Home/The Best of Irish

Our booksellers have picked out their favourite Irish books and Irish writing, so do have a browse of our Irish picks here and discover some new books from “the land of saints and scholars”… And remember – we offer Free Postage in ROI on orders over €30 – just choose the Free Postage option at checkout.

  • *50% OFF SALE TITLE - WAS €18.10, NOW €9.05* In 1979 Bridget Doyle has one goal left in life: for her family to produce the very first Irish pope. Fired up by John Paul II's appearance in Phoenix Park, she sprinkles Papal-blessed holy water on the marital bed of her son and daughter-in-law, and leaves them to get on with things. But nine months later her daughter-in-law dies in childbirth and Granny Doyle is left bringing up four grandchildren: five-year-old Peg, and baby triplets Damien, Rosie and John Paul. Thirty years later, it seems unlikely any of Granny Doyle's grandchildren are going to fulfil her hopes. Damien is trying to work up the courage to tell her that he's gay. Rosie is a dreamy blue-haired rebel who wants to save the planet and has little time for popes. And irrepressible John Paul is a chancer and a charmer and the undisputed apple of his Granny's eye - but he's not exactly what you'd call Pontiff material. None of the triplets have much contact with their big sister Peg, who lives over 3,000 miles away in New York City, and has been a forbidden topic of conversation ever since she ran away from home as a teenager. But that's about to change. Signed 1st Edition Hardback. Includes '1' in numerical sequence on title page. ISBN 9780008295394
  • *50% OFF SALE TITLE - WAS €21.10, NOW €10.55*

    SIGNED LIMITED 1ST EDITION HARDBACK

    A New Signed 1st Edition 1st Printing Hardback with 1 included on the title page number line - signed for the Gutter Bookshop on 3rd November 2017. 'Motherhood, nurture and violence - these are the themes of Elske Rahill's remarkable first collection, In White Ink. Rahill brings to life the psychological and physical reality of mothering, pregnancy and childbirth in ways that few others writers have attempted. The precision of Rahill's prose, the stoicism of her unflinching narrative gaze, reveal characters caught up in violently emotional situations. The version of motherhood found here is painful. Yet its endurance, as nature's greatest force, is brilliantly and compassionately rendered.' ISBN 9781786691040
  • *50% OFF SALE TITLE - WAS €19.00, NOW €9.50* A New Signed 1st Edition Hardback of 'Restless Souls' by Dan Sheehan. Signed during an author visit to the Gutter Bookshop. Tom, Karl and Baz grew up together in down-on-its-luck Dublin. Friends since childhood, their lives diverged when Tom left home to be a war correspondent. Now, after three years embedded in the Siege of Sarajevo, he returns a haunted shell of the lad who went away. Karl and Baz have no idea what they're doing but they are determined to see him through the darkness, even if it means travelling halfway around the world. Hearing about an unlikely cure - an experimental clinic called Restless Souls - they embark on a road trip across California. But as they try to save Tom from his memories, they must confront their own - of what happened to their childhood friend Gabriel. And in doing so, they must ask how their boisterous teenage souls became weighed down, and why life got so damn complicated and sad. 'It never stops being a page-turner...a great debut' Colum McCann' ISBN 9781474605854
  • *50% OFF SALE TITLE – WAS €22.50, NOW €11.25.* SIGNED 1ST EDITION HARDBACK A New Signed 1st Edition 1st Printing Hardback with '1' on the title page - signed by the author for The Gutter Bookshop on publication in April 2019. A startling and gripping novel, Suzy, Suzy follows a teenage girl trying to understand the chaos of her family life. Suzy lives in a dysfunctional household. She can't stand her mother; her father is keeping secrets; and her brother only seems to egg on their parents' erratic and unpredictable behaviour. Alongside her friends, Suzy finds herself drawn into the downward spiral of her parents' relationship, and as a result is drawn into the centre of a mystery surrounding a murder. Forced to make impossible choices, Suzy must navigate the increasingly disturbing antics of her family and the oddities of the mystery she finds herself involved in, while also trying to survive the horrors of secondary school. Narrated by a troubled young woman, the novel weaves a tale of secrets, lies and betrayal in the pressure cooker of her formative years. William Wall is an underrated Irish master with a powerful, distinctive writing style, and an uncanny ability to create astonishingly complex and well-realised female protagonists. ISBN 9781788545501
  • *50% OFF SALE TITLE – WAS €20.00, NOW €10.00.* A New Signed 1st Edition Hardback of The Black Snow by Paul Lynch. Signed during an author visit to the Gutter Bookshop. In the spring of 1945, farm-worker Matthew Peoples runs into a burning byre and does not come out alive. The farm's owner, Barnabas Kane, can only look on as his friend dies and all 43 of his cattle are destroyed in the blaze. Following the disaster, the bull-headed and proudly self-sufficient Barnabas is forced to reach out to the farming community for assistance. But resentment simmers over Matthew Peoples' death, and Barnabas and his family begin to believe their efforts at recovery are being sabotaged. Barnabas is determined to hold firm. Yet his son Billy struggles under the weight of a terrible secret, and his wife Eskra is suffocated by the uncertainty surrounding their future. And as Barnabas fights ever harder for what is rightfully his, his loved ones are drawn ever closer to a fate that should never have been theirs. In The Black Snow, Paul Lynch takes the pastoral novel and - with the calmest of hands - tears it apart. With beautiful, haunting prose, Lynch illuminates what it means to be alive during crisis, and puts to the test our deepest certainties about humankind. ISBN 9781782062042
