When people think of Ireland, they might think of Guinness, music or even Leprechauns, but did you know that Ireland has a King?
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A 280-mile solo hike across Ireland in aid of asthma research.

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Book Reviews - Hot Footing Around the Emerald Isle

Newspaper & Radio Reviews
Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, award-winning author of "This is the Place" and "Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered" 13th March 2003.

Charity, Fun and Books--What a Way to "Go!"

An Honest, Funny Look at Ireland

Not that anyone cares, but I'm putting all travel section editors on notice: I hate travel books. I prefer serendipity when I travel and I truly don't give a darn about the kind of soap a hotel puts in its bathrooms.

My point here is that Hot Footing Around the Emerald Isle by Ian Middleton is a book even travelers (and book lovers) like me can adore.

This book is funny. And perspicacious. And it will do the world some good-literally. More about that in a minute.

This is a book about, well, you know, the adventures the author had hotfooting it around Ireland. Now the author plans to do it again for charity. He will walk 300 miles across Ireland to aid asthma research come May. Part of the proceeds from this book go directly to charity and the rest of the profits will fund this second walk-sort of charity and profits in motion like a giant snowball (I hope) rolling down and hill and collecting more good, pristine stuff as it rolls!

And more "good stuff" could include another book. Mr. Middleton's writing reflects his breadth of travel and his experience in the UK; not that they are connected or anything but he also has a rather salty vocabulary. He has an uncanny knack for spotting the way the universe provides coincidences and for characterization. Emerald Isle introduces us to more interesting characters than the average novel.

This book is also inspirational. No, not that kind. It will be an inspiration to English speakers with a tad of Irish running in their veins to visit the green islands. They can go the way Ian did or they can get themselves one of those how-to books that list prices and locations if they prefer. It's really not what you read about Ireland that's important. It's how well what your reading works at getting you there!

Learn more about Ian and his new travel, his charity efforts etc. at www.ian-middleton.co.uk

(Carolyn Howard-Johnson's first novel, "This is the Place," has won eight awards. Her newly released "Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remember" has won two. One might consider both sort of travel guides to Utah.
Learn more at: http://carolynhoward-johnson.com.)

This review has been placed at the following websites:



Book Review Cafe

Sell Writing Online

Word Museum reviews

Ireland of the Welcomes magazine

March 2003

'From the fellow who looks after you when you kiss the famous Blarney Stone to the King of Tory Island, Ian Middleton has met them all and had a good many adventures on the way, including getting shifted(?). Oh, read this funny little book and find out for yourself!'

David Chapman, Worcester Evening News
'An entertaining travelogue in the Pete McCarthy and Tony Hawks' mould, it is the indomitable spirit of the Irish and their sideways swipe at life that always shines through.'
Alan Domville, Warrington Guardian
What makes Ian's walks so memorable and his books so riveting is that he always has time to smell the roses - to absorb and relate the atmosphere of the countryside or the township he is visiting.
Read the whole article
Tregolwyn, book review website
I do predict that those who pick it up will want to read it to the end. I did so, partly because I just liked the guy. He is at his funniest when he isn't trying too hard: "Dermot told me his name was Michael, but when I called him that, he replied, 'My name's Bill.' " Read the whole review
Cork 96 FM. Interview with Elmarie Mawe, The Arts House.
"I did enjoy the book a whole lot, I must say. It had me laughing in the most ridiculous situations where I shouldn't have been laughing." Hear the whole Interview
Sligo Weekender

Sept 10, 2002.

"This love of Eire comes through in Ian's new book. He describes with a longing the scenery of Southern Ireland, but reserves some of his best, and funniest writing for the characters he meets along the way" Read the whole article

Donegal Democrat

25th July 2002

The book is a good light-hearted read that gives an insight into what the stranger thinks of us up here in the north west. Read the whole article

Donegal News

26th July 2002

Middleton takes a very basic and direct approach when relating his tale of travelling around the Emerald Isle and gives an honest account of the country and people that greeted him upon his arrival, summing up his experiences thus "It's still and probably always will be, 'Ireland of the welcomes'. Read the whole article

The Argus, Dundalk
All tales are an easy read and quite humorous. Read the whole article
Wexford People

