So you'd like to...

Embrace Ireland---literally or figuratively

A guide by brian komyathy "Thanks for scouting out my page and perhaps some of my lists and/or reviews" (U.S.A. & elsewhere traveling)
(VINE VOICE)   

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Welcome to a little piece of Ireland, so to speak. Of course one can embrace Ireland and things Irish from far afield as well as by journeying there oneself. My recommended selections herein (concerning books, films, & music) thus cater to both sorts of folks. Whichever category you might place yourself in, I would hope you would be familiar with the wonderful story of How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe (The Hinges of History) It is a brief work (218 pages) detailing how Irish monk scribes---of a land just learning to read & write itself---took up the great labor of copying all of Western literature as the Roman Empire fell, as barbarians looted artifacts and burned books. The Irish thus preserved for history much of Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian cultures that would have been lost to us otherwise. It's a "must read" for those interested in Ireland either way, but particularly so for someone planning to visit Ireland. When I, for instance, visited numerous (often ruined) monasteries and abbeys around Ireland (my favourite being in Cashel, incidentally), I couldn't help but marvel at the substance of this book and contemplate the people involved who inhabited such structures.

The guide book I took along was also invaluable, although of course in a different manner. One should not go abroad without carefully choosing a guidebook focused on your destination. I favor 2 branded choices: "Rough Guides" & "Lonely Planet" guidebook series, both of which cater to independent travelers. For Ireland I'd particularly recommend The Rough Guide to Ireland. A great accompaniment to one of the above guides---especially for those of you who prefer something highly visual (OR for those not overly constrained by a budget for such a trip, OR for those going on a guided tour)---would be DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Ireland. (NULL Lonely Planet Ireland (Country Travel Guide) is OK, but you'd be better off with those mentioned above.) For abbey visits especially consider reading or perhaps listening to The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? ( Expanded Edition) for related inspiration.

Some films which would be of interest to one interested in Ireland, whether you visit or not:

Veronica Guerin; a very well done biopic on the story of a real-life journalist whose example was largely responsible for helping Ireland to get tough on criminals & thereby overcome previously endemic drug trafficking and violence. Cate Blanchett plays the heroine herein to great effect.

A fun but gritty romp can be enjoyed by going along for the ride with The Commitments (Two-Disc Collector's Edition).

For a whimsical saga, try The Secret of Roan Inish.

And for comic levity of an especially Irish sort, take in the delightful Waking Ned Devine. And give this interesting film a chance too Once.

Also of interest on DVD would be a collection of countless Irish musical standards, performed by The Irish Tenors - The Essential Collection (which is much better than Celtic Woman), & consider seeing the entertaining tenor Ronan Tynan in concert if he comes near you.

A great Irish TV program (from the 1990s) is now available on DVD (& some PBS systems at times). It concerns life in a small fictional town in Ireland named Ballykissangel - Complete Series One & is a folksy---part dramatic, part amusing---soap opera of sorts (a far more detailed review by me of this program can be accessed by clicking on its title & scrolling down.) (Ballykissangel - Complete Series Five is the latest year available now.)

For more music have a listen to It's Entertainment!, or any one of the many famous Irish artists out there, although Enya is my favourite herein, particularly Paint the Sky with Stars: The Best of Enya, but any of her records are distinctly Irish, spiritual in many respects, and marvelously evocative of that enchanting land. And Winter Came. For Irish instrumental music, leading the pack would be Essential Chieftains or San Patricio. For some music in Gaelic, have a listen to Clannad: Greatest Hits or other selections of this group which sings in both English & Gaelic. If you'd like to sample Ireland's biggest musical export (in the rock category) have a listen to U2 - The Best of 1990-2000. For a gospel-tinged sound: Into the Music. If you like modern rock, try To Faithful Departed: Comp Sessions, by the Cranberries and/or Sinead O'Conner's best, entitled Lion & The Cobra, or for Sinead singing Irish songs try Sean-Nos Nua (or for a group choice: Celtic Woman, Celtic Woman: A New Journey--Live at Slane Castle, or A New Journey). Thanks for reading my list (& your vote if this list has given you any ideas). Cheers!

