Ask A Wench: Irish Romance?

It's time for Ask-A-Wench — and today the Wenches address Nancy Miller's question:

Celtic border "Many romances are set in Scotland and England. Why aren't more set in Ireland?"

A fascinating topic — The beauty and lure of Ireland,the charm and mystery of the Irish culture and the Irish people are without question, and yet there are fewer Irish-set romances than Scottish, and fewer of either than English. Why so?  The Wenches contemplate… 

Susan Fraser King: As the Wench with 18 Scottish-set historical novels (and one Celticborder b&w English-set) under her belt so far, it's certainly something I've considered. I've got an Irish book or three in my head, but why haven't I written them? The history of Ireland is complex and interesting, full of heroism and heart … yet it's tragic and laced with violence, oppression, poverty and sadness. The historical challenges and the run of bad luck from one century to the next has shaped the Irish poetic nature, but is part of its melancholic and poignant character too.

There are many stunning historical novels set in Ireland, and heartfelt and wonderful romances set there too — yet the constant challenge for the romance writer is the difficulty of staging a satisfying romance when a happy ending for hero and heroine is not always guaranteed. The hero and heroine of Irish-set romance are potentially surrounded by great sadness and despair. The reader may be very aware of that, and it's certainly not easy for the writer (or the reader) to ignore the history and circumstances. Other readers may be unfamiliar with Irish history. Yet there are romance authors who rise to and above the challenges, and kudos to them!

Though I think, uniquely in Ireland's case, contemporary romance can work better than historical in Irish-set fiction, conveying the charm and heart of Ireland along with more certain happy endings!

Patricia Rice: MBO_Irish_Romance To be perfectly blunt, because editors won't buy them. The "Irish troubles" are so dreadfully depressing, they detract from the romance. At the same time, they kind of blunt the fantasy of the perfect English Regency, or all the other fantasies we have of an aristocratic English society. Politics and fantasy just don't mix! 

But I enjoyed the opportunity to delve into Irish fantasy with the Mammoth Book of Irish Romance. I could delve deeper into Irish history than the "troubles" and write a fun sidhe story, although like most Irish reality, it includes blood and death. <G>

 Jo Beverley:Ireland-2  I've thought about this. I think it's mainly because Ireland's history is so painful. In addition, however, it lacks elements for the romantic fantasy that are the foundation of a good romantic novel.

For example, a wealthy and elegant 18th and 19th century English aristocracy peoples the most popular historical romance today. Ireland had a similar aristocracy, as did Scotland, but they rarely provide heroes and heroines for historical romance because they're oppressors of the romantically tragic Irish and the romantically noble Highlanders.

All of the above is myth, but as readers we choose which myths we
like to play with and which we don't. Or perhaps it's just that Americans have seen too many St. Paddy's
Day celebrations with green bowler hats and beer. It's hard to be romantic after that!

Mary Jo Putney:
Ireland1 I've always thought that Irish settings are less popular because so often they are rooted in "the English are evil and we're suffering victims and we hate them!"  Not that there isn't historical evidence to support that belief, but it makes for rather gloomy. not to mention repetitive, stories. 

The Scots are equally Celtic and certainly have plenty of reason to dislike the Sassenach, but instead of sitting around complaining, they spread through the world as soldiers and explorers and and inventors and all kinds of very cool things.  More fun to read about!
 
Cara Elliott/Andrea Pickens:
Ireland3jpg A good question! This is something that has always perplexed me. I've heard many people explain by saying that Ireland's history is a bit sad and grim, so that it doesn't make a great backdrop for a romance novel. But Scotland's history is not exactly all sweetness and light, so I'm not sure that the answer.

For me, there is so much that is wonderful about Ireland-the incredible natural beauty, the myths and legends, the traditions of poetry and music, the warm and generosity of the people, the wit and humor. So it seems a rich canvas on which to paint a story. And from a purely business/marketing perspective, it would seem that there is a great “target” audience here in the U.S. Irish-Americans are very proud of their heritage (just look at the St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City) I'd think Irish-set romance would have a great appeal. I know I'd love to read more. So–if anyone has an answer, I'd love to hear it!

And BTW, if you are looking for some wonderful Irish reads, our honorary Wench laurel McKee/Amanda McCabe has a great trilogy called The Daughters of Erin. The second book, The Duchess of Sin, just came out last month and is fabulous.

Anne Gracie:
Irish settings are beautifully romantic in contemporaries — Nora
Roberts has certainly shown that. But with historical novels, it's not
so easy, because so much of Irish history is about hardship and
poverty. Certainly it would sour a happy ending if we knew that in a
few years the couple in the book would be facing the potato famine, or
caught up in "the troubles."

But it's more than that. Scottish history is also full of hardship and
grim times, but we think of it as wildly romantic. (And Welsh settings
hardly ever get a look in at all, and Wales is stunningly beautiful.)

I think the reason why Scottish settings seem more romantic to us is
partly to do with the Scottish social structures that survived longer
than those of Ireland and Wales — the clan, the chieftain or the laird,
the tribal aspect that was more thoroughly eradicated in Ireland or
Wales. Add to that the slightly barbaric element -- the bright tartans,
the kilt, sword dancing, bagpipes and whisky, and it's the stuff of
fantasy.


Thanks go to Nancy Miller for a great question! She wins a signed copy of one of my books (Nancy, please contact me through my website). What do you all think — do you love Irish set romance, do you wish there was more, or do you avoid it and look for more familiar territory in your romance reading? Are there some Irish-set novels, romance or otherwise, you would recommend?

Susan

105 thoughts on “Ask A Wench: Irish Romance?”

  1. Cara/Andrea, thanks for a wonderful post. I’ve been in love with all things Irish since I was in my early teens, and still am today. In fact, my two greatest wishes were granted me in the last few years: I saw “In Sunshine or in Shadow,” my first historical romance novel – set in post-Famine Ireland – published in 2006, and I visited Ireland for the first time in 2009. And as icing on the cake, I’ve just sold my second historical romance novel, also set in Ireland.
    I think there’s some truth that the history of Ireland is sometimes sad and gloomy, or at least it’s perceived that way. But the Irish were never a gloomy lot. They pulled together at the best and worst of times, and survived. I’ve never met an Irish man or woman who doesn’t speak of their country with affection, even though they may be thousands of miles away.
    There is sometimes a tendency to write the English as “evil,” but I think that’s too simplistic a way of handling a story. I believe it has to be handled with some delicacy.
    Certainly the Irish are a people proud of their heritage. I live in Montreal, which has one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the world every year.
    Personally, I’d love to see more novels set in Ireland. I did read Laurel McKee’s Daughters of Erin stories, and I hope more authors are willing to chance an Irish setting in the future.
    BTW, thanks for the rainbow photo. I’ve never seen so many rainbows as I did in my 10 days in the Emerald Isle.

    Reply
  2. Cara/Andrea, thanks for a wonderful post. I’ve been in love with all things Irish since I was in my early teens, and still am today. In fact, my two greatest wishes were granted me in the last few years: I saw “In Sunshine or in Shadow,” my first historical romance novel – set in post-Famine Ireland – published in 2006, and I visited Ireland for the first time in 2009. And as icing on the cake, I’ve just sold my second historical romance novel, also set in Ireland.
    I think there’s some truth that the history of Ireland is sometimes sad and gloomy, or at least it’s perceived that way. But the Irish were never a gloomy lot. They pulled together at the best and worst of times, and survived. I’ve never met an Irish man or woman who doesn’t speak of their country with affection, even though they may be thousands of miles away.
    There is sometimes a tendency to write the English as “evil,” but I think that’s too simplistic a way of handling a story. I believe it has to be handled with some delicacy.
    Certainly the Irish are a people proud of their heritage. I live in Montreal, which has one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the world every year.
    Personally, I’d love to see more novels set in Ireland. I did read Laurel McKee’s Daughters of Erin stories, and I hope more authors are willing to chance an Irish setting in the future.
    BTW, thanks for the rainbow photo. I’ve never seen so many rainbows as I did in my 10 days in the Emerald Isle.

    Reply
  3. Cara/Andrea, thanks for a wonderful post. I’ve been in love with all things Irish since I was in my early teens, and still am today. In fact, my two greatest wishes were granted me in the last few years: I saw “In Sunshine or in Shadow,” my first historical romance novel – set in post-Famine Ireland – published in 2006, and I visited Ireland for the first time in 2009. And as icing on the cake, I’ve just sold my second historical romance novel, also set in Ireland.
    I think there’s some truth that the history of Ireland is sometimes sad and gloomy, or at least it’s perceived that way. But the Irish were never a gloomy lot. They pulled together at the best and worst of times, and survived. I’ve never met an Irish man or woman who doesn’t speak of their country with affection, even though they may be thousands of miles away.
    There is sometimes a tendency to write the English as “evil,” but I think that’s too simplistic a way of handling a story. I believe it has to be handled with some delicacy.
    Certainly the Irish are a people proud of their heritage. I live in Montreal, which has one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the world every year.
    Personally, I’d love to see more novels set in Ireland. I did read Laurel McKee’s Daughters of Erin stories, and I hope more authors are willing to chance an Irish setting in the future.
    BTW, thanks for the rainbow photo. I’ve never seen so many rainbows as I did in my 10 days in the Emerald Isle.

