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My Ireland

Looking for inspiration? Planning a trip? Or just want to scroll yourself happy? We'll show you an Ireland that's tailor-made for you.

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    See what Ireland has in store for you

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    Literature in Ireland

    For centuries, this small island has inspired a host of poets, playwrights, writers and storytellers to compose some of the best literature in the world

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    Ireland’s literary heritage

    Ireland’s rich literary tradition dates back to early tales of mythical heroes such as Cú Chulainn, and continues right up to prize-winning modern authors such as Anne Enright, Anna Burns and Colm Tóibín.

    Literature is most definitely in our blood. Early Irish literature is thought to be the oldest vernacular literature in western Europe, and you can still see examples of Ogham inscriptions on stones in the counties of Kerry, Cork and Waterford. Wherever you go on the island, be it an Atlantic outpost or a thriving modern city, you can connect with plays, poetry and prose, as well as experiencing the landscape, culture and history that inspired the greats.

    Great writers from the island of Ireland

    L-R: Seamus Heaney; Oscar Wilde; Patrick Kavanagh; WB Yeats

    Dublin: city of literature

    Dublin is famous for its vibrant street life and quirky characters, and it has been home to some exceptional writers over the years. In this UNESCO City of Literature, you can almost hear the words of James Joyce, Flann O’Brien and Sally Rooney echo through the streets. The city has produced three of Ireland’s four Nobel Prize winners for literature, and it continues to be a hotbed of creativity.

    Pull up a bar stool in one of the city’s famous “literary” pubs such as Davy Byrne’s – immortalised in Joyce’s Ulysses – or join the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl. Explore the Dublin Writers Museum at Parnell Square, the Museum of Modern Literary Ireland (MoLI) on St Stephen’s Green, and visit the award-winning WB Yeats exhibition at the National Library, described by the New York Times as “dazzling”.

    Museum of Literature (MoLI), Dublin

    Dive into Dublin's literary treasures

    The writers, the bookshops, the libraries, the festivals, and, of course, those famous literary pubs – here are Dublin's must-see literary experiences.

    Read on

    Seeking out CS Lewis

    Belfast’s literary heritage reverberates through its historic streets – this grand Victorian city was the birthplace of The Chronicles of Narnia author CS Lewis. The CS Lewis Tour takes in key locations in the author’s life, as well as exploring some of the influences on his writing.

    The landscapes that cradle Belfast are also a source of inspiration – Cave Hill, overlooking the city, is believed to have given rise to Jonathan Swift’s creation of the giant in Gulliver’s Travels. Swift was born in Dublin but was a clergyman in the parish of Kilroot, County Antrim. Push out into County Down and you’ll come across the Mourne Mountains, thought to have inspired Lewis to create Narnia.

    Any trip around the island of Ireland uncovers endless places associated with playwrights, thinkers and poets, from small islands to craggy mountains. Who knows what inspiration this land might unlock in you?

    That part of Rostrevor which overlooks Carlingford Lough is my idea of Narnia.

    CS Lewis, in a letter to his brother
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    Statue of Aslan, CS Lewis Square, Belfast

    The big Ireland book quiz!

    From Bram Stoker's vampire anti-hero to CS Lewis's talking lion, Ireland has its fair share of famous literary characters. How many do you know?

    Test your knowledge
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    Dublin city

    Readers Garden at the Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI)

    Great literary festivals

    1
    Listowel Writers’ Week, County Kerry (May/June)
    Readings, lectures, workshops and exhibitions take over this lively County Kerry town during one of the island's most acclaimed literary events.
    2
    Dublin Book Festival, Dublin (November)
    Taking place in the city's libraries, book shops and even the Botanic Gardens, this festival covers everything from poetry to science.
    3
    Belfast Book Festival, Belfast city (August)
    This festival reaches beyond literature to encompass music, comedy, film and theatre with a celebration of international and local talent.
    4
    Aspects Festival, County Down (September)
    Aspects hosts a range of readings, workshops and conversations against the stunning backdrop of Bangor Castle and the Ards Peninsula.
    A unique festival on a stunning island that aims to keep the Irish tradition of storytelling alive with story swaps, heritage walks and concerts.

    Ireland's literary adventures

    Don't miss these things to see and do

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    Seamus Heaney HomePlace

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    Londonderry

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    Linen Hall Library

    4/5

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    Antrim

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    Museum of Literature Ireland

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    Dublin

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    Siamsa Tíre, The National Folk Theatre & Arts Centre

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    Kerry

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    C.S. Lewis Trail

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    Antrim

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    The Book of Kells

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    Dublin

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    Marsh's Library

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    Dublin

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    Glencar Waterfall

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    Leitrim

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    Oscar Wilde House

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    Dublin

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    The Maria Edgeworth Visitor Centre

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    Longford

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    Angela's Ashes Walking Tour

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    Limerick

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    The James Joyce Centre

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    Dublin

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