Beyond Belfast

Beyond Belfast

A 560-mile Walk Across Northern Ireland on Sore Feet

Book - 2009
Average Rating:
4
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Offbeat, charming, and filled with humour and insight, Beyond Belfast is the story of one man's misguided attempt at walking the Ulster Way, "the longest waymarked trail in the British Isles." It's a journey that takes Will Ferguson through the small towns and half-forgotten villages of Northern Ireland, along rugged coastlines and across barren moorland heights, past crumbling castles and patchwork farms.

From IRA pubs to Protestant marches, from bandits and bad weather to banshees and blood sausage, he wades into the thick of things, providing an affectionate and heartfelt look at one of the most misunderstood corners of the world. As the grandson of a Belfast orphan, Will also peels back the myths and realities of his own family history--a mysterious photograph, rumours of a lost inheritance. The truth, when it comes, is both surprising and funny ...

Publisher: Toronto, ON : Viking Canada, 2009
ISBN: 9780670069156
Branch Call Number: 914.16 F381b
Characteristics: 398p illus

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wendyjotaylor
Dec 05, 2015

Well understood that Will is a Stephen Leacock Humour Award winner. Always made very clear in all published works from this author. I had the deepest sense of being surrounded in darkness and unenlightening while reading this book. I went from wanting to visit the country from where my Great Grandfather emigrated--to not wanting to go there at all, or if I did, I would not be referencing any Will Ferguson in Canadian conversation. Perhaps the author likes to keep to the outside while observing and that is fine; we get that. I could not find much funny about eating lunch (itheanne sè ceapaire, agus fearr leat an beoir) around people who were fasting. Those poor Irish are certainly stretching their hospitality to the limits when encountering our Canadian version of Mr. Bean? Not much sense of direction, or really any common sense at all for simple camping tasks Did it not occur to shake the cooking gas canister to determine the fuel level? Did he not get that a lone man walking into a pub with a smell, look and creepy feel of being homeless will give him about as much welcome as dumping a sack load of rats behind the bar? No? That is probably because Mr. Ferguson displays stoic determination of heroic proportion throughout the entire book. Yawn. His foibles just are not funny. They are sad, rather, so they are. Our hapless tourist must have heard this a lot: Here's your hat - what's your hurry? (Seo é do hata cad é do rith?)

h
hey44
Mar 13, 2014

I loved this book. As someone who has done some long distance walking, I could relate to some of the author's travails - eg. the lack of sign-posts on a supposedly well marked trail (!). I thought the way the author interwove historical as well as geographical information to an already decent travelogue was rather masterful. As a result, I learned a lot about the history of Ireland and the "troubles". But what seals the deal for me in terms of recommending this book is that it was laugh-out-loud funny in many places, and poignant in others. I'd consider reading it again (and I almost never read a book twice).

l
louisaclark
Dec 29, 2010

Will Ferguson writes some pretty decent travelogues and this is no exception. this book can be described as funny (the propane burner), somewhat sad (looking into his family roots) and unfathomable (drinking at pubs based on religious and political ties).

v
velvetcactus
Oct 17, 2010

Seems to me he was in a feckin' cab, or someone's car for at least a third of those miles.He has some interesting observations (mostly of the dry kind), but nowhere was he laugh out loud funny. Irish inkeepers ought to read this for some expert decorating tips!

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