Thursday, December 17, 2009

An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor

60. An Irish Country Christmas - third in the Irish Country series
by Patrick Taylor
fiction, 2008
library audio cd
unabridged, read by John Keating
finished, 12/15/09

Time is the oddest thing. As I listened to this really terrific story, I was reminded of when I first watched on PBS, and then read, the James Herriot stories. I thought to myself that this could be the same kind of heartwarming story for Northern Ireland as All Creatures was for Yorkshire. And then, (this is where time comes in) I realized that when I first learned of the Herriot books it was the 1970s and his tales are set in the 1930s. So, I was looking back forty years. And then I realized that this book is set in 1964; forty-five years ago. And the part that astounds me is that I was 16 years old then! Is this possible? I don't think so. I think it has to be some kind of trick time is playing on me.

I had never heard of Patrick Taylor's books until I happened to see this cd at the library. He is a very good writer, and this book is filled with details of the village, Ballybucklebo and its inhabitants, and the work of country doctors during this time. This one has a Christmas theme, with the younger vet, Barry Laverty disappointed that his girlfriend, Patricia may not be coming for Christmas. The older vet, Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly (named for Oscar Wilde), wonders if he can reconnect with a woman from his youth. The housekeeper in this book is Mrs. Kincaid, who takes care of the house and the meals, and the men, as well. A serious concern in An Irish Country Christmas is the arrival of a third doctor in the area. Are there enough people to support three doctors? And then they begin to hear of some very odd treatments the new doctor is offering. A woman nearly dies because he hasn't dealt properly with her situation. Though this is the third book in the series, I didn't find it hard to follow. I was completely charmed by the setting, the story, the Irish lilt in the excellent narration. I've now begun the first book in the series.

You may visit the author's website and read about the books, the area, the dialect.

Don't forget to sign up for the giveaway if you are interested!


  1. Isn't it good..I'm about 25 pages away from finishing it :(

    I've enjoyed the whole series, the next one is called An Irish Country Girl, due out in January I think,...I'm sure it will be as good as all the others.


  2. My husband who I lost exactly 6 weeks ago today was from Yorkshire - he came from close to the area where James Herriot was from, and where his books are set. And to make a link to the Irish books you have mentioned today: our surname is Riley; some generations ago it used to be O'Riley (same pronounciation as O'Reilly). They were Irish immigrants and dropped the O' because they did not want to appear Irish any longer - their kind was not very well regarded by the English in those days.
    If you travel through Yorkshire today, a lot of it looks still exactly the same as it did in the 30s, when the young vet from James Herriott's books was roaming the Yorkshire Dales to visit his patients great and small.

  3. You always have the best book recommendations. Thank you again!

  4. I recently picked up a copy of the first one of these. Like you, I was thinking of the Herriot books and wondering if I could love this as much. Funny, I put in a Herriot DVD to watch as I addressed my Christmas cards. I do love those stories!

  5. Niki, I'm amazed we are both reading the same thing! After listening, I may end up buying the books so I can read them again and again.

    Librarian, my heart just aches for you. I wish I were closer.
    I loved hearing your connections with these two series. Thank you for telling me.

    Sprite, this is such a good one. I've not read anything else set in Northern Ireland so it was a special treat.

    Pamela, I'm pleased to hear you just got a copy. There is that same warmth of the Herriot books, and there are some animals, particularly the dog, Arthur Guiness. You'll love him!

  6. HI Nan: I think I shall have to take a look in our library for this series, it sounds like something I would like. Many years ago I visited Belfast, Northern Ireland, and have very sad memories of it, mostly of thick bars on windows, soldiers, unhappiness and darkness. Perhaps if I read these books, it will show me a different side of this country.

  7. Anonymous (carole?) - in this book, the problems weren't really mentioned, but in the first in the series, which I've just started, the younger doctor talks about the emergency room in Belfast. The older vet says that it isn't a problem out in the country. In fact in the Christmas book it is mentioned that the Presbyterian minister and Catholic priest play golf together. You will love these books, I'm quite sure.

  8. I loved Herriot's books. Didn't realize that they were done on PBS!! This one sounds wonderful too!!

  9. Staci, if you go to netflix and type in All Creatures Great and Small, you will find the shows.

  10. I've seen his books at work and have wondered if I'd like them. I may have to give the first a try!

    My heart aches for "Librarian," too. You know I know how difficult this time of year is, especially the "first year." Librarian, if you're getting emails for this post, know that a friend of Nan's is keeping you in her thoughts this month and in the coming year.

  11. Les, I am now enjoying the first one.

    Such kind words for Librarian. Thank you.

  12. Nan, I have just come home from a very cosy, very loving and very warm Christmas Eve spent at my parents' place.
    It was not quite as tearful a day as I expected, it being 7 weeks to the day that my husband died.

    But why I am actually leaving a comment here now is because among the many lovely presents I got is "A Highland Christmas" by M.C. Beaton, part of the Hamish Macbeth series, and somehow I immediately thought "I want to let Nan know about this!" :-)

    Good job that I've finished a book last night and will be able to start on this one tonight!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  13. Thank you so much for coming by to tell me after you got home. I think the book will be just the ticket. I'm very, very happy your Christmas Eve was a good one. Tom and I found your town on the atlas tonight.


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