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Best Books About Ireland

Dive into the Emerald Isle with the top books about Ireland as curated from notable publications—each title has been frequently mentioned and acclaimed by multiple sources.

Recommendations from 37 articles, Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Neil deGrasse Tyson and 29 others.
82 books on the list
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Angela's Ashes book cover
Angela's Ashes
Frank McCourt - 2005-10-03 (first published in 1996)
Goodreads Rating
This memoir tells the story of Frank McCourt's upbringing in Depression-era Brooklyn and the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Despite poverty, near-starvation, and the casual cruelty of his surroundings, Frank's survival relies on his father's beguiling stories and his own hunger for storytelling. Angela's Ashes is a luminous and classic book, written with elegance and remarkable compassion.
In the Woods book cover
In the Woods
A Novel
Tana French - 2008-05-27 (first published in 2007)
Goodreads Rating
Disappearances, unsolved mysteries, and psychological suspense combine to make this debut novel a must-read. Set in Dublin, the story begins with the disappearance of three children in the woods, and only one is found alive. Fast forward twenty years and the detective on the case, who was the found boy, is investigating a murder in the same woods that bears striking similarities to the past case. With his own murky past resurfacing, the detective must piece together long-buried memories to solve both mysteries. A beautifully written and chilling thriller that will leave you guessing until the very end.
The Country Girls book cover
The Country Girls
Three Novels and an Epilogue
Edna O'Brien - 1987-05-01 (first published in 1986)
Goodreads Rating
Follow the journey of Caithleen "Kate" Brady and Bridget "Baba" Brennan as they attempt to escape the repressive atmosphere of their small Irish village in the post-World War II era. Kate is a hopeless romantic while Baba is a survivor. Their misadventures in Dublin are full of comical miscommunications, furtive liaisons, bad faith, bad luck, bad sex, and compromise. This omnibus edition includes The Country Girls Trilogy and Epilogue, chronicling the highs and lows of women's lives in remarkable prose that is both blunt and brutal, and whimsical and lyrical.
The Spinning Heart book cover
The Spinning Heart
A Novel
Donal Ryan - 2012-10-11
Goodreads Rating
Amidst Ireland's financial collapse, a town brims with dangerous tensions. Characters face an inner battle between public personas and personal desires, told through a chorus of unique voices. The Spinning Heart encapsulates contemporary Ireland with wit, vulnerability, and uncanny perception. Dark, sweet, and poignant, this novel captures small-town life with technical daring and evocative language reminiscent of Patrick McCabe and J.M. Synge.
Dubliners book cover
James Joyce - 2001-03-15 (first published in 1914)
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"Dubliners" by James Joyce offers a vivid portrayal of the life of Dublin's poorer classes, exploring unconventional themes, coarse language, and real-life people and places. Although initially unpublished due to squeamishness, the masterful dissection of "dear dirty Dublin" and the moments of revelation make this youthful fiction a true literary classic. This collection will give readers a glimpse into the moral history of Ireland and the universal human experience.
The Picture of Dorian Gray book cover
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde - 2004-06-01 (first published in 1890)
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A Gothic and philosophical novel, this controversial book by Oscar Wilde explores the boundaries of morality and art. Originally censored before publication, the story of Dorian Gray offended British reviewers who accused Wilde of violating public morality laws. Despite the backlash, the author passionately defended his work and released a revised version with a preface that became a literary manifesto. With its unflinching examination of beauty, sin, and decadence, this classic continues to captivate readers today.
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Jenn Im
Ulysses book cover
James Joyce - 1990-01-01 (first published in 1922)
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This modern literary masterpiece loosely follows the Odyssey and captures a single day in the life of ordinary Dubliners in 1904. With experimental techniques ranging from interior monologues to exuberant wordplay and earthy humor, it pushes Celtic lyricism and vulgarity to splendid extremes. A major achievement in 20th century literature.
