Category Archives: The Historical Tourist

The Historical Tourist visits Walmer Castle

Between 1539 and 1543, King Henry VIII, who feared an invasion after divorcing his Spanish Queen Catherine of Aragon and splitting from the Catholic church, constructed a chain of defensive castles. Built to a common design, the three artillery forts created to protect a stretch of beach along the Kent coast consisted of a central circular keep with lower semi-circular bastions that were arranged symmetrically around the keep to allow several tiers of guns to be mounted. Although one of the three, Sandown Castle, was almost entirely destroyed in the nineteenth century, Deal, the largest of the three, and Walmer survive.

Walmer Castle is often overshadowed by the better known Dover Castle, six miles away, but the Historical Tourist chose to visit Walmer because of its unique history. Although the castle was occupied by Royalists and put under siege by Parliamentarians following the execution of Charles I in 1648, its design had become old-fashioned by the end of the seventeenth century and Walmer Castle began to be used as the official residence of the Lords Warden of the Cinque Ports in 1708. Holders of the post are usually appointed for life, but it is not a hereditary title. The office continues to be “seen as a high honour to be conferred on those who have given especially distinguished service to the State”, so it is not surprising that previous Lords Warden include the Duke of Wellington, Viscount Palmerston, Sir Winston Churchill, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

The Historical Tourist has to admit that while she certainly respects this illustrious company, her interest in Walmer Castle is primarily due to another Lord Warden, the Rt Hon. William Pitt, who was born 252 years ago today! The son of the Earl of Chatham, Pitt the Younger became the youngest man ever to become Prime Minister when he took office in 1783 at age 24. Remembered for his gift at managing the nation’s finances and for his eloquence in the House of Commons, Pitt is also one of the longest serving Prime Ministers, in office from 1783-1801, and again from 1804 until his death in 1806.

View from Walmer Castle

In a note following his well-written and extremely readable biography of the late Prime Minister, author William Hague wrote that he “felt closest to [Pitt], perhaps, in Walmer Castle, where the panelled landing and the dining room are not dissimilar from how they would have been in his time, and it is possible to imagine him sitting at the head of the table, entertaining military visitors, humouring Lady Stanhope, and going out onto the wide terrace to look for signs of activity at sea” (p 17 *). With such an endorsement, I couldn’t help passing over Deal and even Dover for the official residence of the Warden of the Cinque Ports!

Although the Willingdon room, near the entrance of the castle, contains objects associated with Pitt the Younger, including a mahogany desk and a campaign chair, named because its metal frame meant that it could be taken apart for traveling, Walmer Castle’s most interesting displays are the rooms associated with the Duke of Wellington. Wellington was a frequent visitor who called the castle the “most charming marine residence”. The proximity of Walmer Castle to the port of Dover made it ideal for entertaining foreign royalty, but it was also enjoyed by the British Royal family. Victoria visited the castle at age sixteen and returned seven years later, as Queen, with Albert and two of their children. They stayed for a month.

Today Walmer Castle is home to the Lucas Collection of Wellington Memorabilia, which was donated to the property in 1966. The collection contains portraits and busts, but I was more impressed by the other objects featuring the Duke’s likeness, which included pot lids, paperweights, and even a doorstop!

The smaller Wellington Museum room contains a number of objects associated with the Duke’s Wardenship, including a pair of his famous Wellington boots and the instructions written to the shoemaker about their design. More on the history of Wellington boots can be found in an earlier entry here. The collection also contains a death mask of the Duke, who died at Walmer Castle on September 14th, 1852 at age 83.

Successive Wardens usually bought furniture from their predecessor’s estate, but Lord Palmerston refused to do so and the late Duke’s items were moved to his Apsley House residence so they were not dispersed. After W.H. Smith became Warden in 1891, he initiated the Indenture of Heirlooms by an Act of Parliament so that historic items would remain at Walmer Castle. As a result, when Lady Reading, in the 1930s, attempted to restore Wellington’s bedroom to the way it had been at the time of his death, the original contents of the room were returned to the castle by the fourth Duke of Wellington. Wellington’s bedroom, which is decorated with period appropriate wallpaper, now holds his campaign bed and the armchair in which he died.

