/The Best of Irish

The Best Irish Books from the Gutter Bookshop

Our booksellers have picked out their favourite Irish books and writing, so do have a browse of our Irish picks online and in our bookshops and remember – if you prefer, you can order online here and pick them up from either of our stores using the ‘click and collect’ option at checkout and you won’t have to pay any postage! Can’t see the books your looking for? Use our Book Search option in the dropdown menu above to let us know what you want, and we’ll come back to you with the price and an expected delivery time.

*UPDATE ON MONDAY 8TH JUNE 2020*

From Monday 8th June both of our bookshops will re-open. Please see new opening hours below. Our Cow’s Lane shop will continue to offer a post-out and click & collect service for web orders. Click & Collect is available Mon-Sat 11.30am-6pm once we have notified you that your order is ready for collection.

  • Is it possible to be young, progressive and a Catholic? Ellen Coyne is about to find out ... 'You know, this isn't a Catholic country anymore,' someone proudly declared in a Dublin pub where Ellen Coyne was celebrating the repeal of the Eighth Amendment. About to turn 30, like many her age, Ellen had left the Church a long time ago, but she had never stopped believing in and talking to God. Now, she suddenly realised she wasn't quite ready for this statement to be true, however much of a contradiction it seemed to present with some of her most strongly held views. Abandoning the Church had been an act of protest, a form of punishment. However, she began to wonder: who had really lost the most? Why should those who did the damage to the Church get to keep it and all its good bits, like going to Mass for the ritual and the community, having a clear guide for living a better life, and the comfort of believing it's not the end when somebody dies?But how could she ally herself to an institution she doesn't entirely agree with? In her first book, Ellen tries to figure out how much she really wants to go back to the Church, and if it is even the right thing to do. A stunningly intelligent and thoughtful debut work of non-fiction. Published 30th October 2020 - Pre-order Now. ISBN 9780717188949
  • Rivers are said to be the veins that carry freshwater, lifeblood of the Earth. However, freshwaters are experiencing species extinction at a rate faster than any other ecosystem, and human activities are threatening our survival through overexploiting and degrading water quality. Rivers have been channelled, buried underground, dammed, diverted and polluted; some so over-abstracted that their waters no longer reach the sea. With abundant rainfall, Irish rivers are less damaged than many of those in other countries, but most have water quality problems that can impact the quality of our lives and economic activities, as shortages of safe water supplies have demonstrated. This timely book aims to raise awareness of Ireland's fantastic and often undervalued river resource, and the importance of changing our behaviour and policies to ensure that we keep it in a healthy condition for its sustainable benefits, as well as protection of its biodiversity. The book captures the expertise of 37 Irish freshwater experts to provide an up-to-date account on the evolution of Ireland's rivers and their flow characteristics, biodiversity and how humans have depended on, used and abused our rivers through time. Irish rivers include types that are rare elsewhere in Europe and support a wide range of aquatic organisms and processes. In Irish Rivers there are chapters on their hydrology and on their animal and plant life, on crayfish, fish and pearl mussels, and on aquatic birds and mammals, describing their importance and the threats to their survival such as pollution and loss of habitat. There are case studies of characteristic but contrasting Irish rivers, the Avonmore, Burrishoole, Araglin and the mighty Shannon, and information on invasive aquatic species. Water quality and river management are underlying themes. Irish Rivers concludes with some suggestions for ways that individuals, households and communities can help protect the health and beauty of our rivers and their wildlife. ISBN 9781910820551
