Friday, October 10, 2014


Book Tour in Ireland

I have just returned from Ireland. I went there at the invitation of my publisher Mark Lloyd to promote my novel The Young Dictator. In essence this was a book launch one year late. The event was tied in with Limerick being chosen as the 'City of Culture' for 2014. I did a reading in an old theatre with a bust of James Joyce watching me. It's always a pleasure to be in Ireland.

It wasn't all work. In fact it mostly wasn't work. The far west of Ireland is a remarkable place. One morning during my stay, my publisher revealed to me the amazing fact that Father Ted's house was in the vicinity. It is a private residence in the far west of Ireland, but we went up the driveway anyway and knocked on the door. "May we take some photos outside the house?" we asked the woman who answered. She not only gave us permission but also gave us a bishop's mitre and a prepared sign. Then she invited us indoors and showed us the room where Bishop Brennan was kicked up the arse and the "I'm not a racist" window.

We also had time to explore County Clare, including the spectacular Cliffs of Moher. There are castles and abbeys and towers and other ruins almost everywhere. The region of the Burren is an extraordinary karst landscape that I plan to hike properly one day. Rather oddly the weather was quite good. It turns out that the Burren has its own climatic zone that is different from the rest of Ireland, much milder and drier. It hardly rained at all during my visit. This surprised me a lot.

I also ate extremely well during my stay and my publisher was very generous with buying me pints of the black stuff.

The entire trip was extremely enjoyable with the exception of the ferry crossing from Wales to Ireland, which took place in a storm. I have been at sea in storms before, but this one was particularly bad. All the ferry companies cancelled sailings with the single exception of Irish Ferries. "We are going to try anyway!" the captain cheerfully announced. I had blithely announced that "I never get seasick, I am a seasoned traveller" before departure, but I was soon forced to eat my words. Or rather, everything that I had eaten decided it preferred to be back out in the world.

The Young Dictator is available from bookshops and online from Amazon and elsewhere... I really want to write a sequel to this novel, so I need you to consider buying it. The more copies it sells, the greater the chance I will be asked to write a sequel...

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