My favourite resident is remembered in the Pitt Museum room across the hall. Pitt became the first commoner appointed to the post in 1792. Deeply in debt, he accepted the position because it came with an annual salary of three thousand pounds, and when his finances forced him to give up his country house he moved to Walmer permanently in 1803. The Pitt Museum is smaller than the displays on Wellington, but I enjoyed viewing the Gainsborough-Dupont portrait, political cartoons, and letter written by Pitt that adorn the walls and the leather covered gaming chair and writing desk that likely belonged to him.

Walmer corridor

During his Wardenship, Pitt created the corridor that runs the full length of the castle, which was painted a vivid teal by the succeeding Granvilles, and added the room later used by the Duke of Wellington as a bedroom to the castle as a winter apartment because it was the warmest part of the castle. He also made important contributions to the castle’s gardens with the help of his niece and hostess Lady Hester Stanhope.

The Dining Room at Walmer Castle

Other rooms at Walmer Castle include the royal bedroom suite used by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert during their month long visit in 1842, the 1920s/30s style drawing room, and the dining room mentioned in William Hague’s biography. The dining room continues to be set with a blue minton service that was used by the Queen Mother, Walmer Castle’s first female Warden, and the grounds contain a garden that was commissioned by English Heritage as a ninety-fifth birthday gift.

Queen Mother's Garden at Walmer Castle

* William Hague. William Pitt the Younger. London: Harper Perennial, 2005.

4 Comments

Filed under British History, Georgian, The Historical Tourist, The Regency

The Historical Tourist visits Wilberforce House

251 years ago William Wilberforce was born in a red brick house in Kingston-upon-Hull. The third child of a second son, he was a frail boy with poor eyesight but the only male heir of the Wilberforce line. The successful family business of trading wood, iron, and cloth meant that after the deaths of his father, uncle, and grandfather during his youth, William inherited enough money to live comfortably as a gentleman for the rest of his life. Instead he turned to politics and used his familial connections to the community and his fortune to get elected as a Member of Parliament for Hull at the age of 21.

At 26 he experienced his “great change” and converted to Christian evangelism. Searching for a common ground between politics and his religious beliefs, William met with a group of committed abolitionists who believed that he was the ideal man to lead their campaign in Parliament. Wilberforce’s status as an MP independent of party ties, his eloquence, and his friendship with Prime Minister Pitt made him uniquely suited for the job, but Wilberforce initially hesitated because he didn’t think that he was equal to the task. He slowly came around to the idea and later wrote: “God, Almighty has sent before me two great objects, the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners”.

Wilberforce gave his first speech on abolition in 1789 and continued to present his bill in the House of Commons, facing defeat each time. In 1807 the bill abolishing the slave trade in Britain was passed and Wilberforce received a round of applause from his fellow MPs. The abolition of slavery itself in Britain occurred on July 26th, 1833, just three days before Wilberforce’s death.

Wilberforce House, where William lived until he was elected to Parliament, was sold in order to pay off debts incurred by his sons, but Hull Corporation bought the building in 1903 and turned it into a museum. It opened in 1906, making it the oldest anti-slavery museum in the world! The museum was renovated and re-opened in 2007 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of abolition. The Historical Tourist has a particular interest in Wilberforce and abolition, so visiting the museum, in the spring of 2009, was a thrill. Wilberforce House contains exhibits on slavery and the trade, the abolition campaign, the aftermath, and on modern day slavery.

Anyone who read my article on George Brown House,will not be surprised to learn that my favourite part of Wilberforce House was the library. Belonging to William and his sons, the collection was broken up in the twentieth century but visitors can view the remainder of the collection and examine Wilberforce’s books, journals, and letters through an electronic kiosk. The library is also home to a wax figure of Wilberforce created in 1933 by Madame Tussad’s for the centenary of his death. It’s a nice touch, but the Historical Tourist admits that she found the wax Wilberforce more eerie than interesting.

Other exhibits on Wilberforce present a balanced view of the man, celebrating his great successes but also mentioning the criticism he faced for supporting restrictive measures against trade unions, among other things. I enjoyed the exhibits, but did leave a little disappointed that there wasn’t more about his life and personality. Instead Wilberforce House is devoted entirely to the slave trade and the abolition campaign, showing the kidnap of Africans, the ‘Middle Passage’ across the Atlantic, and the punishing life of a plantation slave.

Draped from the ceiling, one orange flag with bold text presents visitors with a horrifying statistic:“12 Million African people were forcibly transported across the Atlantic and sold into slavery.”