  • Walking upright on two feet is a uniquely human skill. It defines us as a species. It enabled us to walk out of Africa and to spread as far as Alaska and Australia. It freed our hands and freed our minds. We put one foot in front of the other without thinking - yet how many of us know how we do that, or appreciate the advantages it gives us? In this hymn to walking, neuroscientist Shane O'Mara invites us to marvel at the benefits it confers on our bodies and minds. In Praise of Walking celebrates this miraculous ability. Incredibly, it is a skill that has its evolutionary origins millions of years ago, under the sea. And the latest research is only now revealing how the brain and nervous system performs the mechanical magic of balancing, navigating a crowded city, or running our inner GPS system. Walking is good for our muscles and posture; it helps to protect and repair organs, and can slow or turn back the ageing of our brains. With our minds in motion we think more creatively, our mood improves and stress levels fall. Walking together to achieve a shared purpose is also a social glue that has contributed to our survival as a species. As our lives become increasingly sedentary, we risk all this. We must start walking again, whether it's up a mountain, down to the park, or simply to school and work. We, and our societies, will be better for it. Paperback Published 23rd July 2020 - Pre-order Now. ISBN 9781784707576
  • Fifty years ago, an eruption of armed violence traumatized Northern Ireland and transformed a period of street protest over civil rights into decades of paramilitary warfare by republicans and loyalists. In this evocative memoir, Malachi O'Doherty not only recounts his experiences of living through the Troubles, but also recalls a revolution in his lifetime. However, it wasn't the bloody revolution that was shown on TV but rather the slow reshaping of the culture of Northern Ireland - a real revolution that was entirely overshadowed by the conflict. Incorporating interviews with political, professional and paramilitary figures, O'Doherty draws a profile of an era that produced real social change, comparing and contrasting it with today, and asks how frail is the current peace as Brexit approaches, protest is back on the streets and violence is simmering in both republican and loyalist camps. *Published 30th July 2020 - Pre-order Now* ISBN 9781786496669/strong>
  • 1941, and Detective Inspector Stefan Gillespie is ferrying documents between Dublin and war-torn London. When Ireland's greatest actor is arrested in Soho, after the brutal murder of a gay man, Stefan extricates him from an embarrassing situation. But suddenly he is looking at a series of murders, stretching across Britain and Ireland. The deaths were never investigated deeply as dead queers are nobody's priority. And there are reasons to look away now. It's not only that the killer may be a British soldier, Scotland Yard is also hiding the truth about the victim. But an identical murder in Malta makes investigation essential. Malta, at the heart of the Mediterranean war, is under siege by German and Italian bombers. Rumours that a British soldier murdered a Maltese teenager can't go unchallenged without damaging loyalty to Britain. Now Britain will cooperate with Ireland to find the killer and Stefan is sent to Malta. The British believe the killer is an Irishman; that's the result they want. And they'd like Stefan to give it to them. But in the dark streets of Valletta there are threats deadlier than German bombs... ISBN 9781472130389
  • Intimacies exquisitely charts the steps and missteps of young women trying to find their place in the world. From a Belfast student ordering illegal drugs online to end an unwanted pregnancy to a young mother's brush with mortality; from a Christmas Eve walking the city centre streets when everything seems possible, to a night flight from Canada which could change a life irrevocably, these are stories of love, loss and exile, of new beginnings and lives lived away from 'home'. Taking in, too, the lives of other women who could be guiding lights - from Monica Lewinsky to Caroline Norton to Sinead O'Connor - Intimacies offers keenly felt and subtly revealing insights into the heartbreak and hope of modern life. ISBN 9780571353743
  • Andrew, the manager of Shanamore Holiday Cottages, watches his only guest via a hidden camera in her room. One night the unthinkable happens: a shadowy figure emerges onscreen, kills her and destroys the camera. But who is the murderer? How did they know about the camera? And how will Andrew live with himself?... This is an explosive story about a murder caught on camera. You've already missed the start. To get the full picture you must rewind the tape and play it through to the end, no matter how shocking... 'Catherine Ryan Howard is a gift to crime writing. Her characters are credible, her stories are original and her plotting is ingenious. Every book is a treat to look forward to.' Liz Nugent, author of Unravelling Oliver. ISBN 9781838950552
