The Road To Lisdoonvarna

The Road To Lisdoonvarna

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.

18 thoughts on “The Road To Lisdoonvarna

  1. Please excuse my dementedly excited shrieking. I considered northern England and Wales in much the same way you do Ireland, and I was in no way disappointed – both places are still magical for me, even if they were somewhat less full of the expected dragons (among other things) than I expected. Have no fear – it’ll be worth it. And it will, doubtless, also be amazing.

  2. I think I can relate to this. I’ve visited places that I imagined for years – many of my favorite books are set in New York City so I thought it must be a pretty great place if so many stories take place there. I didn’t want it to be a disappointment and it wasn’t. I’d love to travel through Europe someday and I hope that doesn’t disappoint me…

    Random question: Have you ever visited the USA?

  3. Whatever you find there whether it is close to your imagined Ireland or not I can promise you one thing!
    Ireland IS beautiful, it is the land of fairies and music, there are many creative people there, you can’t go to Ireland and NOT write – the inspiration will fill you from your toes to your inner core! Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!
    You are so lucky!

      1. You should invest in a Dictaphone – I often use my phone to voice record when I am out and about – because I know I should – but I don’t always have my notebook – whereas I always have my phone. Sorry to hear about your RSI – I picked it up from reading your blog post. Enjoy the Emerald Isle!

        1. I can record things on my phone and I tend to pressgang my mum into writing things down for me. So I manage. It’s not the same, though.
          I did enjoy it though! On my way home at present….

  4. I hope you love it. I’m sure it won’t be quite what you expect, but I hope its different in ways that make you love it just as much.

    Besides, you can still keep the Ireland in your head. Just call it something else. Or even still call it Ireland but know its the Ireland that humans can’t visit because we are just too darn human.

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