Review: The Connemara Whirlwind (Cuaifeach, #1)

25th March 2021
Das Fohlen aus Connemara

Marty MacDonagh’s glamorous Connemara pony mare is the supreme champion at Clifden Show. She is now expecting her first foal. But when the foal arrives, the cuaifeach is blowing – the wicked whirlwind, peculiar to Connemara, that wreaks havoc everywhere. The foal, like the cuaifeach, is spirited, mischievous and unpredictable. Marty soon finds himself in a state of exasperation as the unruly foal lands him in a series of embarrassing situations, traumatic to Marty but hilarious to onlookers …

The Cover

Well, it’s actually quite alright! The landscape and cottage look vaguely Irish. However, when it comes to the horse, I have two issues: Number one, it’s looking a little too old for a pony that’s barely two years old at the most. Number two, I’m not sure what the foal is wearing. It’s neither a halter nor a bridle, so I’m confused.

The Background

This has been on my tbr since 2008, which is a little weird considering that’s the year I fell in love with all things Irish. Though, to be fair, I wasn’t a Connemara girl back then because I didn’t visit the first time I was in Ireland. It’s been on my reading list for four years now but it took me a very long time to finally get to it. The third book never been published in German and the difficulty to get my hands on a copy, makes up a huge part of the reason behind. I didn’t want to start the series before I knew I would be able to read all three books more or less back to back.

My Thoughts

This is a weird book and I’m pretty sure I would’ve utterly disliked it if I had read it as a child or in my early teens. And here is why:

  • The characters: For most part, the protagonist is a middle-aged man with marriage issues. Not really a person a young kid can identify with. He lives for his horses while his wife’s pretty anti-horse. But who can blame her considering Marty putting two horses before her time and time again. Only later on and for two brief scenes, a young girl, Doreen, is introduced. She’s pretty much like any pony girl ever: poor, has a knack for horses, and only ever wants the one which is going to cause trouble aka Whirlwind.
  • The plot: All in all, this is about Whirlwind causing all sorts of trouble, being shipped off to an island, being sort of sold, causing a huge ruckus that ends in front of court, and so on. There were a couple of fun moments, like when he turned a pony show upside down. However, there were a couple of unusual parts as well. For example, there’s a whole chapter about a law suit, which was actually one of the most interesting and entertaining parts, even though I imagine it pretty dry for a younger audience.
  • The general tone: It’s pretty bleak. It focuses on what it means to be living in the West of Ireland as a farmer, including money issues, the dependence on weather, crops, and their livestock, and the dark sides of (over)breeding.

However, I liked the Connemara-ness of it all. Knowing almost all the places mentioned, this was an interesting read and it made me a little secondhomesick. Let’s see where this series is going. I hope the second one will be more on the light side.

Further People Involved
Translated by:

Bibliographic Information
This Edition
English Edition
1994 by Schneiderbuch
Hardcover, 158 pages
ISBN-13: 9783505000263
1990 by Poolbeg Press
Paperback, 201 pages
ISBN-13: 9781853710797
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