One of my favorite parts of the writing process is research. I’ll dig through archives, old photos, memoirs, diaries, online sources, and anything I can get my hands on that helps me get a feeling for a time, a place, or a culture that’s in my writing. And as much as I love this portion of research, my very favorite channel is in-person visits.
My second novel takes place in New York City and Ireland. I live in New York so that in-person research was easy. I also went to Ireland for a week in 2018 to specifically do research for my book. Nothing could beat smelling the old books of the Long Room in Trinity Library, visiting an ancient tomb, learning about Celtic mythology in the oldest pub in Dublin, wandering the road of the Dark Hedges, and walking over the rocks at Giant’s Causeway.
All of those settings appear in the book, and those scenes are richer because of my visits there. Small details piqued by my senses are in the words because they’re in my mind and I can’t help but think of them when I set a scene in those places.
Have you ever done a writing trip to collect research for your work? Where did you go? What did you learn?
This week, I got some very exciting news today about my storytelling dinner with New York City secret history, all inspired by my time in Ireland: my #1 choice for a museum partner is very interested! Friends, swing for those fences and make ’em high. You never know what you can do until you try.
I’m off to Ireland today to do research for my second book in the Emerson Page series. When I booked the trip, I didn’t know that one of the most historic votes on human rights would happen during my trip. I also didn’t know that the Dublin Literary Festival was happening while I was there. These are synchronous events where I will meet so many people and be able to bear witness to subjects and issues that mean so much to me.
I’ll be doing some on-the-ground reporting, and sharing pictures, encounters, learnings, and experiences. You can find those on Instagram at https://instagram.com/christarosenyc and Twitter at https://twitter.com/christanyc. See you there!
In two weeks, I’m going to Dublin to do research for my second Emerson Page novel. As a gift to Ireland, I’m leaving silver charms with the quote, “She believed she could so she did”, and rose gold keys in all the different places I visit for people to find. I’ll tuck them away in museums, gardens, historic sites, bookstores, libraries, and pubs I visit in Dublin and on excursions I’m taking in Northern Ireland to Newgrange, Hill of Tara, Giant’s Causeway, Dark Hedges, the ruins of Dunluce Castle, and on the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. I can’t wait to see who finds them. They are a perfect token of Emerson’s spirit. And after all she’s given me, I wanted to return the favor to the world. Happy hunting, Ireland!
Last week, I put out a call for help to plan my first international trip of the year—to Ireland. I’m doing research for my next Emerson book and I’ve long been thinking about Dublin because of the stunning Trinity Library and the many treasures it holds. Once I got into researching the city and surrounding area, there were so many reasons why this is the perfect destination for Emerson to travel to in book two. It is, after all, a land of magic, history, and literature. It is, and has been for centuries, a hotbed of science and discovery. From its museums to its castles to its natural phenomenon, Ireland has everything that Emerson needs to make her next daring leaps into her future. And they will be daring.
Here are some of the places I’m planning to visit:
Trinity College & Library
The Little Museum
Birr Castle Gardens
National Museum of Ireland, including the Natural History Museum
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
…and a short stop over in Wistman Woods in England because I really need to see that with my own eyes to believe it’s real.
A huge thank you to Museum Hack and several of its staff members and tour guides who provided great tips and encouragement, tour company Hennessey & Furlong, Jennifer O’Neill, and all the staff of the sites tagged above. All of your advice and the ideas you shared have made me more excited than ever to visit this inspiring country. I can’t wait for spring!
Have you been to Ireland? Are there place you’d recommend I see that inspire wonder? I’d love to hear about them.