I love reading books that transport me to a different country. The ones that make you feel like you are there yourself. Being a quarter Irish I’ve spent a lot of time in Ireland, although not nearly as much as I’d like, so I love books that transport me to the Irish countryside and cities.
If you want to be transported to Ireland from your living room then here are 40 amazing books set in Ireland. From romance, to thrillers, to memoirs, these books will mentally transport you to beautiful Ireland.
- 1 40 Incredible Books Set in Ireland
- 1.1 P.S. I Love You
- 1.2 Round Ireland in Low Gear
- 1.3 Love & Luck
- 1.4 The Girl From Kilkenny
- 1.5 Now A Major Motion Picture
- 1.6 Dublin’s Girl
- 1.7 Haunted Cork
- 1.8 The Green Road
- 1.9 My Father Left Me Ireland
- 1.10 When All Is Said
- 1.11 The Christmas Party
- 1.12 Around Ireland on A Bike
- 1.13 Jewels of The Sun
- 1.14 Sushi For Beginners
- 1.15 Murder In An Irish Village
- 1.16 The Paper Bracelet
- 1.17 Don’t Drink The Bathroom Water
- 1.18 The Dublin Girls
- 1.19 Normal People
- 1.20 Buried in a Bog
- 1.21 This Day in Irish History
- 1.22 It Started With Paris
- 1.23 Darkfever
- 1.24 The Lost Girls of Ireland
- 1.25 Seek The Fair Land
- 1.26 The Cosy Cottage in Ireland
- 1.27 Born in Fire
- 1.28 I Never Knew That About Ireland
- 1.29 White Bones
- 1.30 Growing Up In Dublin
- 1.31 The Heart’s Invisible Furies
- 1.32 Life in Medieval Ireland
- 1.33 In The Woods
- 1.34 The Cats of Ireland
- 1.35 Minding Frankie
- 1.36 The Dublin Railway Murder
- 1.37 Circle of Friends
- 1.38 Big Girl, Small Town
- 1.39 Dublin Folk Tales
- 1.40 The Guest List
- 2 Ireland Inspiration
- 3 Travel Books
40 Incredible Books Set in Ireland
P.S. I Love You
By Cecelia Ahern
Now a major movie, P.S I Love is also an incredible book. While some people spend their whole lives looking for their soulmate, for Holly and Gerry that wasn’t the case. As childhood sweethearts they could literally finish each other’s sentences and no-one could ever imagine them without each other. So when Gerry died, Holly was devastated. But Gerry had left her bundles of notes for each month of her year, each signed ‘PS, I Love You’.
Round Ireland in Low Gear
By Eric Newby
Eric Newby wanted to explore Ireland by mountain bike but wanted to do it while avoiding other tourists. He decided the best time would be during the depths of winter. He even managed to persuade his long suffering wife to accompany him. Although this was mainly to ‘keep him out of trouble’. Through his peculiar style of humour and charm, Newby guides the reader through his adventures and mishaps while he encounters hospitable locals and ferocious dogs.
Love & Luck
By Jenna Evans Welch
Addie has come to Ireland for her aunt’s wedding and is hoping it will help her forget about her broken heart. However, her brother Ian has no plans to let her forget which results in arguments and even a fistfight. But then Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, and she’s finally able to escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism. Suddenly Addie is on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle with cute Rowan. Maybe the guidebook will heal not only her broken heart but also her relationship with her brother.
The Girl From Kilkenny
By Pete Brassett
It’s a sleepy town in Ireland and detectives Hanagan and Molly have been left baffled by a string of murders and a missing girl. The cold blooded murder of an American tourist in his hotel room has the detectives looking for a killer and a motive. But as clues are uncovered, they begin to point to the unimaginable as a story of loss, betrayal and vengeance begins to unfold.
Now A Major Motion Picture
By Cori McCarthy
Iris Thorne wants to follow her own path which is difficult when you’re the granddaughter of a famous author. Now with a major motion picture adaptation of her books in the works, Irish is sure she can say goodbye to her dreams of making her own way in the music industry. So when Iris and her brother are invited to the film set in Ireland, she’s expecting a nightmare trip. But what with the rugged beauty of Ireland and a young, hot cast and an inspiring female director, Iris may be in for a surprise. As the filming falls in jeopardy, Iris starts to question everything she knows about her grandmother and herself. Can making a film for the big screen help Iris see the big picture?