I was most interested in the abolition campaign. One display case contained the famous image of Josiah Wedgewood’s chained African pleading, “Am I not a man and brother”. Wedgewood cameos were made by the pottery company using an image modeled in relief by William Hackwood. Many cameos were sold while others were given to those who supported the cause, including President of the Pennsylvanian Society for the Abolition of Slavery in America, Ben Franklin! The pieces became such a huge hit that they were worn decoratively, prompting abolitionist Thomas Clarkson to comment: “fashion, which usually confines itself to worthless things was seen for once in the honourable office of promoting the course of justice, humanity, and freedom.”

Wilberforce House also displays the Brooks slave ship model that was used by William during his speeches to Parliament to demonstrate the conditions experienced by slaves during the middle passage. Fellow abolitionist Clarkson argued that Britain should trade goods for profit with Africa instead of people. When he spoke in public meetings across the country he brought a chest filled with natural and manmade African goods along as a visual aid. Clarkson’s chest is now on display in the museum.

Sadly the abolition of slavery in the British Empire, in 1833, did not immediately result in improved conditions for slaves because slavery was replaced with a binding system of apprenticeship. Children under the age of six were freed instantly, but other ex-slaves were forced to serve an apprenticeship that was intended to prepare them for their freedom. Instead it permitted masters to continue taking advantage of their workers.

Wilberforce House’s final rooms include a look at Hull’s human rights record, as the first council to sign up for Amnesty International and as the home of the ‘Wilberforce Institute for the study of slavery and emancipation’, which opened in 2006. More sobering, are exhibits on modern day slavery. A 2005 estimate from the International Labour Organization puts the estimated number of people enslaved today at 12.3 million, a figure that includes child labour, bonded labour, and human trafficking.

For more information on modern day slavery visit Antislavery.org. To learn more about the slave trade in the eighteenth century and the abolition campaign, browse the digitized library of related documents, including essays by Wilberforce and Clarkson, here.

5 Comments

Filed under British History, The Historical Tourist

The Historical Tourist visits Toronto’s First Post Office

Located on Duke Street (now Adelaide), Toronto’s First Post Office actually predates the city in its name. Built by James Scott Howard, Postmaster of the town of York, in 1833, it began as York’s fourth post office but became Toronto’s first when the town was incorporated as a city the following year. The building served both as a residence and a post office for Howard until 1837 when, despite his political neutrality, he was falsely accused of aiding rebels in the Rebellion of 1837. Although he had eighteen years of service to his name, James Scott Howard was dismissed from his position without formal charges or an investigation.

Charles Albert Berczy took over his duties, residing in the post office until 1839 when he moved to Front Street, leaving Howard to rent out the vacated building. In 1841 he sold it as a private residence. Until 1870 the former post office was the home of a hardware merchant before it was sold again, three years later, to the Christian Brothers who used it and the adjourning building as a school.

In 1978 a fire consumed the building, destroying much of the roof, but it was restored and re-opened in 1983 under direction of the York Historical Society.

Today, Toronto’s First Post Office is the only surviving example of a British colonial post office in Canada and serves as both a museum and a fully-functioning post office. But this is no ordinary post office. It not only offers reproductions of original glass-fronted postal boxes for rent, but a reading room, complete with its original fireplace, where customers can write letters or sort through their mail. It also has its own gift shop, where visitors can purchase seals and sealing wax, postcards, and books on local history, with all proceeds benefiting the museum.

The highlight of my visit was undoubtedly the opportunity to try writing with a quill. As someone with an interest in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century history, the chance to write a letter as people did in the 1830s was fascinating. Sample sheets were available as part of Doors Open Toronto, but I opted to pay the small charge to write a full letter, fold it, and have the letter sealed with wax and sent. Although I am very fond of my computer, I am an oddity in that I prefer to handwrite my thoughts, or at least make a series of rough notes, before taking to the keyboard. Despite that, I can only imagine the effort it must have required to take notes or write all correspondence by quill!

To help absorb excess ink and allow the writer to handle their letter immediately, sand was poured over the page then shaken off. For the final touch, an employee showed visitors how to fold their letters as was done in the 1830s and heated the wax so we could apply a special seal. She explained that the seal reads “entre nous”, meaning “between us”.

