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A Pot O’ Reads for Irish-American Heritage Month

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A Pot O’ Reads for Irish-American Heritage Month

March is celebrated as Irish-American Heritage Month, and is a great time to explore and celebrate Irish heritage, art, and culture, whether that means attending a performance of Irish music or dancing, eating traditional dishes like soda bread, wearing green and searching for four-leaved shamrocks, or sampling some fine Irish whiskey. 

Ireland has a rich storytelling tradition stemming from the likes of James Joyce and Seamus Heaney, so why not celebrate by picking up a story set in Ireland, or a work by an Irish author?  Here are some new and contemporary works available with your Library card, including fiction and nonfiction set in Ireland or around Irish Americans, and biographies of famous Irish personalities. 

(All descriptions are taken from the publishers).

Fiction

body falls

The Body Falls by Andrea Carter (Inishowen mystery series)

April in Florida and Ben O’Keeffe is enjoying balmy temperatures, working the last few days of a six-month stint with her old law firm. A week later she returns to Glendara, Inishowen where a charity cycle race is taking place. But it starts to rain, causing the cyclists to postpone the start of their event and stay overnight in the town. The rain increases to become relentless and torrential. In the middle of the night.  Sergeant Tom Molloy is called out to Mamore Gap, where a body, dislodged from a high bank by the heavy rain, has fallen onto the vet’s jeep. It is identified as Bob Jameson, a well-known local charities boss, and the organizer of the cycling event. Stunned, the GP confirms that the man has suffered a snakebite. Terrible weather persists and soon bridges are down and roads are impassable. Glendara is completely cut off, with a killer at the heart of the community. Who is responsible for Bob Jameson’s death? One of the strangers in town or someone closer to home? It’s left to Molloy, with Ben’s assistance, to find out what is going on.

colony audrey magee

The Colony by Audrey Magee

A novel examining the long, complicated aftermath of colonialism, told through the summer of 1979 and a remote island in the west of Ireland, one of the last places where people speak everyday Irish, and two men who come to experience it.

death of a heretic

Death Of A Heretic : A Mystery Of Ancient Ireland by Peter Tremayne

Ireland. AD 672. The abbey of Muman at Imleach Iubhair is being renovated when its guests’ hostel burns to the ground. There is one fatality: Bishop Brodulf of Luxovium, a distinguished visitor and cousin to the King of Franks. Sister Fidelma is asked by Abbot Cun to investigate the unfortunate incident and soon finds that the bishop had been stabbed to death before the fire had even started. Thrown into a world of treachery and jealousy, where religious beliefs are vehemently disputed, Fidelma and her companions, Eadulf and Enda, face a barrier of deceit. The abbey, a leading ecclesiastical teaching institution as well as a conhospitae, housing both men and women, is divided into factions. Can Abbot Cun trust Prioress Suanach, who is in charge of the sisterhood? Can the professors trust each other as well as their students? Moreover, can suspicion be leveled at the builders working on the abbey under their dominant Master Builder, Sítae? As more deaths follow, Fidelma must use her wit and ingenuity to unravel the complexities of this intricate mystery.

death on emerald isle

Death On The Emerald Isle : A Murder, She Wrote Mystery by Jessica Fletcher

A trip to Northern Ireland becomes unexpectedly grim for Jessica Fletcher in this new entry in the series. Jessica is quick to accept an invitation to replace a speaker who couldn’t attend a Book Festival in Belfast, Ireland. When her Cabot Cove neighbor Maeve O’Bannon hears about the trip, she asks Jessica to deliver some paintings to her family in the village of Bushmills. Happy to extend her travels and see more of the Irish countryside, Jessica agrees. The festival goes off without a hitch, and it seems like Jessica is in for a relaxing vacation. But then Maeve’s cousin Michael is discovered dead under suspicious circumstances. Jessica finds herself once again in the midst of a murder investigation, and she’ll have to dig into the O’Bannon family’s secrets to unmask the killer.

factory girls

Factory Girls : A Novel by Michelle Gallen

A darkly comic novel about three friends working in a shirt factory in Northern Ireland while they plot their escape from their provincial families and the simmering violence of the Troubles.

haven

Haven : A Novel by Emma Donoghue

In seventh-century Ireland, a scholar and priest called Artt has a dream telling him to leave the sinful world behind. Taking two monks–young Trian and old Cormac–he rows down the river Shannon in search of an isolated spot on which to found a monastery. Drifting out into the Atlantic, the three men find an impossibly steep, bare island inhabited by tens of thousands of birds, and claim it for God. In such a place, what will survival mean?

