On the trail of Irish culture

Music is everywhere you go in Ireland. So are reminders of the Emerald Isle's great literary tradition - from George Bernard Shaw and James Joyce to W.B. Yeats and Oscar Wilde. For many visitors, the country's rich artistic heritage is a primary reason for visiting Ireland.

For help in planning a vacation that focuses on the best of Ireland's culture, start with the Irish Tourist Board's website and office in New York (www.irelandvacations.com; 345 Park Ave., New York, NY 10154; 800-223-6470).

Ask for the free folder "Literary Ireland." It lists dozens of places associated with Irish writers. It tells of numerous museums, arts festivals, and summer workshops. And it devotes one section to special literary locations that you won't want to miss.

The Tourist Board also offers a free guide to Dublin's cultural quarter, Temple Bar, which includes a monthly cultural calendar.

The 19 essays and 160 color photographs in the book "Escape to Ireland" (Fodor's, $20) are so inspiring that you might get out of your reading chair and make plane reservations immediately.

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