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.

  • 'Wild, witty stories . . . Exhilarating' Observer. In this rapturous story collection we encounter a ragbag of west of Ireland characters, many on the cusp between love and catastrophe, heartbreak and epiphany, resignation and hope. These stories affirm Kevin Barry as one of the world's most accomplished and gifted writers, and show an Ireland in a condition of great flux but also as a place where older rhythms, and an older magic, somehow persist. Paperback Edition published 5th August 2021 - Order Now. ISBN 9781786891433
  • Checkout 19 is a deeply felt, original and devastatingly moving novel from the astonishingly accomplished author of Pond. It follows a young woman who finds herself in love, in conflict with life and death, and in a life made of books, where the act of turning the page is a way of carrying on living. Fearlessly inventive in its form, merging linguistic ingenuity and a searing emotional depth, this book explores class, the notion of freedom, adolescence, transcendence, sexual politics and artistic synthesis. Bennett's singular prose ensnares the reader from the off and surprises them at every turn. Hardback Edition. Published 19th August 2021 - Order Now. ISBN 9781787333543
  • The extraordinary new story collection from one of Ireland's greatest writers and bestselling author of Mindwinter Break. Bernard MacLaverty is a consummately gifted short-story writer and novelist whose work - like that of John McGahern, William Trevor, Edna O'Brien or Colm Toibin - is deceptively simple on the surface, but carries a turbulent undertow. Everywhere, the dark currents of violence, persecution and regret pull at his subject matter: family love, the making of art, Catholicism, the Troubles and, latterly, ageing. Blank Pages is a collection of twelve extraordinary new stories that show the emotional range of a master. 'Blackthorns', for instance, tells of a poor out-of-work Catholic man who falls gravely ill in the sectarian Northern Ireland of 1942 but is brought back from the brink by an unlikely saviour. The most recently written story here is the harrowing but transcendent 'The End of Days', which imagines the last moments in the life of painter Egon Schiele, watching his wife dying of Spanish flu - the world's worst pandemic, until now. Much of what MacLaverty writes is an amalgam of sadness and joy, of circumlocution and directness. He never wastes words but neither does he ever forget to make them sing. Each story he writes creates a universe. Published on 5th August 2021 - Order Now! ISBN 9781787333154
  • Lose yourself in the legendary Edna O'Brien's simmering tale of a woman rediscovering herself on the French Riviera. Separated from her husband and young son, Ellen leaves behind the loneliness of London for a new life of excitement and sexual freedom: a 'jaunt into iniquity' on the gorgeous French Riviera. However, she soon discovers that independence blurs into loneliness, especially when she receives some heart-breaking news... Banned in several countries on first publication, Edna O'Brien's August is a Wicked Month is a shimmering, sensual tale of a woman rediscovering herself - and it feels just as glorious, radical, and escapist as today. 'The taboo-breaking, the fabulous prose - there's no one like Edna O'Brien ... Beautiful.' Anne Enright 'Novels of heart-breaking empathy, rigorous honesty and peerless beauty.' Eimear McBride 'Brilliant and brave.' Ann Patchett 'O'Brien simply offers her characters and they come to us living.' V.S. Naipaul 'One of our bravest and best novelists' Irish Times ISBN 9780571330553
  • In my case, reading has always served a dual purpose. In a positive sense, it offers sustenance, enlightenment, the bliss of fascination. In a negative sense, it is a means of withdrawal, of inhabiting a reality quarantined from one that often comes across as painful, alarming or downright distasteful. In the former sense, reading is like food; in the latter, it is like drugs or alcohol. In Autobibliography, Rob Doyle recounts a year spent rereading fifty-two books - from the Dhammapada and Marcus Aurelius, via The Tibetan Book of the Dead and La Rochefoucauld, to Robert Bolano and Svetlana Alexievich - as well as the memories they trigger and the reverberations they create. It is a record of a year in reading, and of a lifetime of books. Provocative, intelligent and funny, it is a brilliant introduction to a personal canon by one of the most original and exciting writers around. It is a book about books, a book about reading, and a book about a writer. It is an autobibliography. *Published 21st October 2021 - Order Now!* ISBN 9781800750524
