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Accidental Pilgrim - Travels with a Celtic Saint  


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Dermot Bolger: 'dry wit . . . a good companion'

Irish novelist Dermot Bolger is writer in residence for the South Dublin Libraries, and he gives his view of the book in the diary he writes for them. An excerpt:

the book works because of Moore's sheer absence of cleverness. He possesses no religious belief and recognises that the interest in Columbanus for his college days and this long trip across Europe are primarily an excuse to postpone the future. He is doing this because it alleviates the need to be doing something else. It is a way to put his life on hold. The nice thing about the book is that nothing much happens. He descends a few hairpin bends at dangerous speeds, lusts after but never manages to bed the odd passing waitress, and spends a lot of time cycling in the rain and sorting his head out. He has a dry wit and is very aware both of the importance of the pilgrimage for himself and how it is slightly ridiculous.

Read the full review (linked to from here)

An Overgrown Path Blog - 'a great read . . . recommended'
The anonymous blogger over at An Overgrown Path has recently put up a very favourable review of The Accidental Pilgrim. An excerpt:

"In his book dot com escapee David Moore manages to balance scholarship (he is a graduate of Cambridge and Trinity College, Dublin, but wears his academic background lightly) with readability, while managing to avoid the leaden ‘I am a dumb traveller, and these are the dumb things that happened to me’ style of humour regularly served up by Bill Bryson, namesake Tim Moore, and so many others . . . . The book also manages to avoid the trap of simply being a diary of places, journeys and punctures. In this his first book Moore manages to include enough personal detail to make the author as well as the journey come alive, and that is a difficult thing to achieve."

Here's the full review (part of a very interesting blog).

Gerry Mullins, RTE Radio's 'The Word on Travel' - 'A terrific read, very well written'
I did a wide-ranging interview for this Saturday evening travel show on RTE Radio 1, and at the end of it, Gerry Mullins the interviewer summed up his feelings:

'Congratulations on the book - it's a terrific read, very well written.'

The Irish Times Magazine - A saint in the saddle
A full page in the Saturday magazine - rather like getting into the New York Times magazine on a Sunday. Oh my. Ruadhan Mac Cormaic's interview hits the main points well, and the final quote is as good a description of the good parts a bike tourist's life that I can't believe I actually said it:

'You see so much more on a bike. A mile done in a car is very different from the same mile by bike. There's nothing like riding through the early morning: the sun is shining, the road is completely empty, you're in a gorgeous part of the world, singing. And you feel, 'Yes, this is what I want to be doing.''

The photographer had me meet him in Clonskeagh (near where I used to work) - turns out there's a St Columbanus Rd there. And Airborne will be pleased - they gave me a big discount on the bike for the second trip, and another of their bikes ends up in the picture (the bike I did the first trip on is currently in a poor state). Anyway, you might want to read the full article (.jpg, 124K).

The Dubliner - What do I know?
The glossy Dublin magazine found room for me in their regular 'What do I know?' section. They sent me a list of questions, and the best answers made it to the page, along with a photograph I really should change.

'It's been ages since I played pool. When I lived in Kansas, I'd go to Fast Eddie's pool hall on quiet afternoons and get a table by myself. I'm not that good, but there's a meditative quality to it.'

What else do I know? (.jpg, 99K)

Irish Independent - From dotcommer to Columbanus pilgrim
The Irish Independent asked me to write an article about the book, looking at the motivation behind the trip. I did - it's hard to write an 800 word version of an 80,000 word book . It begins,

'I understand why you want to leave,' said my boss, 'but you know that if you go, you'll never be rich.'
We were in his corner office in a building in the Silicon Valley. I had told him I wanted to leave my high-paying job and return to Dublin, and he was making sure I understood the ramifications. I did, and couldn't wait to leave. I wanted my life back.

And you can read it in full (free registration required), or peer at the cutting (no that's not me on the bike) (.jpg, 113K)

Sunday Tribune: 'His writing is clear and lively'
Tom Widger's review likes the interweaving of the stories, and the immediacy of the opening chapter. I also get praise for my prose - 'clear and lively'. He goes on to point out a couple of errors - it's a fair cop, we should have spotted them in the editing process - and wonders where the photographs are. Which is odd, because you don't see any pictures in most travel writing of this sort, even if you're Bill Bryson or Pete McCarthy.
Make up your own mind: full cutting (.jpg 95K).

Sunday Tribune: My Favourite Place
A guest appearance for yours truly in the Trib's regular column in the travel section. I chose Montsoreau, one of my stops along the Loire Valley:

'As the sun sets over Montsoreau, there's a moment when the river shines like silver, and the chateau's stone turns to gold.

The Loire Valley is full of beautiful medieval towns boasting fairytale castles, but it's this small village that I'll always remember from a bicycle journey three years ago.

I was cycling from Bangor in Northern Ireland to Bobbio in northern Italy, following the route of the irascible Celtic saint Columbanus. Pedalling my way through vineyards and over the sharp hills alongside the Loire, I reached Montsoreau one afternoon, just downhill from Fontevraud abbey - the last resting place of two English kings.'

Get the full story and picture (.jpg, 69K)

Newstalk 106: ' I'll guarantee you'll want to read the whole book.'
Eoin Sweeney from Newstalk 106 interviewed me for his Dublin Life show, and he was kind enough to say:

'Read the first chapter and I'll guarantee you'll want to read the whole book.'

For that very reason, you can read the first two chapters in the Sample Chapters part of the site.

Ireland on Sunday: 'They said I was mad when I quit the Silicon Valley to follow an Irish saint over the Alps on a bicycle . . '
The full-on tabloid treatment from Ireland on Sunday. Billed as 'In my own words', they actually did a very good job of taking my own words (given in an interview), and turning them into something I would never have said. It's bizarrely like reading my words put through a tabloid filter. The cutting is up for novelty value if nothing else (.jpg, 170K).

Food and Wine Magazine: 'Human, humorous and extremely well-written'.
Ernie Whalley, editor of Food and Wine magazine, reviewed the book in the April issue of the magazine (here's the scanned cutting too - .jpg, 25K):

'We don’t normally review travelogues but we couldn’t put this one down. Human, humorous and extremely well-written, IT refugee David Moore’s account of retracing the steps of St. Columbanus from Newgrange to central Italy might induce some of you to forsake the MPV for that mountain bike that’s rusting away in the shed – but I doubt it! Most probably you’ll enjoy this book, as I did, recumbent on the sofa with a bottle at my elbow. Pedal on, David. And keep up the good writing.'



accidental pilgrim cover

ISBN: 0340832282
Trade Paperback - Hodder Headline
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