The adventures of the Booktrail bus – Ireland

The booktrail bus is on the road!
The booktrail bus is on the road!

Fancy a trip around Ireland?

Not sure what you should visit?

Hop on the booktrail bus and off we go. Those on the bus today are those who entered our Facebook competition to win some Irish fiction. Oh the comments were fab so we just had to treat them all to a tour….

Think Coach Trip with books – there’s no couples on this tour – just lots of hungry booktrailers with literary locations in their eyes and novels under their arms.

There’s no voting off either – but there may well be a few tasks to enjoy…

So, we’ve packed the sandwiches, the juice boxes with those awful straws you can never open least of all get any juice out with and we’re off on the booktrail coach trip to Ireland!!! Whoohooo!

The tour around Ireland starting with the Birkenhead to Belfast part of the journey...
The tour around Ireland starting with the Birkenhead to Belfast part of the journey…

We leave from the UK and take the ferry from Birkenhead – Teresa Starr’s recommendation:

“If you’re going to Northern Ireland, consider the Birkenhead to Belfast ferry, it may take much longer than the Holyhead to Dublin ferry but the miles saved driving at the Belfast are well worth it….just bring plenty to do, if you don’t want to watch the on board films.

Also the Premier Inn in Carrickfergus and the restaurant are excellently priced and a good base for touring in County Antrim.”

Teresa brought travel scrabble so we played that trying to only have the names of book titles and book related words allowed. Teresa won with ‘Quidditch’ Think she’s played this before. Says she hasn’t but, hmm not so sure 😉

Stopped off for a morning coffee and bacon buttie at the Premier Inn as suggested (yummy!) and then set off for Shelley’s literary location of the Giants Causeway:

Shelley Jessup- “I remember visiting the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland & finding the place fascinating especially with the tales of the Irish Gods & Irish mythology”


Teresa Majury agrees – The Giant’s Causeway is a must see!

But it’s her next comment that takes us back into the city of Belfast for some lunch…..”the Cathedral Quarter in Belfast has fabulous bars for a pub crawl and great eateries too…..”   Well now….

Oh it’s great to be in Ireland. Diane Cundick is very excited – “I’ve never been to Ireland but my favourite Irish author has to be Cathy Kelly ….”

So she squeals when she realises we’re off to Cathy Kelly country after lunch…


First stop is Dublin’s pretty Golden Square, a great location in Cathy Kelly’s book ‘Homecoming’

It’s where Eleanor re-reads her mother’s comforting words and watches life unfold from her window in Dublin’s pretty Golden Square…


Fancy a piece of Watermelon? We’re all getting a bit parched here. That Dublin sun can get quite hot even in March –

Watermelon by Marin Keyes – On the day she gives birth, Claire’s husband says that he’s leaving her. Left with her new baby and a broken heart she heads home to Dublin to be with her quirky family. Her man-eating sister Helen, might be up for a bit of a party in Temple Bar Janice?

Janice Clint Atkinson – I’ve had two fantastic weekends in Dublin and my tip would be to head to Temple Bar for the nightlife and the great people.

Further Irish recommendations? Well there’ll all coming out now. A drink in the Temple Bar and we’re chatting which books set in Ireland we love –

Suzanne Smith recommends the book “One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern. “The message that everyone has a beautiful story to tell is amazing” she says.

Carol Clint Best – I have only been to Dublin and had a great time. Very friendly city with lots to do. I enjoy reading Maeve Binchy books.

County Waterford – Ardmore

Bube Petreska – “My favorite books set in Ireland are the ‘Born In’ series, The Gallaghers of Ardmore and The Dream Trilogy by Nora Roberts.”

Well Bube your luck is in today as the next stop on the tour is here – Ardmore setting of the Gallaghers of Ardmore books. This afternoon’s task is to make ‘fairie’ cakes as inspired by the book’s theme:


Bube wins the task with ease. A Mary Berry in the making we think!

Right back on the bus you lot! Off to Cork. Just a short distance. What about some music? Maria Ellis has a suggestion –

“A few years ago went to Ireland on holiday and hired a bright purple Astra and drove round Southern Ireland listening to The Riverdance tape – every time I hear it now it takes me back to that wonderful holiday”

So the music of those of the fastest moving legs in history goes on and by the time we reach Cork, there could well be a small mutiny on this bus….

But look what I see!

It’s only the famous Blarney Stone and Castle!

The end of the trip but what a highlight!
The end of the trip but what a highlight!


The music of Riverdance ringing in our ears,  the group disperses to have a wander around. The task is to find something green to wear from the gift shop and then go and kiss the stone. Well, you always get one don’t you – someone who wants to be different…hehe

After the trip Gwen Carter’s lasting memory?

“One of my best memories of visiting Ireland was being suspended upside down kissing the Blarney Stone”

She almost fell in. We had to pull her out and bring her round with smelling salts. But we all made it back on the bus in one piece and back to the UK with books in our hands and Ireland in our hearts.

thanks to all our participants and of course our guides – 

Cathy Kelly @cathykellybooks

Marian Keyes @MarianKeyes

and Nora Roberts 

For more information on our trip and things we did, please visit these lovely people as they know everything there is to know about the Emerald Isle –