100 Irish Novels

If you’re not sure what to read for Ireland Month, then why not have a look at this list of 100 Irish novels. Some of the Irish writers on the list may surprise you (CS Lewis and Iris Murdoch) but it is by no means exhaustive. If you’ve already read any of these, do let me know what you think!

Since creating this list, I have also created a list of 100 Novels by Irish Women. Why not check it out here too?

  1. Gulliver’s Travels  by Jonathan Swift (1726)
  2. The Life & Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Lawrence Sterne (1759)
  3. The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith (1766)
  4. Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth (1800)
  5. In A Glass, Darkly by Sheridan LeFanu (1872)
  6. Confessions of a Young Man by George Moore (1888)
  7. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1890)
  8. Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897)
  9. Ulysses by James Joyce (1922)
  10. The Informer by Liam O’Flaherty (1925)
  11. The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen (1929)
  12. At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brien (1939)
  13. Call My Brother Back by Michael McLaverty (1939)
  14. The Dirty Dust by Máirtín Ó’Cadhain (1949)
  15. The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis (1950)
  16. Molloy by Samuel Beckett (1951)
  17. The Sun Dances at Easter by Austin Clarke (1952)
  18. My Left Foot by Christy Brown (1954)
  19. The Ginger Man by JP Donleavey (1955)
  20. Borstal Boy by Brendan Behan (1958)
  21. Tarry Flynn by Patrick Kavanagh (1960)
  22. The Silent People by Walter Macken (1962)
  23. Langrishe, Go Down by Aiden Higgins (1966)
  24. The Irish RM by Somerville & Ross (1968)
  25. Strumpet City by James Plunkett (1969)
  26. Troubles by JG Farrell (1970)
  27. The Big Chapel by Thomas Kilroy (1971)
  28. Across the Barricades by Joan Lingard (1973)
  29. How Many Miles to Babylon? by Jennifer Johnston (1974)
  30. The Ikon Maker by Desmond Hogan (1976)
  31. Girl On A Bicycle by Leland Bardwell (1977)
  32. The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch (1978)
  33. The Year of the French by Thomas Flanagan (1979)
  34. No Country for Young Men by Julia O’Faolain (1980)
  35. The Past by Neil Jordan (1980)
  36. Good Behaviour by Molly Keane (1991)
  37. Light A Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy (1982)
  38. Cal by Bernard MacLaverty (1983)
  39. The Country Girls by Edna O’Brien (1986)
  40. The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne by Brian Moore (1988)
  41. To School Through the Fields by Alice Taylor (1988)
  42. Riply Bogle by Robert McLiam Wilson (1989)
  43. Amongst Women by John McGahern (1990)
  44. The Field by John B Keane (1991)
  45. Fat Lad by Glenn Patterson (1992)
  46. Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle (1993)
  47. Emily’s Shoes by Dermot Bolger (1993)
  48. Falling For A Dancer by Deirdre Purcell (1993)
  49. The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe (1994)
  50. Felicia’s Journey by William Trevor (1994)
  51. A Goat’s Song by Dermot Healy (1994)
  52. Watermelon by Marian Keyes (1995)
  53. Divorcing Jack by Colin Bateman (1995)
  54. Resurrection Man by Eoin MacNamee (1995)
  55. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt (1996)
  56. One By One in the Darkness by Deirdre Madden (1997)
  57. Reading In The Dark by Seamus Deane (1998)
  58. The Magdalen by Marita Conlon-McKenna (1999)
  59. The Banyan Tree by Christopher Nolan (1999)
  60. The Walled Garden by Catherine Dunne (2000)
  61. Someone Like You by Cathy Kelly (2000)
  62. The Visitor by Maeve Brennan (2000)
  63. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer (2001)
  64. The Guards by Ken Bruen (2001)
  65. My Dream of You by Nuala O’Faolain (2001)
  66. Shroud by John Banville (2002)
  67. Love and Sleep by Sean O’Reilly (2002)
  68. Beyond by Michael Foley (2002)
  69. Haunted Ground by Erin Hart (2003)
  70. Emma Brown by Claire Boylan (2003)
  71. PS I Love You by Cecelia Ahern (2003)
  72. Ireland by Frank Delaney (2004)
  73. Tatty by Christine Dwyer Hickey (2004)
  74. Star of the Sea by Joseph O’Connor (2004)
  75. Havoc, In Its Third Year by Ronan Bennett (2004)
  76. The Alphabet Sisters by Monica McInerney (2004)
  77. Darkhouse by Alex Barclay (2005)
  78. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne (2006)
  79. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (2006)
  80. The Wrong Kind of Blood by Declan Hughes (2006)
  81. Disguise by Hugo Hamilton (2006)
  82. The Gathering by Anne Enright (2007)
  83. In The Woods by Tana French (2007)
  84. This Human Season by Louise Dean (2007)
  85. The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry (2008)
  86. Undertow by Arlene Hunt (2008)
  87. Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann (2009)
  88. The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell (2009)
  89. Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly (2009)
  90. You by Nuala Ni Conchúir (2010)
  91. Foster by Claire Keegan (2010)
  92. Skippy Dies by Paul Murray (2010)
  93. Elegy For April by Benjamin Black (2010)
  94. Room by Emma Donoghue (2010)
  95. Solace by Belinda McKeon (2011)
  96. The Cold Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty (2012)
  97. The Light of Amsterdam by David Park (2012)
  98. A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride (2013)
  99. Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín (2014)
  100. Here Are The Young Men by Rob Doyle (2014)

35 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Great list! I am interested in reading more Irish literature, and this helps so much. I have a question for you. I plan to lead a study trip of college students to Ireland in 2017. As part of this trip, I want to assign a few works of Irish literature. Can you recommend a few that would be appropriate for Americans who know little-to-nothing about Ireland? Something that would be not only good reading but would also illuminate something significant about Irish history/culture/people? Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These are some wonderful writers. Too bad you don’t have Irish short collections on your list. There are so many great Irish short story writers. I have three who are my favorite. James Joyce (Dubliners), Frank O’Connor and William Trevor. All are masters of the form. William Trevor’s about the best of the short story masters we have today and can be easily set alongside Chekhov. No other writer that I know of gives us such a complete view of Irish society today.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Although I got tired of receiving complaints pointing out obvious exceptions, for the longest time Parker’s Rules of Literature included the following: All great English literature is Irish.

    It’s amazing how so many people are unaware of the origin of the literature or the nationality of the writer. My favorite is Jules Verne: most Americans are unaware that Verne’s novels were originally written in French … because Verne was French!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Scanning the list, I would say with little vacillation that the order of greatness should be: Ulysses, Tristram Shandy, anything by Beckett, At Swim-Two-Birds, and all the rest.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I got up to 41 but that’s nothing compared to what you’ve set yourself. If I embark on the Irish ones I’ve not read, that will take me months and months, especially as I have an eye problem that prohibits me for late night reading even though I’ve spent a fortune on a bright light.
    Still, we shall have a go and thanks for listing so many books that I’d never heard of. I’m a great fan of Colin Batement (but none have come up to his first one, Divorcing Jack. Currently reading Belfast Noir, good and mediocre, but interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

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