While I enjoyed the chance to write with a quill, the rest of the museum was equally informative. Exhibits included a scale model of Toronto in 1837 and a look at the evolution of writing instruments. Inexpensive and widely available, goose quills, plucked from the left wing so they would curve away from the right-handed user, were the most popular, but ink quickly softened the tip and most quills only lasted a week. In an office, workers could go through several quills every day! Metal nibs were first introduced in the late eighteenth century but the acidity of the inks quickly corroded the metal. It took until the 1830s, when less corrosive inks were developed and steel nibs began to be machine-produced, for metal nibs to finally replace the quill.

Other exhibits detailed the restoration of the post office after it was destroyed by fire, and the types of coins and rates of postage at the time. The museum also has examples of letters written at the time, which were crisscrossed in order to save paper and postage!

Toronto’s First Post Office is an interesting and informative link to the past with a hands-on approach to history. They provide education programs that can be adapted for groups of all ages, and have a library of over eight hundred volumes available for research by appointment. I was pleased to see that I was not the only one taking advantage of Doors Open Toronto to find out more about Canadian history and I hope that more individuals will take the opportunity to visit this valuable resource in the future.

2 Comments

Filed under Canadian History, Local History, The Historical Tourist

The Historical Tourist visits George Brown House

Last weekend I headed into the city to participate in Doors Open Toronto, an annual event in which “buildings of architectural, historic, cultural, and social significance open their doors”. Inspired by similar events in France, which launched its Doors Open program in 1984, and Glasglow, which followed in 1990, Toronto has been holding its Doors Open program since 2000. During the event admittance to all participating buildings is free and buildings not normally open to the public are showcased. Such is the case with George Brown House, a National Historic Site that is now used as a conference centre with tenant offices on the upper floors.

Originally called Lambton Lodge, the house was built between 1874 and 1876 for George Brown, his wife Anne, and their children. After George Brown’s death, the property was occupied by Duncan Coulson, the President of the Bank of Toronto, until 1916, when it was purchased by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind and used as office space. It was declared a National Historic Site in 1976 but only a decade later was threatened with demolition. Thankfully the Ontario Heritage Trust rescued this beautiful property, restoring and re-opening George Brown House in 1989.

This example of Second Empire style architecture, so named for the French elements that were popular during the Second French Empire under Napoleon III, was the least captivating of the three historic buildings I visited, likely due to its commercial and private function, but was still worth visiting. On my visit the first and basement floors were open to visitors. While the basement floor contained mostly conference rooms, the main floor held two big draws.

One was the dining room, which was originally remodeled by the Coulsons in 1890 and has been restored to that period. Decorated in the Art Nouveau style, it has a “boardroom feel” to it, as the man on hand to answer questions explained, and features wallpaper that resembled William Morris designs.

Unsurprisingly, it was the library that appealed to me the most. The gorgeous Victorian library was re-created by the government and features 2000 of George Brown’s personal books.

Nestled amongst the books an information card explained that “Brown’s library reflects his interest in Liberal and reform issues of the period, notably the division between church and state, the establishment of a fairer penal system, and the abolition of slavery.”

I spent a great deal of time leaning sideways so I could read the titles of his many books. Since George Brown played a prominent role in establishing the Toronto Anti-Slavery Society of Canada I was not surprised to see a biography of important British abolitionist William Wilberforce in his personal library along with Wilberforce’s book A Practical View of Christianity. Other books that caught my eye were a work on Prince Metternich, a major player in the Congress of Vienna, a book labelled O’Connell’s speeches, probably referring to the Irish Member of Parliament who achieved Catholic Emancipation, and all four volumes of Stanhope’s Life of Pitt.

Tearing myself away from his collection, I read the short exhibit on George Brown’s life and accomplishments. He may be best remembered in Toronto for the college that bears his name, but his real legacy is as a Father of Confederation and founder of a major newspaper. Scottish-born Brown founded The Globe in 1844 and it became a leading Reform newspaper in Canada. Today we know it as The Globe & Mail!

There aren’t any interactive exhibits or guides in costume but George Brown House is worth a look if you have the chance to visit, especially if you enjoy historical texts. It is normally reserved for offices and private functions though so you may have to admire it from the outside during a walk along Beverley Street or wait for another event like Doors Open Toronto!

5 Comments

Filed under Canadian History, Local History, The Historical Tourist

The Historical Tourist spends St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin

The view of O'Connell Street in Dublin from a pub window.

