Happy St. Patrick's Day!

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I bring to you some of my favorite things that let me dream of Ireland.

First up, here's a statue of Himself on the Hill of Slane.

Next up, for some fun and frivolous (trust me, frivolous) reading that takes place in Ireland, I heartily recommend the following by Nora Roberts. (I did say frivolous, did I not?) Born in Fire, Born in Ice, Jewels of the Sun, Tears of the Moon, and Heart of the Sea. There is a third in the Born in series....skip it. Just save yourself the disappointment. Now, having read the Ardmore series (Jewels of the Sun etc.) just before our trip to Ireland in 2003, we took a little jaunt down to Ardmore to see what there was to see. This is a photo of St. Declan's Oratory (a site that features rather prominently in the series) - it's a lovely little sea side village, though the descriptions in the book are nothing like the real thing. (It always bothers me when writers take a real place and make it different - why not just make up your own place and base it loosely off a real place if you aren't going to describe it how it is?)

For books set at a time when things like the ruins above were actual dwellings, you can't go wrong with Michelle's Irish medieval romances: Her Irish Warrior, Her Warrior King, The Warrior's Touch, and Her Warrior Slave. (Lots of hunky warriors. And descriptions that actually match things that you might know if you've traveled.)

Now, if you're not of the female persuasion, then the previously listed books aren't as likely to be your thing. (Unless you're one of my uncles, I won't say which, but I happen to know that one reads romance novels. And I think that's cool.) So, I also heartily recommend The Princes of Ireland and The Rebels of Ireland by Edward Rutherfurd. (Though I recommend Rebels more than Princes by quite a lot, Princes is still a worthwhile read.)

Just for fun, I give you the Great Telescope at Birr Demesne. (This always makes me think of the scene in the Never Ending Story that contains the line, "To the winch, wench!" which is something of a family phrase. Apropos of nothing, The Never Ending Story is a worthwhile read as well - it's by Michael Ende and it's so much better than the movie.) Birr Demesne was one of our best bits of serendipity on our 2005 trip.

I've just finished reading through An Irish Country Doctor, An Irish Country Village, and An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor and I can't recommend them heartily enough. They're lovely reads (for men or women) and give you a delightful sense of the Northern Irish countryside in the 60s. We haven't made it to Ulster yet, though it's on our list for the next trip.

Finally, in the miscellaneous but still decidedly worth reading, I'll add in The Wild Irish by Robin Maxwell and The Case of the Missing Books by Ian Sansom (there are apparently more in this series now that I'll need to check out - briefly it's about the librarian of a mobile library in rural Ulster and it's funny and endearing and delightful.)

With that, I'll leave you with another of our favorite bits of serendipity: Glenveagh Castle. It's up near the northern coast, but well worth the drive as it's gorgeous countryside up there and unlike anything you'll find elsewhere on the island.


michellewillingham said...

Huh. The darned feed didn't tell me you had a new post until today. Sorry about that!

I LOVED the Nora Roberts "Born in" series. Born in Fire was my favorite. Born in Shame...least favorite, but I liked revisiting the other characters.

Thanks for the mention on my books! :)

Gwynne said...

Oh my! I dream of Ireland, but you have immersed yourself! I love the pictures...makes me want to plan another trip as well.

beth said...

Michelle, you actually are responsible for me having read the Born in series :) And it is fun to revisit the characters in Shame...but I just can't get over how much I dislike Shannon. She doesn't deserve Murphy. :) Your books rock - they will always get a mention when I can swing it. (And I don't just say that cause you're my friend either.)

Gwynne...let's go! :)