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Books read prior to RS Best of Ireland trip

My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our RS Ireland trip this past June. It was an absolutely terrific tour.
I like to study about the country before we visit and the time spent listening to audio books, Irish music and online courses was certainly worth the time.
I like historical fiction and I enjoy the narrations recorded in various accents
I have an account with Audible but I have found most audiobooks are available on my library's Libby account for free if you are patient,


For a sweeping review of Irish history Edward Rutherford's Prince of Ireland and Rebels of Ireland was a very enjoyable way to learn about the ups and downs (mostly downs) of Irish history. The fictional characters interact with the real historical characters in a way that makes their lives more vivid.


Frank Delaney's Ireland, Tipperary and Shannon are stories about certain periods of Irish history. The audio is narrated by the author and is a real joy. I practiced my Irish accent while listening.


Trinity by Leon Uris (who also wrote Exodus) is a massive tome again with excellent narration. I covers the period from the famine to the rebellion tracing one family's struggle.


I also discovered the series by Patrick Taylor (who was a doctor turned author) about an Irish country doctor who practiced in a rural area near Belfast and went to medical school in Dublin in the 1930's


This audio book won't be for everybody but The Tour by Jean Grainger was a hoot and despite my ambivalence I couldn't stop listening . It was a story about an Irish tour guide leading a tour with 12 Americans. It is completely farcical. Everyone's life is profoundly changed during the tour including the guide. I could stop laughing when I tried summarize the plot to a couple on our tour. When I put it into words I understood how ridiculous the story was-for example, one tour member was jailed for assault against her "friend from church" It was just bad funny.


I also subscribe to the Great Courses series and enjoyed the courses Irish Identity by Marc Conner and The Celtic World by Jennifer Paxton.


I must confess that I did listen to the entire audio version of Joyce's Ulysses years ago with the help of another Great Course audio. I spent a lot of time with my mind wandering -especially during Penelope's soliloquy. But ironically we found ourselves in Dublin the day before Bloomsday-June 16th and our hotel was down the street from Sweny's where Leopold Bloom bought a bar of lemon soap. Well, I brought one as well for 5 euros-which is now now in my drawer of "what was I thinking" souvenirs
I did download a BBC "radio drama" of Ulysses from Audible. It is engaging and a much better way to do Ulysses.
Thanks to all the contributors to the Rick Steves forums. I learn so much.
Next year is a trip to Switzerland. Any suggestions?

Posted by
447 posts

You certainly did some pretty thorough reading. Impressive. I've read several of the items on your list and really enjoy Irish movies and TV (via Acorn streaming service).

We did Ireland last year and probably will do Switzerland next so I'll be interested in what you find. I looked at the list for Switzerland here on the site and got one list them googled books for Switzerland and was pointed to another link here

https://www.ricksteves.com/europe/switzerland/books-movies

For some reason I can't find it from within this site but it's a good list with both fiction and none.

Posted by
6001 posts

For some reason I can't find it from within this site but it's a good list with both fiction and none.

For any country, just select that country from the EXPLORE EUROPE list, scroll down to the section called PLAN, open that section and the recommended books/movies will be there.