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?