People and Trees in Igalaland

Corkman Jim Ryan’s twin loves of sport and working as a garda have given him the most unforgettable experiences of his life: partying at a Guinness brewery in Nigeria, presenting the New Zealand prime minister with a Watergrasshill tie, sharing a Japanese ‘love hotel’ with six grown men, being shot at back home in Blackpool ... the list goes on. A man with a sense of humour, Jim tells his affectionate story of growing up in Watergrashill, confessing to bouts of drunken behaviour and smoking from an early age, his disinterest in school and love of music and performing mime acts. Taking up sports turned his spending money on drink to spending it on travel to matches all over the world, amounting to at least a million euros over the years. "But it was worth every cent" he says. "I don’t know what people do who don’t enjoy sport. If I didn’t have a match to go to at home or abroad, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself."

Life as a garda had its ups and downs and Jim Ryan pulls no punches in telling what life was like, how he was moved from station to station and how he enjoyed cups of tea in houses while on duty. It’s an honest recollection and may cause some grief to those who didn’t see incidents as he did. His call for investigation into child abuse was ignored – he was ahead of his time in recognising it. His senior officer was not.

Jim has enjoyed life at work and play, and now retired, has time for further indulge his hobbies. This book is his first and another life’s ambition achieved. For one who could not spell and hated writing, he has done well.

When you regularly pack a case and travel around the world and back again to cheer on your sporting heroes, ‘fan’ seems like an understatement – ‘fanatic’ might be nearer the mark. Jim Ryan still travels to matches and appreciates the efforts of sportspeople from club players to international heroes. This is his tribute to them.



304 pages, black and white photographs, paperback. ISBN:9871897685693


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"I have no doubt when Amundsen made it to the South Pole the two figures he could see from hundreds of miles away turned out to be Jim and Tony just waiting around to shake his hand."
Tom Humphries, Irish Times

"The best ever book about the adventures of a dedicated sport’s fan."
Brian Kerr