Irish Reads

Subject Guides » Books » Reading Lists » Irish Reads

Fiction and nonfiction with an Irish theme, selected by Forbes Library staff. March 2011.


  • In the Company of Others: a Father Tim novel by Jan Karon
    Arriving in western Ireland to research the Kavanagh ancestry, Father Tim and Cynthia are disrupted by a burglary, a sprained ankle and local distress over the theft of a cherished painting.
  • An Irish country village by Patrick Taylor
    Delighted to be offered a permanent position with crusty Dr. O'Reilly, Dr. Barry Laverty confronts a crisis when his reputation is threatened by the unexpected death of one of his patients.
  • Agnes Browne by Brendan O'Carroll
    Agnes Browne faces the hardships and rewards of raising seven children on her own in a 1960s working-class Dublin neighborhood.
  • The Banyan Tree: a novel by Christopher Nolan
    A tale of rural Ireland chronicles the life and times of eighty-something-year-old Minnie O'Brien as she struggles to preserve the farm left to her by her husband as she awaits the return of her prodigal younger son.
  • Best of Friends: a novel by Cathy Kelly
    Four very different women—Abby, a television actress; her painfully shy teenage daughter, Jess; Lizzie, reeling from her ex-husband's new romance; and Erin, returning to Ireland from Chicago to help her husband's career--are brought together in the town of Dunmore, Ireland, by various circumstances as they get the chance to transform their lives for the better.
  • The Bird Woman: a novel by Kerry Hardie
    Her marriage and health shattered by a clairvoyant experience, northern Irish Presbyterian Ellen McKinnon moves in with Liam, a sculptor in southern Ireland, where her efforts to suppress her psychic abilities are complicated by her manifestation of healing abilities.
  • Blessed are the Cheesemakers by Sarah-Kate Lynch
    Estranged from her family since childhood, Abby lands on a small Irish dairy farm where she encounters down-on-his-luck New York stockbroker Kit, who with Abby helps a pair of elderly cheese makers save their farm and help a range of troubled souls.
  • Celibates & Other Lovers: a novel by Walter Keady
    In the Irish village of Creevagh in 1945, Phelim O'Brien struggles with his carnal desires, certain that they will send him to hell for all eternity.
  • The Death of an Irish Lover: a Peter McGarr mystery by Bartholomew Gill
    Summoned to investigate the murders of police who were maintaining the peace in the river fishing business near Dublin, Chief Inspector Peter McGarr finds an unusual element in the killings and a plethora of suspects.
  • A Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle
    An IRA terrorist who fought for Irish independence in 1910s Dublin tells his story. He is Henry Smart, son of a brothel bouncer, who becomes a street urchin after his father goes to jail and his mother turns senile. He joins the movement and rises in its ranks to participate in the 1916 Easter Rising, including the famous attack on the post office.
  • As it is in Heaven by Niall Williams
    The romance between an insecure young Irishman and a talented, passionate Italian musician blossoms when her quartet visits the small town of Ennis in County Clare and transforms the lives of the unlikely pair and everyone around them.
  • Four Letters of Love: a novel by Niall Williams
    An Irish author presents an evocative debut novel about a man who leaves his family to paint pictures at God's command, disappearing into west Ireland, where he meets a young woman grieving over her afflicted brother.
  • Fork in the Road: a novel by Denis Hamill
    An American film maker living in Dublin, ColinCoyne is robbed by a Gypsy woman in a club, and he pursues her, falling deeply in love in the process.
  • Ireland: a novel by Frank Delaney
    An epic tale-within-a-tale based on the history of Ireland finds a traditional wandering Storyteller revealing his life experiences while forging a poignant new relationship in the home of an eight-year-old boy.
  • At the Edge of the World: magical stories of Ireland illustrated with photographs by John Lowings
    Includes twenty-three traditional Irish ghost stories and fairy tales, accompanied by black-and-white photographs. BU42.9At1L 1998
  • Emerald Magic: great tales of Irish fantasy edited by Andrew M. Greeley
    A collection of fantasy tales based on the history, culture, legends, and lore of Ireland features contributions by Ray Bradbury, Tanith Lee, Peter Tremayne, Jane Yolen, Diane Duane, Judith Tarr, and Morgan Llywelyn. YF.9SF:Em32 2004


