10 Things You Never Knew About Pete McCarthy

Book Cover Pete McCarthy

Never pass a bar that has your name on it!

Those immortal words, came in at number 8 on the ‘Rules of Travel’ of a certain Peter Charles McCarthy Robinson, who in 1998 wrote the wonderful book about Ireland, McCarthy’s Bar. He journeyed through the west of Ireland, from Cork to Donegal, in a hilarious odyssey trying to rediscover his roots and the Ireland he spent time in with his mother’s family as a youngster.

It is an interesting book to revisit as it paints a really good picture of pre-crisis Ireland, and it chimes well with our own concerns today about how some parts of Ireland are losing the fight to maintain their heritage and character.

Here are his other ‘Rules’.

By the way, not all relate to Ireland. The numbering is deliberate, but only God and Pete McCarthy know why!

  • 1. On arrival, buy a local paper and go for a drink.
  • 2. The brighter the primary colours and ancient Celtic symbols outside the pub, the more phony the interior.
  • 3. Never bang on about how wonderful some unspoiled place is, because next time you go there, you won’t be able to get in.
  • 7. Never eat in a restaurant with laminated menus.
  • 8. Never pass a bar that has your name on it.
  • 13. Never ask a British Airways stewardess for another glass of wine until she’s good and ready.
  • 16. However exotic the country, the local radio phone-in quiz induces in the traveller a sudden and dramatic downturn in the will to live.
  • 17. Never try to score dope from Hassidic Jews while under the impression they are Rastafarians.
  • 19. When perusing a menu, never consider anything containing the words “goujon”, “platter” or “cheesy.”
  • 26. Any Italian traveling abroad will be accompanied by an even more glamorous person of the opposite gender.
  • 28. Never get drunk with soldiers.

Photo of Pete McCarthy

It’s hard to believe that Pete McCarthy passed away nearly 9 years ago. As a tribute here are 10 things you didn’t know about the man.

10 things you didn’t know about Pete McCarthy.

  1. He was born in Warrington, Lancashire in the north-west of England, the eldest of four children
  2. He spent his school holidays in Drimoleague, Co. Cork with his mother’s folks on a farm called ‘Butlersgift’
  3. He was educated by the Christian Brothers, and described their teaching method as ‘Carrot and Stick’ without the carrot.
  4. He wanted to become a Roman Catholic priest at one stage but was persuaded against it by his local priest.
  5. He instead decide to become a writer after reading Portrait of the Artist by James Joyce.
  6. He was qualified as a teacher of English and Drama, and his first television appearance was in a children’s programme
  7. He co-founded the Cliffhanger Theatre, toured extensively and was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award.
  8. That success led to the creation of two Channel 4 comedy series.
  9. He toured as a stand-up comedian under the name Peter Robinson and regularly compered at The Comedy Store, London.
  10. He wrote numerous award winning TV scripts for Griff Rhys Jones and Mel Smith and others, and his one man show won a Perrier award at Edinburgh.


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