Solas Nua prepares for Irish Book Day in D.C.

Forget the parades and over emphasis on tipping pints, a Washington, D.C. organization called Solas Nua (new light, in Irish) brings something more meaningful to St. Patrick’s Day: contemporary Irish arts.

Since 2005 group volunteers have dedicated most of their March 17 to handing out free copies of Irish literature and poetry. The “Irish Book Day” event is a “celebration of the richness of Irish culture.”

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This year, Solas Nua is introducing a new collection of short stories and poetry by Ireland’s best contemporary writers. What’s the Story? includes work by Mary Costello, Kevin Barry, Elaine Feeney and others in the 139-page book.

Solas Nua volunteers will give away thousands of copies of the book at Metro stops including Dupont Circle, Gallery Place/Chinatown, Judiciary Square and Columbia Heights during morning and evening rush hours. Other locations will be tweeted throughout the day by @SolasNuachtReaders are invited to share their responses using #whatsthestory on Twitter and Facebook.

The organization also has two film screenings coming up in its Irish Popcorn! series: Anam An Amhráin (Soul of the Song) on March 15 and The Irish Pub on March 31.

Visit the Solas Nua website for more details about these and other film, theater, literature and music events during the year. Consider volunteering your time or making a donation. You’ll enjoy the parades and pints even more if you help.