Going Stateside

Travels with Bertha was reviewed recently by booklistsonline.com. See below for the review:

Book Reviews from the American Library Association

Travels with Bertha: Two Years Exploring Australia in a 1978 Ford Stationwagon.

By Paul Martin. Nov. 2012.264p. Dufour/Liberties, $29.95

(9781907593420). 919.994.

The vast continent of Australia has every thing backpackers want: plenty of sunshine, great scenery, cheap hostels, and beer. The country even allows youths from around the world to take temporary jobs to finance their travels. Ironically, it was cold in Sydney when Paul Martin arrived from Ireland in June 1995- With the idea of staying a year and taking bus trips up the east coast, he found a bank job. For the first year, he saw little besides Sydney, but thanks to a governmental oversight, he overstayed his allotted time. In his second year, he bought Bertha, a 1978 Ford station wagon without air-conditioning, and drove her first through the outback and then around the continent, all with a revolving cast of companions. In this lighthearted travel memoir with a touch of history, Martin wittily recounts long, hot drives; stormy nights;countless bars; mechanical failures; and the generosity of strangers. A great addition to travel-narrative collections.

—Rick Roche


Books Ireland (September Edition) and UCD Alumni Magazine (2012)

It has been a busy week for Travels with Bertha with profiles in both Books Ireland September edition and the UCD Alumni annual magazine.

See below the link to the UCD Connections inclusion (page 49) and the Books Ireland profile


Books Ireland – September 2012

“An easy way to get to know Australia” – what the papers say…

In  recent review of “Travels with Bertha” entitled “AN EASY WAY TO GET TO KNOW AUSTRALIA”, the Bookshelf reviewer in the Tuam Herald wrote…

“My experience of the Australian outback is limited to one off-road trip to Lake Mungo, near the Victoria-New South Wales border. I remember the sense of wonder at being in such an ancient and unchanged landscape, especially in the silent hour around dawn before the electricity generator in the lodge I was staying in started up.

“Paul Martin has experienced those wonders a hundredfold, and he combines his descriptions of his travels, fleeting encounters with hitch-hikers or travelling companions for a few hundred miles, with reflections on Australian history, the way the country has dealt with the Aborigines, and its future prospects.

“If you are thinking of going down under, if you have a child or relative there, or if you are merely curious about this strange yet familiar, near yet far, continent, read this book.”

For the full article read – http://www.tuamherald.ie/2012/06/27/bookshelf-%E2%80%93-an-easy-way-to-get-to-know-australia/

“My Holiday” Profile – Irish Times 9th June 2012

My holidays

Travel writer Paul Martin


Holiday at Home, Paul and his wife, Barbara, at the Cliffs of Moher

Holiday at Home, Paul and his wife, Barbara, at the Cliffs of Moher


What was your best holiday? Besides Australia (of course) and my honeymoon in Kenya, it would be my first trip to South America. Arriving into Cusco, Peru was exhilarating. The high altitude in the Andes and the striking mix of Inca and Conquistador architecture gave it a very special atmosphere.

I also had the powerful sensation of standing at the centre of the almost mythical Inca empire which had been toppled over apparently so easily by Pizarro.

What was your worst holiday? It was the first fortnight of another South American trip (even though the next four months were wonderful). It started off in Quito, Ecuador where I was robbed in my hostel as the security guard had been bribed. Then after eating some dodgy chicken in Latacunga, I was as sick as a dog and forced to hole up alone in a crummy hotel. When I emerged from the room 24 hours later I was only half the man I’d been when I’d entered it!

If budget or work were not a restriction, what would be your dream holiday? My dream holiday would be to return with the family to Australia. I’d like to do it in about five years when my three boys might be old enough to appreciate it. After visiting friends in Sydney we’d rent a campervan for three months and travel from Karijini National Park to the Kimberleys in Western Australia and through much of northern Queensland.

If you had your pick, who would you bring on holiday with you? It would have to be my wife Barbara and the boys. Being Italian, she makes sure we eat well and always has an interesting “take” on new places. As for the boys – twins and another one 20 months older – they’re effectively triplets and are mostly 24/7 entertainment.

What’s your favourite place in Ireland? The Wicklow Mountains are just on my doorstep and the view from the top of Djouce Mountain on a clear day would inspire even the dullest of souls.

Your recommended holiday reading? My desert island reading would definitely be Montaigne’s Essays. On leisure holidays, I tend to read fiction and travel writing. Paul Theroux can be cantankerous but he does seem to hit the nail on the head about the shifting moods and odd happenings while travelling. The novel The Post Office Girl by Stefan Zweig mesmerised me on a recent holiday.

