Northern Ireland is famed for its world-renowned authors, poets, playwrights and storytellers – we are truly a land of literary giants.
The ’squat pen’ has rested in the hands of some of the world’s greatest writers who were born in Northern Ireland and have used the mesmerising landscapes to inspire fantasy worlds and classic novels adored by millions.
From Seamus Heaney to C.S. Lewis and Jonathan Swift, Northern Ireland has been the inspiration for some of our most loved poems and stories, and more recently our awe-inspiring landscapes have become the backdrops for box office smashes and award-winning TV shows.
Beyond our world-famous writers, we are natural storytellers creating legends and myths from every corner of this rugged and beautiful landscape.
To mark World Book Day on March 2, Discover Northern Ireland has compiled a list of attractions, landscapes and experiences to help you celebrate the genius of our literary legends.
No Alibis, Botanic Avenue, Belfast
- If you’ve run out of things to read, Belfast’s popular No Alibis bookstore offers the antidote. No Alibis is a general bookshop with a particular interest in children’s books, Irish literature, history and politics, the humanities and, of course, mystery fiction. Built around a community of people who love books, this is a great place to have a coffee and browse for your next fix. Local authors, like novelist Glenn Patterson, are a fan. If you’re lucky you might stumble upon a poetry reading or musical performance. Visit www.noalibis.com
Seamus Heaney HomePlace, Bellaghy
- Seamus Heaney HomePlace takes you on an inspiring journey through the life and work of one of our greatest writers. Situated between Seamus Heaney’s two childhood homes at Mossbawn and The Wood, HomePlace is at the heart of the area that inspired so much of the poet’s work. Seamus Heaney’s distinctive voice guides you through the exhibition as you get to know the people and places that inspired him. Atmospheric video projections and touchscreen displays sit alongside precious items donated by the Heaney family. Visitwww.seamusheaneyhome.com
Armagh Robinson Library
- Push open the great Georgian door, climb the stairs, and step into the 18th Century. There are some 42,000 printed works, covering subjects such as early medicine, science, history, law, politics, theology and travel, as well as maps and atlases. Discover some of the library’s many treasures, including Jonathan Swift’s own copy of Gulliver’s Travels from 1726, with corrections in his own handwriting. The library houses a unique record of the cultural and social history of 18th century Ireland. Visit www.armaghrobinsonlibrary.co.uk
Narnia Trail, Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor
- This family trail takes you through woodland at Kilbroney Park in Rostrevor and brings to life the Chronicles of Narnia with a number of fun features along the route. C.S. Lewis, as a young boy, spent regular holiday time in the Mournes and Rostrevor in particular inspiring his creation of the magical world of Narnia. Lewis is reported to have written a letter to his brother saying: “That part of Rostrevor which overlooks Carlingford Lough is my idea of Narnia”. This family trail seeks to capture the imagination of children of all ages. Visitwww.discovernorthernireland.com/things-to-do/the-narnia-trail-p722461
Game of Thrones® territory – Enniskillen & Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark
- Pollnagollum Cave in Belmore Forest is part of the Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark. The cave has enjoyed a surge in popularity since it was used as a filming location for Game of Thrones®, the international sensation based on the books of George R.R. Martin. The exterior of Pollnagollum Cave was used to film Beric Dondarrion's hideout in season three. Meanwhile, fans of the show can discover one of the Doors of Thrones at the popular bar, Blakes of the Hollow in Enniskillen town. The series of ten doors depicting stories from season six were created using wood from fallen trees from the iconic Dark Hedges, known in Game of Thrones® as the Kingsroad. Door Four features several striking designs, immortalising the Targaryens and Arryns. Visit www.fermanaghlakelands.com/blog/read/2021/09/game-of-thrones-b218
Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh
- The Ulster American Folk Park tells the story of emigration in the 18th and 19th centuries throughself-guided tours, events and exhibitions. The current Bad Bridget exhibition highlights the adversities many women and girls faced when they migrated to North America in the 19th and early 20th centuries. An incredible storytelling journey that brings to life the experiences of these women and girls as they struggled to survive. If you fancy delving deeper into these stories, Belfast-based writer Jan Carson is hosting an exciting fiction writing workshop at the Ulster American Folk Park where you will be lead through a series of writing exercises, prompts and discussions. She will also tap into the Bad Bridget exhibition and discuss how you can use narratives based on the historical characters. Please note this event takes places on 18th and 22nd February. Keep up to date on more literary experiences via their website. Visit https://www.ulsteramericanfolkpark.org/
For more information on great experiences and places to visit in Northern Ireland visitwww.discovernorthernireland.com