  • The palm trees give the street a holiday atmosphere. There must be something in the soil they like. They have straight leaves that get a bit ragged, with split ends. At night you hear them rattling in the wind. The narrator of Dublin Palms has returned to Dublin to set up home with his partner Helen and their two children. Their lives are filled with optimism, but also a sense of dislocation. Overshadowed by the Troubles in the North, their family enterprise begins to come apart. As the creditors line up to be paid, they must consider leaving everything behind. What will they gain when they stand to lose all? In this spectacular novel from the author of The Speckled People, a family tries to hold on in a falling world. It is a powerful story of fragmentation and belonging, of emigrants and people returning home. Published 23rd July 2020. ISBN 9780008128135
  • Is there such a thing as a perfect marriage? David thought so. But when his wife Mary Rose dies suddenly he has to think again. In reliving their twenty years together David sees that the ground beneath them had shifted and he simply hadn't noticed. Or had chosen not to. Figuring out who Mary Rose really was and the secrets that she kept - some of these hidden in plain sight - makes David wonder if he really knew her. Did he even know himself? Nothing But Blue Sky is a precise and tender story of love in marriage - a gripping examination of what binds couples together and of what keeps them apart. 'What a beautiful novel ... Elegant, understated, subtly powerful, and rings so perfectly true' Donal Ryan 'Gentle and triumphant, MacMahon offers us a novel seeped in beautiful prose and poignant tenderness' Anne Griffin Published 30th July 2020 - Pre-order Now. ISBN 9781844884759
  • DCS Frankie Sheehan is experiencing a crisis of confidence - having become wary of the instincts that have led her face-to-face with a twisted killer and brought those she loves into direct jeopardy. She is summoned to the rural Wicklow mountains, where local mother of two, Debbie Nugent, has been reported missing. A bloody crime scene is discovered at Debbie's home, yet no body. Not only is foul play suspected, but Debbie's daughter, Margot, has been living with the scene for three days. Aware her team cannot convict Margot on appearances alone, Sheehan launches a full investigation into Debbie Nugent's life. And, before long, the discrepancies within Debbie's disappearance suggest that some families are built on dangerous deceptions, with ultimately murderous consequences. 'Cracking . . . Taut, gripping and beautifully written' Steve Cavanagh. ISBN 9781529401066
  • An anthology of the very best Irish short stories, selected by Sinéad Gleeson, author of Constellations. There have been many anthologies of the short story as it developed in Ireland, but never a collection like this. The Art of the Glimpse is a radical revision of the canon of the Irish story, uniting classic works with neglected writers and marginalised voices - women, LGBT writers, Traveller folk-tales, lost 19th-century voices and the first wave of 'new Irish' writers from elsewhere now making a life in Ireland. Sinéad Gleeson brings together stories ranging from the sublime to the downright bizarre, from classics to the new generation of writers, and from well known names to previously unpublished talent. The collection paints a tremendous spectrum of experience: the story of a prank come good by Bram Stoker; Sally Rooney on the love languages of the new generation; Donal Ryan on the pains of ageing; Edna O'Brien on political entanglements; James Joyce on losing a loved one; and the internal monologue of a coma sufferer by Marian Keyes. List of contributing authors: Samuel Beckett, Sally Rooney, Melatu Uche Okirie, William Trevor, Marian Keyes, Kevin Barry, Edna O'Brien, Claire-Louise Bennett, Sheridan Le Fanu, Danielle McLaughlin, Mairtin O Cathain, Frances Molloy, Blindboy Boatclub, Elizabeth Bowen, Frank O'Connor, Chiamaka Emyi-Amadi, John McGahern, Anne Enright, Mike McCormack, Maeve Brennan, Oein de Bhairduin, Eimear McBride, Sean O Faolain, Cathy Sweeney. *Published 1st October 2020 - pre-order now!* ISBN 9781788548809
  • The Summer 2020 issue features new fiction from Louise Hegarty and Niamh Campbell, poetry from Nidhi Zak and Manuela Moser, and an essay on K-Pop from Lisa McInerney. The Stinging Fly magazine was established in 1997 to seek out, publish and promote the very best new Irish and international writing. ISBN 9781906539849
