15 Books That Will Transport You To Ireland

ireland countryside

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! I hope everyone’s week is going well. (: Since St. Patrick’s Day is today, I thought a little post about books set in Ireland seemed very fitting!

I may also be extremely biased because I’m mostly Irish and I’d die love to visit Ireland someday. It’s simply too pretty. 🥺

ireland countryside

Being an American, St. Patrick’s Day around here consists of either not celebrating at all, using the holiday as an excuse to get drunk, or putting in the minimal effort of wearing something green. Even with as much Irish blood that I have, I also don’t celebrate the holiday so I guess this post is my way of celebrating, hahah.

Well without further ado, I hope you enjoy the list and maybe even read one or two of these – just to get that wanderlust feeling. (;

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1. Lady Ellen (Adventures of Lady Ellen Montagu #1) by J.G. MacLeod

ireland book 1

J.G. MacLeod’s new historical-romance series, The Adventures of Lady Ellen Montagu, is sure to capture the hearts and minds of readers looking for memorable characters set in the breathtaking landscapes of Connemara and Inis Mor, Ireland in the 1840s.

Lady Ellen tells the story of nineteen-year-old Ellen Montagu, an aristocratic young woman new to the alluring social scene that exposes her to extravagant balls and the rituals of courting. She soon falls in love with Lord Cormac Guinness of Ardilaun, but her father has other plans for her. When Lady Ellen refuses to marry a man whom she does not love, she is exiled to live with her aunt on the Aran Islands.

 

I personally ADORE this book and would highly recommend the series to everyone (see below, haha). I also reviewed the first book, which you can read here.

 

2. Two Paths (Adventures of Lady Ellen Montagu #2) by J.G. MacLeod

lady ellen 2 ireland

 

J.G. MacLeod’s historical-romance series, The Adventures of Lady Ellen Montagu, is sure to capture the hearts and minds of readers looking for memorable characters set in the breathtaking landscape of Ireland, as well as in Canada, in the nineteenth-century.

Two Paths, the second book in the series, tells the story of nineteen-year-old Ellen Montagu as she attempts to adjust to life in County Galway after spending several months on the Aran Islands. She is burdened by secrets, including her feelings for Grady, that haunt her every day. J.G. MacLeod tells the tale of an intelligent, beautiful, and artistically-gifted young woman who faces new challenges with courage.

Set in 1840s Ireland, Two Paths describes the impact of the potato famine on each of the characters in the story. Lady Ellen must make an enormous decision that affects not only her own life, but the lives of everyone she loves.

 

 

3. New London (Adventures of Lady Ellen Montagu #3) by J.G. MacLeod

lady ellen 3

Find out why reviewers are comparing the award-winning author of The Adventures of Lady Ellen Montagu series to Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte in her approach to historical storytelling and character development.

What was it like for a young woman to immigrate to another country after recently giving birth? How could a couple adjust to living in a country struggling with its own identity as a fledgling nation? How did changes in cultural practices, technology, and law affect courtship and family life in the 19th century?

Twenty-year-old Ellen Montagu is a new mother living in the British colony of Upper Canada in the year 1846. Not even a decade after the fledgling nation was consumed by rebellion, Ellen and Cormac Guinness try to adjust to life as Irish immigrants in their new home. New London introduces readers to a new cast of characters, while ensuring loved ones from the first two novels in the series are further developed.

 

 

4. Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy

circle of friends book

 

Big, generous-hearted Benny and the elfin Eve Malone have been best friends growing up in sleepy Knockglen. Their one thought is to get to Dublin, to university and to freedom…

On their first day at University College, Dublin, the inseparable pair are thrown together with fellow students Nan Mahon, beautiful but selfish, and handsome Jack Foley. But trouble is brewing for Benny and Eve’s new circle of friends, and before long, they find passion, tragedy – and the independence they yearned for.

 

 

 

5. In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad #1) by Tana French

in the woods book ireland

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children. He is gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox (his partner and closest friend) find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.

 

 

6. Normal People by Sally Rooney

normal people book

At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school soccer team while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her housekeeping job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers – one they are determined to conceal.

A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years in college, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. Then, as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.

 

 

7. Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

love and luck ireland

Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once-inseparable siblings.

But when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s finally able to escape her anxious mind—and Ian’s criticism.

And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.

That is, if they don’t get completely lost along the way.

 

 

8. The Guest List by Lucy Foley

the guest list book

The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

 

 

9. What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon

what the wind knows ireland

Anne Gallagher grew up enchanted by her grandfather’s stories of Ireland. Heartbroken at his death, she travels to his childhood home to spread his ashes. There, overcome with memories of the man she adored and consumed by a history she never knew, she is pulled into another time.

The Ireland of 1921, teetering on the edge of war, is a dangerous place in which to awaken. But there Anne finds herself, hurt, disoriented, and under the care of Dr. Thomas Smith, guardian to a young boy who is oddly familiar. Mistaken for the boy’s long-missing mother, Anne adopts her identity, convinced the woman’s disappearance is connected to her own.

As tensions rise, Thomas joins the struggle for Ireland’s independence and Anne is drawn into the conflict beside him. Caught between history and her heart, she must decide whether she’s willing to let go of the life she knew for a love she never thought she’d find. But in the end, is the choice actually hers to make?

