Ian Middleton

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Hot Footing around the Emerald Isle

Hot Footing around the Emerald Isle by Ian Middleton

Ian was more than a little apprehensive when his turn came to kiss the Blarney Stone. Not only had they just met, but it seemed this stone wasn’t at all fussy as to who it allowed to kiss it. Kissing the Blarney Stone is Ireland’s third most popular tourist attraction, so as well as the moral implications there were the hygienic implications too. Yet kissing the Blarney Stone is reputed to bestow upon you the Irish gift of the gab, a talent Ian would need if he was to seduce the Sisters of Murphy’s; assuming he ever finds them.

This was just the first obstacle Ian had to cross during his two-month journey around the Emerald Isle. With just a backpack as a home, a guidebook in one hand, a bizarre travelogue in the other and very little money in his bank account, he leaves his home and sets off to this little country that has always been his neighbour, yet overlooked by him for many years as he pursued dreams to travel to far and exotic countries.

But to Ian’s surprise he was to find that he didn’t need to travel thousands of miles across the world to discover something new and exciting. As he busses, hitches and walks his way from Cork to Donegal via the West Coast Ian discovers the wonderful spirit and friendliness of the Irish people. During this time he conceives a plan to be a real backpacker for a day by hiking from one town to another with the full weight of his backpack, but finds things aren’t as straightforward as they might have seemed. Although travelling alone, he is rarely on his own as he meets up with various interesting and amusing characters along the way, until finally reaching the quiet and unspoilt shores of northern Donegal. Here he must cross a tumultuous ocean on a small boat in order to meet the King of Ireland, on the barren and windswept Tory Island.