With St. Patrick’s Day putting the spotlight on all things Irish and March being Irish-American Heritage Month — and sadly, a trip to Ireland not in the cards for me any time soon — I’m visiting the Emerald Isle on the page. Right now I’m reading Dubliners, James Joyce’s short story collection set in Ireland’s capital at the turn of the twentieth century, and plan to follow that with Nuala O’Faolian’s novel I Dream of You (I enjoyed her previous book, Are You Somebody?: The Accidental Memoir of a Dublin Woman) and the travel narrative Round Ireland with a Fridge. For more reading suggestions, the Tuscaloosa Public Library has a list of novels set in Ireland.
If you’re lucky enough to be planning a trip to Ireland, be sure to visit some of the country’s literary sites during your travels — places like the Yeats Tower (see photo) in County Galway and the James Joyce Museum and Tower outside Dublin. And if you’re in Dublin, make time for the Jameson Literary Pub Crawl; local actors lead bibliophiles to watering holes where classic Irish writers sipped for inspiration. Joni can attest to the fact that it’s a spirited way to spend the evening.
Tying in to a more recent book, the Angela’s Ashes Walking Tour takes trekkers to Limerick sites depicted in Frank McCourt’s autobiography. –SMS