    Reply
  4. Cara/Andrea, thanks for a wonderful post. I’ve been in love with all things Irish since I was in my early teens, and still am today. In fact, my two greatest wishes were granted me in the last few years: I saw “In Sunshine or in Shadow,” my first historical romance novel – set in post-Famine Ireland – published in 2006, and I visited Ireland for the first time in 2009. And as icing on the cake, I’ve just sold my second historical romance novel, also set in Ireland.
    I think there’s some truth that the history of Ireland is sometimes sad and gloomy, or at least it’s perceived that way. But the Irish were never a gloomy lot. They pulled together at the best and worst of times, and survived. I’ve never met an Irish man or woman who doesn’t speak of their country with affection, even though they may be thousands of miles away.
    There is sometimes a tendency to write the English as “evil,” but I think that’s too simplistic a way of handling a story. I believe it has to be handled with some delicacy.
    Certainly the Irish are a people proud of their heritage. I live in Montreal, which has one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the world every year.
    Personally, I’d love to see more novels set in Ireland. I did read Laurel McKee’s Daughters of Erin stories, and I hope more authors are willing to chance an Irish setting in the future.
    BTW, thanks for the rainbow photo. I’ve never seen so many rainbows as I did in my 10 days in the Emerald Isle.

    Reply
  5. Cara/Andrea, thanks for a wonderful post. I’ve been in love with all things Irish since I was in my early teens, and still am today. In fact, my two greatest wishes were granted me in the last few years: I saw “In Sunshine or in Shadow,” my first historical romance novel – set in post-Famine Ireland – published in 2006, and I visited Ireland for the first time in 2009. And as icing on the cake, I’ve just sold my second historical romance novel, also set in Ireland.
    I think there’s some truth that the history of Ireland is sometimes sad and gloomy, or at least it’s perceived that way. But the Irish were never a gloomy lot. They pulled together at the best and worst of times, and survived. I’ve never met an Irish man or woman who doesn’t speak of their country with affection, even though they may be thousands of miles away.
    There is sometimes a tendency to write the English as “evil,” but I think that’s too simplistic a way of handling a story. I believe it has to be handled with some delicacy.
    Certainly the Irish are a people proud of their heritage. I live in Montreal, which has one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the world every year.
    Personally, I’d love to see more novels set in Ireland. I did read Laurel McKee’s Daughters of Erin stories, and I hope more authors are willing to chance an Irish setting in the future.
    BTW, thanks for the rainbow photo. I’ve never seen so many rainbows as I did in my 10 days in the Emerald Isle.

    Reply
  6. I support Andrea’s and Cynthia’s suggestions to read Laurel McKee’s Daughters of Erin series. Without shying away from the horrors of Ireland’s history, she portrays how love can shine in the midst of terror and despair. It’s in fact a fine treatise on the power of love to bloom where planted.
    I do wish more writers and editors will take it up.

    Reply
  7. I support Andrea’s and Cynthia’s suggestions to read Laurel McKee’s Daughters of Erin series. Without shying away from the horrors of Ireland’s history, she portrays how love can shine in the midst of terror and despair. It’s in fact a fine treatise on the power of love to bloom where planted.
    I do wish more writers and editors will take it up.

    Reply
  8. I support Andrea’s and Cynthia’s suggestions to read Laurel McKee’s Daughters of Erin series. Without shying away from the horrors of Ireland’s history, she portrays how love can shine in the midst of terror and despair. It’s in fact a fine treatise on the power of love to bloom where planted.
    I do wish more writers and editors will take it up.

    Reply
  9. I support Andrea’s and Cynthia’s suggestions to read Laurel McKee’s Daughters of Erin series. Without shying away from the horrors of Ireland’s history, she portrays how love can shine in the midst of terror and despair. It’s in fact a fine treatise on the power of love to bloom where planted.
    I do wish more writers and editors will take it up.

    Reply
  10. I support Andrea’s and Cynthia’s suggestions to read Laurel McKee’s Daughters of Erin series. Without shying away from the horrors of Ireland’s history, she portrays how love can shine in the midst of terror and despair. It’s in fact a fine treatise on the power of love to bloom where planted.
    I do wish more writers and editors will take it up.

    Reply
  11. An excellent trilogy of Irish-set novels, but definitely not romance, is Thomas Flanagan’s series, which begins with The Year of the French (1798).
    They are also an illustration of why the pain of Irish history makes it a difficult setting for Romance.
    I suspect that another reason for the avoidance of Ireland is the religious element in the conflict with England, and Romance tends to steer clear of religious conflicts.

    Reply
  12. An excellent trilogy of Irish-set novels, but definitely not romance, is Thomas Flanagan’s series, which begins with The Year of the French (1798).
    They are also an illustration of why the pain of Irish history makes it a difficult setting for Romance.
    I suspect that another reason for the avoidance of Ireland is the religious element in the conflict with England, and Romance tends to steer clear of religious conflicts.

    Reply
  13. An excellent trilogy of Irish-set novels, but definitely not romance, is Thomas Flanagan’s series, which begins with The Year of the French (1798).
    They are also an illustration of why the pain of Irish history makes it a difficult setting for Romance.
    I suspect that another reason for the avoidance of Ireland is the religious element in the conflict with England, and Romance tends to steer clear of religious conflicts.

    Reply
  14. An excellent trilogy of Irish-set novels, but definitely not romance, is Thomas Flanagan’s series, which begins with The Year of the French (1798).
    They are also an illustration of why the pain of Irish history makes it a difficult setting for Romance.
    I suspect that another reason for the avoidance of Ireland is the religious element in the conflict with England, and Romance tends to steer clear of religious conflicts.

    Reply
  15. An excellent trilogy of Irish-set novels, but definitely not romance, is Thomas Flanagan’s series, which begins with The Year of the French (1798).
    They are also an illustration of why the pain of Irish history makes it a difficult setting for Romance.
    I suspect that another reason for the avoidance of Ireland is the religious element in the conflict with England, and Romance tends to steer clear of religious conflicts.

    Reply
  16. I think Andrea may have nailed it. Assuming America is the largest market for historical romances, I think most Americans are like me and want something different, but not too different. There are lots of Irish in America, so we’re already familiar with Ireland. And even though America started out English, England is less familiar to Americans. Since Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous 200 years ago remain popular, the English Regency is the genre of choice for many readers. I suppose Italians and their love of Westerns fall into the same category. Puccini’s “Girl of the Golden West” comes to mind.

    Reply
  17. I think Andrea may have nailed it. Assuming America is the largest market for historical romances, I think most Americans are like me and want something different, but not too different. There are lots of Irish in America, so we’re already familiar with Ireland. And even though America started out English, England is less familiar to Americans. Since Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous 200 years ago remain popular, the English Regency is the genre of choice for many readers. I suppose Italians and their love of Westerns fall into the same category. Puccini’s “Girl of the Golden West” comes to mind.

    Reply
  18. I think Andrea may have nailed it. Assuming America is the largest market for historical romances, I think most Americans are like me and want something different, but not too different. There are lots of Irish in America, so we’re already familiar with Ireland. And even though America started out English, England is less familiar to Americans. Since Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous 200 years ago remain popular, the English Regency is the genre of choice for many readers. I suppose Italians and their love of Westerns fall into the same category. Puccini’s “Girl of the Golden West” comes to mind.

    Reply
  19. I think Andrea may have nailed it. Assuming America is the largest market for historical romances, I think most Americans are like me and want something different, but not too different. There are lots of Irish in America, so we’re already familiar with Ireland. And even though America started out English, England is less familiar to Americans. Since Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous 200 years ago remain popular, the English Regency is the genre of choice for many readers. I suppose Italians and their love of Westerns fall into the same category. Puccini’s “Girl of the Golden West” comes to mind.

    Reply
  20. I think Andrea may have nailed it. Assuming America is the largest market for historical romances, I think most Americans are like me and want something different, but not too different. There are lots of Irish in America, so we’re already familiar with Ireland. And even though America started out English, England is less familiar to Americans. Since Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous 200 years ago remain popular, the English Regency is the genre of choice for many readers. I suppose Italians and their love of Westerns fall into the same category. Puccini’s “Girl of the Golden West” comes to mind.

