Maybe it’s the landscape or generations of digging in the underearth or the salty air or the ancient history or the tales of toil. No matter what or all, there’s something about Ireland’s verdant land that distills its writing down to a purity and complexity akin to a tangled bog of peat.
A few years ago, I strolled through Dublin’s Writer’s Museum housed in an 18th century mansion, because: Irish literature (James Joyce, Yeats, Oscar Wilde, Swift, Shaw, O’Brien, O’Connor, and on and on). We walked the city tracing James Joyce’s life, polished off buckets of mussels and cider, wandered cemeteries, and challenged the Irish sea to a staring duel….ah, word nerd bliss.
Writers, if you get to Dublin, make sure to add the Writer’s Museum, Trinity College Library (the Book of Kells is a visual stunner), and the James Joyce Centre where you can jaunt about the city on “The Dubliner’s” tour.
[Travel Writer Tip: Take the Guiness Brewery Tour and learn how to make the perfect pour!]
To celebrate the brilliance of Irish writing, let’s read Frank O’Connor’s short story “First Confession” for point of view. The narrator takes the reader on a journey back to his first confession as a young boy. The point of view vascillates at times from older self to younger self with a grace that is unlike anything I’ve read. This is the kind of story told and retold around the kitchen table with family and friends—and I’m guessing with voices and playacting.
I hope you’ll enjoy this delightful story. [from my WKU.edu educational collection]