  • *50% OFF SALE TITLE - WAS €18.70, NOW €9.35*

    SIGNED LIMITED 1ST EDITION HARDBACK

    A New Signed 1st Edition Hardback - signed during an author visit to the Gutter Bookshop on 11th April 2017. The second novel from the author of the Baileys Prize-winning The Glorious Heresies Like all twenty-year-olds, Ryan Cusack is trying to get his head around who he is. This is not a good time for his boss to exploit his dual heritage by opening a new black market route from Italy to Ireland. It is certainly not a good time for his adored girlfriend to decide he's irreparably corrupted. And he really wishes he hadn't accidentally caught the eye of an ornery grandmother who fancies herself his saviour. There may be a way clear of the chaos in the business proposals of music promoter Colm and in the attention of the charming, impulsive Natalie. But now that his boss's ambitions have rattled the city, Ryan is about to find out what he's made of, and it might be that chaos is in his blood. ISBN 9781444798890
  • Hilary Bradt's classic account of a journey through Ireland on horseback in the 1980s published for the first time in a single volume. In 1984, Hilary Bradt achieved an ambition from her pony-mad childhood to undertake a long-distance ride. This warm, funny and heart-wrenching account centres on the growing bond between the author and her Connemara ponies, Mollie and Peggy. Using her experience of horsepacking in Peru with saddlebags imported from America, she and Mollie set forth with no decent maps, and only a vague idea of the route. The many challenges and obstacles they face include impassable rivers, bogs, stone walls, and the author's own shyness. The book is also a portrait of a vanished rural Ireland before the Celtic Tiger era, built up from descriptions and conversations with local people. The journey takes Bradt and her ponies a thousand miles south from county Mayo, around the peninsulas of Kerry and Cork, and inland towards Waterford. 'I've never tried hitchhiking with a horse before,' comments the author, faced with the challenge of getting across the River Shannon. 'It's not easy!' Originally published in two separate volumes, Connemara Mollie and Dingle Peggy, this brand new edition brings the whole story together for the first time, with new photographs and material. ISBN 9781784778255
  • Rage. That's the feeling engulfing the car as Ellen's mother swerves over to the hard-shoulder and orders her daughter out onto the roadside. Ignoring the protests of her other children, she accelerates away, leaving Ellen standing on the gravel verge in her school pinafore and knee socks as the light fades. What would you do as you watch your little sister getting smaller in the rear view window? How far would you be willing to go to help her? The Gallagher children are going to find out. This moment is the beginning of a summer that will change everything. ISBN 9780571357970
  • The Dictionary of Hiberno-English is the leading reference book on Hiberno-English - the form of English commonly spoken in Ireland. It connects the spoken and the written language, and is a unique national dictionary that bears witness to Irish history, struggles and the creative identities found in Ireland. Reflecting the social, political, religious and financial changes of people's ever-evolving lives, it contains words and expressions not usually seen in a dictionary, such as 'kibosh', 'smithereens', 'Peggy's Leg', 'hames', 'yoke', 'blaa', 'banjax' and 'luban'. It is a celebration of an irrepressible gift for the creative, expressive and reckless manipulation of the English language. This updated edition includes a new introduction by Blindboy Boatclub. ISBN 9780717190201
  • A true original. In this stunningly unusual prose debut, Doireann Ni Ghriofa sculpts essay and autofiction to explore inner life and the deep connection felt between two writers centuries apart. In the 1700s, an Irish noblewoman, on discovering her husband has been murdered, drinks handfuls of his blood and composes an extraordinary poem. In the present day, a young mother narrowly avoids tragedy. On encountering the poem, she becomes obsessed with its parallels with her own life, and sets out to track down the rest of the story. A devastating and timeless tale about one woman freeing her voice by reaching into the past and finding another's. ISBN 9781916434264
  • Eimear McBride's award-winning debut novel tells the story of a young woman's relationship with her brother, and the long shadow cast by his childhood brain tumour. It is a shocking and intimate insight into the thoughts, feelings and chaotic sexuality of a vulnerable and isolated protagonist. To read A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing is to plunge inside its narrator's head, experiencing her world at first hand. This isn't always comfortable - but it is always a revelation. ISBN 9780571317165
