During the journey, the author strives to travel the country "with one self-imposed handicap - to never utter a word of English."
"Irish (Gaelic) is the first official language of Ireland. We have been speaking it for 2,500 years, right up until the British decided it would be easier to govern us if we spoke their language (and then outlawed the use of Gaelic in schools) in the 19th century. We, in turn, soon realised that our only hope of advancement was through English, and we - or at least the half of the population that survived the Famine - jettisoned Irish in a matter of decades. Had it not been for the Celtic Revival that accompanied Ireland's fight for independence in the early 20th century, the language would have probably died out by now. Today, a quarter of the population claim they speak it regularly. I have always suspected this figure and to test its accuracy I decided to travel around the country speaking only Irish to see how I would get on."