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20th Dec 2016

7 Must-Read Irish Books To Buy Before You Head Off On Your Holidays


Looking for a new holiday book to tuck into while away?

How about picking from the talented pool of saints, scholars and scribes this country has produced, and buying Irish.

We’ve picked out some of the best already, so you don’t have to…

1. Fat Chance, Louise McSharry

The first written piece of work from the 2fm broadcaster has been met with impressive amounts of praise, hailed by Fintan O’Toole as “what should be compulsory reading for all young people, male and female”.

She recounts her life in admirable detail, including her difficult childhood and Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis, while remaining pragmatic, compassionate and lacking distinctly in self-pity or despondence. 


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2. 46 Men Dead, John Reynolds

46 Men Dead is a story about The Royal Irish Constabulary in Co Tipperary between the years of 1919-1922 – researched and written by Garda Sergeant John Reynolds, and based at the Garda College in Templemore. 

It centres around the immediate aftermath of The Rising and the consequences on the Irish Garda Síochána – so it’s a bit like the inside scoop on a national problem. 


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3. Asking For It, Louise O’Neill

We expected big things from Louise O’Neill when she won the Sunday Independent Newcomer Of The Year award, and she certainly kept up her part of the bargain with Asking For It – a searing tale based around the issue of sexual consent, and one of the most talked about books of the last year.

O’Neill is quoted as saying: ”I wanted the reader to finish this book and be absolutely furious”, and this is pretty much guaranteed. A compelling read, from start to harrowing finish.

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4. The Characters in James Joyce’s Ulysses, Vivian Igoe

For the more literary amongst you, Vivian Igoe’s The Characters in James Joyce’s Ulysses may tickle your fancy. A lesson in Dublin’s social history, this biographical dictionary looks at the real personalities who inspired the world-famous novel. 

The book provides a comprehensive breakdown of these, previously considered fictional yet wholly real people, with the scoop on where they lived, died and are buried; loved, loathed and inspired.


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5. Public Displays Of Emotion, Róisín Ingle

This book is a selection of Róisin Ingle’s columns published in The Irish Times over the past 15 years, including one about having an abortion in her twenties.

Her columns, based around the loose theme of ‘imperfection’ has been noted as ‘a gift for Irish society’.

Other instances commented upon in her book include, but are not limited to: 

  • Plastering over the cracks in her relationship on “date night” with the aid of a self-help print out from the Internet and some excellent black pudding croquettes.
  • Crying all the way home after seeing a little girl singing in the chip-shop being roared at to shut up by her father.
  • And being exasperatedly affectionate for Queenie, her mother-in-law in waiting.

What more could you want?

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6. Wandering the Wild Atlantic Way: From Banba’s Crown to World’s End, Paul Clements

During the summer of 1991, travel writer and hitchhiker, Paul Clements, made his way along the coastline of Ireland for his first travel book.

Some 25 years later, he’s retraced his footsteps for a brand new book, based on a journey along the famed Wild Atlantic Way – this time by car, bike, on foot and on horseback.

Clements looks at how Ireland has changed in the past fifteen years and realises everyone still has a story to tell. This story is a distinctive mix of travel writing, social history and nature – and an incredible throwback to the time before mobile phones.


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7. The Glorious Heresies, Lisa McInerney

Moving and darkly funny, The Glorious Heresies explores salvation, shame and the legacy of modern day Ireland’s attitudes to sex and family.

Filled with harrowing twists involving murder, drugs and the underworld, McInerney pinpoints the moral take Ireland’s 20th century has on the sinners of the world. 

Lisa Mcinerney Glorious Heresies

Photo cred: WHSmith

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