Books About Ireland (That You Should Read Before Visiting)

A unique way to get to know a country aside from researching or actually visiting it is through the books that have been written about it. It’s always a treat reading something that’s not set in some vague or fictional city, town or country — but in a place that actually exists.

It’s such a delight to find that many books have been written about or set in Ireland, especially if you’re planning to visit or already there exploring. It is like a different perspective or another introduction.

books about ireland

Ireland Travel Guides contains affiliate links all throughout the site. If you choose to purchase a product or book services through our affiliate links, this earns us a commission at no extra cost to you. For our complete disclosure, click here

Here are some of those books about Ireland that you can maybe read if you’re just curious, as a companion on the plane or in between exploring the country while you’re there. 

Books About Ireland (That You Should Read Before Visiting)

1. Beatlebone

by Kevin Barry


A book about John Lennon’s imagined visit to Clew Bay and Achill in the 1970s, this beautifully written and engaging book is a must-read for those going to Ireland for the first time.

The story captures the strangeness of the Emerald Iske’s Western part and stays true to what you’d actually see in Mayo and its people then and now. Evocative and written in a glorious language, it is something that truly captures the beauty of Ireland’s west coast, and will make you want to go there before you even finish the book. 

To buy the book, click here

2. Young Skins 

by Colin Barrett


Colin Barrett&s short story collection depicts post-millennium small-town life, gritty and raw, with its characters that seem to jump from the pages. They’re real, you know them, you’ve met them and as their stories unfold you see the face of Ireland and its people that speaks to you wherever in the world you’re from.

As one reviewer put it, if you ever want to read about Ireland’s very soul, this is the book. 

To buy the book, click here. 

‪3. Dubliners‬

‪by James Joyce, 1914‬


‪No list of books about Ireland is complete without a title from one of its greatest writers, James Joyce. If you ever had to read one of his novels in high school and didn’t quite get a lot of it, worry not, this isn’t like any of his required readings at all.

RELATED READ:  The Celtic Triskele: History and Meaning

This is a compilation of fifteen stories set at the turn of the last century. Each of the stories provides readers a closer look at the life of Dubliners, each with a distinct voice and a different story. As diverse as these characters and images though, when put together, they seem to capture a portrait of a nation. ‬

To buy the book, click here. 

‪4. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man‬

‪by James Joyce, 1916‬


‪Probably one of James Joyce’s most ‘readable’ and truly timeless work, this novel is also sort of a loose biography of the great Irish writer. This is part coming of age, part autobiography and a good deal of images and sentiments that resonates until today.

Set in Ireland at the start of the 20th century, this is a masterful depiction of a young artist’s awakening, rebellion, and gradual independence. This is a side of Ireland and it’s the identity that speaks to anyone who creates or simply searching for their voice and meaning. ‬

To buy the book, click here. 

‪5. The Princes of Ireland (The Dublin Saga 1/2)

‪by Edward Rutherfurd, 2003‬


‪A must-read for anyone who’s fascinated about the history of Ireland and its people’s Celtic origins, this two-part epic saga spans eleven centuries. This is a true work of art that’s compellingly written and showcases important historical research.

It is a thrilling story that has an impressive amount of interesting characters such as chieftains, druids, farmwives, monks, noblewomen, laborers smugglers, and rebels.

The story also has some of the most recognizable events in history like the culture of pagan Ireland; the mission of Saint Patrick; the arrival of the Vikings; the making of the Book of Kells and the tricks of Henry II. It is fiction that’ll probably make you rechecking your knowledge of Ireland’s history and a definite must-read. ‬

To buy the book, click here. 

‪6. Circle of Friends‬

‪by Maeve Binchy, 1990‬


‪Another masterful storytelling, this one from the late great Maeve Binchy, is the coming of age story, Circle of Friends. You may have come across the film version on TV or streaming sites, and that was a good adaptation but nothing compares to the emotions that this book awakens as you follow the story of Benny and Eve.

From the sleepy small town Knockglen to university life in Dublin. It’s the kind of book you read on long haul flights or train rides, or while waiting for someone or something. It is beautifully written and shows Irish small town and city life through the eyes of its young characters. ‬

RELATED READ:  11 Best Pubs in Dingle, County Kerry

To buy the book, click here. 

‪7. P.S. I Love You‬

‪by Cecelia Ahern, 2003‬


‪Also from an amazing Irish writer, this is a light heartwarming read that also showcases stunning imagery of Ireland through its characters and settings. This one also has a film adaptation, but the book has so much in it that it never made it in the film.

Reading the book, you’ll be in the same journey as Holly as she discovers more of the world around her even after a painful loss, set in against the backdrop of scenic Ireland. ‬

To buy the book, click here. 

8. ‪The Yellow House‬

‪by Patricia Falvey, 2009‬


‪An intricate story that has done many layers that you peel off the chapter by chapter, this is mostly set in Northern Ireland right at the start of the first world war. At the center of the story is a woman with a complicated family history, and a dream she’s determined to work hard for.

A woman who’s conflicted by her decisions, and the position she finds herself in — torn between two men, each pulling her to one extreme. This is an exciting read one that you should check out if you’re interested in another perspective of Ireland set against the back of passion and politics. ‬

To buy the book, click here. 

9. ‪In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad 1/6)‬

‪by Tana French, 2007‬


‪This is the first book from a compelling and thrilling six-part Dublin Murder Squad series written by another great Irish writer, Tana French. Set in Dublin and its suburbs, the story follows a new case given to detectives Rob and Cassie, which in turn opens old wounds — that of Rob’s shadowy past.

This is amazingly written, with complicated yet lovable characters and stunning imagery that will make you feel as if you’re also searching through the woods along with the detectives, looking for more clues. ‬

To buy the book, click here. 


  1. Lober says

    Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing a little research on that. Will read these books on Ireland thanks!

  2. Fife says

    This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post. These books about Ireland looks great!

  3. Artley says

    I am not sure where you are getting your info, but great topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more. Thanks for excellent information I was looking for books on the history of ireland.

  4. Hessel Tine says

    Someone necessarily assist to make critically articles I would state. This is the very first time I frequented your website page and thus far? I amazed with the analysis you made to create books on Ireland. Great process!

  5. Baki Os says

    I simply wanted to say thanks again. I’m not certain the things I would’ve carried out in the absence of these points provided by you regarding books set in Ireland. It was before a real daunting difficulty in my view, nevertheless considering the very skilled style you treated the issue took me to jump with fulfillment. Extremely grateful for the advice and then expect you comprehend what a great job that you’re putting in training the rest all through your site. Most likely you’ve never met all of us.

  6. Stan says

    Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your weblog and in accession capital to assert that I acquire actually enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I’ll be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently quickly. Books about Ireland is awesome article.

  7. Antonelli says

    Thanks for another informative blog. We’re looking for best books about Ireland to read while in quarantine.

  8. Click This Link says

    I have been reading out many of your stories and i can state clever stuff. Thanks for these book ideas for Ireland

  9. Hillwig says

    Very good written information about Ireland books. It will be valuable to anybody who employess it, as well as yours truly :). Keep up the good work – for sure i will check out more posts.

  10. Hasper says

    Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon! Are these books about Ireland in Amazon?

  11. Frisina says

    Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Very useful info specifically these books about Ireland 🙂 I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this particular info for a long time. Thank you and good luck.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2021 Ireland Travel Guides · Theme by 17th Avenue

Copyright © 2021 · Peony on Genesis Framework · WordPress · Log in