Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!* (Or, Happy St. Patrick's Day)

I've got an Irish name and a stack of Irish books, and I studied Irish (history, literature and language) in college, so let me tell you: this is my holiday. Not in the green beer, car bomb (please think about car bombs in the context of Irish history and then think about not calling them that anymore), get-wasted kind of way, but in the celebrate Irish heritage and Irish literature and Irish food kind of way. I'm planning a lunch with Dubliner cheese (it's a thing, it's at Costco, and it's divinely zingy cheddar), dinner with potatoes (and yes, let's be honest, probably Jameson) and you know I'll be stocking up on super-sale corned beef and cabbage tomorrow. One for the slow cooker, one (maybe two) for the freezer.

I've written before about some timely Irish-themed reading in honor of the holiday. It's impossible to consider Irish lit without considering Joyce, of course; though I haven't read (and am not sure I will read) Ulysses, Dubliners remains one of my favorite short story collections. I first read it in college and have a slim, lime green copy I may revisit this week.

For someone who struggles to read poetry (it's a thing I plan to work on), I also have quite the collection of Irish poetry books on my shelves. Paul Muldoon is one of my husband's favorite poets of all time, and Seamus Heaney is, I believe, a close second. I've held on to a copy of Michael Longley's poetry from college, and no Irish poetry collection would be complete without Coralie Bickford Smith's dazzling volume.

More modern Irish writers that I continue to adore include Tana French, of Dublin Murder Squad fame (I've read all but the latest one--no spoilers, please!) and Paul Murray (author of Skippy Dies, which, if you haven't read it, get on that stat).

What are your favorite Irish books? Who are your favorite Irish authors?

I'll leave you with a few photos from our trip to Ireland last year. (It really is that green.)

More photos from Ireland here and here and here and here.

*Title pronunciation, roughly: BYAN-knock-tee nah FAY-la PAW-drig o-RIV.


  1. Happy St Patrick's Day! I was hoping that you post an Irish-themed post this week. I've been thinking of you and your trip last year as I prepare for my own first trip to Ireland in a little over a month. Dubliners is on my short list of books to re-read before I go, but I've not yet decided which contemporary work of fiction to travel with while I'm there.

  2. I am not even a tiny bit Irish I hate corned beef. Can we still be friends? (I do love Guinness and Jameson! And potatoes.) I haven't read any of your recommendations, but Dubliners and Skippy Dies are on my shelf!

  3. I'll let the corned beef thing slide because you like Jameson (and Guinness!). So yes, still friends. And Dubliners and Skippy Dies are both great! (SO SO SO different, but both great). Hope you like them!

  4. I'm so excited that you're going to Ireland! I struggled with what Irish book to take with me when I went, and ended up taking Dubliners after all my deliberation. There are always the big, epic Irish fiction books: Ireland, by Frank Delaney and I think Edward Rutherford has a Dublin-based series as well? (For what it's worth on travel books, if you happen to be planning to use one, we used Rick Steves' 2013 guide that we found in our apartment rental for our trips to the country and it was spot-on, even out of date. 100x better than the Lonely Planet books we had in other countries.)

  5. ::cries:: I miss Ireland!

    If a story has an Irish element, I will read it, so my list is long, but for something more recent, The Fields by Kevin Maher tore my heart out in the best way.

  6. Dubliner cheese is amazing, I haven't read the latest French novel either, happy St. Patrick's Day!

  7. I suffer from severe cheese addiction and Dubliner is definitely one of my favourites (it's especially delicious in cheese soufflee, just saying...)

  8. Ohhhhh, Dubliner cheese. If I wasn't hungry before...

  9. Adding to my (neverending) list!


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