June 19, 2002

"Ian has a great and irreverent turn of phrase and a witty irony, as well as an artist's eye for detail when it comes to penning his observations, be they humorous, or heartfelt, or both." Read the whole article

Wexford Echo Review, By Cheryl Rickard

26th June 2002

"Ian's sharp and slightly sarcastic sense of humour makes this book a treasure of hilarious anecdotes and unusual characters." Read the whole article


One year; two great books…
Hot Footing Around the Emerald Isle

"A unique and witty perspective on touring around Ireland
from a proven English Travel Writer"


The book gives a unique and witty perspective on travelling around Ireland from a proven English travel writer. It's an involving, compelling read that never, ever forgets the reader and brings them along on what is frequently a roller coaster ride. Nor is it just for foreigners; Irish can be regaled by the book, too and made to laugh at themselves.

Another book materialised from his many experiences in mythical, mystical Ireland in the summer of 1999 and his return trip a year later. It's evocatively titled 'Hot Footing Around the Emerald Isle'. Available in all local bookshops, it's a steal at just €10.99. The book gives a unique and witty perspective on travelling around Ireland from a proven English travel writer. It's an involving, compelling read that never, ever forgets the reader and brings them along on what is frequently a roller coaster ride. Nor is it just for foreigners; Irish can be regaled by the book, too and made to laugh at themselves.

Travel with the audacious, impulsive, vivacious Ian on his bicoastal tour of Ireland, taking in the whole expanse of the west coast and winding up somewhere that has a special place in his affections - Wexford.

In his new book, Ian Middleton has compiled a Bord Failte-standard guide to some of Ireland's best places and people. The story is illuminated by the crystal-clarity of Ian Middleton's descriptive faculties, his razor-sharp sense of humour and zest for adventure.

'Hot Footing Around the Emerald Isle' is one of the most vivid, forthright and replenishing books you will read this year.'

Click here to read the whole review

Reader's Reviews

Nika Bozic

May 19th 2003

unobtrusive, readable, inspiring

A lot of compliments have been said so far about this book, nevertheless they all praise one writer's talent. Perpetual zest for adventure and vivid transformation into words for readers to entertain to the very last page.

Like a magnet it pulls you up, captures all your senses in it. Soon it uncovers a simple tail of an eager traveller who wants ongoing trip to be more than an ordinary one. Thus he engages in all sorts of daily events which end up in all palettes of stories which glitter in all their originality.

I'm glad the writer displays one valuable skill. His writing seldom contains tendency of repetition throughout stories. Something I'm sure is the hardest task since undertaking the rout of a travel writer. Also something readers aren't keen on either, nonetheless Ian proves just how this is possible. In fact, Ian brings something fresh and alive to the whole structure of a book.
Looking overall, the second book represents apparent development in building himself as a writer. Surely it is narrated from different angle as a South American book, yet the upgrade is obvious in all its form. That is to congratulate on, especially on the sweaty work of all those previous years which produced fruitful results and I am positive within considerate time Ian's lengthy account of books will find a well deserved place among other well known authors of his kind.


Leeanne, UK

24th Feb 2003

Hi Ian

I don't know if you remember me (I worked opposite you at the interhol exhibition - I was the annoying one who kept saying "would you like to enter a free prize draw?"!!) Anyhow I have just read both of the books that I bought off you at the exhibition and I just had to email you and say that they were the funniest books that I have read for a long time. My boyfriend thought it quite strange when he was sat in the lounge and he heard me laughing in the next room!.

Your books are both exciting and fulfilling whilst also having a very educational side without the reader feeling preached to. I know so much more about both South America and also Ireland than I did before and am grateful to you for opening my eyes and helping me to see these place in an unbiased way.

Good luck with both the travelling and the writing!!


I don't know if you remember me, we met at the hostel in Wexford when I was looking for Gunda and Chris. Gunda gave me your Ireland book as a birthday present and you persuaded me to buy a copy of your South America book the night before I had to leave Wexford :) I promised to tell you what I think of the books and here it comes:

I love them! I prefer the Ireland book, maybe because I've been there myself, but both books were really entertaining.

