I'm in Ireland right now, visiting my daughter who is a student at the University of Limerick. I've been here once before, but that was when we moved her over and got her enrolled in college. Most of what I saw was the inside of college administration buildings. We did manage to get out into the country a couple of days that trip, which made me realize how much I wanted to be a tourist here.
My husband and I are doing just that this trip, and I have fallen in love with this country. We spent yesterday in Cork City, and I found an interesting little bookstore that had a huge section on Irish history and culture. I wanted to buy every book there. It got me thinking about the popularity of Ireland as a setting in romantic fiction. Certainly, the incredible countryside plays a part. The sea. And the strong character of the Irish people. Their sad history. Their love of family and friendship. All these things are great elements for romance.
I don't know if I'll ever be able to write a story set in this country like Nora Roberts and JoAnn Ross (among many others) have, but I'm loving thinking about it.