What gives Ireland its charm? What is it that makes this verdant island, the land of the shamrock and one of the last intact corners of natural beauty in old Europe so unique?The images and words in this book attempt to delve into the roots of the enchantment that makes Ireland one of the best-loved places in Europe. George Bernard Shaw called it "the land of dreams," while Yeats extolled it as "the land of heart's desire." These descriptions provide an initial interpretation of the intriguing beauty of Ireland, its almost surreal, imaginary, fantastical dimension. And yet, when one comes to Ireland and discovers it as it really is, the country of dreams and imagination manages to coincide perfectly with the real country. Perhaps it is because here more than anywhere else, reality is imbued with myths and legends, thus becoming an ideal background for the adventures of fairies, heroes, elves and sprites, ancient history, written by saints, Celtic kings and Viking warriors and the taste for music and poetry that gives the Irish the souls of bards.