Irish Book Day Impressions

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Solas Nua's Chairman Paddy Meskell spent Irish Book Day 2014 giving away copies of What's the Story? at his local Metro Stop, Columbia Heights. In today's blog he'll share some of the highlights of his day spent sharing Irish literature with wonderful people from all around the world who have made D.C. their home.


What a great privilege and joy it is to put a book into the hands of someone with the words “enjoy some lovely Irish stories and poems today”.

Paddy Meskell, Pat Reilly, Molly Brauer. Photo by Kate Flannery

Paddy Meskell, Pat Reilly, Molly Brauer. Photo by Kate Flannery

Pat and Molly and Chris and Kate and myself gave out about 1,800 copies of What’s The Story? today.  We wonder how many stories will “What’s The Story?” create as the book makes its way around the city and suburbs.

Little Nellie from Peru stuffed her copy of What’s The Story? into her cute pink school bag and asked: “Is this really my own book”?

Patricia from DC took one book and returned for six more because she is an English teacher in a local school and will use the book to teach her students.

Baba from Dakar in Senegal put his copy beside a bunch of the red roses he was selling. “What’s The Story with The Red Roses?” we laughed together.

Veronica from El Salvador took one book and then asked for a second because she said her husband needs to stop watching soccer and needs to start learning English.

Anton from Jamaica flashed a smile that melted all the snow around us and wondered why the Irish can’t run as well as they can write.

Sam a rapper from DC, is a cool, smooth lad who took out his buds long enough to take the book, flick through it and promise to write some rhythm for whatever his favorite poem in the book will be.

Diana from Singapore studied in Galway and squealed with delight when she saw that the poet Sarah Clancy is also from Galway.

I watched two lads with white hats on the Irving Street building site sit down for their lunch break. They had burgers and fries to eat and their recently acquired copy of What’s The Story? to read.

Well, That’s The Story from Columbia Heights today.


Dedicated, enthusiastic Solas Nua volunteers gave away thousands of books at metro locations today, so stories like these were repeated over and over and over. 

Thanks to Declan Meade at The Stinging Fly, to Dennis Houlihan of Solas Nua and to all our wonderful volunteers, supporters and financial contributors, who helped to make this magic happen.