    Reply
  21. Of course I think this is a great topic! 🙂 Irish history is often sad, but isn’t all history? That doesn’t mean people never fell in love and built happy, solid lives together–the romantic landscape, handsome men, and the beautiful city of Dublin all helps in creating a dramatic tale as well. I hope they are no more gloomy and repetitive than other stories. (And Cynthia, you are so right that the Irish are far from a “gloomy” people! No one enjoys a party more, and there are such string ties to family and the land)
    I know the fantasy of a sparkly, aristocratic English Regency is a favorite setting, but I hope readers can find other things they like on the shelves…

    Reply
  22. Of course I think this is a great topic! 🙂 Irish history is often sad, but isn’t all history? That doesn’t mean people never fell in love and built happy, solid lives together–the romantic landscape, handsome men, and the beautiful city of Dublin all helps in creating a dramatic tale as well. I hope they are no more gloomy and repetitive than other stories. (And Cynthia, you are so right that the Irish are far from a “gloomy” people! No one enjoys a party more, and there are such string ties to family and the land)
    I know the fantasy of a sparkly, aristocratic English Regency is a favorite setting, but I hope readers can find other things they like on the shelves…

    Reply
  23. Of course I think this is a great topic! 🙂 Irish history is often sad, but isn’t all history? That doesn’t mean people never fell in love and built happy, solid lives together–the romantic landscape, handsome men, and the beautiful city of Dublin all helps in creating a dramatic tale as well. I hope they are no more gloomy and repetitive than other stories. (And Cynthia, you are so right that the Irish are far from a “gloomy” people! No one enjoys a party more, and there are such string ties to family and the land)
    I know the fantasy of a sparkly, aristocratic English Regency is a favorite setting, but I hope readers can find other things they like on the shelves…

    Reply
  24. Of course I think this is a great topic! 🙂 Irish history is often sad, but isn’t all history? That doesn’t mean people never fell in love and built happy, solid lives together–the romantic landscape, handsome men, and the beautiful city of Dublin all helps in creating a dramatic tale as well. I hope they are no more gloomy and repetitive than other stories. (And Cynthia, you are so right that the Irish are far from a “gloomy” people! No one enjoys a party more, and there are such string ties to family and the land)
    I know the fantasy of a sparkly, aristocratic English Regency is a favorite setting, but I hope readers can find other things they like on the shelves…

    Reply
  25. Of course I think this is a great topic! 🙂 Irish history is often sad, but isn’t all history? That doesn’t mean people never fell in love and built happy, solid lives together–the romantic landscape, handsome men, and the beautiful city of Dublin all helps in creating a dramatic tale as well. I hope they are no more gloomy and repetitive than other stories. (And Cynthia, you are so right that the Irish are far from a “gloomy” people! No one enjoys a party more, and there are such string ties to family and the land)
    I know the fantasy of a sparkly, aristocratic English Regency is a favorite setting, but I hope readers can find other things they like on the shelves…

    Reply
  26. Great question and answers — very thought provoking! Living in Boston, everything seems v saturated with Irish-ness so it’s a surprise to realize that Irish romances aren’t so common!

    Reply
  27. Great question and answers — very thought provoking! Living in Boston, everything seems v saturated with Irish-ness so it’s a surprise to realize that Irish romances aren’t so common!

    Reply
  28. Great question and answers — very thought provoking! Living in Boston, everything seems v saturated with Irish-ness so it’s a surprise to realize that Irish romances aren’t so common!

    Reply
  29. Great question and answers — very thought provoking! Living in Boston, everything seems v saturated with Irish-ness so it’s a surprise to realize that Irish romances aren’t so common!

    Reply
  30. Great question and answers — very thought provoking! Living in Boston, everything seems v saturated with Irish-ness so it’s a surprise to realize that Irish romances aren’t so common!

    Reply
  31. Laurel/Amanda makes a great point about love blooming under adverse conditions, and that can make a love story even more poignant. I felt a little like a contrarian saying that I felt Ireland offered a lot of positive things for a book, but I’m glad to see some readers are keen on seeing more Irish books. I also think there’s a great potential for humor—leprechauns, and the Irish wit . . .one can craft a story within a small world without letting the overall reality become too overbearing. That’s not to say it’s not ignore reality—but as authors we all choose what to accentuate and what to leave out.
    And speaking of leaving out, I neglected to mention my good friend Michelle Willingham’s wonderful Irish warrior books. They’re set way before the Regency, but if you are looking for hunky heroes . . .

    Reply
  32. Laurel/Amanda makes a great point about love blooming under adverse conditions, and that can make a love story even more poignant. I felt a little like a contrarian saying that I felt Ireland offered a lot of positive things for a book, but I’m glad to see some readers are keen on seeing more Irish books. I also think there’s a great potential for humor—leprechauns, and the Irish wit . . .one can craft a story within a small world without letting the overall reality become too overbearing. That’s not to say it’s not ignore reality—but as authors we all choose what to accentuate and what to leave out.
    And speaking of leaving out, I neglected to mention my good friend Michelle Willingham’s wonderful Irish warrior books. They’re set way before the Regency, but if you are looking for hunky heroes . . .

    Reply
  33. Laurel/Amanda makes a great point about love blooming under adverse conditions, and that can make a love story even more poignant. I felt a little like a contrarian saying that I felt Ireland offered a lot of positive things for a book, but I’m glad to see some readers are keen on seeing more Irish books. I also think there’s a great potential for humor—leprechauns, and the Irish wit . . .one can craft a story within a small world without letting the overall reality become too overbearing. That’s not to say it’s not ignore reality—but as authors we all choose what to accentuate and what to leave out.
    And speaking of leaving out, I neglected to mention my good friend Michelle Willingham’s wonderful Irish warrior books. They’re set way before the Regency, but if you are looking for hunky heroes . . .

    Reply
  34. Laurel/Amanda makes a great point about love blooming under adverse conditions, and that can make a love story even more poignant. I felt a little like a contrarian saying that I felt Ireland offered a lot of positive things for a book, but I’m glad to see some readers are keen on seeing more Irish books. I also think there’s a great potential for humor—leprechauns, and the Irish wit . . .one can craft a story within a small world without letting the overall reality become too overbearing. That’s not to say it’s not ignore reality—but as authors we all choose what to accentuate and what to leave out.
    And speaking of leaving out, I neglected to mention my good friend Michelle Willingham’s wonderful Irish warrior books. They’re set way before the Regency, but if you are looking for hunky heroes . . .

    Reply
  35. Laurel/Amanda makes a great point about love blooming under adverse conditions, and that can make a love story even more poignant. I felt a little like a contrarian saying that I felt Ireland offered a lot of positive things for a book, but I’m glad to see some readers are keen on seeing more Irish books. I also think there’s a great potential for humor—leprechauns, and the Irish wit . . .one can craft a story within a small world without letting the overall reality become too overbearing. That’s not to say it’s not ignore reality—but as authors we all choose what to accentuate and what to leave out.
    And speaking of leaving out, I neglected to mention my good friend Michelle Willingham’s wonderful Irish warrior books. They’re set way before the Regency, but if you are looking for hunky heroes . . .

    Reply
  36. Greetings, Wenches. Google Alerts let me know of your discussion via the Mammoth Book of Irish Romance (the last story in the anthology is mine.) I enjoyed this post and the comments. Lots of good points. My books, A Band of Roses and Fiery Roses, tackle Irish history by changing it – alternate history that supposes Ireland is still ruled by the descendants of Irish kings. Readers still get to enjoy Ireland’s proverbs, slang, humor, and myths, but the less happy history is sidestepped for romantic adventure. Not that there’s anything wrong with the less happy history, it’s simply a different take. Great blog, ladies. I’ll be visiting again!

    Reply
  37. Greetings, Wenches. Google Alerts let me know of your discussion via the Mammoth Book of Irish Romance (the last story in the anthology is mine.) I enjoyed this post and the comments. Lots of good points. My books, A Band of Roses and Fiery Roses, tackle Irish history by changing it – alternate history that supposes Ireland is still ruled by the descendants of Irish kings. Readers still get to enjoy Ireland’s proverbs, slang, humor, and myths, but the less happy history is sidestepped for romantic adventure. Not that there’s anything wrong with the less happy history, it’s simply a different take. Great blog, ladies. I’ll be visiting again!

    Reply
  38. Greetings, Wenches. Google Alerts let me know of your discussion via the Mammoth Book of Irish Romance (the last story in the anthology is mine.) I enjoyed this post and the comments. Lots of good points. My books, A Band of Roses and Fiery Roses, tackle Irish history by changing it – alternate history that supposes Ireland is still ruled by the descendants of Irish kings. Readers still get to enjoy Ireland’s proverbs, slang, humor, and myths, but the less happy history is sidestepped for romantic adventure. Not that there’s anything wrong with the less happy history, it’s simply a different take. Great blog, ladies. I’ll be visiting again!

    Reply
  39. Greetings, Wenches. Google Alerts let me know of your discussion via the Mammoth Book of Irish Romance (the last story in the anthology is mine.) I enjoyed this post and the comments. Lots of good points. My books, A Band of Roses and Fiery Roses, tackle Irish history by changing it – alternate history that supposes Ireland is still ruled by the descendants of Irish kings. Readers still get to enjoy Ireland’s proverbs, slang, humor, and myths, but the less happy history is sidestepped for romantic adventure. Not that there’s anything wrong with the less happy history, it’s simply a different take. Great blog, ladies. I’ll be visiting again!

    Reply
  40. Greetings, Wenches. Google Alerts let me know of your discussion via the Mammoth Book of Irish Romance (the last story in the anthology is mine.) I enjoyed this post and the comments. Lots of good points. My books, A Band of Roses and Fiery Roses, tackle Irish history by changing it – alternate history that supposes Ireland is still ruled by the descendants of Irish kings. Readers still get to enjoy Ireland’s proverbs, slang, humor, and myths, but the less happy history is sidestepped for romantic adventure. Not that there’s anything wrong with the less happy history, it’s simply a different take. Great blog, ladies. I’ll be visiting again!

    Reply
  41. I love Laurel McKee’s Daughters of Erin series and I wish more romances were set in Ireland. And Michelle’s Irish warriors are FABULOUS !
    I think the two salient points have already been touched on in the discussion. Ireland’s history has been one of such struggle and sadness and I think the fact it isn’t over yet may color readers’ perceptions about the country even in a historical context.
    And the fact that much of the trouble is based on religious differences now makes it a somewhat touchy setting even when talking in historical terms. I lived in England as a child (ages 9 to 12)from 1967 to 1971 and I still have the notebook I kept for a class project on the “Troubles in Ireland.” I collected every news and magazine article I could find on the subject for a year. The project got an A, but I do remember being very sad that such a beautiful place with such a magical folklore was suffering so.