 

 

10. Morrigan’s Cross (Circle Trilogy #1) by Nora Roberts

morrigan's cross by nora roberts

In the last days of high summer, with lightning striking blue in a black sky, the sorcerer stood on a high cliff overlooking the raging sea…

Belting out his grief into the storm, Hoyt Mac Cionaoith rails against the evil that has torn his twin brother from their family’s embrace. Her name is Lilith. Existing for over a thousand years, she has lured countless men to an immortal doom with her soul-stealing kiss. But now, this woman known as vampire will stop at nothing until she rules this world—and those beyond it…

Hoyt is no match for the dark siren. But his powers come from the goddess Morrigan, and it is through her that he will get his chance at vengeance. At Morrigan’s charge, he must gather five others to form a ring of power strong enough to overcome Lilith. A circle of six: himself, the witch, the warrior, the scholar, the one of many forms and the one he’s lost. And it is in this circle, hundreds of years in the future, where Hoyt will learn how strong his spirit—and his heart—have become…

 

 

11. The Good People by Hannah Kent

the good people ireland

County Kerry, Ireland, 1825.

The fires on the hills smouldered orange as the women left, pockets charged with ashes to guard them from the night. Watching them fade into the grey fall of snow, Nance thought she could hear Maggie’s voice. A whisper in the dark.

“Some folk are born different, Nance. They are born on the outside of things, with a skin a little thinner, eyes a little keener to what goes unnoticed by most. Their hearts swallow more blood than ordinary hearts; the river runs differently for them.”

Nóra Leahy has lost her daughter and her husband in the same year, and is now burdened with the care of her four-year-old grandson, Micheál. The boy cannot walk, or speak, and Nora, mistrustful of the tongues of gossips, has kept the child hidden from those who might see in his deformity evidence of otherworldly interference.

Unable to care for the child alone, Nóra hires a fourteen-year-old servant girl, Mary, who soon hears the whispers in the valley about the blasted creature causing grief to fall upon the widow’s house.

Alone, hedged in by rumour, Mary and her mistress seek out the only person in the valley who might be able to help Micheál. For although her neighbours are wary of her, it is said that old Nance Roche has the knowledge. That she consorts with Them, the Good People. And that only she can return those whom they have taken…

 

 

12. Cashelmara by Susan Howatch

cashelmara book

There were two subjects which lonely widower Edward de Salis never discussed: his dead wife and his family home in Ireland, ‘matchless Cashelmara’. So when he meets Marguerite, a bright young American with whom he can talk freely about both, he is able to love again and takes her back to Ireland as his wife.

 

But Marguerite soon discovers that married life is not what she expected, and that she has married into a troubled family bitterly divided by love and hatred. Cashelmara becomes the curse of three generations as they play out their fates in a spellbinding drama, which moves inexorably towards murder and retribution.

 

 

 

13. Haunted Ground (Nora Gavin #1) by Erin Hart

haunted ground ireland

When farmers cutting turf in a peat bog make a grisly discovery — the perfectly preserved severed head of a young woman with long red hair — Irish archaeologist Cormac Maguire and American pathologist Nora Gavin team up in a case that will open old wounds.

Peat bogs prevent decay, so the decapitated young woman could have been buried for two decades, two centuries, or even much longer. Who is she? When was she killed? The extraordinary find leads to even more disturbing puzzles. The red-haired girl is clearly a case for the archaeologists, not the police. Still, her tale may have shocking ties to the present, and Cormac and Nora must use cutting-edge techniques to preserve ancient evidence.

And the red-haired girl is not the only enigma in this remote corner of Galway. Two years earlier, Mina Osborne, the local landowner’s Indian-born wife, went for a walk with her young son and never returned. Did Mina simply decide to disappear, or did mother and child become lost in the treacherous bog? Could they, too, be hidden in its depths, only to be discovered centuries from now? Or did the landowner, Hugh Osborne, murder his family, as some villagers suspect?

Bracklyn House, Osborne’s stately home, holds many secrets for Nora and Cormac and policeman Garrett Devaney. But time is running out. Devaney’s superiors want him off the Osborne case. Now. He wants to stay and find a killer.

 

 

14. All the Bad Apples by Moira Fowley-Doyle

all the bad apples book

The day after the funeral all our mourning clothes hung out on the line like sleeping bats. ‘This will be really embarrassing,’ I kept saying to my family, ‘when she shows up at the door in a week or two.’

When Deena’s wild and mysterious sister Mandy disappears – presumed dead – her family are heartbroken. But Mandy has always been troubled. It’s just another bad thing to happen to Deena’s family. Only Deena refuses to believe it’s true.

And then the letters start arriving. Letters from Mandy, claiming that their family’s blighted history is not just bad luck or bad decisions – but a curse, handed down through the generations. Mandy has gone in search of the curse’s roots, and now Deena must find her. What they find will heal their family’s rotten past – or rip it apart forever.

 

 

15. The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl

the forgotten secret ireland

Can she unlock the mysteries of the past?

A country at war

It’s the summer of 1919 and Ellen O’Brien has her whole life ahead of her. Young, in love and leaving home for her first job, the future seems full of shining possibility. But war is brewing and before long, Ellen and everyone around her are swept up by it. As Ireland is torn apart by the turmoil, Ellen finds herself facing the ultimate test of love and loyalty.

A long-buried secret

A hundred years later and Clare Farrell has inherited a dilapidated old farmhouse in County Meath. Seizing the chance to escape her unhappy marriage she strikes out on her own for the first time, hoping the old building might also provide clues to her family’s shadowy history. As she sets out to put the place – and herself – back to rights, she stumbles across a long-forgotten hiding place, with a clue to a secret that has lain buried for decades.

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