Saint Patrick’s Day is an exciting celebration of Irish culture. Every March, we see parades and festivals packed with people draped in green attire. What began as a day commemorating the arrival of Christianity in Ireland has grown into a joyous and global observance of heritage. Whether you partake in these celebrations or not, take a moment to learn about these interesting books that are influenced by Irish themes.
Radio Ireland by Kevin Mahon
(Fiction / Literary)
Radio Ireland is a memorable, emotionally charged tale that is both laugh-out-loud funny and bittersweet. It chronicles an adventure that might be fiction – but does not stray far from a true story.
In Kevin Mahon’s novel, you meet the protagonist, Brendan. After the passing of his father, he decides to leave North America behind – and begins a new life as a rock radio host in his family’s ancestral home of Dublin. However, when he arrives, it does not go quite according to plan. He discovers that Rory, his co-host and lifelong friend, is missing. And so, Brendan invents an unexpected co-host who takes Dublin by storm and invites him to confront his past.
The book is filled with plenty of unexpected twists and turns, and an ending that you certainly will not forget.
Vincent, The Long Silence: A Story of the Great War by Derek McCann
(History / World War I)
Vincent is a fascinating story that blends historical insight with deeply personal vignettes from an extraordinary man’s life. While reading about World War I and its horrific impact on men like Vincent, you’ll experience a wide array of emotions from humor to pathos. The book describes in great detail the characters in his company’s struggle to survive in what was a living hell.
Throughout the book, you follow Vincent McCann’s life – starting as a child working in the Belfast shipyards during the building of the S.S. Titanic, to his wartime experiences with the British Army in the war. Written by Vincent’s son, the book shares fascinating and heartfelt stories about the men who fought and sacrificed so much during a time of global conflict and crisis.
Mine to Carry: An Irishwoman’s Journey Through Forbidden Pregnancy by Christine Mulvey
(Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs)
In this enthralling memoir, author Christine Mulvey tells her triumphant story that will both startle and inspire you. It’s a saga about a woman with an indomitable spirit – who refuses to be trapped in a patriarchal culture.
After returning to Ireland in 1981 after a year of travel in India, the author faces a backbreaking set of circumstances that forever alter her life. Deserted by her fiancée, she finds herself pregnant in a country where unwed pregnancy is taboo, and is launched into a war with herself, her family, and her culture. Forced to head to England to hide the pregnancy, she starts work in a country hostile to Ireland and faces an impossible choice – does she put her life first, or the baby? After facing a cruel reality – she achieves a new and empowered relationship with herself, and her place in the world.
The Brothers O’Neill by Michael Corey
(Fiction / Historical)
The Brothers O’Neill is a must-read historical fiction novel told from the perspective of two brothers. The dramatic saga is based in Northern Ireland in the 1970s during the Troubles. It is infused with romance, suspense, and historical nods to the time period.
Two brothers – two different lives. Finn leads a rash and reckless life of gambling, scamming, and drifting. Sean lives a strait-laced life with a successful marriage and career.
Throughout this thoughtful novel, you experience the beauty of Ireland and uncover the stark differences that exist between the religious and ideological Irish people who live on the same island. You certainly will enjoy this family saga and love story that is underscored by how two brothers took different paths in their lives and achieved very different results.