Ireland, a muse for writers

Posted by Neil Hand on the 2nd of August 2016 at 16:44:24

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Whether you are aware or not, Ireland boasts very famous literature figures.

Who doesn’t know the mythical Dracula novel, written by Bram Stoker?

Who doesn’t know at least one quote of the free spirit poet and playwright Oscar Wilde, for whom “to define is to limit”?

Who doesn’t know the notorious Samuel Beckett and his play Waiting for Godot, or Jonathan Swift and his Gulliver’s Travels?

Ireland seems to inspire one’s imagination and sensitivity, that may also explain why so many writing retreats nowadays are organised in Connemara, or along the Wild Atlantic Way.

connemara

Connemara landscapes

Achill Island has always been an inspiring environment for artists and writers from all over Europe.

achill island

Achill Island

Some say the Burren inspired J.R.R Tolkien to write his famous Lord of the Rings trilogy.

the burren

The Burren

What makes Ireland so inspiring you might ask?

Since the world knows the Irish as a drinking culture with their beers, whiskeys and pubs, what comes obviously to mind is that their consumption of alcohol helps them broaden their mind and frees their imagination. James Joyce, the author of Ulysses, was a heavy drinker (as his father before him was), and Samuel Beckett, in his mid-twenties, turned into one also.

Of course that can be said of any great writer from any country, and thinking this pub culture really fosters Irish people’s wonderful creativity is way too simplistic. The reality lies elsewhere. Irish people are known to be storytellers. Over the centuries they’ve been conquered and repressed; firstly taken over by the Celts, the Angles and Saxons, then the Vikings and finally the English. Each time they were attacked, as their culture blended with the invaders’ traditions, they had more stories to tell.

We feel that Ireland’s wonderful landscapes also nurture the writers’ imagination.

CS Lewis, the author of the Narnia books, was born in nearby Belfast, and imagined Narnia as a boy, when the breathtaking Mourne Mountains, Co. Down, were his playground.

Later in life, he did confess that he had seen landscapes there, “which, under a particular light, made [him] feel that at any moment a giant might raise his head over the next ridge.”

the mournes mountains

The Mourne Moutains

3 sites associated with Ireland’s greatest authors

1. Dublin, recently named a city of literature by the UNESCO.

st patrick

St Patrick's Cathedral

2. Sligo

Sligo is the ancestral home of the poet William Butler Yeats. Visit Yeats’ grave in Drumcliff churchyard, at the foot of Benbulben Mountain. Sligo Bay moved Yeats so much that it inspired him to write the poemUnder Ben Bulben, whose last verses you find on his grave.

ben bulden sligo

The Ben Bulben Mountain

3. The Aran Islands

The Dublin writer, John Millington Synge, was fascinated by the Aran Islands and spent a lot of time on the island Inis Meán where he found inspiration for much of his writings like ‘The Aran Islands” and “The Playboy of the Western World”.

aran islands

Inis Mean, Aran Islands

So, as you can see, Ireland boosts creativity and poetry... It can stir dreams and passions among those who take the time to contemplate its beauty.

 

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