By Elmear Lawlor
Set in 1917 and Veronica, a farm girl from Cavan, is looking for more than just a life peeling potatoes. She manages to persuade her family to let her stay with her aunt and uncle in Dublin to attend secretarial college. After being recruited to type for Eamon De Valera, Veronica finds herself caught up in the danger and intrigue of those fighting for Ireland’s independence from Britain. When she is tasked with earning the affections of Harry, a handsome British soldier, it’s not long before Veronica is conflicted with her loyalty for her country and her feelings for Harry. To choose one, Veronica would have to betray the other.
By Darren Mann
This incredible collection of spine-chilling tales from the archives of the Paranormal database will show you the darker side of Cork. Drawing on historical and contemporary sources, Haunted Cork contains many tales which have never been published before. With stories of unexplained phenomena, poltergeists, ghosts of shipwrecked sailors and of course the story behind the legendary Blarney Stone, this book will delight anyone with an interest in the paranormal.
The Green Road
By Anne Enright
With their mother about to sell the family home, Hanna, Dan, Constance and Emmet return to the west coast of Ireland for one final Christmas at home. But the feast turns into a near painful comedy as a woman who doesn’t quite know how to love her children is forced to confront the weight of family ties.
My Father Left Me Ireland
By Michael Brendon Dougherty
Michael Brendon Dougherty was the child of an Irish man and an Irish-American woman. He was raised in New Jersey by his hard working single mother who gave him a passion for Ireland. Every few years Michael’s father would visit from Dublin but the visits were always short and slowly he rejected his Irish heritage. But years later when Michael found out he would become a father himself, he re-immersed himself in Irish history and traditions to show his daughter where she came from. He started writing letters to his father about what he remembered. Those letters would become this book.
When All Is Said
By Anne Griffin
In a small Irish town, at the bar of a grand hotel sits 84-year-old Maurice Hannigan. As usual he is alone, however, tonight is anything but usual. Over the course of the evening Maurice raises his glass to toast five people who have meant the most to him. His stories share unspoken joy, regret, a secret tragedy kept hidden and a fierce love as the life of one man is powerfully laid bare.
The Christmas Party
By Karen Swan
Declan Lorne is the last remaining knight in Ireland, so when he dies suddenly, an ancient title passes with him. However, his estate on Ireland’s rugged south-west coast is left to his three daughters. To everyone’s surprise, it’s his youngest daughter Willow who gets the castle, not Ottie or Pip. When Willow announces she is selling up, her sisters are pushed to breaking point and it’s each woman for herself. Before moving in, Connor Shaye, the prospective new owner, negotiates throwing a lavish party at the castle just days before Christmas. But soon the secrets start catching up with them, and the daughters are forced to let go of the past so they can step into the future.
Around Ireland on A Bike
By Paul Benjaminse
With moss-covered mountains rising ominous from the mist, bright blue skies over sandy beaches and ancient ruins, Ireland truly is a stunning country to visit. With picturesque routes and breathtaking landscapes, it’s no wonder Ireland is beloved by cyclists. Avid cyclist Paul Benjaminse explores a route around Ireland from Belfast to Dublin via the most spectacular and scenic routes Ireland has to offer. In this book, Paul offers up his expert advice on the best way to see the beautiful parts of Ireland, including detailed routes and maps.
Jewels of The Sun
By Nora Roberts
Jewels of The Sun is the first book in The Irish Trilogy. Jude Murray is not one for dramatic decisions, so even she is surprised when she quits her job in Chicago and heads to the picturesque village of Ardmore. Refreshed by her new relaxed lifestyle, Jude becomes fascinated with local folklore. Local boy Aidan Gallagher happens to be an expert in Ireland’s haunting myths. After years of travelling, he’s returned home to devote himself to the family business. But as he shares his country’s legends with Jude, he can’t help wondering if they could create a passionate history of their own.
Sushi For Beginners
By Marian Keyes
Lisa Edwards is a hot-shot magazine editor destined for high-rise New York when she’s suddenly sent to the delights of low-rise Dublin. Ashling Kennedy is Lisa’s super-organised assistant who is a little too good at worrying. Clodagh Kelly is Ashling’s best friend who has done everything right. She has a husband and beautiful kids, everything that Ashling has ever wanted. She should be happy but isn’t. The three women are on the verge of happiness but even closer to a complete breakdown. The question is, which way will they fall?