    Reply
  42. I love Laurel McKee’s Daughters of Erin series and I wish more romances were set in Ireland. And Michelle’s Irish warriors are FABULOUS !
    I think the two salient points have already been touched on in the discussion. Ireland’s history has been one of such struggle and sadness and I think the fact it isn’t over yet may color readers’ perceptions about the country even in a historical context.
    And the fact that much of the trouble is based on religious differences now makes it a somewhat touchy setting even when talking in historical terms. I lived in England as a child (ages 9 to 12)from 1967 to 1971 and I still have the notebook I kept for a class project on the “Troubles in Ireland.” I collected every news and magazine article I could find on the subject for a year. The project got an A, but I do remember being very sad that such a beautiful place with such a magical folklore was suffering so.

    Reply
  43. I love Laurel McKee’s Daughters of Erin series and I wish more romances were set in Ireland. And Michelle’s Irish warriors are FABULOUS !
    I think the two salient points have already been touched on in the discussion. Ireland’s history has been one of such struggle and sadness and I think the fact it isn’t over yet may color readers’ perceptions about the country even in a historical context.
    And the fact that much of the trouble is based on religious differences now makes it a somewhat touchy setting even when talking in historical terms. I lived in England as a child (ages 9 to 12)from 1967 to 1971 and I still have the notebook I kept for a class project on the “Troubles in Ireland.” I collected every news and magazine article I could find on the subject for a year. The project got an A, but I do remember being very sad that such a beautiful place with such a magical folklore was suffering so.

    Reply
  44. I love Laurel McKee’s Daughters of Erin series and I wish more romances were set in Ireland. And Michelle’s Irish warriors are FABULOUS !
    I think the two salient points have already been touched on in the discussion. Ireland’s history has been one of such struggle and sadness and I think the fact it isn’t over yet may color readers’ perceptions about the country even in a historical context.
    And the fact that much of the trouble is based on religious differences now makes it a somewhat touchy setting even when talking in historical terms. I lived in England as a child (ages 9 to 12)from 1967 to 1971 and I still have the notebook I kept for a class project on the “Troubles in Ireland.” I collected every news and magazine article I could find on the subject for a year. The project got an A, but I do remember being very sad that such a beautiful place with such a magical folklore was suffering so.

    Reply
  45. I love Laurel McKee’s Daughters of Erin series and I wish more romances were set in Ireland. And Michelle’s Irish warriors are FABULOUS !
    I think the two salient points have already been touched on in the discussion. Ireland’s history has been one of such struggle and sadness and I think the fact it isn’t over yet may color readers’ perceptions about the country even in a historical context.
    And the fact that much of the trouble is based on religious differences now makes it a somewhat touchy setting even when talking in historical terms. I lived in England as a child (ages 9 to 12)from 1967 to 1971 and I still have the notebook I kept for a class project on the “Troubles in Ireland.” I collected every news and magazine article I could find on the subject for a year. The project got an A, but I do remember being very sad that such a beautiful place with such a magical folklore was suffering so.

    Reply
  46. An interesting question, one I pondered without reaching conclusions when I was working on a March contest a couple of years ago. Perhaps writers of contemporaries do find Irish settings easier. Two of Nora Roberts’s most popular trilogies–the Concannon Born in books and the Gallaghers of Ardmore–are set in Ireland. I also enjoyed Kathleen Korbel’s Daughters of Myth series and Loucinda McGary’s romantic suspense. I can also think of titles by Luanne Rice, Kimberly Cates, and JoAnn Ross with Irish settings. Then, there are Marian Keyes’s books.
    Far fewer historicals come to mind. My favorite Carla Kelly book, Reforming Lord Ragsdale features an Irish heroine with some key scenes set in Ireland. One of my favorite reads of last year was The Irish Warrior, a medieval romance by Kris Kennedy. And, of course, Jo’s Dangerous Joy is on a keeper shelf.

    Reply
  47. An interesting question, one I pondered without reaching conclusions when I was working on a March contest a couple of years ago. Perhaps writers of contemporaries do find Irish settings easier. Two of Nora Roberts’s most popular trilogies–the Concannon Born in books and the Gallaghers of Ardmore–are set in Ireland. I also enjoyed Kathleen Korbel’s Daughters of Myth series and Loucinda McGary’s romantic suspense. I can also think of titles by Luanne Rice, Kimberly Cates, and JoAnn Ross with Irish settings. Then, there are Marian Keyes’s books.
    Far fewer historicals come to mind. My favorite Carla Kelly book, Reforming Lord Ragsdale features an Irish heroine with some key scenes set in Ireland. One of my favorite reads of last year was The Irish Warrior, a medieval romance by Kris Kennedy. And, of course, Jo’s Dangerous Joy is on a keeper shelf.

    Reply
  48. An interesting question, one I pondered without reaching conclusions when I was working on a March contest a couple of years ago. Perhaps writers of contemporaries do find Irish settings easier. Two of Nora Roberts’s most popular trilogies–the Concannon Born in books and the Gallaghers of Ardmore–are set in Ireland. I also enjoyed Kathleen Korbel’s Daughters of Myth series and Loucinda McGary’s romantic suspense. I can also think of titles by Luanne Rice, Kimberly Cates, and JoAnn Ross with Irish settings. Then, there are Marian Keyes’s books.
    Far fewer historicals come to mind. My favorite Carla Kelly book, Reforming Lord Ragsdale features an Irish heroine with some key scenes set in Ireland. One of my favorite reads of last year was The Irish Warrior, a medieval romance by Kris Kennedy. And, of course, Jo’s Dangerous Joy is on a keeper shelf.

    Reply
  49. An interesting question, one I pondered without reaching conclusions when I was working on a March contest a couple of years ago. Perhaps writers of contemporaries do find Irish settings easier. Two of Nora Roberts’s most popular trilogies–the Concannon Born in books and the Gallaghers of Ardmore–are set in Ireland. I also enjoyed Kathleen Korbel’s Daughters of Myth series and Loucinda McGary’s romantic suspense. I can also think of titles by Luanne Rice, Kimberly Cates, and JoAnn Ross with Irish settings. Then, there are Marian Keyes’s books.
    Far fewer historicals come to mind. My favorite Carla Kelly book, Reforming Lord Ragsdale features an Irish heroine with some key scenes set in Ireland. One of my favorite reads of last year was The Irish Warrior, a medieval romance by Kris Kennedy. And, of course, Jo’s Dangerous Joy is on a keeper shelf.

    Reply
  50. An interesting question, one I pondered without reaching conclusions when I was working on a March contest a couple of years ago. Perhaps writers of contemporaries do find Irish settings easier. Two of Nora Roberts’s most popular trilogies–the Concannon Born in books and the Gallaghers of Ardmore–are set in Ireland. I also enjoyed Kathleen Korbel’s Daughters of Myth series and Loucinda McGary’s romantic suspense. I can also think of titles by Luanne Rice, Kimberly Cates, and JoAnn Ross with Irish settings. Then, there are Marian Keyes’s books.
    Far fewer historicals come to mind. My favorite Carla Kelly book, Reforming Lord Ragsdale features an Irish heroine with some key scenes set in Ireland. One of my favorite reads of last year was The Irish Warrior, a medieval romance by Kris Kennedy. And, of course, Jo’s Dangerous Joy is on a keeper shelf.

    Reply
  51. I have to admit, I haven’t a clue why more historicals aren’t set in Ireland. It’s a wonderful place.
    I’m grateful this doesn’t extend to Contemporaries. Nora Roberts Born in trilogy is wonderful. And the movie, The Quiet Man is one of the great Romantic movies.

    Reply
  52. I have to admit, I haven’t a clue why more historicals aren’t set in Ireland. It’s a wonderful place.
    I’m grateful this doesn’t extend to Contemporaries. Nora Roberts Born in trilogy is wonderful. And the movie, The Quiet Man is one of the great Romantic movies.

    Reply
  53. I have to admit, I haven’t a clue why more historicals aren’t set in Ireland. It’s a wonderful place.
    I’m grateful this doesn’t extend to Contemporaries. Nora Roberts Born in trilogy is wonderful. And the movie, The Quiet Man is one of the great Romantic movies.

    Reply
  54. I have to admit, I haven’t a clue why more historicals aren’t set in Ireland. It’s a wonderful place.
    I’m grateful this doesn’t extend to Contemporaries. Nora Roberts Born in trilogy is wonderful. And the movie, The Quiet Man is one of the great Romantic movies.

    Reply
  55. I have to admit, I haven’t a clue why more historicals aren’t set in Ireland. It’s a wonderful place.
    I’m grateful this doesn’t extend to Contemporaries. Nora Roberts Born in trilogy is wonderful. And the movie, The Quiet Man is one of the great Romantic movies.

    Reply
  56. Oooh, The Quiet Man !! One of my very favorite movies of all time. My father was a HUGE John Wayne fan and we used to watch The Quiet Man together anytime it came on. Even now when I am missing my Dad I will drag out the DVD and watch The Quiet Man.

    Reply
  57. Oooh, The Quiet Man !! One of my very favorite movies of all time. My father was a HUGE John Wayne fan and we used to watch The Quiet Man together anytime it came on. Even now when I am missing my Dad I will drag out the DVD and watch The Quiet Man.

    Reply
  58. Oooh, The Quiet Man !! One of my very favorite movies of all time. My father was a HUGE John Wayne fan and we used to watch The Quiet Man together anytime it came on. Even now when I am missing my Dad I will drag out the DVD and watch The Quiet Man.