I miss Ireland a lot, by the way. I hope I can come back for a few days or weeks next year. Have a good time in Wexford (are you still in Ireland?) and tell me if you write a new book, I'll certainly buy it :)

Eva Snowden

Oct 6 2002

Hi Ian,

Just thought I would send you a line to tell you that I did not go away this weekend so went for a walk in Andover yesterday and called in to the book store and bought your book about Ireland as I will not make the signing next week.

Well I have read it and it was great as I could not put it down until I had finished.

It transported me home and I felt that I had made the journey with you. The worst part is that it makes me want to go home to all that friendly atmosphere.

I can understand you liking the stout as it does taste a lot different.

Thank you for telling people that we are all not bad and if people would just get past the Irish accent they would really see us.

Margaret O' Neill, The Ink Well Book Store, Arklow

Oct 18 2002

A bemused and oft bleary-eyed Middleton scours Ireland from Cork to Donegal in search of… something. It's a perilous mission fraught with anxieties - half poured frothy pints of Murphys served by barmen who's last job may have been executioner to Henry VIII.

It's a steep learning curve, up country, in direct contact with natives, exchanging bodily fluids at the Blarney Stone, swapping tales of heroism with backpackers returning from the jungles of Claire, Kerry and beyond.
Middleton says that his philosophy when travelling is to choose a country and drift around it, making it up as he goes along, going with the flow.

This unprepared approach combined with a willingness to cope with whatever the nations oddities decide to throw at him make for an entertaining reading, a travelogue which can be dipped into at any page for gems to be remembered long after the reader has put the book away in lieu of a conversation with a fellow traveller en route.

Brendan Whorisky, Travellers Rest Pub, Cashelard, Donegal.

Hi there Ian, just a short note to tell you it is a great book that you put together, you probably don't remember me, I met you and your two guardian angels in the Travellers Rest in Cashelard Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal. I hope all is going well for you. could you send info on the article about the pub and surrounding area ,as i am making a web site for cashelard town land.

Read the intersting story of how we came to meet in the article:

Tony Blair's first pint of Guinness, and my most expensive book.


19th Nov 2003

Hi Ian,

I've just finished to read your excellent book which is full of anecdotes those give a very large part of reality, of concrete to the book. When you describe a place, I've got the feeling to be on site because I know most of the places which are described and I almost had the same feelings as you. I like the British touch of humour when you do references to your comportment towards pints. Moreover, you have perfectly translated into words the Irish personality and this is essential to understand the Celtic soul. This book has really brought back memories of my trip in Ireland. That was really what I was looking for.


Visit Remi's website on Ireland. (http://freshairinireland.free.fr)

Paul Rowley

29th Feb 2004

Hi Ian,

I recently returned to Wexford from the Midlands after a few months working up there and popped into my former employer, South East Radio, to see Alan McGuire. Perusing his book repository, I espied your book on your Irish
trip and borrowed it.

I loved it, I thought it was witty, intelligent and your feelings on certain things coincide exactly with mine (eg., the blight of American tourists, white buses, the ruining of Killarney etc.). Well done on an entertaining, funny and soemtimes frustrating (for a bloke who meets a lot of women you don't get much!) read.

So a few days later I was back in the radio station and mentioned my enjoyment of your book to Alan, who promptly dug out your South American tale.... once again I thoroughly enjoyed it and... at last! You got some!!!!! Hurrah!!! (I presume).

On a more serious note, reading your tome has awakened in me a slight yearning to do likewise... it's been a long time since I've been abroad for any length of time (having grown up there, I regard Nigeria as my home but that was a quarter of a century ago, yikes!) so I'm now exploring other travel books to see if this seed of need will nurture and grow. If it does I'll wager Africa will be the first stop.

For that, you have my grateful thanks. Keep up the good work, I'll keep an eye out for more of your work.

Ashley Porter
Felt I just had to say a few words about the book.

I picked up a copy of the book while visiting the emerald isle myself. A few
days later and I had read it cover to cover! Although I had just arrived I
felt as though I had travelled the whole country with you. Unfortunately, it
was only a brief visit, but I intend to return and will no doubt use both
this book, and your forthcoming travel guide along the way.

Thanks for a great read and many more to come!

Ashley Porter (Evesham, Worcestershire)

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