Murder In An Irish Village
By Carlene O’Connor
In the small village of Kilbane in County Cork, Natalie’s Bistro has always been a warm and welcoming place. The family bistro is run by Siobhan O’Sullivan, along with her five siblings after the death of their parents. It’s been a rough year since the incident and it’s about to get a lot rougher. One morning as they’re opening the bistro, they discover a man seated at a table with a pair of barber scissors sticking out of his chest. The local garda suspect the O’Sullivans which caused them to be shunned and put their business in danger. It’s up to Siobhan to solve the crime and save the family business.
The Paper Bracelet
By Rachael English
Katy Carroll has kept a box tucked away in her wardrobe for almost fifty years. The box is from her time working as a nurse in a west Ireland home for unwed mothers in the 1970s. Inside the box contains a notebook that holds details of the babies and the young women she met during this period, as well as the babies’ identity bracelets. After the death of her husband Katie makes a decision to reunite the adopted people with their birth mothers. After posting a message on an Internet forum, the replies come rolling in and Katy finds herself returning many of the bracelets to their original owners. But is she prepared for old secrets to be uncovered in her own life?
Don’t Drink The Bathroom Water
By Robin Castle
You may think you know the real Ireland but what is portrayed in film and television is not the real Ireland. There may be gingers aplenty and the people are friendly but Ireland is modern, evolving and influenced by technology. The ability to adapt and evolve may be one of Ireland’s superpowers, but the one kryptonite is the hot water. In Don’t Drink the Bathroom Water Robin shows the real Ireland. The difference between Gaelic, Gaeilge and Gammon, advice on navigating the road, the true meaning of craic, the quirks of Irish homes and much more. Welcome to Ireland! Or as the Irish say, Céad Míle Fáilte. One hundred thousand welcomes.
The Dublin Girls
By Cathy Mansell
Life in Dublin in the 1950s was hard and jobs like gold dust. Nineteen-year-old Nell is training to be a nurse and planning to marry her boyfriend Liam. But after the death of her mother, Nell returns to the family home to support her younger sisters. Nell finds work in a biscuit factory and they scrape by until one sister is admitted to hospital with rheumatic fever while another takes resentment for Nell taking her mothers place and runs away. Then Liam finds work in London but Nell stays behind to be with her sisters. She’s determined that one day the Dublin girls will be reunited and she will be free to follow her heart.
By Sally Rooney
Connell and Marianne may have grown up in the same small town in Western Ireland but that’s where the similarities end. Connell was popular and well liked in school, whereas Marianne was a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation, something life-changing begins. The pair may try to stay apart but find they can’t. Normal People is a story of mutual fascination, friendship and love.
Buried in a Bog
By Sheila Connolly
The first in the County Cork mystery series, Buried in a Bog is set in a small village where buried secrets are about to rise to the surface. When Maura visits the small village her Gran was born, she never expected to get bogged down in a murder mystery. But she ends up taking a job in a local pub to get to know the people who knew her Gran. When Maura realises she may know something about a dead man, and that body’s connected to another, more recent death. After discovering the death is connected to another from almost a century ago, Maura has a sinking feeling she may be getting in over her head.
This Day in Irish History
By Padraic Coffey
With one entry for every day of the year, this book marks the anniversaries of momentous events in Irish history that helped shape the national identity of Ireland. Learn facts like how the hypodermic needle was invented in Tallaght or how Dublin was the first city in the world to have a woman stockbroker, decades before London or New York.
It Started With Paris
By Cathy Kelly
It all started in Paris at the top of the Eiffel Tower. A young man proposes to his girlfriend and in that second everything changes. Not just for the couple, but also for their families waiting for them back in Ireland. Leia’s still hurting from a broken heart but is determined to put on a brave face for the bride. Vonnie is a widow and a cake-maker who is ready to let love back into her life although someone seems determined to stop it. And head teacher Grace finds the impending wedding of her son means having to spend more time with her ex-husband.
