Storytelling and a love of words run in the blood of the Irish and the island of Ireland has produced some of the finest writers in the world including four Nobel Laureates.
Seeing the land and cityscapes through the eyes of the poets who immortalised them in their work offers the visitor an authentic view of the island and its people.
William Butler Yeats is one of the giants of Irish literature. He drew inspiration from County Sligo, on the Wild Atlantic Way, which he called The Land of Heart’s Desire. Now known as Yeats Country, Sligo is a place of pilgrimage for poetry lovers. Visit Yeats’ grave in the village of Drumcliff, which sits at the foot of Benbulben mountain and inspired the poem Under Ben Bulben, and take a trip on Lough Gill to visit The Lake Isle of Innisfree.
You can immerse yourself in the work of Seamus Heaney, the most widely published poet in the English language, at the Heaney Homeplace in Bellaghy, County Londonderry, where the poet was born. The visitor experience recreates Heaney’s life and work and points you to places that are captured in his words such as Lough Neagh and the Flaggy Shore of County Clare, which features in his poem Postscript.
The quiet Monaghan landscape that inspired Patrick Kavanagh has changed little since he wrote his best-loved poems Inniskeen Road and On Raglan Road. Follow the Kavanagh Trail to see sites referenced in his work and visit the Patrick Kavanagh Centre to delve into his life and poetry.
Oscar Wilde is one of the best-known figures in Irish literature and he is celebrated in Dublin with a statue made from semi-precious stones that reclines in Merrion Square. It is one of the city’s 10 Talking Statues, which each bear a plaque with a QR code that can be scanned with a mobile phone. After scanning Wilde’s code your phone will ring and you will get the chance to hear an entertaining excerpt of his work read by actor Andrew Scott.