Where will you go to next? About eight years ago I went on an unforgettable holiday to France with my friend Eoin (whom I met in Australia) and his brother. We always swore we’d go back there together in later years. This summer with our respective families we’ll spend a fortnight in Brittany together.

Travel writer Paul Martin’s new book is Travels With Bertha: Two years exploring Australia in a 1978 Ford station wagon (Liberties Press, €15.99)

Genevieve Carbery

What the readers say!

Listowel Travels Writers Festival is on this week and much to my chagrin I won’t be able to make it. So I’ll have to content myself with the comments that have come back on the book. It’s now out a month and I’m pleased to say that all feedback has been very favourable. Here are some comments….and, no, I didn’t write them myself. (My mother didn’t either!!)


– Hi Paul, I have to write and say how much I enjoyed your book. It was funny, informative, and a great story. I really liked the fact that you gave so much of the history of the country. I read it in two days and gave it to Dave straight away. Hope it sells lots. Am waiting for the next one

– Hello Paul, I read a little more of Bertha last night and would like to confirm my opinion that you’re a genuinely good writer!

– Paul, I’m half-way through the book and wanted to say I’m really enjoying it.  You got a nice mix of personal experience and insight, history and characters.  Are you working on anything else?

– Paul,  I just finished your book and I so enjoyed it.  I can’t find the right word for it but you conveyed how you felt in the desert and in the middle of nowhere and the peace you got from it in the end really well….Anyway the book is a little gem and hope you are getting lots of good feedback!

– Il libro e’ bellissimo! Mi piace molto come scrive!! Davvero!! Sia lo stile che gli agganci storici/culturali. Mi ha aperto una finestra su un paese sconosciuto e non ti nego che mi sembra di fare il viaggio dentro la mia testa…!!! (The book is fantastic! I really like how you write!! Both the style and the historical/cultural vignettes. It opened up a window to me of a country I don’t know and I have to say it gave me a sense of undertaking the journey inside my own head!!)

– Hey Paul, am really enjoying the book, very interesting and great writing – congrats

Where to get TWB in paperback and as e-book

Various people have asked me this week where there can buy Travels with Bertha. I’ve given the details below and please check the WHERE TO BUY page on this blog for updates.

Ireland –  Travels with Bertha is available in a wide range of Irish bookshops

  • Easons – TWB has recently been ordered from Eason’s distributor and should soon be available in Eason Stores nationally
  • Dubray – Blackrock, Bray, Dun Laoghaire, Galway, Grafton Street, Stillorgan, Rathmines
  • Waterstones – Ballymena, Belfast, Coleraine, Cork, Drogheda, Lisburn, Newry
  • Other – The Bookcentre (Waterford & Wexford), Barker & Jones (Naas), Castle Book & Card Centre (Mayo), O’Mahony’s (Limerick), Rathgar Bookshop, Bridge Street Books (Wicklow), Crannog Bookshop (Cavan)

UK – It can also be ordered in any UK bookshop and delivered by Liberties Press’ UK distributor

Liberties Press – online orders – TWB can also be purchased directly from Liberties Press (see the biography and memoir section to the left of the homepage – www.libertiespress.com) – Postage and packing is free to anywhere in the Republic of Ireland


An i-book version is not available. Kindle e-books are only available from Amazon.

My interview with Tom Dunne, Newstalk 106-108FM

I must say it was a real pleasure talking with Tom Dunne this week – both on and off air. Given the success of Manchester City, he seems happy that Ivan Yates isn’t around in these few weeks and as for how a man he knew was caught by his wife having an affair….I think that will just have to stay a secret.

Tom Dunne, Newstalk FM

But if you want to hear about salties and freshies, cork dangling hats and perhaps the best question I’ve yet been asked about travelling in Australia click on the link below http://www.newstalk.ie/2012/programmes/all-programmes/tom-dunne/travels-with-bertha/


Sydney Irish Radio this Sat, May 5th/Sun, May 6th

Please pass the word to all your friends in Australia that I will be talking with Barry Mack on Syndey Irish Radio this Saturday, May 5th (Irish time at 9.30pm) and on Sunday May 6th (Sydney time) at 8.30am.

Barry Mack, Sydney Irish Radio

Barry Mack, Sydney Irish Radio

You can all listen live online wherever you are in the world at http://www.2ser.com/

For more about Sydney Irish radio check out http://www.sydneyirishradio.com/