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8 inspirational places in Ireland - paired with books!

Faith Hogan, bestselling author of The Ladies Midnight Swimming Club, writes contemporary fiction that is unashamedly uplifting, feel good and inspiring. Faith has joined us for Irish Book Week to share her top 8 inspirational places in Ireland – and pair them with great books!

Faith Hogan, author

"While books may not always be written about a place as such, often, I've found that going back to places I’ve read about in books is almost surreal in the melding of the story in my imagination and the reality before my eyes.

One of my own favourite places to visit for inspiration is Yeat's Grave in Drumcliffe, Co. Sligo. I'll amble through those amazing headstones and sit in the little church, just lost in the beauty and serenity of it all. The scenery is breath taking, but I think it is as much about the spirit of the place as it is about anything else. I’ve overheard visitors to the grave comment on its modesty – is that it? I'm still moved by it all, every single time. I imagine, many would-be writers have stood at the foot of that grave and made great promises to themselves about what will come next, the question is of course, if they kept those promises and where are they now?" Faith Hogan

Dublin CastleIn the Woods by Tana French

I've loved every one of Tana French's Dublin Murder Club books, beginning with In the Woods and I have to confess that there are times when I walk past Dublin Castle and I wonder if some member of her murder team might be loitering inside a window, waiting for that vital call that’s going to break the case.

In the Woods by Tana French

DalkeyTara Road by Maeve Binchey

I fell hopelessly in love with Maeve Binchey's books as a teenager. A visit to Dalkey village, with its small town feel, harbours and mountains at your back is almost like stepping into Tara Road or Kilgarret. The other writer who can create characters to capture your heart has to be Patricia Scanlan. She is funny, warm and The Liberation of Brigid Dunne is probably one of her best books yet.

Tara Road by Maeve Binchey

Ardagh VillageListening Still by Anne Griffin

There is a quaintness about Ardagh Village, particularly in summer when the hedging is neat and the petunias are splendid. It is perhaps a tad too tidy for a story like Listening Still, but I think, if some big Hollywood producer decides to come knocking on the door – it might be a very picturesque Kilcross to this elegant story that centres more on coming to terms with life's bigger questions than speaking to the dead.

Listening Still by Anne Griffin

The CloistersRachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes

Okay, so, maybe none of us actually want to visit the Cloisters, but I'll bet we’re all really excited about the new instalment of this much loved favourite from Marian Keyes – 'wimmen’s fiction' at its very best – bring it on!

Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes

GalwayThe Ruin by Dervla McTiernan

Dervla McTiernan has become one of my favourite Irish crime writers over lock down. Her writing is sparse, her characters are immense and her stories are page turners. But it is Galway, which creates an atmospheric and palpable backdrop that will change how you see the city of the tribes forever.

The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan

DublinDublin's Girl by Eimear Lawlor

Last year, one of my favourite books was by Eimear Lawlor – Dublin's Girl is loosely based around the story of the author’s aunt. It is thrilling, romantic and suspenseful. As you walk around the city, particularly in this the centenary year of the War of Independence, it’s impossible not to be moved by the events that have so profoundly shaped the country we live in today.

Dublin's Girl by Eimear Lawlor

Modern Day DublinThree Weddings and a Proposal by Sheila O'Flanagan

If there is a doyenne of domestic Dublin dramas it has to be Sheila O'Flanagan. She serves up modern women in everyday situations that could happen to any of us – her characters are brave despite their fears and always manage to win your heart by the end! The question you have to ask yourself as you walk through those leafy suburbs is what exactly is going on behind those curtains right now? Three Weddings and a Proposal is her latest and its sure hold you to the last page.

Three Weddings and a Proposal by Sheila O'Flanagan

LongfordThe Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney

I have spent a lot of time in Longford over the years, but after reading Patricia’s first book, The Missing Ones when we met Lottie Parker, I don’t think Westmeath will ever be quite the same again. This is a truly cracking series from first to last.

Of course, the truth is, that there aren’t too many corners of our little country that can't lay claim to some writer or story and perhaps, it’s this as much as anything that can engage new readers – after all, who doesn't want to read a book that’s written on their very doorstep?

The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney
The Ladies Midnight Swimming Club

About The Ladies Midnight Swimming Club by Faith Hogan

When Elizabeth's husband dies, leaving her with crippling debt, the only person she can turn to is her friend, Jo. Soon Jo has called in her daughter, Lucy, to help save Elizabeth from bankruptcy. Leaving her old life behind, Lucy is determined to make the most of her fresh start.

As life slowly begins to return to normal, these three women, thrown together by circumstance, become fast friends. But then Jo's world is turned upside down when she receives some shocking news.

In search of solace, Jo and Elizabeth find themselves enjoying midnight dips in the freezing Irish Sea. Here they can laugh, cry and wash away all their fears. As well as conjure a fundraising plan for the local hospice that will bring the whole community together...

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