Ireland – The Land of Saints and Scholars

Many would suggest that Ireland’s finest export is Guinness, but they’re not entirely correct. Ireland has a rich literary history with some of the world’s most adorned writers and poets being of Irish descent. Many of their early writings and final resting places can be visited in Ireland. A tour of Ireland will reveal the inspiration for the worlds most famous novels and poems.

Abraham (Bram) Stoker is best known for his 1897 novel, Dracula. Born in Dublin he went on to attend Ireland’s well-known Trinity College where he met Oscar Wilde, a fellow student. It was his time here that sparked his interest in the theatre where he began his career as a theatre critic. His move to London secured him employment in the infamous Irving’s Lyceum Theatre in London which brought about a chance encounter with a Hungarian writer whose darks tales of the Romanian mountains are said to have influenced Stoker in writing Dracula.

 

Born in Dublin and a graduate of University College Dublin, James Joyce is regarded as one of the most influential and important authors of the 20th century. His most notable publications are Dubliners, Finnegans Wake and Ulysses. Dubliners (1914) is a collection of 15 short stories depicting middle class life in Dublin in the 20th century. The novel Ulysses is set with characters and incidents of the Odyssey of Homer and with perfect precision depicts the streets and alleyways of Dublin city. Bloomsday is celebrated in Ireland, and the world over, to celebrate Thursday 16 June 1904, the day depicted in this novel.

 

Jonathon Swift is an Irish poet and novelist who was born in Dublin and received his degree from Trinity College by special grace. His most famous novel is Gulliver’s Travels (1726) of which a large portion was written at Woodbrook House in County Laois. It was published anonymously in the United Kingdom to great success and pirated copies were printed and distributed throughout Ireland. A 2017 analysis of library holdings data revealed that Jonathon Swift is the most popular Irish author, and that Gulliver’s Travels is the most widely held work of Irish literature in libraries globally. Early editions of his writings, as well as his grave, can be found in Saint Patricks Cathedral in Dublin.

 

Irish authors and poets are the best in the world and we have barely scratched the surface of talent with these three authors. Ireland offers tour groups including academic and alumni groups a fantastic insight into Irish society and psyche both today and historically through the captivating world of Irish literature and their authors.