Historical Fiction about Ireland

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day! Delve into the turbulent history of Ireland through these historical novels.

Books by Frank Delaney

Shannon: A Novel
By Frank Delaney
A beautifully written, meticulously researched, and expertly paced novel, Shannon is a timeless account of salvation, belief, duty--and the healing power of discovering one's roots.

Tipperary: A Novel
By Frank Delaney
The New York Times bestselling author tells a saga of his strife-torn nation with an authentic story of love and legacy as sweeping and dramatic as the land itself.

Simple Courage: A True Story of Peril on the Sea
By Frank Delaney
In a gripping, absorbing narrative that highlights one man’s outstanding fortitude and sense of duty, acclaimed bestselling author Delaney tells the full story of the S.S. Flying Enterprise and its captain’s unmatched bravery in the face of a violent storm.

Ireland: A Novel
By Frank Delaney
In the winter of 1951, a storyteller arrives at the home of nine-year-old Ronan O'Mara in the Irish countryside. The last practitioner of an honored centuries-old tradition, the Seanchai, a storyteller, enthralls his assembled audience for three evenings running with narratives of foolish kings and fabled saints, of enduring accomplishments and selfless acts - until he is banished from the household for blasphemy and moves on. But these three incomparable nights have changed young Ronan forever, setting him on the course he will follow for years to come.

Historical Fiction about Ireland

A Star Called Henry book jacket

A Star Called Henry
By Roddy Doyle
Born at the beginning of the twentieth century, Henry Smart lives through the evolution of modern Ireland, and in this extraordinary novel, he brilliantly tells his story. From his own birth, recalled in vivid detail, and his childhood on the streets of Dublin to his role as soldier (and lover) in the Irish Rebellion, Henry recounts his early years of reckless heroism and adventure. At once an epic, a love story, and a portrait of Irish history, A Star Called Henry is a grand picaresque novel brimming with comic moments and poignant ones, and told in a voice that is both quintessentially Irish and inimitably Roddy Doyle's.

The Princes of Ireland: The Dublin Saga
By Edward Rutherfurd
The Princes of Ireland, a sweeping panorama steeped in the tragedy and glory that is Ireland, epitomizes the power and richness of Rutherfurd's storytelling magic. The saga begins in pre-Christian Ireland with a clever refashioning of the legend of Cuchulainn, and culminates in the dramatic founding of the Irish Free State in 1922. Through the interlocking stories of a wonderfully imagined cast of characters -- monks and noblemen, soldiers and rebels, craftswomen and writers -- Rutherfurd vividly conveys the personal passions and shared dreams that shaped the character of the country. (Sequel: The Rebels of Ireland: The Dublin Saga)

The Secret Scripture
By Sebastian Barry
Set against an Ireland besieged by conflict, The Secret Scripture is an epic story of love, betrayal, and unavoidable tragedy, and a vivid reminder of the stranglehold that the Catholic Church had on individual lives for much of the 20th century.

Gracelin O'Malley
By Ann Moore
Gracelin O'Malley Donnelly is no longer the innocent country girl she once was. Trapped in a loveless marriage to a cruel man, Grace faces harsh times with incredible courage. And as political unrest inflames her country, she reunites with her one true love -- and gives him the strength to go on.

Death and Nightingales book jacket

Death and Nightingales: A Novel
By Eugene McCabe
Through the events of a single day in the life of Elizabeth Winters--on the Irish farms of County Fermanagh in 1883--readers see decades of pain, betrayal, and resentment build to a devastating climax.

By Leon Uris
From the New York Times bestselling author of Exodus and Battle Cry comes a classic epic masterwork that captures the "terrible beauty" of Ireland during its long and bloody struggle for freedom.

Star of the Sea
By Joseph O'Connor
In the bitter winter of 1847, from an Ireland torn by famine and injustice, the Star of the Sea sets sail for New York. In this spellbinding tale of tragedy and mercy, love and healing, the farther the ship sails toward the Promised Land, the more her passengers seem moored to a past that will never let them go.

The Law of Dreams: A Novel
By Peter Behrens
Telling the story of a young man’s epic passage from innocence to experience during The Great Famine in Ireland of 1847, this novel is written in incandescent language that unleashes the sexual and psychological energies of a lost world.

The Fox's Walk
By Annabel Davis-Goff
Alice Moore is eight years old and has just been left in the care of her autocratic grandmother at Ballydavid, a lovely old house in the south of Ireland. It is 1915, the First World War has just entered its second year, and, in Ireland, Nationalists are edging toward revolution. Often lonely and homesick, living in a rigid old-fashioned household where propriety is all-important, Alice pieces together the world around her from overheard conversations, servants' gossip, and her own quiet observations. She soon realizes that her family's privilege is maintained at great cost to others. With the war always in the background, blood is spilled closer to home, and tensions mount. Divided in her loyalties and affections, Alice must choose between her heritage of privilege, her growing moral conscience, and the demands of the future.

By Morgan Llywelyn
The Easter Rising of 1916 was a major turning point in Irish history. Peopled by patriots and poets, fueled by a common cause, and played out in the historic streets of Dublin, it a story everyone knows and no one will ever forget. Morgan Llywelyn offers a stirring and powerful novel set against the backdrop of this life-changing event. (More in this series: 1921, 1949: A Novel of the Irish Free State, 1972: A Novel of Ireland's Unfinished Revolution, and 1999: A Novel of the Celtic Tiger and the Search for Peace)

Book descriptions provided by BookLetters.