Book of the Month - Non Fiction : March, 2020
Hitching for Hope
By Ruairí McKiernan
A journey through Ireland by thumb–ears open to the stories, dreams, and struggles of the people encountered along the way
What does the future have in store if politicians aren’t beholden to the people, if the pace of development is compromising mental health, and if so-called progress is triggering ecological collapse? How do we maintain hope in such troubled times?
In the wake of one of Ireland’s worst economic recessions and a period of personal burnout from years of relentless social campaigning and organising, Ruairi McKiernan set out to answer these questions after he was invited to speak about citizens’ views of Ireland. How, he wondered, might he use this platform to capture people’s stories in an honest and authentic way-to give voice to the multitudes that so often go unheard?
During his teenage years, McKiernan developed a fondness for hitchhiking. This fading form of travel taught him to connect with strangers, to trust in the unknown and to embrace the unexpected: precisely the kind of experience he was looking for.
By turns exciting, provocative and sincere, Hitching for Hope: A Journey into the Heart and Soul of Ireland is the tale of a pilgrimage both deeply personal and explicitly political. McKiernan embarks without an itinerary, not knowing with whom he may speak, what he may hear or where he may sleep each night. As he reflects on his past, faces his fears, and listens to the struggles, hopes and dreams of Ireland’s people, he excavates a human resilience often obscured by the media.
Our modern world is rife with twists and turns as numerous and daunting as the roads that wind across the Irish countryside. However, when we will ourselves to take a leap, to stick out our thumbs when the going gets tough, and to lend a hand (or a ride) to others in need, we harness a collective power that cannot be shaken.