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13 Brilliant Irish Books Everybody Has To Read In Their Lives

By Liz

February 28, 2017 at 12:54pm


It's no surprise to us that lots of amazing authors hail from this Isle.

Over the years, we've had some fantastic literature come out of this country and the current crop of new releases stands shoulder-to-shoulder with our litany of classics.

If you're looking for inspiration for your next purchase, try this list of books that we reckon people should absolutely take the time to read.

Each of them says something different about the Irish condition and sensibility so consider it your 2017 challenge...

1. Dubliners - James Joyce

While Ulysses is more famous, Dubliners is easier to read and a masterpiece in its own right. The book is a series of short stories about the lives of Dubliners in the early 20th century. Bonus points if you recognise and visit the landmarks mentioned in the book.


2. The Ross O’Carroll Kelly series - Paul Howard

The perfect encapsulation of Ireland’s eccentricities, starting roish at the peak of the Celtic Tiger. It practically counts as reading a history book.


3. Circle Of Friends - Maeve Binchy

We may have only read this because of how hot Chris O’Donnell was in the film adaption, but the story about friendship and the divides of class, religion and rural and urban Ireland still ring true to readers.

4. The Commitments - Roddy Doyle

The Commitments is a comedy novel about teenagers from North Dublin who come together to form a soul band. 

The Commitments

5. Artemis Fowl - Eoin Colfer

Although technically a children’s book, the Artemis Fowl fantasy series is so clever and well written that it’s a great read for people of any age.

6. Knights Of The Borrowed Dark – Dave Rudden

An orphan discovers he has magical powers, which he uses to fight dark creatures. Published last year, there have already been rumbles of a possible movie.


7. Red Dirt – EM Reapy

A thriller looking at three different viewpoints of Irish people trying to make their way in Australia. Likely to strike a chord with every Irish emigrant and their family.

8. Room – Emma Donoghue

The story of a woman and her son kept in a basement, this book became famous for the Oscar-winning film adaption. But the book is definitely worth reading in its own right.


9. Asking For It – Louise O’Neill

This provocative novel tells the story of a teenager who is raped, and then faces terrible consequences after the incident become public. It asks important questions about how women are treated in Ireland today.

10. Holding – Graham Norton

The TV presenter and actor’s debut novel looks at how a small rural town is turned upside down after the remains of a body are discovered after 30 years. There's some fantastic dry humour and you'll find it hard to put it down.


11. Spill Simmer Falter Wither – Sarah Baume

A character study, looking at a pessimistic protagonist whose only relationship is with a one-eyed dog that he takes in from the pound. A beautifully written book.

12. Lesser Bohemians – Eimear McBride

A twist on the 'young girl moves to big city' genre, the books follows Eily’s move from rural Ireland to London, her eagerness to experience everything and to move past the trauma from her youth.

13. The Glorious Heresies - Lisa McInerney

Galway-based writer Lisa McInerney has deservedly won several major literary awards for this novel, which looks at how a murder affects the lives of five misfits who exist on the fringes of Ireland’s post-crash society. Plans to develop it into a TV series are already afoot.

READ NEXT: OPINION: Why Ireland Is The Greatest Little Country In The World


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