Accommodation Spotlight: Double Six Luxury Hotel in Bali

Bali is one of the hottest destinations in Southeast Asia right now, and when it comes to luxury escapes there’s nowhere quite like it in the the region. The island boasts a wealth of luxury accommodation from plush villas to high end hotels with magnificent spas where you can relax in style. The nightlife is […]

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Guesthouse Find: The Lisboans Lisbon

Lisbon is incredibly proud of its canned goods industry, so a rundown ex-canning factory was perhaps the perfect site to transform into a stunning new guesthouse. Welcome to The Lisboans – a dreamy respite of 15 boutique apartments, its industrial architecture still beautifully intact and even the tiniest details considered and polished. From the Crosley record […]

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The Villages of Dacangzhen: Southwest China’s Best-Kept Secret

Nearly every traveler to southwest China’s picturesque Yunnan province passes through the town of Dali, with its postcard-ready slender pagodas and peaceful stone-paved streets. But few travelers, including the growing number of Chinese who visit the region, know an even more fascinating enclave lies just a 30 minute bus ride south of Dali, past pine forested […]

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Restaurant Find: Bep Ga NYC

If you’re not careful you’ll miss it, and boy would that be a shame. Bep Ga NYC opened quietly in March of 2017, and since they’ve been selling four Vietnamese dishes out of an almost signless shop. On the menu there’s chicken noodle soup (phở gà), chicken noodle salad (phở gà kho), chicken and rice […]

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Fly Fishing in the Patagonian Lake District of Argentina

Satellite view of the Perito Moreno Glacier (Santa Cruz Province) and the Andean ice-sheet. Photo by NASA Johnson Space Center – Earth Sciences and Image Analysis (NASA-JSC-ES&IA).

Fly fishing has always been one of my favorite hobbies. Ever since I was a 3-year-old boy I’ve loved everything about it. The sound of the river rushing beneath my feet. The tranquility of nature. The abundance of life in the wilderness. The gentle whisper of the fly line as it cuts through the air, and of course, I […]

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▶︎ Glaciers Falling at Perito Moreno Glacier

In this week’s episode we’re in El Calafate in Argentina and we’re heading to Perito Moreno Glacier National Park about an hour outside of town. Here we stand on a platform and watch as chunks of glacier fall off of the Patagonian Ice Field and fall into the lake below. It’s a beautiful sight! Check […]

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Restaurant find: Foxlow London

Foxlow London is that rare kind of place where everything just ‘works’ – everything from the smart and understated entrance, right down to the beautifully printed menus – and we haven’t even got to the food or interior design yet. The decision to relocate from its smaller, North-East premises in May to the heart of […]

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Cafe Find: Butler Bakeshop NYC

Just shy of the Williamsburg Bridge in the blossoming South Williamsburg neighborhood is Butler Bakeshop NYC, a casual counter service bakery showcasing sweet and savory pastries using fine dining techniques. Michelin-starred baker Ryan Butler, formerly of Piora and Gramercy Park Hotel, brings a global take on traditional baked goods such as his Sticky Bun with […]

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Books Set in Ireland – Five Novels to Read Before You Travel


Grafton Street, Dublin, Ireland. Photo by Donaldytong.

By Suzi Butcher.

If you are traveling to Ireland, then you will no doubt be aware of the rich literary tradition the country has. Almost everywhere you go there are references to Irish writers, such as James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw. And even today, somehow the Irish seem to be able to tell a story better than just about anyone else – whether it be in written form, or just through a chat in the pub.

So, if a trip to The Emerald Isle is on the agenda, then it is almost compulsory to take some books set in Ireland to read on your travels. But what should you read if Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ is not quite your cup of tea? Here’s a range of novels that will take you the length and breadth of Ireland, and give you a real taste of life over the years in this country filled with passion and history.

‘The Mammy’ by Brendan O’Carroll

If you want to know more about Dublin in the 1960’s, then this story of widow Agnes Browne and her seven children will do it. This is working-class Ireland with all its squalor, laughter and alcoholic fathers, and the best news is that the book is the first of a trilogy. The next time you are approached by a cheeky Dublin lad (and there are many!), you may find yourself thinking back to Agnes and her brood.

‘Little Criminals’ by Gene Kerrigan

And now to Dublin in contemporary times. The country has had its economic miracle and everyone is an entrepreneur, even the criminals. Frankie Crowe has a scheme to make himself some money, planning to kidnap a wealthy banker and set himself up for life. While this could be just a cops and robbers novel, Kerrigan does much to portray the underbelly of Dublin life, and the social changes that have taken place over recent years.

‘Juno and Juliet’ by Julian Gough

If you decide to head to Galway (and I’d highly encourage you to do so), then this novel is one of the few that is set there. This story of identical twins during their first year at university sees them adjusting to life in the city, drinking in the bars and attending classes from time to time. It’s a coming of age story in which Galway itself is one of the main characters.

‘The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty’ by Sebastian Barry

The tensions surrounding the Irish struggle for independence lie at the heart of this novel set in the town of Sligo in Ireland’s north-west. Unable to find work, Eneas joins the British-led police force the Royal Irish Constabulary, and in the process labels himself a traitor. As a marked man he goes on the run, and while the novel follows Eneas from country to country, he sneaks back to Sligo when he can. A compelling look at 20th Century Ireland, through a character who has become a victim of his country’s fight to exist.

‘Pomegranate Soup’ by Marsha Mehran

In this novel we see a different kind of migration — the story of three Iranian sisters who move to an Irish village in the 1980’s. It’s not often you get a food-lit story set in Ireland, but Pomegranate Soup is exactly that, with its celebration of Persian cuisine. Unsurprisingly the village residents take a while to adapt to this foreign influence in one of their local cafes, and despite the novel’s focus on a different culture, it provides plenty of detail of Irish life and landscape for those trying to learn more about the country.

There are many stereotypes about the Irish, but as a traveler you have the opportunity to reach beyond the surface of Irish culture and see what lies beneath. Reading books set in Ireland will help you do that, revealing details of Irish streets and cities, hopes and history – and when you visit the places mentioned, you will feel as if you know it just that little bit better than if you had arrived a stranger.

Suzi Butcher is the editor of http://www.packabook.com which makes it easy to find novels set in particular locations. This is a just a taste of the novels she recommends – visit books set in Ireland for many more. With Packabook’s constantly updated selection of travel novels from countries all around the world, you will always be able to choose something exceptional to read.

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How to Travel Japan On The Cheap: Top Tips For Budget Backpackers

Himeji castle with cherry blossoms in Japan. Photo by Gorgo.

Japan has a reputation for being expensive but we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be. We very nearly didn’t make the trip because of the rumours we’d heard about the cost of travelling there. But it turns out with some planning and research, it’s quite easy to cut costs – and […]

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