  • A FRIENDSHIP NOTHING COULD DESTROY Evacuated from Blitz-battered London, the shy Elizabeth White is sent to stay with the O'Connor family in Kilgarret, Ireland, where she strikes up an unlikely friendship with the lively, boisterous Aisling O'Connor. Neither of them were to know it would become the most important friendship of their lives. Their bond is unshakeable, enduring over turbulent years of change and chaos, joy and sorrow, soaring dreams - and searing betrayals... With warmth, wit and great compassion, Maeve Binchy tells a magnificent story of two women, bound together in a friendship that nothing could tear apart - not even the man who threatened to come between them forever. 'Maeve Binchy! I love her stories and have since Light a Penny Candle.' TOM HANKS ISBN 9781787461536
  • TROUBLE IS BREWING FOR THIS CIRCLE OF FRIENDS Generous-hearted Benny Hogan and the elfin Eve Malone have been best friends for years, growing up in sleepy Knockglen. Their one thought is to get to Dublin, to university and to freedom... On their first day at University College, the inseparable pair are thrown together with fellow students: beautiful but selfish Nan Mahon and the handsome Jack Foley. But trouble is brewing for Benny and Eve's new circle of friends and, before long, they find passion, tragedy - and the independence they yearned for. 'I absolutely adore Circle of Friends - my 'fave Maeve' - and I have returned to read it time and time again' LORRAINE KELLY 'I find myself yearning for the rain-soaked watercolour writing of Maeve Binchy [...] Circle of Friends is a good place to start' JENNY COLGAN, GUARDIAN ISBN 9780099498599
  • Why did the Romans never try to conquer Ireland? Why did the King of Spain give his name to an Irish county? And how did brandy change the course of Irish history? Turtle Bunbury explores unexpected corners of the past to offer an informative and entertaining glimpse into 36 lesser-known tales from Irish history, from the eruption of a massive volcano in County Armagh sixty million years ago to more recent events that have made Ireland the vibrant place it is today. In his inimitable sparkly style, Bunbury explores the people and events from high to low that played major roles in Ireland's fascinating past but have since been overlooked. These alternative annals include tales of spymasters and scientists, battlefields and brothels, tailors and traitors. Ireland's Forgotten Past paints a surprising, witty and engaging new portrait of an Ireland you thought you knew. Paperback Edition published 5th August 2021 - Order Now. ISBN 9780500296363
  • Featuring 240 pages of brand new writing, the Summer 2021 edition is now available to order. The Stinging Fly magazine was established in 1997 to seek out, publish and promote the very best new Irish and international writing. ISBN 9781906539894
  • 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
  • The beating heart of Dublin laid bare in over 100 remarkable stories and photographs. A little over two years ago, Peter Varga began a photo project that would change the course of his life. Inspired by the success of similar projects internationally, he began to walk the streets of Dublin, interviewing and photographing those he met along the way, and worked to uncover the powerful stories hiding in plain sight and post his work online. The result is a remarkable collection of character studies, drawn from the blog, which captures the vibrancy and diversity of Dublin life. From tales of inspiration and joy to those of heartbreak and loss, all of human life is in this best-of collection from Peter's library. Presented in a beautifully produced hardback format, Humans of Dublin promises to open readers' eyes to the wonders of life in Ireland's capital. ISBN 9780717172566
  • In this final collection of ten exquisite, perceptive and profound stories, William Trevor probes into the depths of the human spirit. Here we encounter a tutor and his pupil, whose lives are thrown into turmoil when they meet again years later; a young girl who discovers the mother she believed dead is alive and well; and a piano-teacher who accepts her pupil's theft in exchange for his beautiful music. These gorgeous stories - the last that Trevor wrote before his death - affirm his place as one of the world's greatest storytellers. ISBN 9780241337783