irish coffee murder

Irish Coffee Murder by Leslie Meier

Three St. Patrick’s Day themed novellas set in Maine feature Lucy Stone, Hayley Powell, and Julia Snowden all trying to solve suspicious deaths in unexpected circumstances.

irish country yuletide

An Irish Country Yuletide by Patrick Taylor

A charming Christmas entry in the Irish Country series.  December 1965. ‘Tis the season once again in the cozy Irish village of Ballybucklebo, which means that Doctor Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly, his young colleague Barry Laverty, and their assorted friends, neighbors, and patients are enjoying all their favorite holiday traditions: caroling, trimming the tree, finding the perfect gifts for their near and dear ones, and anticipating a proper Yuletide feast complete with roast turkey and chestnut stuffing. There’s even the promise of snow in the air, raising the prospect of a white Christmas. Not that trouble has entirely taken a holiday as the season brings its fair share of challenges as well, including a black-sheep brother hoping to reconcile with his estranged family before it’s too late, a worrisome outbreak of chickenpox, and a sick little girl whose faith in Christmas is in danger of being crushed in the worst way.

irish hostage

An Irish Hostage by Charles Todd

In the uneasy peace following World War I, nurse Bess Crawford runs into trouble and treachery in Ireland.   The Great War is over-but in Ireland, in the wake of the bloody 1916 Easter Rising, anyone who served in France is now considered a traitor, including nurse Eileen Flynn and former soldier Michael Sullivan, who only want to be married in the small, isolated village where she grew up. Even her grandmother is against it, and Eileen’s only protection is her cousin Terrence who was a hero of the Rising and is still being hunted by the British. Bess Crawford had promised to be there for the wedding. And in spite of the danger to her, she keeps that promise-only to be met with the shocking news that the groom has vanished. Eileen begs for her help, but how can Bess hope to find him when she doesn’t know the country, the people, or where to put her trust? Time is running out, for Michael and for Bess herself, and soon her own life is on the line. With only an Irish outlaw and a prisoner about to be hanged for murder on her side, how can she possibly save herself, much less stop a killer?

life sentences

Life Sentences by Billy O’Callaghan

A portrait of life in Ireland follows sixteen-year-old Nancy Martin, the only member of her family to survive the Great Famine, as she embarks on an affair with a handsome gardener, setting off a devastating chain of events that continues to unfold over three generations.

lukcy leap day

Lucky Leap Day by Ann Marie Walker

A whirlwind trip to Ireland is supposed to end with a suitcase full of wool sweaters and souvenir pint glasses, not a husband you only just met! But after one too many whiskeys, fledgling screenwriter Cara Kennedy takes a page out of someone else’s script when she gets caught up in the Irish tradition of women proposing on Leap Day. Waking the next morning with a hot guy in her bed and a tin foil ring on her finger was definitely not what she expected…and then the new life they forge in LA tests her to her limits.

murder at an irish bakery

Murder At An Irish Bakery by Carlene O’Connor

In Kilbane, opinions are plentiful and rarely in alignment. But there’s one thing everyone does agree on–the bakery in the old flour mill, just outside town, is the best in County Cork, well worth the short drive and the long lines. No wonder they’re about to be featured on a reality baking show. All six contestants in the show are coming to Kilbane to participate, and the town is simmering with excitement…As for the competitors themselves, not all are as sweet as their confections. There are shenanigans on the first day of filming that put everyone on edge, but that’s nothing compared to day two, when the first round ends and the top contestant is found face-down in her signature pie.

no strangers here

No Strangers Here by Carlene O’ Connor

Set in Ireland’s striking, rugged countryside, a dark, atmospheric new crime fiction series follows an Irish veterinarian grappling with life, death, family dynamics, and the secrets at the heart of her small community.

queen of dirt island

The Queen Of Dirt Island by Donal Ryan

 The Aylward women of Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland, are mad about each other, but you wouldn’t always think it. You’d have to know them to know that-in spite of what the neighbors might say about raised voices and dramatic scenes-their house is a place of peace, filled with love, a refuge from the sadness and cruelty of the world. Their story begins at an end and ends at a beginning. It involves wives and widows, gunrunners and gougers, sinners and saints. It’s a story of terrible betrayals and fierce loyalties, of isolation and togetherness, of transgression, forgiveness, desire, and love. 

we are the brennans

We Are The Brennans by Tracey Lange

A novel that explores the staying power of shame-and the redemptive power of love-in an Irish Catholic family torn apart by secrets.

