Derry academic links Tolkien’s writings with west of Ireland

The Burren in the West of Ireland is believed to have inspired JRR Tolkien.
The Burren in the West of Ireland is believed to have inspired JRR Tolkien.

A Derry-based academic has uncovered evidence suggesting that the world-famous karst landscape of the Burren region in the West of Ireland inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterwork “The Lord of The Rings”.

Following a recent trip to examine the original J.R.R. Tolkien manuscripts and papers at Marquette University in Wisconsin, USA, Tolkien scholar Dr. Liam Campbell will next month discuss his research findings and their outreach in terms of how the English writer’s acclaimed work has profound and traceable interconnections with Ireland.

Dr Campbell’s talk will feature at the forthcoming Burren Tolkien Society Festival (August 15-24).

Organised by the Burren Tolkien Society and supported by Clare County Library and the Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark, the Festival will feature contributions from Tolkien experts, writing workshops, screenings, lectures and guided walks of the locations frequented by Tolkien, including Poll na Gollum Cave which event organisers suggest influenced the creation of one of the author’s most famous characters (Gollum).

“An unexpected body of evidence is beginning to emerge that unmasks Ireland and The Burren, in particular, as a significant influence on Tolkien’s creative imagination,” said Dr. Campbell, who lectures in English Literature, Language & Creative Writing at the University of Ulster.