Ben Bulben, the famous writer WB Yeats is buried nearby Ben Bulben, the famous writer WB Yeats is buried nearby

Ireland at home

Clients might not be able to travel to the Emerald Isle at the moment, but Tourism Ireland is reminding people they can still connect with its landscapes and culture through literature.

In the Collected Works of WB Yeats agents and clients will find evocations of Ireland’s landscape. County Sligo is known as Yeats’ Country because of its strong connection to the writer. He is buried there in the churchyard at Drumcliffe in the shadow of the mountain, Ben Bulben, the tourism office points out. Another Nobel prize winner, Seamus Heaney, once wrote: ‘If we winter this one out, we can summer anywhere’ – appropriate words for these times. Heaney took inspiration from growing up on a farm in County Londonderry.

The Dublin of 1904 is the setting for James Joyce’s Ulysses, and clients can follow Leopold Bloom over the course of one day as he moves through the city. For a more modern read, bestselling author Cecilia Ahern’s books reflect present-day Ireland and its people. Man Booker prize-winner Milkman, by Belfastborn Anna Burns, is set in Northern Ireland and has its own energy and voice, while Maeve Binchy’s novels capture the warmth of small-town life in Ireland. Other classic books, while not set in Ireland, were inspired by its landscape. The Mourne Mountains in County Down inspired C S Lewis to create Narnia. Cave Hill in Belfast, locally known as Napoleon’s Nose, is said to have put Jonathan Swift in mind of a sleeping giant, later becoming the famous hero of Gulliver’s Travels. www.ireland.com

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