Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Book review: Beyond Belfast: a 560-Mile Walk Across Northern Ireland on Sore Feet
Why I read it: I'm Irish, I have some family in Northern Ireland, and I was interested in Ferguson's depiction of the religious strife there.
What I thought: I think I remember enjoying the beginning. I started it ages ago but then lent it to a friend who was going to be travelling 'round Ireland and thought he could use it as a guide for some places. Looking around my room a couple days ago my eyes fell on it and I decided to finish it. Some parts were very entertaining and interesting but many parts dragged heavily. While I understand that his following of the Ulster Way was a template of the book I think in many places it subtracted from my enjoyment of the text because he wasn't enjoying his travels and there's only so many complaints about rain and boggy ground you can read before you want to yell at the author "It's Ireland, what do you fucking expect?" I think people should travel for the joy of travelling and he even admitted that he didn't feel a terrible sense of accomplishment when he finished his trek. I can't remember what they are now but there were a couple historical mishaps that rubbed me the wrong way, probably something to do with Vikings that I didn't like.
"I liked the idea of Guinness more than Guinness itself. There were times I felt that way about Ireland as a whole."