In Search of Ireland

by H. V. Morton

Hardcover, 1930




London: Methuen, [1930]. Second Edition. Sixteen illustrations and a map. Map endpapers.


"'I now know where the world ends, ' writes H.V. Morton in In Search of Ireland. The place that he decided was the end of the world was Connemara, the most westerly region of Ireland, and little has changed since he delightedly discovered its 'sudden peat bogs' and 'queer canoes, called curraghs, in which the fishermen of Connemara dare the perils of the ocean; and dare must be the right and only word!' Morton fell in love with the country from the moment of his arrival there, and this passion informs every line of his book and every moment of his travels, which took him throughout the island, North and South. Everywhere he is the ideal companion, full of warmth and enthusiasm, with an eye for detail and an ear for talk; informative, curious and endlessly engaging." --Back cover.… (more)

Media reviews

Perhaps the best thing about Morton's book on Ireland is its historical perspective. In Search of Ireland was first published in 1930 which was a few years after Ireland had become a Free State in 1922. Morton is seeing Ireland in the early stages of building an independent country separate from the rest of Great Britain. He warns the English in his introduction, "...I must stress the point that the new generation of travellers must approach Ireland with the feeling that it is a foreign country." Morton's humorous and insightful observations about Ireland, as a traveller in a foreign land, are worth reading and re-reading.

User reviews

LibraryThing member John_Vaughan
This is a true story of a love affair.

It is a love at first sight for Morton as he visits Saorstát Éireann and hears the mysterious “silent music of the land” as he visits Connemara, Glengariff and the Curragh and Eire’s troubled history. Fascination with the Gaelic tongue induces a longing to understand it more, to be able to sing back an answering verse to the real songs he hears from behind the stone walls.

The country wins Morton’s heart rapidly, as do the people and their intense sense of place. Even the animals enchant …including a curious cow who joins a wake…and the “ hens who are all over the world an excitable, suicidal people”.

By the end of his book H.V. is so in love with Ireland, and feels so desperately his need to communicate his ardor, and share it with the reader, that he becomes intensely lyrical and even starts to adds a Gaelic lilt to his prose!

To read it is to love it too!
… (more)
LibraryThing member Smiley
Evocative travel writing from a master. Starting in Dublin, Morton makes a roughly circular trip through Ireland. While Morton's writing and erudition charm the reader, the real fasination is Ireland as a new country. This was written shortly after independence and while Ireland had just become a Free State. Most of the country described here is now unrecognizable and Morton's books on Italy, particularly A Traveller in Italy, are better, but even a slight and dated Morton is better than a lot of contemporary travel writing.… (more)
LibraryThing member thesmellofbooks
Fascinating and often beautifully written. Morton doesn't tell all, and doesn't understand all, and brings his beliefs with him as we all do. Nevertheless it is a glimpse into a time and place that remains only in the slimmest living threads and the memories of its people.
LibraryThing member MaelBrigde
H. V. Morton somewhat set the tone for travel writing in his day--this book was published in 1930. Though dark whispers decry his personality on internet sites, and though he offered a poeticized and othered rendition of the country and its people, nevertheless, there is some evocative writing in here, and some glimpses of a moment in Irish history that is long gone. And so I like the book, for all its faults, not least for its soft-edged black and white photographs of country roads and horse-carts, village fairs, traditionally divided fields, natural features, ancient ruins, and people in peasant clothes posing for the camera or at their daily tasks. In earlier editions these are on special paper, often folding out from the spine, but in later economies such things were dispensed with. Go for the earlier ones if the photos are important to you. Much easier on the eye.… (more)


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