  • Sixteen-year-old twins Madeline and Catlin move to a new life in Ballyfrann, a strange isolated Irish town, a place where the earth is littered with small corpses and unspoken truths. A place where, for generations, teenage girls have gone missing in the surrounding mountains. As distance grows between the twins - as Catlin falls in love, and Madeline begins to understand her own nascent witchcraft - Madeline discovers that Ballyfrann is a place full of predators. And when Catlin falls into the gravest danger of all, Madeline must ask herself who she really is, and who she wants to be - or rather, who she might have to become to save her sister. 'Sullivan has an eye for the uncanny, a taste for the macabre, and a gift for beautiful prose. Perfectly Preventable Deaths is her best book yet.' Louise O'Neill 'This is the novel the recent Sabrina reboot wishes it could be - a thrilling, eerie exploration of sisterhood, first love and dark powers hiding out of sight.' Dave Rudden Great for Teens and Young Adults / ISBN 9781471408236
  • Originally written in 1952, and soon banned in Ireland, New Island’s Modern Irish Classics series brings this masterwork back to life. Orphaned at a young age, Cahal Kinsella returns from an industrial school in Letterfrack to the small farming village of Caherlo, Co. Galway to his tyrannical grandfather, and must assert his individuality if he is to have any hope of freedom from his misery. Walter Macken paints a haunting and memorable portrait of the hard life of subsistence farming, of loveless arranged marriages, and of rebellion against suffocating social mores. ISBN9781848407732
  • Oliver Ryan is a handsome and charismatic success story. He lives in the suburbs with his wife, Alice, who illustrates his award-winning children's books and gives him her unstinting devotion. Their life together is one of enviable privilege and ease - enviable until, one evening after supper, Oliver attacks Alice, leaving her fighting for her life. Everyone around Oliver quickly realises that they didn't know him at all. Only he knows the lengths to which he has gone to get the life he so desired. But even he is in for a shock when the past catches up with him. A gripping page-turner, Unravelling Oliver is perfect for fans of Erin Kinsley's Found and Shari Lapena's The Couple Next Door. 'Truly excellent ... strongly recommended' Sophie Hannah 'The compulsion to continue reading never wanes ... A persistently satisfying read' Sunday Times ISBN9780241965641
  • A priest and his housekeeper abandon a baby girl on the doorstep of a house near the Black Church in Dublin's north inner city in February 1923. Three local women notice the couple's suspicious behaviour and apprehend them. The two are handed over to the police, charged and sent for trial. A month later, a young doctor is shot dead on the streets of Mohill, Co. Leitrim. The two incidents are connected, but how? In the days following the shooting of Dr Paddy Muldoon, the name of a local priest was linked to the killing and rumours abounded of a connection to the events in Dublin a month earlier and also that an IRA gang had been recruited to carry out the murder. However, despite an investigation at the time, the murder remained unsolved for almost 100 years. Now, newly discovered archive material from a range of sources, including the Muldoon family, has made it possible to piece together the circumstances surrounding the doctor's death, and reveals how far senior figures in the Church, State and IRA were willing to go to cover up a scandal. ISBN9781781176900
  • The unprecedented housing and homelessness crisis in Ireland is having profound impacts on Generation Rent, the wellbeing of children, worsening wider inequality and threatening the economy. Hearne contextualises the Irish housing crisis within the broader global housing situation by examining the origins of the crisis in terms of austerity, marketisation and the new era of financialisation, where global investors are making housing unaffordable and turning it into an asset for the wealthy. He brings to the fore the perspectives of those most affected, new housing activists and protesters whilst providing innovative global solutions for a new vision for affordable, sustainable homes for all. ISBN9781474616812