  • A GARDA, A FORCED ADOPTION, A FIGHT FOR JUSTICE. In 1984, Majella Moynihan was a fresh-faced young garda recruit when she gave birth to a baby boy. Charged with breaching An Garda Siochana's disciplinary rules - for having premarital sex with another guard, becoming pregnant, and having a child - she was pressured to give up her baby for adoption, or face dismissal. It forced her into a decision that would have devastating impacts on her life. Majella left the force in 1998 after many difficult years and, in 2019, following an RTE documentary on her case, she received an apology from the Garda Commissioner and Minister for Justice for the ordeal she endured as a young garda. Here, for the first time, she tells the full story. From an institutional childhood after the death of her mother when she was a baby, to realising her vocation of becoming a guard only to confront the reality of a police culture steeped in misogyny and prejudice, A Guarded Life is both a courageous personal account of hope and resilience in the darkest times, and a striking reflection on womanhood and autonomy in modern Ireland. ISBN 9781529335996
  • Jonathan Bardon covers all the obvious things: the invasions, battles, development of towns and cities, the Reformation, the Georgian era, the Famine, rebellions and resistance, the difference of Ulster, partition, the twentieth century. What makes his book so valuable, however, are the quirky subjects he chooses to illustrate how history really works: the great winter freeze of 1740 and the famine that followed; crime and duelling; an emigrant voyage; evictions. These episodes get behind the historical headlines to give a glimpse of past realities that might otherwise be lost to view. The author has retained the original episodic structure of the radio programmes. The result is a marvellous mosaic of the Irish past, delivered with clarity and narrative skill. ISBN 9780717146499
  • You've heard the old proverb about ambition, that it's like setting a ladder to the sky. It can lead to a long and painful fall. If you look hard enough, you will find stories pretty much anywhere. They don't even have to be your own. Or so would-be-novelist Maurice Swift decides early on in his career. A chance encounter in a Berlin hotel with celebrated author Erich Ackerman gives Maurice an opportunity. For Erich is lonely, and he has a story to tell; whether or not he should is another matter. Once Maurice has made his name, he finds himself in need of a fresh idea. He doesn't care where he finds it, as long as it helps him rise to the top. Stories will make him famous, but they will also make him beg, borrow and steal. They may even make him do worse. This is a novel about ambition. ISBN 9781784161019
  • This title is currently reprinting. We expect to receive more stock in Late November. Please only order if you are happy to wait. A Lick and a Promise is the debut poetry collection of one of Ireland's most famed female musicians, Imelda May. Following the release of her first poetry EP Slip Of The Tongue in 2020, this collection contains 100 poems, including two each from both her father and young daughter. Using the themes of Breast, Below, Blood, Eyes, Tongue and Temple, the poems are written in May's absorbing, visceral style and encapsulate heartbreak, sex, nature and womanhood. Included in the collection is 'You Don't Get to be Racist and Irish', the powerful poem which was written in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and was recently used by Rethink Ireland campaign. This hardback edition features a bespoke cover design illustration on cloth with foil detailing and a page finder ribbon. Pen and ink drawings by Imelda accompany selected poems. ISBN 9780571541935
  • When journalist Keelin Shanley passed away in February aged 51, it was hard to grasp that someone so filled with life was gone. But a light so bright never really goes out, especially since, in her last few months, Keelin wrote a fantastic record of her life. Charting the twists and turns of both a remarkable career as an investigative journalist and a lengthy battle with cancer, in A Light That Never Goes Out Keelin reveals with real honesty what it's like to keep living your life and career - right up to becoming a co-anchor of RTE's Six One News - while dealing with the challenges of cancer treatment. Written with the help of Alison Walsh and completed posthumously by Keelin's husband Conor Ferguson, A Light That Never Goes Out is a remarkable story of courage and resilience and a memorable reflection on how to live well, no matter what you're facing. ISBN 9780717189472
  • Struggling to cope with urban life - and with life in general - Frankie, a twenty-something artist, retreats to the rural bungalow on 'turbine hill' that has been vacant since her grandmother's death three years earlier. It is in this space, surrounded by nature, that she hopes to regain her footing in art and life. She spends her days pretending to read, half-listening to the radio, failing to muster the energy needed to leave the safety of her haven. Her family come and go, until they don't and she is left alone to contemplate the path that led her here, and the smell of the carpet that started it all. Finding little comfort in human interaction, Frankie turns her camera lens on the natural world and its reassuring cycle of life and death. What emerges is a profound meditation on the interconnectedness of wilderness, art and individual experience, and a powerful exploration of human frailty.. ISBN 9780099592754