March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day, a day of celebration marked by pints, parades, and ‘the wearing of the green’, but how did this holiday start?

The day celebrates Saint Patrick, who was born in Roman Britain and kidnapped by Irish raiders at the age of sixteen. He remained a shepherd slave for six years until directed to escape by a vision. Fleeing captivity, he landed in France and studied to become a priest. In 432 AD Patrick returned to Ireland as a bishop in hopes of converting the Irish to Christianity. Although Patrick never mentioned it in his autobiography Confessio, the shamrock has become associated with his name due a legend in which he used the three leafed plant to explain about the Holy Trinity. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated each year on the day he is believed to have died – March 17th.

Spectators hang from the statue of Daniel O'Connell to view the parade.

St. Patrick’s Day has likely been celebrated in Ireland since the sixteenth century, but did not become an official public holiday in the country until 1903. The first St. Patrick’s Day parades took place not in Ireland but in Boston, which claims the world’s first celebration in 1737, and New York City, when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through the city in 1762. The first parade in Ireland wasn’t held until 1931.

Only in the 1990’s did the Irish government begin using the holiday to showcase Ireland’s culture and attract tourism. This year the St. Patrick’s Festival group celebrates their 15th year, having grown from a three day event to a five day festival. An estimated 675,000 people attended the 2009 parade in Dublin and the Historical Tourist was lucky enough to be one of them!

A float in the 2009 Dublin parade.

The Saint Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin begins at 12 PM in Parnell Square and winds down O’Connell Street. If you want a good view of the parade be sure to get there early. The Historical Tourist and her roommates took their time and arrived late. As a result we didn’t see much over the crowd of green hats! Last year’s parade included floats to celebrate Ireland’s culture and history, including a bookcase symbolizing Ireland’s contribution to literature. Important Irish writers include W.B. Yeats, James Joyce and, of course, Oscar Wilde.

Spectators could turn their tongues green for the holiday by purchasing a green ice cream cone, a shamrock shaped lollipop, or even green cotton candy! I opted for the ice cream.

We all scream for green ice cream!

After the parade I did what every person of legal age in Dublin was doing – I had a pint! While my friends bravely ordered a Guinness, The Historical Tourist, who has never developed a taste for alcohol, stuck to a pint of cider. I also had a shamrock painted on my cheek for the day.

This year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin will contain over 3000 performers and has the theme “Extraordinary World”. As usual, the five day festival will also include a carnival with a giant wheel in Merrion Square and a celebration of the Irish language and of music.

Having my face painted for St. Patrick's Day in Dublin.

An interesting article on the fact and fiction of St. Patrick’s Day can be found here, explaining the association of Saint Patrick with the colour green among other things.

I wish you all a grand St. Patrick’s Day!

2 Comments

Filed under Irish History, The Historical Tourist

The Historical Tourist visits Glasnevin Cemetery

Officially known as Prospect Cemetery, Glasnevin is the largest non-denominational cemetery in Ireland. It spans 120 acres and over one million individuals have been laid to rest within its limits, beginning with Michael Casey of Francis Street, Dublin. Amazingly this one cemetery contains many of Ireland’s best known public figures, including statesman Daniel O’Connell, who achieved Catholic Emancipation in 1829, Home Rule proponent Charles Stewart Parnell, and Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, a mining magnate whose art collection is now housed in the magnificent Chester Beatty Library in Dublin.

The history of “Ireland’s Necropolis” begins with the repressive penal laws. England’s conversion to Protestantism during Tudor rule left the problem of what to do with the neighbouring Catholic Ireland. In the early eighteenth century several new laws were passed discriminating against Catholics. Under the penal laws Catholics could not vote, were excluded from most public offices, could not be called to the bar and, of course, could not sit in parliament. These laws also placed restrictions on the public performance of Catholic services. As a result Catholics conducted their own services in Protestant cemeteries.

In the 1820s an incident took place at St. Kevin’s cemetery during which a Protestant sexton reprimanded a Catholic priest for only performing a limited version of a funeral mass. The incident provoked a public outcry and Daniel O’Connell, a Catholic who was able to practice law due to the Catholic Relief Act 1791, prepared a legal opinion to prove that there was no law that forbade praying for a dead Catholic in a graveyard. The “Act of Easement of Burial” Bill passed and nine acres at Glasnevin were bought and consecrated. O’Connell’s push for a cemetery where both Catholics and Protestants could bury their dead in dignity became a reality.

