Joyce, Beckett, Binchy, Wilde – for a small island, Ireland’s contribution to literature is astounding. Irish novelists, poets and playwrights are recognized as genre-defining pioneers and include no less than four Nobel Prize winners.
This literary heritage is a treasured part of Irish culture that can be traced across the entire island, etched into the landscapes, streets and traditional pubs.
It’s here you can behold the Mourne Mountains that inspired CS Lewis to create Narnia, have a pint in the same pub as poet WB Yeats and Dracula-author Bram Stoker, or follow in the footsteps of Joycean Dublin.
Yes, great stories and the stories behind the stories are found all over the isle. Like in Belfast, where the distinct outline of Cave Hill – known locally as Napoleon’s Nose – moved satirist Jonathan Swift to create the sleeping giant in "Gulliver’s Travels." Or County Londonderry, which influenced poet laureate Seamus Heaney’s famous poem, "Digging."
Dublin, a UNESCO City of Literature, takes pride in its literary heroes and is filled with landmarks in their honor. Bronze statues of iconic writers pepper the streets, like poet Patrick Kavanagh on the Grand Canal and Oscar Wilde in Merrion Square. Samuel Beckett is remembered with a bridge over the River Liffey while a theatre in Trinity College recalls Booker prizewinner Anne Enright.
Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.
Another way we celebrate our literary culture? Festivals. Each year, events like the Beckett festival in Fermanagh and Bloomsday in Dublin commemorate Ireland’s most renowned authors with performances, readings and workshops for aspiring writers.
Need we spell it out any more?