Some Favourite Irish Authors for St Patrick’s Day

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Photo by Amy Reed via Unsplash

There’s no doubt that Ireland has produced a lot of excellent authors so here’s a little round up of some of my favourites.  Feel free to chip in with your personal favourite author or  book. There are so many that I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface with this list.


James Joyce – well, you can’t have a list of Irish authors without the granddaddy of them all.  I can’t say I’ve ever tackled Ulysses, but I did like The Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist when I read them many years ago.  Maybe I’ll get to Ulysses one day…….


John Boyne – He’s written so many excellent, thought-provoking books from The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas to The Heart’s Invisible Furies.  What a fantastic writer. 


Roddy Doyle – I just love his down to earth portrayals of ordinary working class families in all their glory. The Barrytown trilogy is wonderful, as is Paddy Clarke, Ha Ha Ha.


Marian Keyes – she’s just amazing the way she tackles such difficult subjects like addiction in a way that is very easy to read.  She can do funny and dark and all shades in between.


Colm Toibin – another excellent writer. Brooklyn was a real tour-de-force (and a really good film too, which is rare!) but The Master, and his latest, The Magician are also standouts for me. 


Edna O’Brien – The Country Girls is such a good book – I find it hard to believe it was published 62 years ago! It deals with the difficulties of breaking free from the norms of small town Ireland in the 1960s.  Later works like The Little Red Chairs and In the Woods are also really good. 


Flann O’Brien – I remember being blown away by At Swim Two Birds when I read it a long time ago. It’s short and beautiful and started a love of speculative fiction for me. 


John Connolly – He’s Irish but his books are all set in the US. Creator of the Charlie Parker series of detective novels. There’s a supernatural undertone to all of these and the main character is a really strong one. Treat yourself and start right at the beginning with Every Dead Thing. 


Tana French – Another crime fiction writer – she’s so good at dark atmospheric stories, some set in Dublin and others in claustrophobic small towns. She writes excellent characters and compelling mysteries.  In The Woods, the first of the Dublin Murder Sqaud books is a great place to start.

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