Normal People book cover
Normal People
A Novel
Sally Rooney - 2019-04-16 (first published in 2018)
Goodreads Rating
This captivating novel follows the story of two teenagers, Connell and Marianne, who form a deep connection despite their vastly different social statuses. After a year apart, the two find themselves drawn back together as they navigate their way through college and the complexities of their relationship. Sally Rooney’s insightful prose delves into themes of class, love, and the challenges of friendship and family ties.
The Princes of Ireland book cover
The Princes of Ireland
The Dublin Saga
Edward Rutherfurd - 2005-03-01 (first published in 2004)
Goodreads Rating
This captivating epic explores 11 centuries of Irish history through the interlocking stories of a memorable cast of characters. From the pagan tribal culture of ancient Ireland to Saint Patrick's mission, the Book of Kells, and England's first foothold in medieval Ireland, this book vividly portrays the major events that have shaped Irish history. Author Edward Rutherfurd brilliantly weaves impeccable historical research with stirring storytelling to capture the essence of Ireland and its people in a thrilling story steeped in tragedy and glory.
Brooklyn book cover
A Novel
Colm Toibin - 2009-05-05
Goodreads Rating
A young Irish woman leaves her family behind to start a new life in Brooklyn, NY, with the help of an Irish priest. Once there, she finds work in a department store and unexpected love with a charming Italian man. However, news from home threatens to tear her newfound happiness apart.
The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne
Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe
Strumpet City by James Plunkett
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
By Leon Uris Trinity [Hardcover] by Leon Uris
The Barrytown Trilogy by Roddy Doyle
Rick Steves Ireland 2019 by Rick Steves
Ireland by Frank Delaney
How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill
McCarthy's Bar by Pete McCarthy
The Sea[Deckle Edge] Publisher by John Banville
The Green Road by Anne Enright
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly
Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy
Fairy & Folk Tales of Ireland by W. B. Yeats
PS, I Love You by Cecelia Ahern
The Snapper by Roddy Doyle
The Commitments by Roddy Doyle
Star of the Sea by Joseph O'Connor
City of Bohane by Kevin Barry
A Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle
Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks
Milkman by Anna Burns
Beatlebone by Kevin Barry
The Gathering by Anne Enright
Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
The Rebels of Ireland by Edward Rutherfurd
My Father's House by Joseph O'Connor
1916 by Morgan Llywelyn
The Silent People by Walter Macken
Fodor's Essential Ireland 2021 by Fodor's Travel Guides
Lonely Planet Ireland by Lonely Planet
This Is Ireland by Miroslav Sasek
The Little Book of Irishisms by Aimee Alexander
Back Roads Ireland by Publishing
The Everything Travel Guide to Ireland by Thomas Hollowell
The Princeton History of Modern Ireland by Richard Bourke
The Long Gaze Back by Sinéad Gleeson
The Van by Roddy Doyle
The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville
The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey
The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith
A Treasury of Irish Folklore by Padraic Colum
Modern Ireland by R. F. Foster
Things in Jars by Jess Kidd
The Rage by Gene Kerrigan
Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume
Academy Street by Mary Costello
The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch
Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
Rick Steves Ireland by Rick Steves, Patrick O'Connor
We Don't Know Ourselves by Fintan O'Toole
Fiona's Luck by Teresa Bateman
Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie Depaola
Lonely Planet Ireland's Best Trips by Fionn Davenport, Isabel Albiston, Belinda Dixon, Catherine Le Nevez, Neil Wilson
Three Plays by Sean O'Casey, Christopher Murray
Winter Solstice in the Crystal Castle by Jennifer Ivy Walker
Eureka Street by Robert McLiam Wilson
Simply Delicious the Classic Collection by Darina Allen
Mythical Irish Places by Mark Joyce
The Making of Modern Ireland 1603-1923 by J. C. Beckett
The Story of Ireland by Neil Hegarty
Solar Bones by Mike McCormack, Magdalena Palmer
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty
The illusionist by Jennifer Johnston