    Reply
  59. Oooh, The Quiet Man !! One of my very favorite movies of all time. My father was a HUGE John Wayne fan and we used to watch The Quiet Man together anytime it came on. Even now when I am missing my Dad I will drag out the DVD and watch The Quiet Man.

    Reply
  60. Oooh, The Quiet Man !! One of my very favorite movies of all time. My father was a HUGE John Wayne fan and we used to watch The Quiet Man together anytime it came on. Even now when I am missing my Dad I will drag out the DVD and watch The Quiet Man.

    Reply
  61. Contemporary Ireland may have its problems, but they’re not as haunting as the past, so it makes a great setting (speaking as someone whose grandparents came from there!)
    But just like readers currently turn their noses up at Civil War books because they fear the couples will end up tragically, apparently readers fear the same for historical Irish couples. Unless, of course, we send them elsewhere, which rather defeats the purpose but is realistic, none the same. But even American romances aren’t selling that well–explain that one to me!

    Reply
  62. Contemporary Ireland may have its problems, but they’re not as haunting as the past, so it makes a great setting (speaking as someone whose grandparents came from there!)
    But just like readers currently turn their noses up at Civil War books because they fear the couples will end up tragically, apparently readers fear the same for historical Irish couples. Unless, of course, we send them elsewhere, which rather defeats the purpose but is realistic, none the same. But even American romances aren’t selling that well–explain that one to me!

    Reply
  63. Contemporary Ireland may have its problems, but they’re not as haunting as the past, so it makes a great setting (speaking as someone whose grandparents came from there!)
    But just like readers currently turn their noses up at Civil War books because they fear the couples will end up tragically, apparently readers fear the same for historical Irish couples. Unless, of course, we send them elsewhere, which rather defeats the purpose but is realistic, none the same. But even American romances aren’t selling that well–explain that one to me!

    Reply
  64. Contemporary Ireland may have its problems, but they’re not as haunting as the past, so it makes a great setting (speaking as someone whose grandparents came from there!)
    But just like readers currently turn their noses up at Civil War books because they fear the couples will end up tragically, apparently readers fear the same for historical Irish couples. Unless, of course, we send them elsewhere, which rather defeats the purpose but is realistic, none the same. But even American romances aren’t selling that well–explain that one to me!

    Reply
  65. Contemporary Ireland may have its problems, but they’re not as haunting as the past, so it makes a great setting (speaking as someone whose grandparents came from there!)
    But just like readers currently turn their noses up at Civil War books because they fear the couples will end up tragically, apparently readers fear the same for historical Irish couples. Unless, of course, we send them elsewhere, which rather defeats the purpose but is realistic, none the same. But even American romances aren’t selling that well–explain that one to me!

    Reply
  66. I think I am in danger of being insulting here, and I truly don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but I’d feel obliged to offer a dissenting view.
    I am of Irish heritage — not entirely, but largely. I feel about leprechauns the way I suspect African Americans feel about watermelon, and when people talk about the poetic Irish, I react as if they said I had a great sense of rhythm. As for the cute little pugnacious Irishman like the Barry Fitzgerald character in The Quiet Man, I find him insufferably patronizing.
    I suspect that one of the reasons the English Regency period is so popular is that no one feels insulted by all those lords and ladies.
    I would like to see Romance novels with an Irish setting, but it has to be an honest one. I have read only the first of Laurel McKee’s series, and I thought she did an excellent job. Just please spare me the cute little leprechauns.

    Reply
  67. I think I am in danger of being insulting here, and I truly don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but I’d feel obliged to offer a dissenting view.
    I am of Irish heritage — not entirely, but largely. I feel about leprechauns the way I suspect African Americans feel about watermelon, and when people talk about the poetic Irish, I react as if they said I had a great sense of rhythm. As for the cute little pugnacious Irishman like the Barry Fitzgerald character in The Quiet Man, I find him insufferably patronizing.
    I suspect that one of the reasons the English Regency period is so popular is that no one feels insulted by all those lords and ladies.
    I would like to see Romance novels with an Irish setting, but it has to be an honest one. I have read only the first of Laurel McKee’s series, and I thought she did an excellent job. Just please spare me the cute little leprechauns.

    Reply
  68. I think I am in danger of being insulting here, and I truly don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but I’d feel obliged to offer a dissenting view.
    I am of Irish heritage — not entirely, but largely. I feel about leprechauns the way I suspect African Americans feel about watermelon, and when people talk about the poetic Irish, I react as if they said I had a great sense of rhythm. As for the cute little pugnacious Irishman like the Barry Fitzgerald character in The Quiet Man, I find him insufferably patronizing.
    I suspect that one of the reasons the English Regency period is so popular is that no one feels insulted by all those lords and ladies.
    I would like to see Romance novels with an Irish setting, but it has to be an honest one. I have read only the first of Laurel McKee’s series, and I thought she did an excellent job. Just please spare me the cute little leprechauns.

    Reply
  69. I think I am in danger of being insulting here, and I truly don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but I’d feel obliged to offer a dissenting view.
    I am of Irish heritage — not entirely, but largely. I feel about leprechauns the way I suspect African Americans feel about watermelon, and when people talk about the poetic Irish, I react as if they said I had a great sense of rhythm. As for the cute little pugnacious Irishman like the Barry Fitzgerald character in The Quiet Man, I find him insufferably patronizing.
    I suspect that one of the reasons the English Regency period is so popular is that no one feels insulted by all those lords and ladies.
    I would like to see Romance novels with an Irish setting, but it has to be an honest one. I have read only the first of Laurel McKee’s series, and I thought she did an excellent job. Just please spare me the cute little leprechauns.

    Reply
  70. I think I am in danger of being insulting here, and I truly don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but I’d feel obliged to offer a dissenting view.
    I am of Irish heritage — not entirely, but largely. I feel about leprechauns the way I suspect African Americans feel about watermelon, and when people talk about the poetic Irish, I react as if they said I had a great sense of rhythm. As for the cute little pugnacious Irishman like the Barry Fitzgerald character in The Quiet Man, I find him insufferably patronizing.
    I suspect that one of the reasons the English Regency period is so popular is that no one feels insulted by all those lords and ladies.
    I would like to see Romance novels with an Irish setting, but it has to be an honest one. I have read only the first of Laurel McKee’s series, and I thought she did an excellent job. Just please spare me the cute little leprechauns.

    Reply
  71. What a great discussion, love all the points of view and the different facets of Irish stories that you all are bringing up.
    BTW, I’ve now added Anne Gracie’s thoughts on Irish romance to my original blog today, so check out the refreshed post.
    Jane, I’ve got quite a bit of Irish in my heritage too, and I understand what you’re saying – though I do think the Irish cultural character is poetic by nature, and I see that as a compliment, being part Irish myself. The leprechauns I can take or leave, but the mystical poetry inherent in Irish (and Celtic) culture, the charm and the power of that, lures me in. I don’t think it’s a stereotype and certainly is not insulting (except to those who don’t like poetry or who just don’t get the poetic, artistic value of Irish heritage, I guess). And to me, those elements are very romantic — similar to Scotland, as both share the same historical and cultural roots. It’s a generalization that works, I think.
    And while I agree that the sadnesses in Irish history can be a deterrent for many writers, I also agree there’s deep value in creating romantic stories of real love in the context of a troubled history. Much can be overcome and stories can reflect deeper qualities that way. I’ve read some wonderful stories set in Ireland that have stuck with me a long time. It’s a setting of melancholy and joy, both.
    Susan

    Reply
  72. What a great discussion, love all the points of view and the different facets of Irish stories that you all are bringing up.
    BTW, I’ve now added Anne Gracie’s thoughts on Irish romance to my original blog today, so check out the refreshed post.
    Jane, I’ve got quite a bit of Irish in my heritage too, and I understand what you’re saying – though I do think the Irish cultural character is poetic by nature, and I see that as a compliment, being part Irish myself. The leprechauns I can take or leave, but the mystical poetry inherent in Irish (and Celtic) culture, the charm and the power of that, lures me in. I don’t think it’s a stereotype and certainly is not insulting (except to those who don’t like poetry or who just don’t get the poetic, artistic value of Irish heritage, I guess). And to me, those elements are very romantic — similar to Scotland, as both share the same historical and cultural roots. It’s a generalization that works, I think.
    And while I agree that the sadnesses in Irish history can be a deterrent for many writers, I also agree there’s deep value in creating romantic stories of real love in the context of a troubled history. Much can be overcome and stories can reflect deeper qualities that way. I’ve read some wonderful stories set in Ireland that have stuck with me a long time. It’s a setting of melancholy and joy, both.
    Susan

    Reply
  73. What a great discussion, love all the points of view and the different facets of Irish stories that you all are bringing up.
    BTW, I’ve now added Anne Gracie’s thoughts on Irish romance to my original blog today, so check out the refreshed post.
    Jane, I’ve got quite a bit of Irish in my heritage too, and I understand what you’re saying – though I do think the Irish cultural character is poetic by nature, and I see that as a compliment, being part Irish myself. The leprechauns I can take or leave, but the mystical poetry inherent in Irish (and Celtic) culture, the charm and the power of that, lures me in. I don’t think it’s a stereotype and certainly is not insulting (except to those who don’t like poetry or who just don’t get the poetic, artistic value of Irish heritage, I guess). And to me, those elements are very romantic — similar to Scotland, as both share the same historical and cultural roots. It’s a generalization that works, I think.
    And while I agree that the sadnesses in Irish history can be a deterrent for many writers, I also agree there’s deep value in creating romantic stories of real love in the context of a troubled history. Much can be overcome and stories can reflect deeper qualities that way. I’ve read some wonderful stories set in Ireland that have stuck with me a long time. It’s a setting of melancholy and joy, both.
    Susan