The most visible feature in the cemetery is the round tower marking O’Connell’s grave. Erected in the 1860s to honour “The Liberator”, O’Connell’s body rests in the crypt beneath. When I visited Glasnevin in March 2009, O’Connell’s crypt was locked but the tour guide admitted our group, providing this admirer of O’Connell with a unique thrill that I will not forget. A notice on the cemetery’s website http://www.glasnevintrust.ie states that as of October 22nd O’Connell’s crypt was officially opened as “a fitting tribute to his memory and an appropriate place for those of us who owed him so much to come in respectful pilgrimage”. Access to the crypt had been limited due to damage caused to the tower by a suspected loyalist bomb in 1971. On the beautifully painted walls O’Connell’s dying wish can be read, “My body to Ireland – my heart to Rome – my soul to Heaven.”

Inside Daniel O'Connell's crypt.

But O’Connell is not the only noted statesman to be buried at Glasnevin. Also buried is Charles Stewart Parnell, who was president of the National Land League and leader of the Home Rule movement in the 1880s. Although his affair with a married woman caused his fall from political life, the “uncrowned King of Ireland” (a title also given to O’Connell) remains popular. More than 200,000 people attended his 1891 funeral and in 1940 a gravestone of granite from county Wicklow was erected with just one word, “PARNELL”.

Parnell's gravesite.

More recent burials include the famous Michael Collins, who fought in the General Post Office in the 1916 Easter Rising and was a member of the delegation who negotiated the Anglo-Irish treaty, his contemporary Eamon de Valera, author of the Constitution of Ireland and two-time President of Ireland, and Countess Constance Markievicz. Markievicz became the first woman to be elected to the British Parliament (in 1918), but in accordance with Sinn Féin policy she refused to take her seat. She was instead a member of the ‘First Dáil’ , established by Sinn Féin MPs elected to the House of Commons during the 1918 General Election, in which she was Minister of Labour.

Grave of Michael Collins.

With the centenary of the 1916 Rising approaching, the cemetery is undergoing restorations and there are plans for a new heritage centre which will form a suitable introduction to the cemetery. The Glasnevin website displays a virtual map and an index of notable grave sites. By clicking on the marker, those interested can read biographies of the deceased.

Few places offer such a deep connection to Irish history as Glasnevin. The cemetery offers daily guided tours at 2:30 P.M. for five euros. These tours last one and a half hours and are a wonderful way to learn some of the fascinating history of Ireland, and to admire the architectural artistry of the many monuments.

Base of a beautiful Celtic Cross.

3 Comments

Filed under Historical Tales, The Historical Tourist

Mystery March at Truth in Fiction

One of the great pleasures of blogging is that you get to share books and thoughts with others. Ideally the blogger not only enjoys writing about a subject that interests them, but others learn from, enjoy, or are inspired by their posts. I haven’t progressed very far in my chosen reading challenges yet, but I have been inspired by other people’s blogs, and by books that I have discovered through these challenges. While scrolling through other January reviews at the Year of the Historical Reading Challenge, I found a series of mysteries featuring playwright Oscar Wilde as a sleuth. Earlier that month I had become intrigued by the Historical Novel Society’s review of an Abigail Adams mystery. Much to my surprise, there are a number of mysteries that recast famous historical figures in the role of amateur detective. Finding it hard to pass up the alliteration, an idea was born for “Mystery March”, a month of mystery and history. Throughout March I’ll be taking a look at some of these historical mysteries and their famous detectives.

Having signed up for the fabulous Ireland Reading Challenge over at Books and Movies, I’ve also decided that March is the perfect month to jump in and explore Irish history. Although I’ve always had an interest in history, it was a wonderful professor and a course on Irish history that really sparked my passion, so Irish history holds a special place in my heart. Over the course of the month I’ll be reading and reviewing some Irish fiction and non-fiction and sharing interesting tidbits on the history of the Emerald Isle. I’ll also be introducing a new feature called “The Historical Tourist”, in which I’ll take a look at the history behind some of the tourist attractions I’ve been fortunate enough to visit.

I look forward to sharing my interest in Irish history with you!

2 Comments

Filed under Biography, Ireland Reading Challenge, The Historical Tourist, Uncategorized