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101 Irish Books You Must Read

Kenny's Choice - 101 Irish Books You MUST Read

If you're looking for your next book recommendation, look no further than Des Kenny's list of 101 Irish books you must read!

Des's list includes novels, plays, poetry, memoirs, history, travel and Irish language books & features some of the very best of Irish writers including Synge, Carleton, McCowan, Tóibín and McGahern. 

Below you'll find a selection of the 101 books & you can also buy '101 Irish books you MUST read' as a book - it makes for a great reference guide.

Des Kenny wrote the book as a tribute to his parents Des and Maureen Kenny & to authors, publishers, booksellers and book-lovers everywhere. Like any 'Best of' list, it is likely to surprise, intrigue and possibly infuriate readers for both its inclusions and omissions!

'The final selection has no rhyme or reason to it. It includes books that haven’t been read for at least a generation as well as books that never got the attention they deserved. Some books were chosen not only because of their intrinsic merit but also because they represent an important aspect of Irish life and society.’ - Des Kenny 

"As enjoyable to read as it is to refer to, Kenny's evocative list deserves to be read and reread in its own right." CAHIR O'DOHERTY, Irish Central.

Here is a selection of the 101 books (in no particular order): 

(Occasionally searches may return no result as books go out of stock; but these will reappear as we replenish. Cover images are for illustration purposes only.)

No.1 The Aran Islands by J.M. Synge No.2 Woodbrook by David Thomson No.3 Puckoon by Spike Milligan No.4 Home Before Night by Hugh Leonard No.5 The Heather Blazing by Colm Tóibín No.6 The Big Chapel by Tom Kilroy No.7 The Ikon Maker by Desmond Hogan No.8 Waiting for Godot by Samuel Becket No.9 The Hard Road to Klondike by Micí Mac Gabhann No.10 Like Any Other Man by Patrick Boyle No.11 Thy Tears Might Cease by Michael Farrell No.12 Over Nine Waves by Marie Heaney No.13 The Rough Field by John Montague  No.14 The All of It by Jeanette Haien No.15 The Last of the Name by Charles McGlinchy No.16 Rain on the Wind by Walter Macken No.17 Without My Cloak by Kate O'Brien No.18 Never No more by Maura Laverty No.19 Scothscéalta by Pádraic Ó Conaire No.20 The Course of Irish History by Moody and Martin  No.21 The Turf-cutter's Donkey by Paticia Lynch No.22 Captain Boycott by Philip Rooney No.23 Nineteen Acres by John Healy No.24 Langrishe Go Down by Aidan Higgins No.25 The Visitor by Maeve Brennan No.26 The Year of Liberty by Thomas Pakenham No.27 The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O'Shea  No.28 Islanders by Peadar O'Donnell No.29 The Voyage of St Brendan by John J. O'Meara No.30 The Weaver's Grave by Seumas O'Kelly No.31 The Untilled Field by George Moore No.32 Blackcock's Feather by Maurice Walsh No.33 Remembering Ahanagran by Richard White No.34 The Dark by John McGahern  No.35 Lig Sinn I gCathú by Brendán Ó hEithir No.36 One Voice: My Life in Song by Christy Moore No.37 Stand and Give Challenge by Francis MacManus No.38 How Was it for You, Doctor? by Pat Ingoldsby No.39 Some Experiences of an Irish R.M. by Sommerville and Ross No.40 Home from England by James Ryan No.41 Irish Tales of Mystery and Magic by Eddie Lenihan  No.42 Watching the River Flow by Theo Dorgan and Noel Duffy No.43 Talking to Ourselves by Ivor Kenny No.44 The Last Invasion of Ireland by Richard Hayes No.45 The Road to Silence by Seán Dunne No.46 Spanish Gold by G.A. Birmingham No.47 Strumpet City by James Plunkett  No.48 Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth No.49 The Stories by Frank O'Connor No.50 The Island of Ghosts by Eilís Dillon