Synopses & Reviews
A heartwarming story of a man who journeys to the land of his people to discover what kind of man he is . . . and, more to the point, what kind of man he could become
Kevin O'Hara was a man who was at the crossroads of life. Newly married to a beautiful woman, Kevin found himself full of rage and pain. A former soldier, he had seen the horrors of war and was unable to let those sorrows go . . . and his pain threatened to destroy not only his own happiness but any chance of a happy life with his wife. If he couldn't fix what was broken in his own heart, he'd be lost.
In desperation Kevin traveled to Ireland, the land of his people, to seek some sort of balm for his pain. It was there, amid the impossibly green fields, open skies, and glad hearts of his friends and relatives, that Kevin began to see the possibilities of joy again.
And it was there that he formed a wonderfully daft plan. The age-old method of traveling by donkey cart was beginning to disappear from the Irish countryside as modern life crowded in. What better way, Kevin thought, to experience the beauty of Ireland than to travel the length of the land in the old way---man and donkey, drinking in the sights and sounds of the country.
Among the Irish, opinion was divided as to whether Kevin was a madman . . . or a saint. Bets were made, and most of the locals near his grandmother's farmhouse predicted that this strange American wouldn't even get out of the county, much less circle the entire island.
But Kevin had a vision in his head, and a goal. He wanted to make things right for himself, heal his heart, and return to his beloved wife. And so, with Missy, the shaggy brown mare by his side, he set off on that long mad walk, an eighteen-hundred-mile trek that would take months.
Along the way Kevin would meet some incredible characters, endure hardships (and moments of high drama . . . and very low comedy), and find the Irish in all their glory. And he would find himself.
"One of the finest books about contemporary Ireland ever written...In a style evocative of Steinbeck's Travels with Charley, O'Hara writes memorably of his most unusual way of touring his ancestral home of Ireland." Library Journal
A witty, whimsical walk around an Ireland before the 'Celitc Tiger' of the European Union found its economic legs, before the roads were improved, and before battalions of Audis and Mercedes replaced the donkey carts, farmers, and unhurried pedestrians of another day. Boston Globe
Praise for Last of the Donkey Pilgrims
“One of the finest books about contemporary Ireland ever written...In a style evocative of Steinbecks Travels with Charley, OHara writes memorably of his most unusual way of touring his ancestral home of Ireland.”--Library Journal
“A witty, whimsical walk around an Ireland before the ‘Celitc Tiger of the European Union found its economic legs, before the roads were improved, and before battalions of Audis and Mercedes replaced the donkey carts, farmers, and unhurried pedestrians of another day.” --Boston Globe “A delightful book to be enjoyed by everyone on a life pilgrimage.”—Catholic Library World
“Kevin O'Hara is neither a madman nor a saint; he is an original. The story he tells will be an inspiration to any person who has ever tried to patch a broken life.”—Morgan Llywelyn
“Skillful piece of travel-writing; like the Irish fog, its both glowing and lightly pushed by an unacknowledged melancholy.”—Kirkus Reviews
Kevin OHaras journey of self-discovery begins as a mad lark: who in their right mind would try to circle the entire coastline of Ireland on foot—and with a donkey and cart no less?
But Kevin had promised his homesick Irish mother that he would explore the whole of the Old Country and bring back the sights and the stories to their home in Massachusetts. Determined to reach his grandmothers village by Christmas Eve, Kevin and his stubborn but endearing donkey, Missie, set off on 1800-mile trek along the entire jagged coast of a divided Ireland.
Their rollicking adventure takes them over mountains and dales, through smoky cities and sleepy villages, and into the farmhouses and hearts of Irelands greatest resource—its people.
Along the way, Kevin would meet incredible characters, experience Ireland in all of its glory, and explore not only his Irish past, but find his future self.
About the Author
Kevin O'Hara has spent the last twenty years working as a psychiatric nurse at the Berkshire Medical Center. He lives in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.