  • 'Something they don't tell you about getting older is that you fall. Oh, you hear about it in passing, of course, "She had a fall, poor thing". Falling is not something you ever think about as a younger woman. You think about falling in love ...' At 20, Londoner Ann Ingle fell madly in love with an Irish fellow she met on holiday in Cornwall. At the church to arrange their shotgun wedding she discovered that he hadn't even told her his real name. Sixty-odd years later Ann looks back on that first glorious fall and in a series of essays considers what she has learned from the life that followed - bringing eight children into the world, their father's years of mental illness and tragic death at 40, being a cash-strapped single mother in 1980s Dublin, coming into her own in her middle years - going to college, working and writing, and continuing to evolve and learn into her ninth decade, even as she accepts the realities of being 'old'. Candid about everything that matters - love, sex, heartbreak, money, class, religion, mental health, rearing children (and letting them go), reading and writing, ageing - Open-Hearted is a compelling story about living life in a spirit of curiosity and delight and with a willingness to look for good in others. Published 23rd September 2021 - Order Now. ISBN 9781844885718
  • It's dawn and in the early morning light, Michael Harding is walking in his garden in the hills above Lough Allen in Leitrim, dreaming of the new beginning in Donegal he had planned before the world changed in the early months of 2020. Here, in his stunning and intimate new book, we travel with Michael through this day as he looks back at a life lived within, and as part of, the Irish landscape. In doing so, he vividly brings to life what is at the heart of Irish identity: storytelling, love and human connection. With honesty, insight and tenderness, he shows that while everything has changed, that which is important remains the same; and how, in this new world, we can live with hope and faith in everything that is beautiful in the sky. What is Beautiful in the Sky is an account of our times: a record of our past and a promise of new beginnings. ISBN 9781473691025
  • One summer's evening, two men meet up in a Dublin restaurant. Old friends, now married and with grown-up children, their lives have taken seemingly similar paths. But Joe has a secret he has to tell Davy, and Davy, a grief he wants to keep from Joe. Both are not the men they used to be. Neither Davy nor Joe know what the night has in store, but as two pints turns to three, then five, and the men set out to revisit the haunts of their youth, the ghosts of Dublin entwine around them. Their first buoyant forays into adulthood, the pubs, the parties, broken hearts and bungled affairs, as well as the memories of what eventually drove them apart. As the two friends try to reconcile their versions of the past over the course of one night, Love offers up a delightfully comic, yet moving portrait of the many forms love can take throughout our lives. *SHORTLISTED for Dalkey Literary Awards Novel of the Year 2021* ISBN 9781529112672
  • 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. Paperback Edition Published 3rd June 2021 - Order Now. ISBN 9780571357970
  • Nessa Crowley's murderer has been protected by silence for ten years. Until a team of documentary makers decide to find out the truth. On the day of Henry and Keelin Kinsella's wild party at their big house a violent storm engulfed the island of Inisrun, cutting it off from the mainland. When morning broke Nessa Crowley's lifeless body lay in the garden, her last breath silenced by the music and the thunder. The killer couldn't have escaped Inisrun, but no-one was charged with the murder. The mystery that surrounded the death of Nessa remained hidden. But the islanders knew who to blame for the crime that changed them forever. Ten years later a documentary crew arrives, there to lift the lid off the Kinsella's carefully constructed lives, determined to find evidence that will prove Henry's guilt and Keelin's complicity in the murder of beautiful Nessa. In this bold, brilliant, disturbing new novel Louise O'Neill shows that deadly secrets are devastating to those who hold them close. ISBN 9781784298920
  • From the multi award-winning picture book maker of 'A Bit Lost', 'Oh No, George!', 'Shh! We Have a Plan' and 'Goodnight Everyone' comes a bold new picture book about building up the courage to try something new. In the rockpool above the sea, live two crabs: Big Crab and Little Crab. Today, they're going for a dip in the sea. "This is going to be so great!" says Little Crab. But then Little Crab catches a first glimpse of the water... Oh... The waves! They're ENORMOUS. "JEEPERS!" Will Little Crab be brave enough to go in? Great for Ages 0-6 ISBN 9781406399042
  • An irresistibly fun story about a forgetful president and his ever-ready pigeon!The president has some VERY important documents to sign at Dublin Castle, but without his glasses, how will he do it?Luckily, the presidential pigeon knows exactly what's happened and follows the presidential car to Dublin Castle, taking in a bird's eye view of the city on his way. But the pigeon gets stuck in traffic on O'Connell Street ... meets some tourists taking selfies ... and even beats a Viking ship in a boat race! Will he ever catch up with the president to deliver his glasses in time? Great for Ages 0-5. ISBN 9780717191963
