’I think I bought a house’, I said, still slightly stunned. I’ve spent longer choosing a tie.
First, a dream of escaping the city ... and then a century-old cottage to match the dream. Moving to a small village in the heart of the Irish countryside was the beginning of a new life for Philip Judge - the beginning of life in sight of Yellow Mountain.
Beginning and ending at Lughnasa - but taking in a number of years along the way - Philip describes the season-by-season charms and frustrations that he, his Beloved, and eventually, his two growing boys experience as they adapt to life in the countryside.
There are highs and lows. Wellies and tweed are bought. Vegetable patches cultivated. Lambs are born and calves die. There is health and happiness, illness and sadness, and there is weather - always weather. And yet the seasons turn and Yellow Mountain looks on. The city slicker fails miserably at Name That Grain! and makes many faux pas along the way, but ultimately, this is the story of one man and his family falling in love with the Irish countryside - and, in doing so, finding home.
’Somewhere between Edward Thomas and Henry Thoreau, Philip Judge pitches his radiant tent. It is a book about outpost and inscape, and is a luminous, funny and profound reading experience’ Sebastian Barry
’This is The Good Life meets A Year in Provence ... a lovely summer read. I thoroughly enjoyed In Sight of Yellow Mountain, a witty, warm-hearted and often delicious tale of transitioning from city life to low-fi economy living in the Irish countryside. It might be particularly interesting to the British post-Brexit brigade seeking a solution in the pastoral dream of the Irish countryside!’ Sue Collins
’In Sight of Yellow Mountain is part almanac and part memoir; a meditation on the meaning of life, the beauty of nature and the passing of the seasons, with added chutney recipes and tips on the best method for castrating rams. Acutely observed and beautifully written it is also erudite, entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny. As a portrait of family life and all its past trials and present joys, it is as honest as it is moving and utterly compelling. Never mind the bucolics, here’s one man and his smallholding. A must-read.’ Mark O’Halloran
’In Sight of Yellow Mountain brought me back to my childhood love of James Herriot’s books, All Creatures Great and Small. Philip Judge strips bare all dignity and personal embarrassment to immerse himself in country life and we are the winners. His anecdotes of encounters with local farmers and unsuccessful chutney fermenting will make you laugh out loud. But it also makes you want to put on your wellies and get out and stroll the Irish countryside to soak up the beautiful sights he so eloquently describes ... and if you’re lucky enough, you might encounter some of the humorous characters and situations that he finds himself in! It is one you will not want to put down’ Pat Shortt
Philip Judge is an actor with many roles on television, film and theatre in Dublin and London. He lives – contentedly – in Wicklow, with his Beloved and two small sons. This is his first book.