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book inspo

16 superb Irish novels you need to add to your book pile ASAP

Need some book inspo? We’ve got you covered.


In need of some new books to read? Here are some Irish books that should be mandatory reading for all Irish people.

1. Skippy Dies by Paul Murray

Paul Murray’s darkly funny novel takes place in the surrounds of a posh boarding school in Dublin and centres around the death of the titular Skippy, a 14-year-old boarder. It may be long and sprawling, but it’s worth the commitment.

2. The Country Girls by Edna O’Brien

A seminal novel that ought to be required reading for all Irish women.

3. The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

With a film adaptation on the horizon, it’s time to catch up with Sebastian Barry’s 2008 novel. It didn’t win the Costa Book Award for nothing, you know.

4. Eggshells by Caitriona Lally

A gloriously weird and singular novel about a Dublin woman who believes herself to be a “changeling”.

5. The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney

Lisa McInerney is one of Ireland’s most exciting writers. Catch up with her debut before her second novel, The Blood Miracles, hits shelves in April.

6. Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann

One of the most celebrated, awarded novels of the 2000s.

7. The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan

The ultimate post-recession novel. A slim novel that you’ll fly through and mourn when you’re finished.

8. Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent

If you’re partial to twisty crime fiction like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, you’ll love Unravelling Oliver.

9. City of Bohane by Kevin Barry

A dystopian novel set in the West of Ireland, City of Bohane is thrilling, funny and far from your typical West of Ireland novel. When you’re finished it, make sure you read Barry’s follow-up novel Beatlebone.

10. Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

If you’ve seen the movie (love you, Saoirse) and haven’t read the novel, it’s time to rectify that immediately.

11. Solar Bones by Mike McCormack

An innovative novel that’s written in a single sentence and was among the most acclaimed books of 2016.

12. The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride

McBride’s follow-up to A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing is about an 18-year-old Irish girl in London, who embarks on a relationship with an actor twenty years her senior.

13. Academy Street by Mary Costello

Mary Costello’s novel follows the trials and tribulations of an Irish woman who emigrates to New York and makes her life on the titular Academy Street.

14. Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume

A novel about a man and his dog, Sara Baume’s debut won a rake of awards upon its release. Read it and then get yourself a copy of her latest novel, A Line Made By Walking.

15. Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes

Rachel’s Holiday is unparalleled when it comes to warmth and humour. One of Keyes’ very best and a novel you’ll want to return to time and time again.

16. Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle

Remind yourself why Roddy Doyle is one of Ireland’s national treasures and read his 1991 book Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha.

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