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Irish Organization Pushes A Different Way To Celebrate

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By Natalie Neumann

Some celebrate St. Patrick's Day by sporting green clothing and kicking back a few green beers. But one group is pushing people to celebrate differently.

Outside of the Dupont Circle, Linda Murray coaxes passersby to grab a free book.

"Would anyone like a free Irish book for St. Patrick's Day?" she asks.

Murray is a Dublin native who helped found the Irish arts and culture organization Solas Nua, which means new light. The organization is giving away 10,000 books of contemporary Irish literature for St. Patrick's Day.

Volunteers started handing out books at six this morning and have been at 14 Metro stop locations. Murray says it's a great day for creating a sense of goodwill.

"It's also an alternative for celebrating St. Patrick's Day, which is obviously my national holiday," she says.

Sarah Barak grabbed some books from the stand at Dupont. She says the book giveaway shows the Irish culture is more than just partying on St. Patrick's day.

"And of course I know that, but at the same time I haven't read anything from an Irish author in a decade," she says.

Murray hopes the books will get into the hands of people who will read them.

"The idea is hopefully they'll start a love affair with a new Irish writer they didn't know about," says Murray.

Solas Nua will be giving away books until 7 p.m. tonight, or until they run out.

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