Having decided to explore Ireland by bicycle, Eric and Wanda Newby set out one December - not the best time to ride a bike around the highways and by-ways of the Emerald Isle, even when protected by thermal underwear. From the Cliffs of Moher to St Brigid's Vat, Dublin, the Aran Islands, the Ring of Kerry and Croagh Patrick, their rainsoaked journey is beset by minor disaster ranging from ferocious storms to even more ferocious dogs. Along the way they come across a moving, miracle-working stature of the Virgin, spectacular ruins and the traces of twentieth-century violence, in between stops for Guinness, tea and soda bread. Woven into the narrative is a wealth of information about Irish history and custom - hermits, horse-fairs, peat-cutting and poetry are all touched on in this deft and dazzling blend of myth, fact and quirky details. And, as usual with eric Newby, this beguiling account is enlivened by a cast of eccentric and utterly engaging characters.
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