What does it mean to be Irish? What does it mean to be from this fiercely independent island with such a tumultuous history and such a strong, yet elusive, identity?

 

The Irish have a word for it: Irishness.

 

To get an idea of what Irishness means, we will hear Roddy Doyle, Robert McLiam Wilson, Edna O’Brien, and Colm Toibin tell us about their works which convey yesterday’s and today’s notions of Irishness.

 

From the outskirts of Belfast to the doorstep of Dublin, from East to West, each author’s Ireland crosses the others’ Ireland, yet in no way reflects theirs. Heritage, history, religion, sensitivity, landscapes, exile, revolts – they lightly, but deftly, sketch their island, what attaches them to it and what drives them away from it, what units them and what divides them.

 

Ireland in the words of the Irish.  Ireland without its veil.