Ireland is a land of ancient bards and modem masters. Its literary tradition includes illuminated manuscripts and fairytales passed down through the ages as well as contemporary writers like James Joyce and Samuel Beckett—pivotal figures not just for Irish culture, but for literature everywhere.
Trinity College, Dublin. Many of Ireland’s most famous writers studied here, while its library is the permanent home of the Book of Kells and one of three surviving Gaelic harps.
Bloomsday. Every June 16 in Dublin, fans of Joyce’s Ulysses retrace the day of its protagonist, Leopold Bloom, with many of the places he visited (like Davy Byrne’s pub) still open for business.
Festivals in Every Season. Author readings and writers’ workshops often share the agenda with music and theater performances at the country’s festivals including the Listowel Writer’s Week, the Galway Arts Festival, the Belfast Festival at Queens, and the Dublin Book Festival.
Yeats 150. In 2015, Ireland marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Nobel Laureate William Butler Yeats, with poetry readings, performances of his plays, and more. While Yeats’s birthday is on June 13, the celebrations continue all year long.
Heaney’s Home. In Northern Ireland, you can explore the settings familiar from the works of another Irish Nobel Prize winner, the late poet Seamus Heaney. His work straddles the worlds of Irish mythology and contemporary culture, rural life in County Derry, and the halls of academia.
Magical Kingdoms. The fantastic landscapes familiar from Game of Thrones really do exist and can be found in Northern Ireland. Winterfell was built at Castle Ward in County Down while the rugged coast of County Antrim appears as the Iron Islands. You’ll also find Dunluce Castle, the inspiration for Cair Paravcl in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, here. From the comer pub to the stages of its festivals, Ireland Is a land of storytellers who capture both the magic side of a country steeped in folklore and epic tales as well as the magic moments of daily life. As you explore the country, you may soon find yourself inspired to put pen to paper too.