  • Out of stock
    LIMITED EDITION SIGNED HARDBACK This hardback edition of Sara Baume's 'A Line Made By Walking' is limited to 200 copies and will not be sold in shops. 25-year-old Frankie is living in Dublin and working part-time in a public gallery. But increasingly anxious, she abruptly quits her bedsit to live in her deceased grandmother's creaking house in rural Ireland, close to her family. With an artist's gift for observation, Frankie recounts the beauty and the obliteration of the world as the seasons change around her, from roadkill to kitchen curios, all the while struggling to understand her place in it. This tour-de-force follow-up to 'Spill Simmer Falter Wither' is a celebration of the extraordinary in the everyday, and Baume's prose elevates the ordinary and finds inspiration in the strange. ISBN 9780993459221
  • ... a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food...' Swift's devastating short satire on how to solve a famine. Jonathan Swift (1667-1745). Swift's works available in Penguin Classics are Gulliver's Travels and A Modest Proposal and Other Writings ISBN 9780141398181
  • Lyrical and blackly comic, A Provincial Death is a startlingly original meditation on solitude and perseverance, the consolations of art and philosophy, and the capacity of human beings to endure catastrophe. It is a hot, summer morning and Smyth, a struggling writer and academic, wakes to discover he is stranded alone on a rock in the Irish Sea. As he clings on in hope of salvation, he is assailed by broken memories and the failures of his past. Fragmented images of the previous day come to him: a mysterious research institute, a dead forest, a rickety boat captained by a gruff old fisherman, an eccentric academic named McGovern who believed that the Moon was about to crash into the Earth, destroying everything. Confused, weary and sore, and with the tide rising inexorably and strange sea creatures circling, Smyth tries to make sense of an arbitrary world in a desperate bid for survival. Published 5th November 2021 - Order Now. ISBN 9781912868650
  • An old man looks into the fearful eyes of a burglar left to guard him while his brother is beaten; an Irish priest in a war-torn Syrian town teaches its young men the art of hurling; the driver of a car which crashed, killing a teenage girl, forges a connection with the girl's mother; a squad of broken friends assemble to take revenge on a rapist; a young man sets off on his morning run, reflecting on the ruins of his relationship, but all is not as it seems. Donal Ryan's short stories pick up where his acclaimed novels The Spinning Heart and The Thing About December left off, dealing with the human cost of loneliness, isolation and displacement. Sometimes this is present in the ordinary, the mundane; sometimes it is triggered by a fateful encounter or a tragic decision. At the heart of these stories, crucially, is how people are drawn to each other and cling on to love, often in desperate circumstances. In haunting and often startling prose, Donal Ryan has captured the brutal beauty of the human heart in all its hopes and failings. ISBN 9781784160241
  • Born in the Dublin slums of 1901, his father a one-legged whorehouse bouncer and settler of scores, Henry Smart has to grow up fast. By the time he can walk he's out robbing and begging, often cold and always hungry, but a prince of the streets. By Easter Monday, 1916, he's fourteen years old and already six-foot-two, a soldier in the Irish Citizen Army. A year later he's ready to die for Ireland again, a rebel, a Fenian and a killer. With his father's wooden leg as his weapon, Henry becomes a Republican legend - one of Michael Collins' boys, a cop killer, an assassin on a stolen bike. ISBN 9780099284482
  • Ellis Spender, only son of a once-esteemed society family, believes money, success and the high life are his birthright -- only prevented by a cruel trick of fate. Struggling to stay ahead of his creditors, the dejected writer decides to forge a sequel to one of the most famous novels of all time, Bram Stoker's Dracula. Its remarkable 'discovery' will create the lifestyle he believes is his due. But as his scheme begins to bear fruit, others who stand to gain become obstacles. ISBN 9781473682702
  • Even when you come out of bloodshed and disaster in the end you have got to learn to live. Winona is a young Lakota orphan adopted by former soldiers Thomas McNulty and John Cole. Living with Thomas and John on the farm they work in 1870s Tennessee, she is educated and loved, forging a life for herself beyond the violence and dispossession of her past. But the fragile harmony of her unlikely family unit, in the aftermath of the Civil War, is soon threatened by a further traumatic event, one which Winona struggles to confront, let alone understand. Told in Sebastian Barry's rare and masterly prose, A Thousand Moons is a powerful, moving study of one woman's journey, of her determination to write her own future, and of the enduring human capacity for love. 'Nobody writes like, nobody takes lyrical risks like, nobody pushes the language, and the heart, and the two together, quite like Sebastian Barry does.' Ali Smith. ISBN 9780571333394
Go to Top