty years ago. It is more than a travelogue, it tells of a country in desperate poverty, the fight for independence, its resurgence into prosperity and the looming fear of the new economic crisis.

About this book

I first visited Ireland in 1947 – inspired by that King of travel writers, H.V.Morton and his ‘In Search of Ireland’. In numerous visits since, I have been struck by the changing face of the country, splintered by the formation of the six counties to become part of the UK.
The book tells of a country in desperate poverty, resurgence into prosperity, via the European Community, the fight for independence, the violence of the IRA and the Black and Tans. It tells of the eternal haemorrhaging of its people through emigration and a history bound up so tightly with our own.
The book is a personal account of the tours. It is more than a mere travelogue; it is a personal observation and evaluation of the traumatic phases of the country and its history – seen in past, present and future.
I am bewitched by the sheer beauty of Glengariff, see Cushenden and I’m reminded of Clough Elliss and Portmeirion. See Donegal – now and in H.V.Morton’s time. Visit Knock and its commercialism. Visit Cong where the film’ The Quiet Man’ lives on. Attend Mass in Galway. Visit the Claddagh. Cobh – the saddest place in Ireland. Here the great liners waited for the emigrants – the haemorrhaging of her best and youngest blood. I kiss the Blarney Stone, discover drisheen, visit Mount Melleray, tour Bronte land. Take the rocky road to Dublin. Inform a lady in Drogheda that Cromwell is dead. Dublin and St Michans, shake hands with a Crusader, search for Uncle Barney, visit Guinness Brewery- the GPO and 1916 uprising – back to Larne and home.

About Author

John Butler

Apart from a few disastrous years after I left university (UCL) trying to make banking my career, I found myself a square peg in a round hole. I ‘escaped’ into the teaching profession and after forty years teaching all ages from infant to 6th form, I became a headmaster. During these years I was secretary of the local teachers’ union and reported their meetings in the local paper. I was involved with the numerous educational/political issues that arose. In addition I wrote a short story for a Chicago magazine. I also wrote a short story for the Daily Mail about the death and resurrection of ‘Oscar’, my children’s ancient goldfish. Years later I read the same article in an American magazine. I have a collection of short stories which I hope to publish. After retirement I became a lecturer jointly with the W.E.A. and Sheffield University. I liked foreign travel and on the sesquicentennial of the Oregan Trail (the greatest land migration in history) followed the trek from St. Louis to Oregan. I visited the U.S.S.R. and after Moscow and Lenningrad journeyed eastward via Tashkent and the ‘Golden Road to Samarkand’. On the borders of North Afganistan I visited one of the villages and was lost in time. Paradoxically, there I found in the midst of native dwellings, all wired up together with electric cables, barely above the head, a modern hypermarket, selling everything from TVs to soap powders – astonishing! When I was invited to share their ‘sheep’s eye’ soup, it felt like having tea with the Taliban! The highlight of my tours was prompted by [...]

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