  • McCarthy's Bar: a journey of discovery in the west of Ireland by Pete McCarthy
    An American chronicles his funny, nostalgic encounter with Ireland as he searches for his roots in the countryside and pubs of this beautiful and deceptively simple country. G42.M1275m 2000
  • A Concise History of Ireland by Máire & Conor Cruise O'Brien
    Traces the evolution of Ireland from the pre-Christian era to the Belfast civil rights movement. F42.Ob6s 1985
  • Great houses of Ireland by Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd & Christopher Simon Sykes
    Portrays the architecture and interior design of a variety of mansions, castles, and country homes in Ireland. WIX42//M767g 1999
  • Last of the Donkey Pilgrims by Kevin O'Hara
    A Vietnam veteran and psychiatric nurse returns to Ireland, his mother's homeland, to discover his family roots and answers to his questions about himself, embarking on a whimsical odyssey around Ireland in a donkey cart on a sometimes poignant, sometimes joyful journey of the soul. G42.Oh1L 2004
  • Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks
    In a witty, heartwarming travelogue, the author describes how a drunken bet led him on a month-long hitchhiking tour around Ireland, accompanied by his refridgerator and offers a collection of humorous anecdotes about his experiences along the way. G42.H314r 2000
  • Encyclopedia of Ireland: an A-Z guide to its people, places, history, and culture edited by Ciaran Brady
    A comprehensive, illustrated reference to Ireland cover's the island's rich history, culture, and political life, as well as its influential people and literary tradition. F42.5En19b 2000
  • Ireland's Treasures: 5000 years of artistic expression by Peter Harbison
    Showcasing the vast cultural, artistic, and architectural treasures of Ireland, the author highlights the stonework, metalwork, handwork, architecture, and painting of Ireland's artists in a visually stunning coffee table book format. W42//H213i 2004
  • Irish Fairy and Folk Tales edited by W.B. Yeats
    Gathered by the renowned Irish poet, playwright, and essayist William Butler Yeats, the sixty-five tales and poems in this collection share the rich heritage of the Celtic imagination. Filled with legends of village ghosts, fairies, demons, witches, priests, and saints, these stories embody what Yeats describes as "the very voice of the people, the very pulse of life." BU42.Y34i
  • The Wearing of the Green: a history of St. Patrick's Day by Mike Cronin & Daryl Adair
    St. Patrick's Day (March 17) is celebrated in more countries around the world than any other national holiday. Cronin and Adair chronicle the changes that caused the shift in its celebration from a religious one to the present-day secular, commercial, and hedonistic event. In illuminating detail they trace its development in Ireland and the Irish diaspora (US, Canada, Britain, Australia), using it to examine Irish and diaspora history. VA.C881w 2002

Reference Book

  • Tracing your Irish Ancestors: the complete guide by John Grenham
    Irish professional genealogist Grenham updates his guide with some new information, but primarily to account for the Internet resources that have become available since the 1998 second edition. He adds a new chapter on the Internet, and a new online subsection to each of the county source lists. The first parts explains the ropes to new-comers; the second identifies sources of information by type; and the third lists sources by Irish county. Genealogy E.Y1G865t 2006 (Library Use Only)
  • A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering your Irish Ancestors: how to find and record your unique heritage by Dwight A. Radford & Kyle J. Betit
    Supplies advice, methods and highly specific references, including a number of fruitful research avenues you would never think of on your own. Replete with case studies and bibliographies, this book seems like the last word on its topic. Genealogy E.Y1R118g 2001 (Library Use Only)

Category: Reading Lists

Page last changed: October 20, 2012, at 08:35 AM EST.