By Karen Marie Moning
MacKayla had a good life. She had a decent job, great friends and a car that only breaks down every other week. Or at least she thought so until something extraordinary happened. When her sister is murdered, the only clue is a cryptic message on Mac’s phone. Her quest sees her heading to Ireland to find her sister’s killer. But while there she discovers a realm full of supernatural beings. Can she discover what happened to her sister and stay alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she never knew she possessed.
The Lost Girls of Ireland
By Susanne O’Leary
After losing everything, Lydia Butler heads to the run-down cottage she inherited from her Great Aunt at the picturesque beach of Wild Rose Bay. Lydia didn’t want to hide away in a tiny Irish village, but it was the only place to take her daughter Sunny to avoid the gossip in Dublin. The eccentric residents are quick to introduce themselves when Lydia arrives which helps her feel less alone. Especially when she is charmed by the mysterious man next door. Has she finally found people who will truly accept her or will the truth force her to leave again?
Seek The Fair Land
By Walter Macken
The first in a trilogy following the adventures of several generations of one Irish family. It’s 1649 and the English soldiers are trampling through the Irish homesteads, leaving behind them a trail of destruction. A few brave men set out to see a ‘fair land’ over the brow of the hill. One of the men is Dominick MacMahon, a man whose wife was killed in the bloody massacre of Drogheda. Alongside him is his son and daughter and a wounded priest, Father Sebastian. They journey in search of peace and freedom while being relentlessly pursued by Coote, the Cromwellian ruler of Connaught.
The Cosy Cottage in Ireland
By Julie Caplin
Hannah Campbell is a talented lawyer who wants a change from her workaholic life in Manchester. She books herself a place at the world-renowned Killorgally Cookery School in County Kerry to get away from it all. But on her first night in Ireland, while exploring Dublin, she falls for the charm of a handsome stranger, Connor. After arriving at the postcard-pretty cottage in Killogally that will be home for the next six weeks, she quickly discovers that what happens in Dublin doesn’t quite stay in Dublin. And to make matters worse, the cookery school throws Hannah and Conor together again.
Born in Fire
By Nora Roberts
Maggie and Brianna may be sisters but they are very different people. Bri is calm, gentle and able to weather any storm. Even the constant criticism they both receive from their mother. Their mother’s bitterness is a mystery until secrets from the past start to reveal themselves. Maggie on the other hand is a passionate and fiery artist whose temper is as bold as her art. It’s Maggie’s skill as a glass blower that brings international gallery owner Rogan to her small cottage in County Clare. His interest in her is purely professional until their personalities clash and sparks begin to fly. As her career takes off, can Maggie cope with the heat of the spotlight and feelings for Rogan she would rather ignore?
I Never Knew That About Ireland
By Christopher Winn
Packed full of myths and legends, Christopher Winn takes the reader on a fascinating journey around Ireland, to discover the tales buried deep in Irish history. Discover where people and ideas were born, where dreams were inspired and where the unforgettable figures of Ireland’s past now slumber. These irresistible facts will give you a captivating insight into the Irish and the ideas and events that have shaped the individual identity of every place you visit. It’s sure to have you exclaiming “Well, I never knew that!”
By Graham Masterton
White Bones is the first book in the Katie Maguire series. On a wet, November morning on a desolate farm, the dismembered bones of eleven women are found. Their skeletons bear the marks of a meticulous butcher dating back from 1915. But then a young woman goes missing and her remains are discovered on the same farm, and the bones have been carefully stripped away and arranged in an arcane pattern. With the present crime echoing the past, it’s up to D.S. Katie Maguire to solve a decades-old muder before this terrifying killer can strike again.
Growing Up In Dublin
By John Mullee
In this book, the author takes you on a journey as he reflects on his childhood and adolescence in Dublin. Through twenty-six unconnected stories, illustrated with photos and his own cartoons, John reflects on life in Dublin in the 1950s. Then at twenty-two, wanderlust compels him to take the emigrant boat. Returning to Dublin for university, John now pays tribute to the city that mothered him.
The Heart’s Invisible Furies
By John Boyne
Cyril Avery was adopted as a baby and his parent’s made sure to remind him that he wasn’t a real Avery. With a family that treats him more as a curious pet than a beloved son, it’s no wonder he feels disconnected. As a young adult Cyril decides to embark on a quest to find himself in the real world. Misguided and often in the wrong place at the wrong time, life is a challenge but Cyril is determined to find the courage to be himself. In doing so, he comes across Catherine, a young pregnant woman also finding herself at only sixteen. Cyril is determined to find a place in the world they belong.
