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There's a relaxation that comes with reading and in the past year, in particular, the appeal of Irish books has grown phenomenally worldwide. 

So, among the most recent publications to feature in this Winter edition, you'll find award-winners, old-favourites back in print, and more. Enjoy!

IrelandXO Book Club – Winter Edition

If you want to recommend a title for our next edition, or add a local-interest book to the Local Guide, scroll to the bottom to find out how.


A Ghost in the Throat

Doireann Ní Ghríofa | ? 2020

A Ghost in the Throat

Overall Winner of the An Post Irish Book Awards 2020  this poetic hybrid of essay and autofiction is a devastating and timeless tale about one woman freeing her voice by reaching into the past and finding another's. 

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Irish Customs & Rituals

Dr Marion McGarry | November 2020

Irish Customs and Rituals

This author-illustrated book explores old Irish customs and beliefs, focussing on the festivities that marked the commencement of each season, the customs surrounding birth, marriage and death, and more from the mid-19th to mid-20th-century.

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Walking with Ghosts: a memoir

Gabriel Byrne | In bookshops from 12 Jan 2021

Walking with Ghosts Gabriel Byrne

This hilarious and heartbreaking memoir is a lyrical homage to the Irish people and landscapes that ultimately shaped the destiny of one of Ireland's most celebrated actors. "A book to wring out our tired hearts".

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The Historians 

Eavan Boland | Oct 2020

The Historians

Winner of the Costa Poetry Award 2020  this final volume by acclaimed poet Evan Boland (1944-2020) explores the ways in which the hidden, sometimes all-but-erased stories of women’s lives can powerfully revise our sense of the past and the Official records of what we call history. What the judges said: "An extraordinary book of lyrical power that has some of the finest lines of poetry written this century." 

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Recently published (or just back in print)

Researching Presbyterian Ancestors in Ireland

Dr William Roulston | November 2020

Researching Prebyterians in Ireland

Millions of people around the world have Presbyterian ancestors from Ireland. Whether they were Covenanters, Seceders or Non-Subscribers, whether devout or merely nominal, whether they lived and died in Ireland or departed from these shores, this publication will assist you in understanding more about Presbyterians and Presbyterianism in Ireland.

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Birr Barracks & Burials [King's aka Co. Offaly]

Stephen Callaghan | Oct 2020

Birr Barracks, closely associated with the Leinster Regiment, brought great trade and development to the village of Crinkill in Co Offaly. This book gives an authoritative history of the cemetery and all those identified as buried there. 

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The Islands of the Fergus Estuary [Co. Clare]

Meany & Elger | Reprinted: Dec 2020

The islands of the Fergus Estuary

A microcosm of Co Clare’s history – the Fergus Islands of Co Clare (lying on the estuary stretching from Clarecastle to Shannon and Kildysart) have much to tell of its history, archaeology and folklore as well as the people who lived there.

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The Naked Irish: Portrait of a Nation Beyond the Clichés

Clare O'Dea | 2019

The Naked Irish

‘The Naked Irish’ goes beyond the clichés: What does it really mean to be Irish? A fresh and thoughtful analysis of what it means to be Irish in the 21st century. Clare O’Dea takes the 10 most common assumptions about the Irish and examines them one by one. Are the Irish friendly? Do we have a drink problem? Are we all great writers? And do we really hate the English? In this entertaining and insightful book, these clichés and more are held up to the light and forensically examined with wit and flair. 

Recommended to IrelandXO via Twitter authors

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The Irish in the American Civil War

Damian Shiels | 2014

The Irish in the American Civil War Damian Shiels

Just under 200,000 Irishmen took part in the American Civil War, making it one of the most significant conflicts in Irish history. Hundreds of thousands more were affected away from the battlefield, both in the US and in Ireland itself. The Irish contribution, however, is often only viewed through the lens of famous units such as the Irish Brigade, but the real story is much more complex and fascinating.

Recommended by Angela Gallagher via

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The way it was

Michael Durkan | 2016

The Way it Was Michael Durkan

The year was 1967. Michael Durkan writes: "I was 14 years old with a history of chronic asthma. In a bid to improve my health, my parents decided to send me to my Uncle's farm in Co. Mayo, Ireland. I was accompanied by my 11-year-old brother. My brother and I were unaware at the time, we were about to embark on an adventure. A journey of unexpected exploits, incidents and experiences we would remember forever. This is a story of how love and friendship overcame adversity."

Recommended by IrelandXO Member John, in Sydney.

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Art, Ireland, and the Irish Diaspora: Chicago, Dublin, New York, 1893–1939 Culture, Connections & Controversies

Éimear O’Connor | September 2020

Art, Ireland and the Irish Diaspora Eimear O'Connor

Art, Ireland, and the Irish Diaspora reveals a labyrinth of social and cultural connections that conspired to create and sustain an image of Ireland for the nation and for the Irish diaspora between 1893 and 1939. This era saw an upsurge of interest among patrons and collectors in New York and Chicago in the ‘Irishness’ of Irish art, which was facilitated by gallery owners, émigrés, philanthropists, and art-world celebrities.

Beautifully illustrated and designed in colour, with a wealth of Irish fine art paintings and images, featuring Jack B. Yeats, Seán Keating, William Orpen, John Lavery, Harry Kernoff, Hugh Lane, George Russell, Patrick Tuohy, Robert Flaherty.

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Lincoln and the Irish

Niall O'Dowd | 2018

Lincoln and the Irish

The Untold Story of How the Irish Helped Abraham Lincoln Save the Union. Renowned Irish-American journalist Niall O’Dowd gives unprecedented insight into a relationship that began with mutual disdain. Lincoln saw the Irish as instinctive supporters of the Democratic opposition, while the Irish saw the English landlord class in Lincoln’s Republicans. But that dynamic would evolve, and the Lincoln whose first political actions included intimidating Irish voters at the polls would eventually hire Irish nannies and donate to the Irish famine fund.

From the founder of IrishCentral, a fascinating piece of Civil War history: Lincoln’s relationship with the immigrants arriving in America to escape the Irish famine. “If you’re a Lincoln fan like me, you’ll love this book.” —Liam Neeson

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Tomorrow Was Another Day

Seamus O'Connor | 1988  

Tomorrow was another day

The irreverent, humourous earthy memories of an Irish rebel schoolmaster.

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Recommended by Mike Markowski: "For me, it is especially interesting because he taught at the school many of my older paternal relatives attended."

Want to see your book featured in our next Book Club Edition?

Add it to our Local Guide Media & Publications listing here ADD BOOK

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What's YOUR favourite book on Ireland and its Diaspora? 

Join the conversation HERE...

Catch up on past IrelandXO Book Club editions here: 

IrelandXO Book Club - Summer 2020

IrelandXO Book Club – Autumn 2020


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