    Reply
  74. What a great discussion, love all the points of view and the different facets of Irish stories that you all are bringing up.
    BTW, I’ve now added Anne Gracie’s thoughts on Irish romance to my original blog today, so check out the refreshed post.
    Jane, I’ve got quite a bit of Irish in my heritage too, and I understand what you’re saying – though I do think the Irish cultural character is poetic by nature, and I see that as a compliment, being part Irish myself. The leprechauns I can take or leave, but the mystical poetry inherent in Irish (and Celtic) culture, the charm and the power of that, lures me in. I don’t think it’s a stereotype and certainly is not insulting (except to those who don’t like poetry or who just don’t get the poetic, artistic value of Irish heritage, I guess). And to me, those elements are very romantic — similar to Scotland, as both share the same historical and cultural roots. It’s a generalization that works, I think.
    And while I agree that the sadnesses in Irish history can be a deterrent for many writers, I also agree there’s deep value in creating romantic stories of real love in the context of a troubled history. Much can be overcome and stories can reflect deeper qualities that way. I’ve read some wonderful stories set in Ireland that have stuck with me a long time. It’s a setting of melancholy and joy, both.
    Susan

    Reply
  75. What a great discussion, love all the points of view and the different facets of Irish stories that you all are bringing up.
    BTW, I’ve now added Anne Gracie’s thoughts on Irish romance to my original blog today, so check out the refreshed post.
    Jane, I’ve got quite a bit of Irish in my heritage too, and I understand what you’re saying – though I do think the Irish cultural character is poetic by nature, and I see that as a compliment, being part Irish myself. The leprechauns I can take or leave, but the mystical poetry inherent in Irish (and Celtic) culture, the charm and the power of that, lures me in. I don’t think it’s a stereotype and certainly is not insulting (except to those who don’t like poetry or who just don’t get the poetic, artistic value of Irish heritage, I guess). And to me, those elements are very romantic — similar to Scotland, as both share the same historical and cultural roots. It’s a generalization that works, I think.
    And while I agree that the sadnesses in Irish history can be a deterrent for many writers, I also agree there’s deep value in creating romantic stories of real love in the context of a troubled history. Much can be overcome and stories can reflect deeper qualities that way. I’ve read some wonderful stories set in Ireland that have stuck with me a long time. It’s a setting of melancholy and joy, both.
    Susan

    Reply
  76. Jo here. Thanks for the nod to Dangerous Joy, Janga. I have to admit that I didn’t want to write an Irish set book for all the reasons given, but in particular for the religious one, but as I’d blithely created an Irish Rogue I couldn’t imagine his story not being rooted in his Irishness.
    In the end I fudged on the religious issue, though. A lot of the wealthier Irish paid lip service to Protestantism simply because it made life so difficult not to. Many England Catholics did the same, but the pressure wasn’t as great there.
    But even in that story, which is mostly about the relationship, so many thorny issues came up.
    As a reader, I choose not to read romances set amid thorny issues. I don’t find that it increases my enjoyment, so there it is. I wouldn’t write a romance set in the English Civil War, nor in most of the Tudor times, nor in the Stephen-Matilda Anarchy. I did one book set just after the Conquest and then leaped ahead a generation to get out of the worst of it.
    Some of us are simply hell bent on happy reads!
    Jo

    Reply
  77. Jo here. Thanks for the nod to Dangerous Joy, Janga. I have to admit that I didn’t want to write an Irish set book for all the reasons given, but in particular for the religious one, but as I’d blithely created an Irish Rogue I couldn’t imagine his story not being rooted in his Irishness.
    In the end I fudged on the religious issue, though. A lot of the wealthier Irish paid lip service to Protestantism simply because it made life so difficult not to. Many England Catholics did the same, but the pressure wasn’t as great there.
    But even in that story, which is mostly about the relationship, so many thorny issues came up.
    As a reader, I choose not to read romances set amid thorny issues. I don’t find that it increases my enjoyment, so there it is. I wouldn’t write a romance set in the English Civil War, nor in most of the Tudor times, nor in the Stephen-Matilda Anarchy. I did one book set just after the Conquest and then leaped ahead a generation to get out of the worst of it.
    Some of us are simply hell bent on happy reads!
    Jo

    Reply
  78. Jo here. Thanks for the nod to Dangerous Joy, Janga. I have to admit that I didn’t want to write an Irish set book for all the reasons given, but in particular for the religious one, but as I’d blithely created an Irish Rogue I couldn’t imagine his story not being rooted in his Irishness.
    In the end I fudged on the religious issue, though. A lot of the wealthier Irish paid lip service to Protestantism simply because it made life so difficult not to. Many England Catholics did the same, but the pressure wasn’t as great there.
    But even in that story, which is mostly about the relationship, so many thorny issues came up.
    As a reader, I choose not to read romances set amid thorny issues. I don’t find that it increases my enjoyment, so there it is. I wouldn’t write a romance set in the English Civil War, nor in most of the Tudor times, nor in the Stephen-Matilda Anarchy. I did one book set just after the Conquest and then leaped ahead a generation to get out of the worst of it.
    Some of us are simply hell bent on happy reads!
    Jo

    Reply
  79. Jo here. Thanks for the nod to Dangerous Joy, Janga. I have to admit that I didn’t want to write an Irish set book for all the reasons given, but in particular for the religious one, but as I’d blithely created an Irish Rogue I couldn’t imagine his story not being rooted in his Irishness.
    In the end I fudged on the religious issue, though. A lot of the wealthier Irish paid lip service to Protestantism simply because it made life so difficult not to. Many England Catholics did the same, but the pressure wasn’t as great there.
    But even in that story, which is mostly about the relationship, so many thorny issues came up.
    As a reader, I choose not to read romances set amid thorny issues. I don’t find that it increases my enjoyment, so there it is. I wouldn’t write a romance set in the English Civil War, nor in most of the Tudor times, nor in the Stephen-Matilda Anarchy. I did one book set just after the Conquest and then leaped ahead a generation to get out of the worst of it.
    Some of us are simply hell bent on happy reads!
    Jo

    Reply
  80. Jo here. Thanks for the nod to Dangerous Joy, Janga. I have to admit that I didn’t want to write an Irish set book for all the reasons given, but in particular for the religious one, but as I’d blithely created an Irish Rogue I couldn’t imagine his story not being rooted in his Irishness.
    In the end I fudged on the religious issue, though. A lot of the wealthier Irish paid lip service to Protestantism simply because it made life so difficult not to. Many England Catholics did the same, but the pressure wasn’t as great there.
    But even in that story, which is mostly about the relationship, so many thorny issues came up.
    As a reader, I choose not to read romances set amid thorny issues. I don’t find that it increases my enjoyment, so there it is. I wouldn’t write a romance set in the English Civil War, nor in most of the Tudor times, nor in the Stephen-Matilda Anarchy. I did one book set just after the Conquest and then leaped ahead a generation to get out of the worst of it.
    Some of us are simply hell bent on happy reads!
    Jo

    Reply
  81. What a great blog. I knew I had a bit O’ the Irish in me, but mostly Scots & English ’till a DNA was done on our very Scottish Douglas clan here in the states & round the world. It seems that our “good James Douglas” doing business for the king of England spent some time in Ireland. When he returned to Scotland he brought with him a lad conceived by him & an Irish maid. The plot thickens.. J.D dies & his older sons send the little half brother to America to a boarding school to get rid of him( this is before our battle for Independence)! We can trace our Dominic Douglas & the rest of us to 2011. Now steps in “the scientists”. Seems “The Good Sir James ” is not our forefather after all! Much to the chagrin of we Douglas clan of USA, & delight also, our big DNA forefather is none other than “Niels of The Nine” an ancient KING of IRELAND! Yep, there is a lot of “trials & tribulation” to the Irish history & yes I guess a writer could get bogged down in it but as has been said before, just look in the eyes of an Irishman & see that twinkle backed up by determination to live a full life despite the twists & turns thrown at him. Remember the movie “Far and Away” ? Somehow I’ve missed the books mentioned written about the Irish (exception of Nora Roberts that my daughter in law shared). Can’t believe I missed Jo”s! I shall remedy that! Didn’t mean to write a book, you all inspire on going thoughts!! Happy New Year to all!

    Reply
  82. What a great blog. I knew I had a bit O’ the Irish in me, but mostly Scots & English ’till a DNA was done on our very Scottish Douglas clan here in the states & round the world. It seems that our “good James Douglas” doing business for the king of England spent some time in Ireland. When he returned to Scotland he brought with him a lad conceived by him & an Irish maid. The plot thickens.. J.D dies & his older sons send the little half brother to America to a boarding school to get rid of him( this is before our battle for Independence)! We can trace our Dominic Douglas & the rest of us to 2011. Now steps in “the scientists”. Seems “The Good Sir James ” is not our forefather after all! Much to the chagrin of we Douglas clan of USA, & delight also, our big DNA forefather is none other than “Niels of The Nine” an ancient KING of IRELAND! Yep, there is a lot of “trials & tribulation” to the Irish history & yes I guess a writer could get bogged down in it but as has been said before, just look in the eyes of an Irishman & see that twinkle backed up by determination to live a full life despite the twists & turns thrown at him. Remember the movie “Far and Away” ? Somehow I’ve missed the books mentioned written about the Irish (exception of Nora Roberts that my daughter in law shared). Can’t believe I missed Jo”s! I shall remedy that! Didn’t mean to write a book, you all inspire on going thoughts!! Happy New Year to all!

