Ireland gets a lot of attention around St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s a country that deserves some love all year round. If you’ve got the cash (and the PTO), hiking in gorgeous Killarney Park and noshing on Irish food, like goose fat potatoes, afterward is the ideal way to spend March 17. But if you’re waiting for a fairy godmother or a winning lotto ticket to finance your vacation (#guilty), we’ve got a few books that can tide you over until you can go on the Irish vacation of your dreams.
1. In the Woods by Tana French ($16): Tana French is the queen of murder mysteries, and we bow down to her page-turning plots and incredible twists. Snag the book that kicks off her Dublin Murder Squad series and dive into the gritty and sinister side of Ireland.
2. Skippy Dies by Paul Murray ($16): First love, kissing, and dangerous secrets: This charming, hilarious, and, yes, devastatingly sad book has it all. Journey to an Irish boarding school and relive your painful and chaotic teen memories with this novel.
3. Tara Road by Maeve Binchy ($8): It’s one of Oprah’s OG book club picks. Need we say more? There’s no way you can go wrong with Tara Road — or any of Maeve Binchy’s books, really. If you’ve ever wanted to swap houses with a mysterious international couple, here’s your chance to do it vicariously through Binchy’s words.
4. The Stolen Child by Lisa Carey ($16): Discover Ireland’s enchanted side with Lisa Carey’s engrossing novel about secrets, a magic well, and the shocking ties that bond three women together.
5. Asking for It by Louise O’Neill ($17): If you’re looking for a breezy read, scroll past this masterpiece. But if you’re looking for a deep and poignant look at how rape culture can affect everyone, even the inhabitants of a tiny Irish town, snap up Asking for It immediately. You won’t regret it.
6. Breakfast at Cannibal Joe’s by Jay Spencer Green ($13): Here’s a classic case of “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Behind the gritty cover of Green’s novel lies a hilarious story about a CIA operative who messes up big time and is sent to Dublin for a seemingly boring mission… until it all goes up in flames.
7. Brooklyn by Colm Toíbín ($25): If you’re torn between your life in the US and your fantasies about life abroad, pick up this novel about a young woman who’s feeling the same way.
8. Gracelin O’Malley by Ann Moore ($8): Take your reading way, way back with this tragic and captivating story set during Ireland’s potato famine and civil war. You’ll cry and cheer on protagonist Gracelin O’Malley as she tries to do her best with limited resources.
9. Country Girl by Edna O’Brien ($16): Crazy parties, Hollywood in the ’70s, and unbelievable tales from covenant school in Ireland? Hell yes, we want to read it all and more. This memoir is not to be missed.
10. Are You Somebody? by Nuala O’Faolain ($18): Nuala O’Faolain’s memoir about her painful childhood and rise to become one of Ireland’s most beloved columnists will leave you grateful for your parents and inspired to break some glass ceilings. What more could you ask for?
What’s next on your to-read list? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!
Brit + Co may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.
(Featured photo via Getty)