Life in Medieval Ireland
By Finbar Dwyer
A fascinating historical account of life in medieval Ireland as lived by the ordinary people rather than the small elite of nobles and warriors you usually read about. Against the backdrop of what was often a violent and chaotic period of history, Dwyer explores the personal stories of those whose recollections have been preserved. With famines, plagues, witch trails and warfare, life in medieval Ireland was seldom dull.
In The Woods
By Tana French
When he was just twelve years old, Adam Ryan went playing in the woods with his two friends, who he never saw again. Their bodies were never found and Adam himself was discovered with his back pressed against an oak tree and his shoes filled with blood. He had no memory of what happened. Twenty years later he returns as a detective with a new name. A little girl’s body is found at the same site of the old tragedy and Rob is drawn back into the mystery. Knowing he’ll be thrown off the case if his history is revealed, Rob tries to keep everything quiet in the hope of solving the twenty-year-old mystery of the woods.
The Cats of Ireland
By Seamus Mullarkey
The perfect book for cat lovers. Seamus Mullarkey has been collecting fun facts and tantalizing tidbits all about the cats of Ireland. Learn which luxury Irish hotel gives plain old kitties the 5-star treatment, or how in medieval times any Irish cat was worth three times as much as a cow. Discover things like how catnip farming could be the future of Irish agriculture or the best Irish cat names for your new kitty. With Irish cat stories, historical Irish trivia and fun feline facts from Ireland, you are sure to be entertained.
By Maeve Binchy
Frankie was born into an unusual family. His mother is desperate to find someone to take care of her child and she doesn’t have much time to find them. Noel doesn’t seem to be the most promising of fathers but he could be Frankie’s best hope. As for Lisa, if she’s prepared to give up everything for the man she loves, surely he’s going to love her back? And Moira, she’s having none of it. She knows what’s right and has the power to change the course of Frankie’s life. But is Moira hiding secrets of her own?
The Dublin Railway Murder
By Thomas Morris
It’s 1856 in Dublin and George Little, the chief cashier of the Broadstone railway terminus has been found dead beneath his desk. He’s been savagely beaten and almost severed. There is no sign of a murder weapon and the office door is locked from the inside. What’s weird is that thousands of pounds worth of gold and silver have been left untouched. Ireland’s most experienced detective, Augustus Guy, teams up with Dublin’s leading lawyer to investigate the murder. But the mystery defies all explanation and five suspects are arrested and then released with no progress until a local woman comes forward claiming to know the murderer.
Circle of Friends
By Maeve Binchy
Benny Hogan and Eve Malone have been best friends for years, growing up in sleepy Knockglen. For years they dreamt of going to university in Dublin to have their freedom. On their first day the inseparable pair are thrown together with fellow students Nan Mahon and Jack Foley. But soon trouble starts brewing in the new circle of friends as they find passion and tragedy.
Big Girl, Small Town
By Michelle Gallen
Other people find Majella odd but she prefers to keep to herself anyway. She doesn’t like gossip or knowing her neighbours’ business. But suddenly everyone in her small town wants to know all about hers. Since her dad’s disappearance, Majella has tried to live a quiet life with her alcoholic mother. She has no friends or boyfriend and prefers life that way. After her grandmother dies, her safe predictable life is shattered and Majella comes to realise that there might just be more to life. From this tragedy, she might have one chance to escape her life.
Dublin Folk Tales
By Brendan Nolan
To know Dublin is to know the characters, stories and legends of the city. Brendan Nolan is a professional storyteller who has been recording these tales for decades. The real stories that have been passed on from generation to generation. Like the story of ‘Bang Bang’ Dudley, who roamed the streets of Dublin shooting anyone who caught his eye. Or ‘Lugs’ Brannigan, the city’s most famous detective.
The Guest List
By Lucy Foley
On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather for the wedding of the year. The marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater. But the wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. A storm unleashes its fury on the island and everyone is trapped. All the guests have a secret and they all have a motive. Thirteen guests arrived but which guest won’t leave the wedding alive?
There you have it, 40 incredible books set in Ireland to help inspire your next trip. Which will you read first? Any books not on the list that you love? Let me know in the comments below
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