    Reply
  83. What a great blog. I knew I had a bit O’ the Irish in me, but mostly Scots & English ’till a DNA was done on our very Scottish Douglas clan here in the states & round the world. It seems that our “good James Douglas” doing business for the king of England spent some time in Ireland. When he returned to Scotland he brought with him a lad conceived by him & an Irish maid. The plot thickens.. J.D dies & his older sons send the little half brother to America to a boarding school to get rid of him( this is before our battle for Independence)! We can trace our Dominic Douglas & the rest of us to 2011. Now steps in “the scientists”. Seems “The Good Sir James ” is not our forefather after all! Much to the chagrin of we Douglas clan of USA, & delight also, our big DNA forefather is none other than “Niels of The Nine” an ancient KING of IRELAND! Yep, there is a lot of “trials & tribulation” to the Irish history & yes I guess a writer could get bogged down in it but as has been said before, just look in the eyes of an Irishman & see that twinkle backed up by determination to live a full life despite the twists & turns thrown at him. Remember the movie “Far and Away” ? Somehow I’ve missed the books mentioned written about the Irish (exception of Nora Roberts that my daughter in law shared). Can’t believe I missed Jo”s! I shall remedy that! Didn’t mean to write a book, you all inspire on going thoughts!! Happy New Year to all!

    Reply
  84. What a great blog. I knew I had a bit O’ the Irish in me, but mostly Scots & English ’till a DNA was done on our very Scottish Douglas clan here in the states & round the world. It seems that our “good James Douglas” doing business for the king of England spent some time in Ireland. When he returned to Scotland he brought with him a lad conceived by him & an Irish maid. The plot thickens.. J.D dies & his older sons send the little half brother to America to a boarding school to get rid of him( this is before our battle for Independence)! We can trace our Dominic Douglas & the rest of us to 2011. Now steps in “the scientists”. Seems “The Good Sir James ” is not our forefather after all! Much to the chagrin of we Douglas clan of USA, & delight also, our big DNA forefather is none other than “Niels of The Nine” an ancient KING of IRELAND! Yep, there is a lot of “trials & tribulation” to the Irish history & yes I guess a writer could get bogged down in it but as has been said before, just look in the eyes of an Irishman & see that twinkle backed up by determination to live a full life despite the twists & turns thrown at him. Remember the movie “Far and Away” ? Somehow I’ve missed the books mentioned written about the Irish (exception of Nora Roberts that my daughter in law shared). Can’t believe I missed Jo”s! I shall remedy that! Didn’t mean to write a book, you all inspire on going thoughts!! Happy New Year to all!

    Reply
  85. What a great blog. I knew I had a bit O’ the Irish in me, but mostly Scots & English ’till a DNA was done on our very Scottish Douglas clan here in the states & round the world. It seems that our “good James Douglas” doing business for the king of England spent some time in Ireland. When he returned to Scotland he brought with him a lad conceived by him & an Irish maid. The plot thickens.. J.D dies & his older sons send the little half brother to America to a boarding school to get rid of him( this is before our battle for Independence)! We can trace our Dominic Douglas & the rest of us to 2011. Now steps in “the scientists”. Seems “The Good Sir James ” is not our forefather after all! Much to the chagrin of we Douglas clan of USA, & delight also, our big DNA forefather is none other than “Niels of The Nine” an ancient KING of IRELAND! Yep, there is a lot of “trials & tribulation” to the Irish history & yes I guess a writer could get bogged down in it but as has been said before, just look in the eyes of an Irishman & see that twinkle backed up by determination to live a full life despite the twists & turns thrown at him. Remember the movie “Far and Away” ? Somehow I’ve missed the books mentioned written about the Irish (exception of Nora Roberts that my daughter in law shared). Can’t believe I missed Jo”s! I shall remedy that! Didn’t mean to write a book, you all inspire on going thoughts!! Happy New Year to all!

    Reply
  86. Can we step back from The Troubles a bit? I have a different idea about why Ireland isn’t represented as well in romance novels. It’s an unknown world.
    Most historical romances are based on Jane Austen and, later, Georgette Heyer. We owe Ms Heyer a great deal for meticulously researching the worlds she wrote about, in effect explaining Jane Austen’s social network for us.
    The Scottish world could be considered a spin-off of that, in that the English and Scottish worlds are harnessed together. The main conflicts come from the collision of the two worlds (discuss among yourselves).
    Now consider the Irish world.
    Irish society had its aristocracy and its gentry, but we don’t know an awful lot about the workings of well-off society. What we do know is that the Irish peerage was treated as a second-class prize in England. If you were lucky you had an English title to hide your Irish title, and you stayed in England as if to reassure people that your sympathies lay with the Crown.

    So I can’t even picture the Irish world that we’d write about.
    Focusing on the Troubles is off the mark. In romances you are aware of world events, but not part of them. The War is somewhere else, noticed only when soldiers come back disabled, if they come back at all.
    So, too, would be the Troubles. Something that happened somewhere else.

    So if I were to start writing Irish romances I would start looking for characteristics of Irish life that would lend itself to a romance. All the typical things – the father dies and the heroine is not provided for. The hero goes away (to England – to school or whatever) and the heroine is left high and dry. Then look for Irish-specific events to contribute. The hero is an engineer come back from England with grand canal schemes (The Royal and Grand canals) – how does the heroine find true love in that setting? The hero (or heroine’s brother) wants to attend Trinity College, which doesn’t accept Catholics. How does that fit in? Someone sees the enclosures in Scotland and tries to apply that to Ireland – conflict!

    There are plenty of ideas out there.
    BUT you don’t have Georgette Heyer setting the scene for you. Someone has to lay the groundwork to make Regency (whenever) Ireland vibrant, a place you want to visit, a place you feel you know. Real. Not a fantasy place of spirited red-heads dashing about on horses. REAL.

    Who’s up for it?

    Reply
  87. Can we step back from The Troubles a bit? I have a different idea about why Ireland isn’t represented as well in romance novels. It’s an unknown world.
    Most historical romances are based on Jane Austen and, later, Georgette Heyer. We owe Ms Heyer a great deal for meticulously researching the worlds she wrote about, in effect explaining Jane Austen’s social network for us.
    The Scottish world could be considered a spin-off of that, in that the English and Scottish worlds are harnessed together. The main conflicts come from the collision of the two worlds (discuss among yourselves).
    Now consider the Irish world.
    Irish society had its aristocracy and its gentry, but we don’t know an awful lot about the workings of well-off society. What we do know is that the Irish peerage was treated as a second-class prize in England. If you were lucky you had an English title to hide your Irish title, and you stayed in England as if to reassure people that your sympathies lay with the Crown.

    So I can’t even picture the Irish world that we’d write about.
    Focusing on the Troubles is off the mark. In romances you are aware of world events, but not part of them. The War is somewhere else, noticed only when soldiers come back disabled, if they come back at all.
    So, too, would be the Troubles. Something that happened somewhere else.

    So if I were to start writing Irish romances I would start looking for characteristics of Irish life that would lend itself to a romance. All the typical things – the father dies and the heroine is not provided for. The hero goes away (to England – to school or whatever) and the heroine is left high and dry. Then look for Irish-specific events to contribute. The hero is an engineer come back from England with grand canal schemes (The Royal and Grand canals) – how does the heroine find true love in that setting? The hero (or heroine’s brother) wants to attend Trinity College, which doesn’t accept Catholics. How does that fit in? Someone sees the enclosures in Scotland and tries to apply that to Ireland – conflict!

    There are plenty of ideas out there.
    BUT you don’t have Georgette Heyer setting the scene for you. Someone has to lay the groundwork to make Regency (whenever) Ireland vibrant, a place you want to visit, a place you feel you know. Real. Not a fantasy place of spirited red-heads dashing about on horses. REAL.

    Who’s up for it?

    Reply
  88. Can we step back from The Troubles a bit? I have a different idea about why Ireland isn’t represented as well in romance novels. It’s an unknown world.
    Most historical romances are based on Jane Austen and, later, Georgette Heyer. We owe Ms Heyer a great deal for meticulously researching the worlds she wrote about, in effect explaining Jane Austen’s social network for us.
    The Scottish world could be considered a spin-off of that, in that the English and Scottish worlds are harnessed together. The main conflicts come from the collision of the two worlds (discuss among yourselves).
    Now consider the Irish world.
    Irish society had its aristocracy and its gentry, but we don’t know an awful lot about the workings of well-off society. What we do know is that the Irish peerage was treated as a second-class prize in England. If you were lucky you had an English title to hide your Irish title, and you stayed in England as if to reassure people that your sympathies lay with the Crown.

    So I can’t even picture the Irish world that we’d write about.
    Focusing on the Troubles is off the mark. In romances you are aware of world events, but not part of them. The War is somewhere else, noticed only when soldiers come back disabled, if they come back at all.
    So, too, would be the Troubles. Something that happened somewhere else.

