I’m going to Ireland tomorrow.
This is something I have wanted to do since I was about ten years old and I first read The New Policeman by Kate Thompson, and it’s finally happening. I’m going to Ireland. I’m going to see Kinvara, where the book is set. I’ll see Lisdoonvarna, as named in the tune The Road To Lisdoonvarna. And I’m going to see the Burren.
Ah, the Burren. Of all the places I want to see, this is the most exciting for me. It’s basically a massive load of limestone. It’s weird and wild and wonderful and I want to see it more than anything. I’ve heard it mentioned in so many novels and by so many people.
I’m going to visit the ‘fairy hill’ near Lisdoonvarna which, in my head, is where my character Alex was born. I’ve never seen it before. I’m going to see stone circles and carved rocks and bilingual Ogham/Scandinavian Rune inscriptions.
In short, I’m going to get so inspired that I will curse my RSI to kingdom come and then resign myself to dictating ideas for new novels.
But I’m also worried. What if the Ireland of the books that inspired me to start writing isn’t the Ireland I find? What if it doesn’t live up to my expectations? What if I can’t picture the púca striding across it? What if it’s just a load of rock?
Ireland for me is a land of stories and creativity. It is music and magic and fairies and folklore and while I know that this is a romanticisation of a modern country that has its share of problems, I cannot shake the view that has been the bedrock of my writing over the past few years. I don’t want to lose that Ireland by seeing the realities of the tourist-magnets many of these places are.
The fact that we are staying in a thatched cottage is a comfort to me. And most people don’t have an obsession with stone circles (unlike me), so we won’t be right on the tourist circuit. I’d love to have time to visit Tara and the other mythical locations I’ve read about, but I won’t have time this year. One day, I will.
I think there will be enough magic in this Ireland for me.
And who knows? Maybe while roaming Kinvara we’ll run into Kate Thompson herself. Or Anne Korff, a real person who became a character. Now that would be a type of magic.
This short post was brought to you by repetitive strain injury.