One of the best ways to get a feel for the local culture of a place is to examine it’s literature. The stories of it’s people, whether those stories be true of fiction, can reflect much of the culture and values of a place. Travel through literature can make you feel like you are already there, and once you do arrive, provide a frame of reference for the sights you visit. In Ireland, it’s no different.
Perhaps Ireland’s most famous author, James Joyce seems to be everywhere in Dublin. For literature lovers, it’s easy to walk the footsteps of Stephen Dedalus from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Joyce’s semi-autobiographical book, and Leopold Bloom from Ulysses, the story of one day in Bloom’s life in Dublin. Or see the city through the eyes of a myriad of characters from Joyce’s collection of short stories entitled Dubliners, which shows Irish middle class life in and around Dublin – good bedtime reading for nights in Dublin hostels.
To learn more about the life and works of the author, hop on some cheap flights to Dublin and then visit the James Joyce Centre, take a walk around Trinity College and explore Stephen’s Green Park, settings in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, or head up to the top floor of the Guinness storehouse Gravity Bar, where quotes from Joyce’s works are printed on the windows. So if you’re a Joyce fan, Dublin is the place to visit, and if you’re planning a trip to the city, start your Irish education before you leave home with a little light reading.
photo by infomatique