Irish Novel Reading List

It’s St. Patrick’s Day on Thursday and in case you want a snugly book to celebrate the Irish we have a list for you!


Anything James Joyce


Ulysses may look scary, so start with Dubliners and work your way to it. You won’t regret it. Araby will always be one of my favorite short stories!

Colum McCann, the modern Irish


Can I get away with calling him a modern James Joyce? He’s an Irish voice that resided overseas and writes hauntingly beautiful stories. I highly recommend Transatlantic for an exploration of the Irish Diaspora (He’s also very charmer and kind and I have a little crush on him from meeting him in 2014….) Also the Irish are shameless flirts…. and don’t you deny it Irish men. =P

Oscar Wilde, the Londoner

Let me say I am very WILDE about OSCAR.


Forgive my bad pun, but this guy’s Irish wit and writing would not have existed had he been a London native and it was his viewpoint as an outsider that really made him the writer he was. Start with the Importance of being Earnest and check out the Colin Firth film for some good laughs!

Kate O’Brien


Kate O’Brien (3 December 1897 – 13 August 1974), was an Irish novelist and playwright. After the success of her play, Distinguished Villa in 1926, she took to full-time writing and was awarded the 1931 James Tait Black Prize for her novel Without My Cloak. She is best known for her 1934 novel The Ante-Room, her 1941 novel The Land of Spices and the 1946 novel That Lady. Many of her books dealt with issues of female sexuality — with several exploring gay/lesbian themes — and both Mary Lavelle and The Land of Spices were banned in Ireland. She also wrote travel books, or rather accounts of places and experiences, on both Ireland and Spain, a country she loved, and which features in a number of her novels. She lived much of her later life in England and died in Canterbury in 1974; she is buried in Faversham Cemetery.

The Glucksman Library at the University of Limerick currently holds a large collection of O’Brien’s personal writings [1]. In August 2005, Penguin reissued her final novel, As Music and Splendour (1958), which had been out of print for decades. The Kate O’Brien weekend, which takes place in Limerick, attracts a large number of people, both academic and non-academic.

Also, and sadly there are a lot of women authors that haven’t hit a vein in the United States. To learn more check out this awesome article by the Irish Times!


Rebecca Lee Robinson


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