100 Novels by 100 Irish Novelists

When planning for Ireland Month, I brought together a list of 100 books by 100 Irish authors, both out of interest for myself and to give anyone thinking of taking part some inspiration for what to read.

I thought 100 might be a little much so cut it down to 50, however since publishing it yesterday, I think a lot of really good books by a lot of really good authors (particularly female authors) are missing from the list so I’ve decided to reinstate my original 100!

In compiling this list, I tried to pick only one book from each author, so there is no Finnegan’s Wake because there is Ulysses, no Brooklyn because there is Nora Webster. Obviously a list spanning four centuries is going to have some omissions, so if I’ve left out anything obvious do let me know! I’ve linked each title up to it’s Goodreads page so you can get some further information on the books if you are interested in reading them.

In the interest of disclosure, out of the 100, I have only read 35 but have at least 40 of them in the 746, so I’ve some catching up to do!

There is some great reading here, so why not treat yourself!

  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. Light A Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy (1982)
  37. Cal by Bernard MacLaverty (1983)
  38. The Country Girls by Edna O’Brien (1986)
  39. The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne by Brian Moore (1988)
  40. To School Through the Fields by Alice Taylor (1988)
  41. Riply Bogle by Robert McLiam Wilson (1989)
  42. Amongst Women by John McGahern (1990)
  43. Good Behaviour by Molly Keane (1991)
  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)
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55 thoughts on “100 Novels by 100 Irish Novelists

  1. This is exciting! Lists of Irish authors are always a bit of a surprise because there are so many (particularly earlier authors) who just moved to England and spent their whole lives there–one forgets that Sterne was Irish, for instance, or Wilde. And later authors too–I’ve always associated Iris Murdoch with Oxford, totally forgetting that her family came over from Ireland when she was very young. I wonder if there’s some sort of unspoken divide in the Irish writing community: those who stayed vs. those who left.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I too was surprised to learn that some of these authors were Irish. As you say, there will always be things left out of any list, but I want to recommend the book that I read for Ireland and really loved- At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O’Neill.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great list – and very educational. Glad I wasn’t the only one surprised at the some of the names. I was looking for Bernard MacLaverty – Cal is a great book. I read all Joan Lombard’s Maggie books, and loved the TV series, when I was about 12 – they were set in the Highlands, and Glasgow, so I just assumed she was Scottish! Oops!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for taking time to compile the list. Some I have already read, but decided to pick a couple an put them on my Kindle. It guarantees that sooner or later I will get them read. Sort of like that pile of books that used to sit next to my bed, except I seem to do better getting them read than I did when it was a pile of real touch-n-feel books.

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  5. There are way too many on here that I haven’t read- I don’t even come close to your 35! Just think, once you’re done your 746 you’ll almost be an expert on Irish authors. 🙂

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  6. Wow, this is such a great list! I always want to read more Irish works, but somehow I never actually do. Mind you, I haven’t even read any Tana French and she is considered one of the best crime fiction writers nowadays. I’m bookmarking this for future reference. Thank you for the hard work of putting this list together, Cathy.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A great list, best start compiling my Irish reads for March too, have already read one this year by Nuala Ní Chonchúir The Closet of Savage Mementos since I’ve been following the Irish Times Book Chub, love to see what the Irish themselves are reading too.

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  8. I was interested to see that you had ‘The Big Chapel’ on your list. Liberties Press (where I work) republished it in 2008 – and we have chosen to read this book for the next meeting of the Liberties Press book club (March 7). I haven’t started it yet but I’m looking forward to it. Actually I think we republished the Leland Bardwell as well, but it’s not in print at the moment. I can recommend ‘Go Down Langrish’ which I read a few years ago. Very engrossing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Chris, I didn’t realise you worked there! I probably know Kilroy more for his plays than his novels. It’s interesting you mention Leland Bardwell, I find her story to be so intriguing but NOBODY mentions her work at all. I’ll be reviewing Mother To A Stranger next month.

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  9. HA! I have Skippy Dies (reading now), The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, Troubles, Haunted Ground, and Nora Webster on my TBR “piles” right now! I can participate in Reading Ireland Month, and I didn’t even know it! Yea!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Begorrathon 2017: Who’s Who | The Fluff Is Raging

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