Products mentioned include:
1.  How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe (The Hinges of History)  by Thomas Cahill
$11.62 Used & New from: $0.01
3.5 out of 5 stars   (408)
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2.  The Rough Guide to Ireland  by Paul R. Gray
$17.89 Used & New from: $6.12
4.1 out of 5 stars   (19)
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3.  DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Ireland  by DK Publishing
Used & New from: $25.88
4.7 out of 5 stars   (56)
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4.  NULL Lonely Planet Ireland (Country Travel Guide)  by Ryan Ver Berkmoes
Used & New from: $1.88
4.3 out of 5 stars   (37)
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5.  The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? ( Expanded Edition)  by Rick Warren
$14.48 Used & New from: $4.74
4.6 out of 5 stars   (660) | 1 customer discussion
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6.  Veronica Guerin [PAL]  DVD ~ Cate Blanchett
$24.15 Used & New from: $5.15
4.4 out of 5 stars   (84)
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7.  The Commitments (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) [Anamorphic] [Color] [Dolby] [Dubbed] [Subtitled] [Widescreen] [NTSC]  DVD ~ Robert Arkins
Used & New from: $18.99
4.2 out of 5 stars   (205) | 1 customer discussion
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8.  The Secret of Roan Inish [Multiple Formats] [Anamorphic] [Closed-captioned] [Color] [Full Screen] [NTSC] [Widescreen]  DVD ~ Jeni Courtney
$10.34 Used & New from: $0.50
4.7 out of 5 stars   (262) | 1 customer discussion
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9.  Waking Ned Devine [Closed-captioned] [Color] [Dolby] [Letterboxed] [NTSC] [Widescreen]  DVD ~ Ian Bannen
$11.28 Used & New from: $0.01
4.6 out of 5 stars   (829)
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10.  Once [Multiple Formats] [Color] [Dubbed] [NTSC] [Subtitled] [Widescreen]  DVD ~ Glen Hansard
$7.50 Used & New from: $3.50
4.4 out of 5 stars   (685) | 4 customer discussions
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11.  The Irish Tenors - The Essential Collection [Classical] [Color] [NTSC]  DVD ~ Irish Tenors
Used & New from: $14.99
4.7 out of 5 stars   (21) | 1 customer discussion
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12.  Celtic Woman [Color] [NTSC] [Widescreen] [Dolby] 
$13.15 Used & New from: $0.16
4.6 out of 5 stars   (742)
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13.  Ballykissangel - Complete Series One [Closed-captioned] [Color] [NTSC]  DVD ~ Robert Taylor (VII)
$6.59 Used & New from: $3.60
4.6 out of 5 stars   (575) | 1 customer discussion
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14.  Ballykissangel - Complete Series Five [Multiple Formats] [Box set] [Closed-captioned] [Color] [NTSC] [Widescreen]  DVD ~ Tony Doyle
$7.82 Used & New from: $4.68
4.2 out of 5 stars   (203)
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15.  It's Entertainment!  by Celtic Thunder
$9.00 Used & New from: $3.91
4.7 out of 5 stars   (277) | 3 customer discussions
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16.  Paint the Sky with Stars: The Best of Enya  by Enya
$10.98 Used & New from: $0.01
4.6 out of 5 stars   (374)
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17.  And Winter Came  by Enya
$7.67 Used & New from: $0.30
4.4 out of 5 stars   (382) | 1 customer discussion
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18.  Essential Chieftains [Original recording remastered]  by The Chieftains
$14.42 Used & New from: $5.55
4.6 out of 5 stars   (17)
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19.  San Patricio  by Ry Cooder
$6.99 Used & New from: $1.60
4.2 out of 5 stars   (56) | 2 customer discussions
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20.  Clannad: Greatest Hits  by Clannad
$18.92 Used & New from: $0.24
4.0 out of 5 stars   (25)
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21.  U2 - The Best of 1990-2000  by U2
$9.00 Used & New from: $0.01
3.6 out of 5 stars   (133)
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22.  Into the Music  by Van Morrison
$12.88 Used & New from: $3.49
4.8 out of 5 stars   (87)
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23.  To Faithful Departed: Comp Sessions [Extra tracks] [Original recording remastered]  by The Cranberries
$19.31 Used & New from: $4.35
4.4 out of 5 stars   (8)
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24.  Lion & The Cobra  by Sinead O'Connor
$9.16 Used & New from: $0.01
4.7 out of 5 stars   (74)
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25.  Sean-Nos Nua  by Sinead O'Connor
$16.99 Used & New from: $1.37
4.2 out of 5 stars   (77)
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26.  Celtic Woman  by Celtic Woman
$7.00 Used & New from: $0.43
4.6 out of 5 stars   (742) | 1 customer discussion
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27.  Celtic Woman: A New Journey--Live at Slane Castle [Multiple Formats] [Color] [NTSC]  DVD ~ Celtic Woman
$13.98 Used & New from: $8.49
4.8 out of 5 stars   (531) | 1 customer discussion
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28.  A New Journey [Import]  by Celtic Woman
$12.98 Used & New from: $0.01
4.7 out of 5 stars   (318) | 6 customer discussions
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Customer Discussions about products in this guide
Discussion Replies Latest Post
Bash USA one more time... 22 Apr 9, 2013
price change 0 Dec 15, 2012
That's Entertainment 4 Aug 25, 2010
special features? 3 May 15, 2010
San Patricio's 1 Mar 5, 2010
so who has favorite songs already?! 0 Feb 8, 2010
Celtic Thunder's It's Entertainment 11 Jan 5, 2010
Are you as excited as I am? 15 Nov 25, 2008
any word on extras? 3 Mar 14, 2008
Free download of "Falling Slowly"? 2 Mar 4, 2008
Wiltold Owski and Kate Haugh - the main actors? 0 Jan 21, 2008
Price? 1 Dec 19, 2007
 
   

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brian komyathy "Thanks for scouting out my page and perhaps some of my lists and/or reviews" (U.S.A. & elsewhere traveling)
(VINE VOICE)   
Qualifications: Itinerant fan of things Irish
Last updated: 11/9/13
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