  • It was June 10th, Barnacle Day. He saw her in Nassau Street and they stopped to talk. She thought his blue eyes were those of a Norseman. He was twenty-two, and she, Nora Barnacle, was twenty and employed as a chambermaid in Finn's Hotel. They agreed to meet on June 14th, outside No. 1 Merrion Square, the home of Sir William Wilde, but Nora did not turn up. After a dejected letter from Joyce they met on June 16th, a date which came to be immortalized in literature as Bloomsday. Edna O'Brien paints a miniature portrait of an artist, idealist, insurgent and filled with a secret loneliness. In Nora, he was to find accomplice, collaborator and muse. For all their sexual escalations, Joyce considered their relationship 'a kind of sacrament'. Their life was one of wandering, emotional upheaval and poverty. It was also one that was binding and mysterious, and defied all the mores of intimacy. In prose brimming with life and energy, Edna O'Brien resurrects a relationship of magnificent intensity on the page, and in doing so shows herself to be touched by the genius of the writer she loves above all others. ISBN9781474616812
  • When journalist and podcaster Liadan Hynes's marriage ended, it felt like a loss: of her best-friend, and of the happy ending she had envisaged on their wedding day. In the months that followed, she had to adjust to a different future - as a single mum juggling work and managing a home -- without someone to share the ups and downs of the everyday. Here, in this honest, poignant and beautifully written memoir, she gives an account of her experience. From navigating Friday-night dinner parties and Saturday nights alone on the couch, to counselling and having more gurus than is sensible, How to Fall Apart is a story of one woman who discovered the value of different kinds of love and, in doing so, found herself: single, stronger and surrounded by love. *We are happy to offer Signed & Dedicated copies of this book as part of its Online Launch. Please place your order as normal and we will email you to arrange any dedication. Please be aware that this may take a little extra time to organise with the author but we will let you know when your order is ready for posting or collection. ISBN 9781529381214
  • Farouk's country has been torn apart by war. Lampy's heart has been laid waste by Chloe. John's past torments him as he nears his end. The refugee. The dreamer. The penitent. From war-torn Syria to small-town Ireland, three men, scarred by all they have loved and lost, are searching for some version of home. Each is drawn towards a powerful reckoning, one that will bring them together in the most unexpected of ways. ***LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2018*** ***SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA NOVEL AWARD 2018*** ISBN 9781784160265
  • 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
  • While the Celtic Tiger rages, and greed becomes the norm, Johnsey Cunliffe desperately tries to hold on to the familiar, even as he loses those who all his life have protected him from a harsh world. Village bullies and scheming land-grabbers stand in his way, no matter where he turns. Set over the course of one year of Johnsey's life, The Thing About December breathes with his grief, bewilderment, humour and agonizing self-doubt. This is a heart-twisting tale of a lonely man struggling to make sense of a world moving faster than he is. ISBN 9780552773577
  • In the aftermath of Ireland's financial collapse, dangerous tensions surface in an Irish town. As violence flares, the characters face a battle between public persona and inner desires. Through a chorus of unique voices, each struggling to tell their own kind of truth, a single authentic tale unfolds. The Spinning Heart speaks for contemporary Ireland like no other novel. Wry, vulnerable, all-too human, it captures the language and spirit of rural Ireland and with uncanny perception articulates the words and thoughts of a generation. Technically daring and evocative of Patrick McCabe and J.M.Synge, this novel of small-town life is witty, dark and sweetly poignant. Winner of the Guardian First Book Award 2013 Shortlisted for the Dublin IMPAC Literary Award 2014 Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013 Winner of Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards 2012 ISBN 9781784165000
  • "John is so many miles from love now and home. This is the story of his strangest trip." A novel of family, ghosts, love, music and the quest for truth, Beatlebone recounts a wild journey through the west of Ireland in 1978. At its helm is John, a maddened genius fleeing fame and seeking peace. With his deadpan Irish driver, Cornelius, at his side, John is hellbent on reaching the Island of Dorinish, an assignment he arranged ten years before. Lyrical, freewheeling, quixotic and fun, Beatlebone is a sad and beautiful comedy. WINNER OF THE GOLDSMITHS PRIZE SHORTLISTED FOR THE IRISH BOOK AWARDS ISBN 9781782116165
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