Every year on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated to observe the death of St. Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day has evolved to celebrate all things Irish culture: from the food, drinks, music, and all things green.
These books take place in Ireland or are written by Irish authors. Enjoy and celebrate responsibly!
The Library at the Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy
Local librarian Hanna Casey is wondering where it all went wrong. Driving her mobile library van through Finfarran’s farms and villages, she tries not to think of the London life she abandoned when she left her cheating husband. Or that she’s now stuck in her crotchety mum’s spare bedroom. With her daughter Jazz travelling the world and her relationship with her mother growing increasingly fraught, Hanna decides to reclaim her independence. When the threatened closure of her library puts her plans in jeopardy, she finds herself leading a battle to restore the heart and soul of the fragmented community. Will she also find the new life she’s been searching for?
Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe
In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Keefe’s mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath uses the McConville case as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by a violent guerrilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. Interviewing people on both sides of the conflict, Keefe transforms the tragic damage and waste of the era into a searing, utterly gripping saga.
When All is Said by Anne Griffin
At the bar of a grand hotel in a small Irish town sits 84-year-old Maurice Hannigan. He’s alone, as usual — though tonight is anything but. Pull up a stool and charge your glass, because Maurice is finally ready to tell his story. Over the course of this evening, he will raise five toasts to the five people who have meant the most to him. Through these stories – of unspoken joy and regret, a secret tragedy kept hidden, a fierce love that never found its voice – the life of one man will be powerful and poignantly laid bare. Beautifully heart-warming and powerfully felt, the voice of Maurice Hannigan will stay with you long after all is said and done.
Transatlantic by Colum McCann
Newfoundland, 1919. Two aviators set course for Ireland as they attempt the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
Dublin, 1845 and ’46. Frederick Douglass finds the Irish people sympathetic to the abolitionist cause–despite the fact that, as famine ravages the countryside, the poor suffer from hardships that are astonishing even to an American slave.
New York, 1998. Leaving behind a young wife and newborn child, Senator George Mitchell departs for Belfast, where it has fallen to him to shepherd Northern Ireland’s notoriously bitter and volatile peace talks to an uncertain conclusion.
In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad #1) by Tana French
After a 12-year-old Irish lad and his two pals fail to return from a day in the woods, searchers find only the terrified sixth grader-with blood-filled shoes and no memory of what happened. Now 32, the tragedy’s sole survivor Rob Ryan is a detective on Dublin’s Murder Squad. A current investigation takes Rob to the exact site of his childhood trauma. With the present case chillingly similar to his 20-year-old nightmare, Rob hopes to unlock the shrouded secrets of his past.
The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead. At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from–and over his many years, will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country, and much more.
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?
An Irish Country Village by Patrick Taylor
Young Doctor Barry Laverty has only just begun his assistantship under his eccentric mentor, Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly, but he already feels right at home in Ballybucklebo. When the sudden death of a patient casts a cloud over Barry’s reputation, his chances of establishing himself in the village are endangered, especially since the grieving widow is threatening a lawsuit. While he anxiously waits for the postmortem results that he prays will exonerate him, Barry must regain the trust of the gossipy Ulster village, one patient at a time.
Actress by Anne Enright
Katherine O’Dell is an Irish theater legend. As her daughter, Norah, retraces her mother’s celebrated career and bohemian life, she delves into long-kept secrets. Every moment of Katherine’s life is a performance, with young Norah standing in the wings. But the mother-daughter romance cannot survive Katherine’s past or the world’s damage. With age, alcohol, and dimming stardom, Katherine’s grip on reality grows fitful. Fueled by a proud and long-simmering rage, she commits a bizarre crime.As Norah’s role gradually changes to Katherine’s protector, caregiver, and finally legacy-keeper, she revisits her mother’s life of fiercely kept secrets; and Norah reveals in turn the secrets of her own sexual and emotional coming-of-age story.
Snow by John Banville
Detective Inspector St. John Strafford has been summoned to County Wexford to investigate a murder. A parish priest has been found dead in Ballyglass House, the family seat of the aristocratic, secretive Osborne family. The year is 1957 and the Catholic Church rules Ireland with an iron fist. Strafford—flinty, visibly Protestant, and determined to identify the murderer—faces obstruction at every turn, from the heavily accumulating snow to the culture of silence in this tight-knit community. When his own deputy goes missing, Strafford must work to unravel the ever-expanding mystery before the community’s secrets, like the snowfall itself, threatens to obliterate everything.
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Connell and Marianne grew up in the same small town, but the similarities end there. At school, Connell is popular and well liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation–awkward but electrifying–something life changing begins. A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. And as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
The Irish Midlands, 1859. An English nurse, Lib Wright, is summoned to a tiny village to observe what some are claiming as a medical anomaly or a miracle – a girl said to have survived without food for months. Tourists have flocked to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O’Donnell, and a journalist has come down to cover the sensation. The Wonder is a tale of two strangers who transform each other’s lives, a psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil.
The Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutherfurd
A sweeping panorama steeped in the tragedy and glory that is Ireland, epitomizes the power and richness of Rutherford’s storytelling magic. The saga begins in tribal, pre-Christian Ireland during the reign of the fierce and mighty High kings at Tara, with the fate of two lovers, the princely Conall and the ravishing Deirdre, whose travails cleverly echo the ancient Celtic legend of Cuchulainn.