Books

Great books to read if you love Ireland

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I finished lately to read Ulysses (James Joyce). It was a hard read but it was interesting. I had already begun reading the book ten years ago and I had given up. I decided to try again one month ago and I think it is better I read it now because in the last ten years, I learned a lot about Irish literature and culture. Therefore, I could therefore understand better many references of the author, such as references to major figures of the Celtic literary revival like George Moore or AE.
My list of great Irish books

My list of great Irish books

The Speckled People (Hugo Hamilton)

This is one of my favorite books ever. This is the story of Hugo Hamilton himself. He tells us how he grew up in Ireland with his German mother and his Irish father. His father was a nationalist who forbad his children to speak English, so that the children could only speak Irish and German at home. Hugo Hamilton writes very subtilely about the way he felt torn between different cultures. Generally, Irish and German cultures are topics that often come up in his works: his book Surrogate city tells the story of a pregnant Irish woman who is looking for the father of her child through Berlin.

Hail and Farewell (George Moore)

George Moore was a major figure of the Celtic Literary Revival. Hail and Farewell is his autobiography. The book is like its author. It is lively, sometimes quite mean and very funny. This is also interesting to read the portrait of other major figures of Irish history. For instance, the pages he wrote about working with Yeats are hilarious.

My Traitor (Sorj Chalandon)

The book was written by a French journalist who was very close to the Irish republicans. This is a novel but it tells a true story. The „hero“ of the book, Tyrone Meehan is actually IRA member Dennis Donaldson who turned out to have given confidential information to the British secret services. The character of Antoine, a Frenchman fascinated by Meehan and the IRA and the narrator of the book, is actually Sorj Chalandon himself. Sorj Chalandon also wrote a second book about Ireland: Return to Killybegs also tells the story of Tyrone Meehan but this time, the narrator is not Antoine but Tyrone Meehan himself.

Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)

This is already a classic. Frank McCourt’s book about his childhood in Limerick is a very powerful book that have had a worldwide success. The author also wrote a book about his life as a teacher after he emigrated to America, “Teacher Man”.

Insurrection (Liam O’Flaherty)

The book tells the story of Bartly Madden, a young man who gets involved without really wanting it in the first place in the 1916 Eastern Rising in Dublin. The book enables you to understand better one of the most important event in recent Irish history.

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