An Irish Doctor’s Odyssey, Dr Colbert’s first book of memoirs, is about middle-class Catholic Ireland in the 1940s and tells the true story of a country boy born in Waterford, sent off at nine years of age to board with the Dominicans in Newbridge and graduating as a doctor in UCD in 1957 while still holding onto the dream of working with the poor. Turning down the prospect of a glittering career he went instead to work in Africa and the Caribbean with his young wife, Doreen, driven by a long-nurtured desire to serve as a missionary doctor.
His adventures bring you to the heart of Africa, the sands of the Sahara, the lush islands of the Caribbean and the world of Islam in Saudi Arabia. Throughout the book, Dr Colbert shares stories of medical dilemmas, mistakes and triumphs; of the people he worked with; and of the people he served, bringing the reader with him as he describes incidents that are sometimes happy, sometimes sad, but always fascinating. But this is more than a travel book. Love, faith and understanding shine through the pages.
An Irish Doctor’s Odyssey will make you weep and laugh and, above all, show that dreams can come true. It is certainly easy to read but definitely not easy to put down.
Dr Dom Colbert has worked as a volunteer in developing countries since 1960, covering many disaster areas including Biafra, Ethiopia and Bosnia. He is currently an honorary senior clinical lecturer in the Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin, and invited lecturer in Tropical Medicine in NUI Galway. He is co-founder of the thriving Travel Medicine Society of Ireland and founder of the Volunteer Medical Doctor scheme and of Voluntary Services Abroad. He lives in Galway, Ireland.