Top 5 Irish Books To Buy For St Patrick's Day

March 17th is St Patrick's Day. As a person who considers herself a honorary Irish woman, this day has always been special to me. Having lived in Cork (Ireland) for nearly 7 years, I've experienced St. Patrick's Day celebrations first hand - as the Irish really celebrate it. The picture of myself and family, in St. Patrick Street, drenched in cold rain and filled with the warmth of the Irish people (sometimes the Irish warmth was induced by a dollop of rich Guinness), will always stay with me...green and orange flags...de-de-li-aye music... girls in curls...the odd smash of glass...dark bottles of frothy alcohol...
Reading is definitely not one of the things the Irish do on this holiday. Nevertheless, to celebrate St Patrick's Day A Blogger's Books style, I bring you a selection of the top Irish books selling on Amazon this year. Please click on the links in the images to read a full reviews on the website.

Ulysses - James Joyce (literary fiction)

  • A record  440 customers' reviews
  • 258 gave it 5 stars
  • Amazon review (in part): Two characters, Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom, go about their separate business, crossing paths with a gallery of indelible Dubliners. We watch them teach, eat, stroll the streets, argue, and (in Bloom's case) masturbate. And thanks to the book's stream-of-consciousness technique--which suggests no mere stream but an impossibly deep, swift-running river--we're privy to their thoughts, emotions, and memories. The result? Almost every variety of human experience is crammed into the accordian folds of a single day, which makes Ulysses not just an experimental work but the very last word in realism.
Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift (YA fiction)

  • 162 customers' reviews
  • 95 gave it 5 stars
  • Amazon review (in part): Divided into four parts, "Gulliver's Travels" is presented as the historical memoirs of Lemuel Gulliver who narrates his strange adventures in undiscovered countries. In doing so, Swift explores and satirises almost every conceivable issue important in both his time and in ours: politics, religion, gender, science, progress, government, family and our basic ideas of defining humanity. As well as this, the novel is full of wonder and humour (some of it bordering on the vulgar!) and Swift's exploration of imaginary societies and countries is satire at its peak - no one before or since has reached Swift's mastery of this style. 
The Butcher Boy - Patrick McCabe (family life)

  • 66 customers' reviews
  • 41 gave it 5 stars
  • Amazon's review (in part): Francie Brady is a disaffected, working-class, Roman Catholic teenager living in Northern Ireland. His alcoholic father works in the local slaughterhouse and his mother, despite being a whir of household efficiency, is suicidal. The latest phase of the "troubles" in Ireland have not yet formally begun--it is the early '60s--but Francie is nonetheless caught in a cycle of pride, envy and poverty aggravated by the ancient conflict between Protestants and Catholics. 
Dracula - Bram Stoker (adult horror)

  • 20 customers' reviews
  • 6 gave it 5 stars
  • Amazon's reviews (in part): A naive young Englishman travels to Transylvania to do business with a client, Count Dracula. After showing his true and terrifying colors, Dracula boards a ship for England in search of new, fresh blood. Unexplained disasters begin to occur in the streets of London before the mystery and the evil doer are finally put to rest. Told in a series of news reports from eyewitness observers to writers of personal diaries, this has a ring of believability that counterbalances nicely with Dracula's too-macabre-to-be-true exploits.

Angel's Ashes - Frank McCourt (true life)

  • 1, 558 customers' reviews
  • 1,124 gave it 5 stars
  • Amazon's review (in part): McCourt paints a brutal yet poignant picture of his early days when there was rarely enough food on the table, and boots and coats were a luxury. In a melodic Irish voice that often lends a gentle humor to the unimaginable, the author remembers his wayward yet adoring father who was forever drinking what little money the family had. He recounts the painful loss of his siblings to avoidable sickness and hunger, a proud mother reduced to begging for charity, and the stench of the sewage-strewn streets that ran outside the front door. As McCourt approaches adolescence, he discovers the shame of poverty and the beauty of Shakespeare, the mystery of sex and the unforgiving power of the Irish Catholic Church.  

Well, there you have it - five books by Irish writers you should definitely get your hands on. Have a look at the reviews of these novels. They're mostly positive and readers certainly got a pleasure/satisfaction from reading them. I agree that Ulysses is a bit pompous. Frankly, I've abandoned attempts to read it myself. If you can get into it, readers have promised an unforgettable experience indeed.

Let me know how you get on. Happy St Patrick's day! If you're going out to see the parade, here are some St Patrick's Day costumes you may find useful to help you get into things.




DoanLegacy March 9, 2011 at 4:59 PM  

The Butcher Boy is the one that I'm interesting in..Thanks for the recommendation..I read all of the ones you've mentioned here, with the exception of Dracula..

Tara March 11, 2011 at 8:05 AM  

We can't go wrong when it comes to
classic books. Lovely costumes too, advance Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Anne Lyken-Garner March 11, 2011 at 11:05 AM  

Thanks DL and Tara. I thought many people would have read a few of them.

Icy BC March 16, 2011 at 12:01 PM  

That's a wonderful list of books, Anne!

I wonder if we have St. Patrick's Day parade around here since it's still very cold.

Bev March 16, 2011 at 4:27 PM  

Hi Anne~~Great list. I read Cashelmara by Susan Howard years ago, one of my favorite Irish sagas; Edward Rutherfords Dublin Saga; Frank Delaney~~so many. Thanks!

Anne's a published author, freelance writer and experienced editor. She's just signed her second publishing contract this year with 2 separate publishing houses. You can hire her or see her available books in the side panel on the right.
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