Confession: I’m a bookworm. Reading is one of my favourite past times and my preferred method of keeping entertained on long flights or train journeys. So, it makes sense that I’ve read and know of quite a few books either about Ireland or that take place in Ireland. Looking for some recommendations? From modern day fairytales to historical works, here are my pics for the best books about Ireland.
Best Books About Ireland for Fantasy Lovers: The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning
Set in Dublin, the Fever series is an urban fantasy series that pulls on Ireland’s myths and legends about the seelie and unseelie faerie races. Twenty-something MacKayla Lane travels to Ireland after her sister is murdered and quickly discovers that she’s not who she thought and that the world isn’t quite what it seems either. The Fever series isn’t your typical fairytale though- it can be quite dark and twisted which, personally, I think adds interest to the story.
There are several books in the Fever series already, and it is still being continued. If you’re a fantasy lover and interested in Irish myth and folklore, this series is for you. They are definitely some of my favourite books about Ireland.
Best Book About Ireland for a Laugh: Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks
If you’re looking for a fun book that will give you a laugh, then Round Ireland with a Fridge is the best book about Ireland for you. This story tells of the author’s adventures hitchhiking across Ireland with, you guessed it, a fridge after making a drunken bet. Unsurprisingly, both man and fridge get themselves into some interesting situations that make for very entertaining reading.
Best Book about Ireland for Those Who Enjoy Memoirs: Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
Ireland has a long and rich history and there are a number of memoirs but one of the most popular memoirs about Ireland is Angela’s Ashes which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1997. This memoir follows the author, Frankie, and his family from the USA to Limerick, Ireland during the Great Depression and shares the family’s trials and struggles. From lack of work to rejection, alcoholism, death, and more. It’s a powerful story that offers an insightful look at life in Ireland during this time.
Best Book About Ireland for History Buffs: Ireland: a History by Thomas Bartlett
Whether you are a die-hard history buff or just someone who is interested in learning more about Ireland’s past, Ireland: a History by Thomas Bartlett is a great place to start. It’s a longer book that speaks of Ireland’s past from the Roman Times to Ireland in the 2000s. A little more attention is paid to the more recent history, however, readers love the author’s writing and how easy the book is to follow. Granted, you can’t learn all of a country’s history from a single book, but when it comes to history books about Ireland, this one is a great pick.
Best Book About Ireland for Chick-Lit Fans: PS I Love You by Cecilia Ahern
Chances are you’ve already seen the movie featuring Gerard Butler and Hillary Swank, but if you follow the whole ‘books are better than the movies’ ideology then definitely give PS I Love You a read. Unlike the movie, where the main characters live in New York City, the book takes place in Dublin adding a little more of the ‘Ireland factor’. It’s a pretty easy read, perfect for on the plane or a vacation pick, and it may cause a few tears but it will definitely inspire you to explore Ireland.
For More Ireland Reading
The five books listed above are just a tiny sampling of the options for books about Ireland. There are hundreds more to be found if you’re willing to do some digging, and some classics you may be surprised to know were actually influenced by Ireland. These include The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis, who was born in Belfast and drew his inspiration for Narnia from Northern Ireland’s scenery. Also, Dracula by Bram Stoker, a Dubliner, used Irish mythology as part of the inspiration behind his famous vampire tale.
You may also want to check out some the books by Ireland’s top authors which, while perhaps not actually about Ireland, are still great reads. Look for titles by James Joyce (including Ulysses and The Dubliners) Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest), and W.B. Yeats (Yeats Poems); all of which are known to be some of Ireland’s top writers.
Do you have any favourite books about Ireland? Let me know in the comments!