Non Fiction

always ireland

Always Ireland : An Insider’s Tour Of The Emerald Isle by Jack Kavanagh

From the emerald green coastal cliffs to centuries-old castles, hole-in-the-wall pubs to world-renowned distilleries, this richly illustrated narrative showcases Ireland’s best sights, bites, and experiences. Written by a renowned expert in all things Eire, this book celebrates the multilayered beauty of the landscape, shines a light on the country’s innovative traditions, and reveals the robust nightlife across a variety of picturesque cities. Each section offers in-the-know secrets and off-the-beaten path recommendations, featuring art galleries, hiking trails, national parks, fishing villages, and more. You’ll also discover favorites from Irish luminaries who know their country best, as well as recipes–from soda bread to Irish stew–to bring the tastes of Ireland into your home kitchen.

first kennedys

The First Kennedys : The Humble Roots Of An American Dynasty by Neal Thompson

Based on genealogical breakthroughs and previously unreleased records, this is the first book to explore the inspiring story of the poor Irish refugee couple who escaped famine, created a life together in a city hostile to Irish, immigrants, and Catholics, and launched the Kennedy dynasty in America.

george washington and the irish

George Washington And The Irish : Incredible Stories Of The Irish Spies, Soldiers, And Workers Who Helped Free America by Niall O’Dowd

The Irish played a huge role in the American Revolution, not just on the battlefield but also in the field hospitals and in the framing of the Declaration of Independence. Learn the story of the famous spy Hercules Mulligan, who saved George Washington’s life on two occasions and who was famously portrayed by Okieriete Onaodowan in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash hit Hamilton. Discover the story of Edward Hoban, a carpenter from Ireland who Washington tasked with building the most famous residence in the world: the White House. Niall O’Dowd takes readers on a journey into the unexplored contributions of the Irish in the American Revolution and behind the scenes of the relationships of some of those men and women with the first president of the United States.

guest at the feast

A Guest At The Feast : Essays by Colm Toibin

From one of the most engaging and brilliant writers of our time comes a collection of essays about growing up in Ireland during radical change; about cancer, priests, popes, homosexuality, and literature.

irish assassins

The Irish Assassins : Conspiracy, Revenge And The Phoenix Park Murders That Stunned Victorian England by Julie Kavanagh

 A brilliant work of historical true crime charting a pivotal event in the l9th century, the Phoenix Park murders in Dublin, that gripped the world and forever altered the course of Irish history.

on every tide

On Every Tide : The Making And Remaking Of The Irish World by Sean Connolly

Starting in the 17th century, Irish clerics, mercenaries, and merchants began to fan out across America, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, setting in motion a pattern of migration that would play an essential role in the development of the New World and the industrialization of the West. On Every Tide tells the epic story of this migration, showing how Irish emigrants were instrumental in shaping the world. They created powerful networks that allowed them to become a major global force in grassroots politics, the labor movement, and religion. Their movements allowed them to consolidate control of the powerful Catholic hierarchy, and Catholicism throughout the English-speaking world came to have a distinctly Irish face. The Irish also played a crucial role in the nineteenth-century land grab in the Anglophone world, often as the first settlers to colonize land out West or in the Outback. Rather than simply being victims of an underclass, the Irish leveraged their power–sometimes becoming oppressors themselves. 

paddy drinks

Paddy Drinks : Modern Irish Whiskey Cocktails by Jillian Vose

 A collection of Irish whiskey recipes from the acclaimed Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog in New York City.

return to ireland

A Return To Ireland : A Culinary Journey From America To Ireland by Judith McLoughlin

 A cookbook that showcases fresh, innovative food and drink recipes which celebrate Irish-American heritage as it weaves the culinary and cultural journey of these two places that the author has come to call home. From the lush green fields of Gilford in County Armagh now settled in Atlanta, Georgia, McLoughlin shares her love of whole, fresh Irish ingredients with readers, sending them, one plate at a time, back to a simpler time.

short stories in irish

Short Stories In Irish For Beginners : Read For Pleasure At Your Level, Expand Your Vocabulary And Learn Irish The Fun Way! By Olly Richards

An unmissable collection of eight unconventional and captivating short stories for young and adult learners of Irish.

surrender bono

Surrender : 40 Songs, One Story by Bono

Bono, artist, activist, and the lead singer of Irish rock band U2, has written a memoir: honest and irreverent, intimate and profound, Surrender is the story of the remarkable life he’s lived, the challenges he’s faced, and the friends and family who have shaped and sustained him.

we dont know ourselves

We Don’t Know Ourselves : A Personal History Of Modern Ireland by Fintan O’Toole

A celebrated Irish writer’s magisterial, brilliantly insightful chronicle of the wrenching transformations that dragged his homeland into the modern world.  O’Toole weaves his own experiences into Irish social, cultural, and economic change, showing how Ireland, in just one lifetime, has gone from a reactionary “backwater” to an almost totally open society-perhaps the most astonishing national transformation in modern history. 

Archana Chiplunkar, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

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