Ireland: Recommended Books and Movies

To learn more about Ireland past and present, check out some of these books and films.

Rick Steves & Pat O’Conor

Here are some recommended books in the Southfield Public Library catalog with commentary by the article’s writer. If you don’t see a copy available, contact a librarian to place an item on hold for you!

Books: Non-Fiction
Angela's Ashes
(Bio McCourt)

McCourt, Frank
This evocative memoir documents an Irish family's struggles during the Great Depression.
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Are You Somebody? The Accidental Memoir of a Dublin Woman
(Bio O'Faolain)

O'Faolain, Nuala
A woman steps out of the traditional shoes she was always told to fill.
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How the Irish Saves Civilization
(941.501 C)

Cahill, Thomas
Cahill explains how the "island of saints and scholars" changed the course of world history.
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The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary who Became an American Hero
(Bio Meagher)

Egan, Tim
This well-written biography spans three continents to describe the incredible, passionate, and short life of Thomas Francis Meagher.
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Books: Fiction
The Commitments (The Barrytown Trilogy, Book 1)
Doyle, Barry
This trilogy includes Doyle's first three novels — The Commitments, The Snapper, and The Van — each capturing the day-to-day lives of working-class Dubliners.
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The Snapper (The Barrytown Trilogy, Book 2)
Doyle, Barry
This trilogy includes Doyle's first three novels — The Commitments, The Snapper, and The Van — each capturing the day-to-day lives of working-class Dubliners.
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Circle of Friends
Binchy, Maeve
One of Binchy's many soapy novels, Circle of Friends tells the story of a group of friends starting college in Dublin.
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The Princes of Ireland (The Dublin Saga, Book 1)
Rutherfurd, Edward
Rutherfurd's historical saga traces the lives of rich and poor families through key events in Irish history, from a.d. 430 to the fight for independence.
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The Rebels of Ireland (The Dublin Saga, Book 2)
Rutherfurd, Edward
Rutherfurd's historical saga traces the lives of rich and poor families through key events in Irish history, from a.d. 430 to the fight for independence.
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Dubliners
Joyce, James
Joyce's classic short-story collection describes Irish life in the 1900s, told through the experiences of 15 ordinary Dubliners.
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Ireland
Delaney, Frank
Delaney's historical epic follows Ronan O'Mara on his journey to find a beloved Irish storyteller.
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A Star Called Henry
Doyle, Roddy
Doyle's political thriller, set in Ireland during the 1916 Easter Rising, is narrated by the young Henry Smart, a soldier in the Irish Citizen Army.
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Trinity
Uris, Leon
Uris dramatizes the sectarian struggles in the decades just prior to modern Irish independence.
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Films
The Commitments
1991
Working-class Dubliners form a soul band in this adaption of Roddy Doyle's popular novel. Other film adaptions of Doyle's books include The Snapper (1993) and The Van (1996).
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Dancing at Lughnasa
1998
This drama following five unmarried sisters in 1930s rural Ireland is based on a play that first opened in Dublin and then on Broadway.
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The Field
1990
A farmer fights to keep his land in 1930s Ireland.
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Fifty Dead Men Walking
2008
Director Kari Skogland's crime thriller features an IRA informer navigating a brutal world during the Troubles.
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In the Name of the Father
1993
Daniel Day-Lewis plays wrongly accused IRA bomber Gerry Conlon in this biopic.
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Into the West
1992
Two boys hide their beloved horse in urban Dublin before fleeing cross-country with it in this film written by Jim Sheridan, director of My Left Foot.
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Leap Year
2009
In this movie set in Dingle (but filmed on the island of Inishmore), Amy Adams plays a woman who travels to Dublin to propose to her boyfriend.
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The Magdalene Sisters
2003
Director Peter Mullan tells the story of three unwed Irish mothers struggling to survive an abusive 1960s nunnery.
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My Left Foot
1989
Daniel Day-Lewis plays an Irishman with cerebral palsy who learns to write and paint with his left foot.
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Omagh
2004
"Best Drama" winner of the 2005 British Academy of Film and Television awards, Omagh recounts the deadly 1998 IRA bombing that killed 29 people in Northern Ireland.
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Once
2006
An Irish street musician joins a Czech classical musician to compose heartfelt melodies in a sensitive tale set in gritty modern Dublin.
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Philomena
2013
This poignant but clear-eyed story centers on an Irish woman's search for the son she had to give up.
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The Quiet Man
1952
John Wayne plays a disgraced boxer who returns to the Irish village where he was born.
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Ryan's Daughter
1970
David Lean's epic WWI love story documents an affair between a married Irish woman and a British officer.
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The Secret of Roan Inish
1995
This whimsical and sensitive film explores the Irish and Orcadian folklores of selkies — seals that can shed their skins to become human.
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'71
2015
In this true story, a solitary British Army soldier flees on foot through hostile IRA-controlled territory at the height of the Troubles in 1971.
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Veronica Guerin
2003
Cate Blanchett stars as Veronica, an Irish journalist who exposes Dublin's drug lords — and pays the price.
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The Wind that Shakes the Barley
2006
Two brothers fight in the Irish Republican Army during the country's struggle for independence from Britain.
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