Home of lush, emerald farm country, Ireland has  a tempestuous past, beginning with a patchwork of rival kingdoms and enduring subsequent invasions from the Normans, Tudors and Celts, to mention a few. Irish music – from Gregorian chant to traditional harp – lies at the heart of its culture, and it has spawned some of the most famous writers of all time: Yeats, Shaw, Beckett, Joyce.