    So if I were to start writing Irish romances I would start looking for characteristics of Irish life that would lend itself to a romance. All the typical things – the father dies and the heroine is not provided for. The hero goes away (to England – to school or whatever) and the heroine is left high and dry. Then look for Irish-specific events to contribute. The hero is an engineer come back from England with grand canal schemes (The Royal and Grand canals) – how does the heroine find true love in that setting? The hero (or heroine’s brother) wants to attend Trinity College, which doesn’t accept Catholics. How does that fit in? Someone sees the enclosures in Scotland and tries to apply that to Ireland – conflict!

    There are plenty of ideas out there.
    BUT you don’t have Georgette Heyer setting the scene for you. Someone has to lay the groundwork to make Regency (whenever) Ireland vibrant, a place you want to visit, a place you feel you know. Real. Not a fantasy place of spirited red-heads dashing about on horses. REAL.

    Who’s up for it?

    Reply
  89. Can we step back from The Troubles a bit? I have a different idea about why Ireland isn’t represented as well in romance novels. It’s an unknown world.
    Most historical romances are based on Jane Austen and, later, Georgette Heyer. We owe Ms Heyer a great deal for meticulously researching the worlds she wrote about, in effect explaining Jane Austen’s social network for us.
    The Scottish world could be considered a spin-off of that, in that the English and Scottish worlds are harnessed together. The main conflicts come from the collision of the two worlds (discuss among yourselves).
    Now consider the Irish world.
    Irish society had its aristocracy and its gentry, but we don’t know an awful lot about the workings of well-off society. What we do know is that the Irish peerage was treated as a second-class prize in England. If you were lucky you had an English title to hide your Irish title, and you stayed in England as if to reassure people that your sympathies lay with the Crown.

    So I can’t even picture the Irish world that we’d write about.
    Focusing on the Troubles is off the mark. In romances you are aware of world events, but not part of them. The War is somewhere else, noticed only when soldiers come back disabled, if they come back at all.
    So, too, would be the Troubles. Something that happened somewhere else.

    So if I were to start writing Irish romances I would start looking for characteristics of Irish life that would lend itself to a romance. All the typical things – the father dies and the heroine is not provided for. The hero goes away (to England – to school or whatever) and the heroine is left high and dry. Then look for Irish-specific events to contribute. The hero is an engineer come back from England with grand canal schemes (The Royal and Grand canals) – how does the heroine find true love in that setting? The hero (or heroine’s brother) wants to attend Trinity College, which doesn’t accept Catholics. How does that fit in? Someone sees the enclosures in Scotland and tries to apply that to Ireland – conflict!

    There are plenty of ideas out there.
    BUT you don’t have Georgette Heyer setting the scene for you. Someone has to lay the groundwork to make Regency (whenever) Ireland vibrant, a place you want to visit, a place you feel you know. Real. Not a fantasy place of spirited red-heads dashing about on horses. REAL.

    Who’s up for it?

    Reply
  90. Can we step back from The Troubles a bit? I have a different idea about why Ireland isn’t represented as well in romance novels. It’s an unknown world.
    Most historical romances are based on Jane Austen and, later, Georgette Heyer. We owe Ms Heyer a great deal for meticulously researching the worlds she wrote about, in effect explaining Jane Austen’s social network for us.
    The Scottish world could be considered a spin-off of that, in that the English and Scottish worlds are harnessed together. The main conflicts come from the collision of the two worlds (discuss among yourselves).
    Now consider the Irish world.
    Irish society had its aristocracy and its gentry, but we don’t know an awful lot about the workings of well-off society. What we do know is that the Irish peerage was treated as a second-class prize in England. If you were lucky you had an English title to hide your Irish title, and you stayed in England as if to reassure people that your sympathies lay with the Crown.

    So I can’t even picture the Irish world that we’d write about.
    Focusing on the Troubles is off the mark. In romances you are aware of world events, but not part of them. The War is somewhere else, noticed only when soldiers come back disabled, if they come back at all.
    So, too, would be the Troubles. Something that happened somewhere else.

    So if I were to start writing Irish romances I would start looking for characteristics of Irish life that would lend itself to a romance. All the typical things – the father dies and the heroine is not provided for. The hero goes away (to England – to school or whatever) and the heroine is left high and dry. Then look for Irish-specific events to contribute. The hero is an engineer come back from England with grand canal schemes (The Royal and Grand canals) – how does the heroine find true love in that setting? The hero (or heroine’s brother) wants to attend Trinity College, which doesn’t accept Catholics. How does that fit in? Someone sees the enclosures in Scotland and tries to apply that to Ireland – conflict!

    There are plenty of ideas out there.
    BUT you don’t have Georgette Heyer setting the scene for you. Someone has to lay the groundwork to make Regency (whenever) Ireland vibrant, a place you want to visit, a place you feel you know. Real. Not a fantasy place of spirited red-heads dashing about on horses. REAL.

    Who’s up for it?

    Reply
  91. Thanks for such a wonderful post! I love reading blogs where I learn so much and feel like I can relate.
    I write historical romance and my 2nd novel takes place in Ireland during the early 1800s, before the famine, when farms and tenant farmers were the main stay. Where the English took land when taxes were not paid. A time where love means sacrificing your way of life to marry the one person who’s captured your heart.
    I am so glad to hear people are definitely interested in reading about the Irish culture. It makes my ancestors so happy to hear that.
    I also loved reading The Mammoth Book of Irish Romance. Such a great book. Ancient Ireland is filled with so many great legends!
    Here’s to more Irish romances!
    Happy Writing! 🙂

    Reply
  92. Thanks for such a wonderful post! I love reading blogs where I learn so much and feel like I can relate.
    I write historical romance and my 2nd novel takes place in Ireland during the early 1800s, before the famine, when farms and tenant farmers were the main stay. Where the English took land when taxes were not paid. A time where love means sacrificing your way of life to marry the one person who’s captured your heart.
    I am so glad to hear people are definitely interested in reading about the Irish culture. It makes my ancestors so happy to hear that.
    I also loved reading The Mammoth Book of Irish Romance. Such a great book. Ancient Ireland is filled with so many great legends!
    Here’s to more Irish romances!
    Happy Writing! 🙂

    Reply
  93. Thanks for such a wonderful post! I love reading blogs where I learn so much and feel like I can relate.
    I write historical romance and my 2nd novel takes place in Ireland during the early 1800s, before the famine, when farms and tenant farmers were the main stay. Where the English took land when taxes were not paid. A time where love means sacrificing your way of life to marry the one person who’s captured your heart.
    I am so glad to hear people are definitely interested in reading about the Irish culture. It makes my ancestors so happy to hear that.
    I also loved reading The Mammoth Book of Irish Romance. Such a great book. Ancient Ireland is filled with so many great legends!
    Here’s to more Irish romances!
    Happy Writing! 🙂

    Reply
  94. Thanks for such a wonderful post! I love reading blogs where I learn so much and feel like I can relate.
    I write historical romance and my 2nd novel takes place in Ireland during the early 1800s, before the famine, when farms and tenant farmers were the main stay. Where the English took land when taxes were not paid. A time where love means sacrificing your way of life to marry the one person who’s captured your heart.
    I am so glad to hear people are definitely interested in reading about the Irish culture. It makes my ancestors so happy to hear that.
    I also loved reading The Mammoth Book of Irish Romance. Such a great book. Ancient Ireland is filled with so many great legends!
    Here’s to more Irish romances!
    Happy Writing! 🙂

    Reply
  95. Thanks for such a wonderful post! I love reading blogs where I learn so much and feel like I can relate.
    I write historical romance and my 2nd novel takes place in Ireland during the early 1800s, before the famine, when farms and tenant farmers were the main stay. Where the English took land when taxes were not paid. A time where love means sacrificing your way of life to marry the one person who’s captured your heart.
    I am so glad to hear people are definitely interested in reading about the Irish culture. It makes my ancestors so happy to hear that.
    I also loved reading The Mammoth Book of Irish Romance. Such a great book. Ancient Ireland is filled with so many great legends!
    Here’s to more Irish romances!
    Happy Writing! 🙂

    Reply
  96. Oh, and Colleen, you’d probably be interested in the Irish Duke by Virginia Henley. Set in 1830s Ireland. An Irishman with an English title who marries the daughter of a duke. There are a fair amount of English politics, but when he brings his new bride to Ireland, it’s truly magical. Wonderful book.

    Reply
  97. Oh, and Colleen, you’d probably be interested in the Irish Duke by Virginia Henley. Set in 1830s Ireland. An Irishman with an English title who marries the daughter of a duke. There are a fair amount of English politics, but when he brings his new bride to Ireland, it’s truly magical. Wonderful book.

    Reply
  98. Oh, and Colleen, you’d probably be interested in the Irish Duke by Virginia Henley. Set in 1830s Ireland. An Irishman with an English title who marries the daughter of a duke. There are a fair amount of English politics, but when he brings his new bride to Ireland, it’s truly magical. Wonderful book.

    Reply
  99. Oh, and Colleen, you’d probably be interested in the Irish Duke by Virginia Henley. Set in 1830s Ireland. An Irishman with an English title who marries the daughter of a duke. There are a fair amount of English politics, but when he brings his new bride to Ireland, it’s truly magical. Wonderful book.

    Reply
  100. Oh, and Colleen, you’d probably be interested in the Irish Duke by Virginia Henley. Set in 1830s Ireland. An Irishman with an English title who marries the daughter of a duke. There are a fair amount of English politics, but when he brings his new bride to Ireland, it’s truly magical. Wonderful book.

    Reply

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