  • 'He's one of the best players I've ever played with. As a forward, I'd say he's the best.' Johnny Sexton. Sean O'Brien does not come from a traditional rugby background. He grew up on a farm in Tullow, far from the rugby hotbeds of Limerick and Cork or the fee-paying schools of Dublin. But as he made his way up through the ranks, it soon became clear that he was a very special player and a very special personality. Now, Sean O'Brien tells the remarkable and unlikely story of his rise to the highest levels of world rugby, and of a decade of success with Leinster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions ISBN 9780241985397
  • When a young Mary McAleese told a priest that she planned to become a lawyer, the priest dismissed the idea: she knew no one in the law, and she was female. The reality of what she went on to achieve - despite those obstacles, and despite a sectarian attack that forced her family to flee their home - is even more improbable. In this luminous memoir, Mary McAleese traces that astonishing arc: from the tight streets of north Belfast, to a professorship in Dublin while still in her twenties, behind-the-scenes work on the peace process, and two triumphant terms as President of Ireland. She writes of her encounters with prime ministers, popes and royalty with the same easy candour and intimacy with which she describes her childhood. And her account of the latest act in her remarkable career - quietly pursuing a doctorate, and loudly opposing the misogyny of the Catholic Church - is inspiring. Here's the Story is warm, witty, often surprising and relentlessly fascinating: an extraordinarily intimate memoir by one of the most remarkable public figures of our time. ISBN 9780241986202
  • It is 1985, in an Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal and timber merchant, faces into his busiest season. As he does the rounds, he feels the past rising up to meet him - and encounters the complicit silences of a people controlled by the Church. The long-awaited new work from the author of Foster, Small Things Like These is an unforgettable story of hope, quiet heroism and tenderness. '[Claire Keegan] creates luminous effects with spare material, so every line seems to be a lesson in the perfect deployment of both style and emotion.' Hilary Mantel. 'This is a tale of courage and compassion, of good sons and vulnerable young mothers. Absolutely beautiful.'-Douglas Stuart, author of SHUGGIE BAIN. Published 28th October 2021 - Order Now. ISBN 9780571368686
  • 'I devoured this, falling in love with the setting and with every character - and when I reached the end, I wept. It is just glorious. A sweeping family safe and, at the same time, a close-up on the everyday beautiful details that make up love' Emma Flint, author of Little Deaths. When we met we were such untethered spirits floating through the world, as if one of us might drift away if we didn't hold hands tightly. We were imperfect people, who fitted perfectly together. On an island off the west coast of Ireland, the Moone family gather, only to be shattered by tragedy. Murtagh Moone is a potter and devoted husband to Maeve, an actor struggling with her most challenging role yet as mother to their four children. Now Murtagh must hold his family close as we bear witness to their story before that night. We return to the day Maeve and Murtagh meet, outside Trinity College in Dublin, and watch how one love story gives rise to another. As the Moone children learn who their parents truly are, we journey onwards with them to a future that none of the Moones could predict. ISBN 9781405935173
  • 'If I've learned one thing,' the late, great Father Fehily used to say, 'it's that life, families and rugby balls don't always behave the way you want them to!' Looking at my life, I'd have to say, the dude wasn't wrong. My old man had been caught rigging a General Election. My old dear was about to become a seventy-year-old mother of six. And Honor was walking around in a yellow rain mac, telling everyone that the end of the world was coming. It was enough to drive a man to the brink. The only simple thing in my life was my new job as the Head Coach of Presentation College Bray - which is saying something given that I had to try to turn a collection of jokers, chokers and forty-a-day smokers into a team capable of winning the school's first Leinster Schools Senior Cup in nearly ninety years. And while Father Fehily would have been spinning in his grave, I soon found myself falling in love - with the town I loathed so well. ISBN 9780241984772
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