Irish-American Heritage Month is celebrated during the month of March to honor the achievements and contributions of Irish immigrants and their descendants living in the United States. It was first celebrated in 1991, and set to coincide with Saint Patrick's Day, the Irish national holiday on March 17. In celebration of Irish heritage, we at the library have compiled a list of some great contemporary Irish works to show our appreciation of Irish culture and to introduce you to works you may have previously been unaware of.
Interested in discovering more about your heritage? Check out more information on discovering your Irish Heritage.
Connell and Marianne grew up in the same small town, but the similarities end there. At school, Connell is popular and well liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation something life changing begins. A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. And as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other. -Hogarth
Raised in isolation by her mother and Maeve on a small island off the coast of a post-apocalyptic Ireland, Orpen’s life has revolved around training to fight a threat she’s never seen. More and more she feels the call of the mainland, and the prospect of finding other survivors. But that is where danger lies, too, in the form of the flesh-eating menace known as the skrake. Then disaster strikes. Alone, pushing an unconscious Maeve in a wheelbarrow, Orpen decides her last hope is abandoning the safety of the island and journeying across the country to reach the legendary banshees, the rumored all-female fighting force that battles the skrake. But the skrake are not the only threat… -Macmillan
Nessa McCormack’s marriage is coming back together again after her husband’s affair. She is excited to be in charge of a retrospective art exhibition for a beloved artist, the renowned late sculptor Robert Locke. But the arrival of two enigmatic outsiders imperils both her personal and professional worlds: A chance encounter with an old friend threatens to expose a betrayal Nessa thought she had long put behind her; and at work, an odd woman comes forward with a mysterious connection to Robert Locke’s life and his most famous work, the Chalk Sculpture. As Nessa finds the past intruding on the present, she realizes she must decide what the truth is, whether she can continue to live with a lie, and what the consequences might be were she to fully unravel the mysteries in both the life of Robert Locke and her own. -Penguin Random House
Every year, Úna prepares for her father to leave her. He will wave goodbye early one morning, then disappear with seven other men to traverse the Irish countryside. Together, these men form the Butchers, a group that roams from farm to farm, enacting ancient methods of cattle slaughter. For Úna, being a Butcher’s daughter means a life of tangled ambition and incredible loneliness. For her mother, Grá, it’s a life of faith and longing, of performing a promise that she may or may not be able to keep. For nonbeliever Fionn, the Butchers represent a dated and complicated reality, though for his son, Davey, they represent an entirely new world―and potentially new love. For photographer Ronan, the Butchers are ideal subjects: representatives of an older, more folkloric Ireland whose survival is now being tested. -TinHouse
For Farouk, family is all. He has protected his wife and daughter as best he can from the war and hatred that has torn Syria apart. If they stay, they will lose their freedom, will become lesser persons. If they flee, they will lose all they have known of home, for some intangible dream of refuge in some faraway land across the merciless sea. Lampy is distracted; he has too much going on in his small town life in Ireland. He has the city girl for a bit of fun, but she's not Chloe, and Chloe took his heart away when she left him. There's the secret his mother will never tell him. His granddad's little sniping jokes are getting on his wick. And on top of all that, he has a bus to drive; those old folks from the home can't wait all day. The game was always the lifeblood coursing through John's veins: manipulating people for his enjoyment, or his enrichment, or his spite. But it was never enough. The ghost of his beloved brother, and the bitter disappointment of his father, have shadowed him all his life. But now that lifeblood is slowing down, and he's not sure if God will listen to his pleas for forgiveness. Three men, searching for some version of home, their lives moving inexorably towards a reckoning that will draw them all together. -Penguin Random House
Katherine O’Dell is an Irish theater legend. As her daughter Norah retraces her mother’s celebrated career and bohemian life, she delves into long-kept secrets, both her mother’s and her own. Katherine began her career on Ireland’s bus-and-truck circuit before making it to London’s West End, Broadway, and finally Hollywood. Every moment of her life is a star turn, with young Norah standing in the wings. But the mother-daughter romance cannot survive Katherine’s past or the world’s damage. With age, alcohol, and dimming stardom, her grip on reality grows fitful and, fueled by a proud and long-simmering rage, she commits a bizarre crime. Her mother’s protector, Norah understands the destructive love that binds an actress to her audience, but also the strength that an actress takes from her art. Once the victim of a haunting crime herself, Norah eventually becomes a writer, wife, and mother, finding her way to her own hard-won joy. -WW Norton
In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the I.R.A. was responsible. But in a climate of fear and paranoia, no one would speak of it. In 2003, five years after an accord brought an uneasy peace to Northern Ireland, a set of human bones was discovered on a beach. McConville's children knew it was their mother when they were told a blue safety pin was attached to the dress--with so many kids, she had always kept it handy for diapers or ripped clothes. This mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath uses the McConville case as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by a violent guerrilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. The brutal violence seared not only people like the McConville children, but also I.R.A. members embittered by a peace that fell far short of the goal of a united Ireland, and left them wondering whether the killings they committed were not justified acts of war, but simple murders. -Penguin Random House
As much about the life of the city as it is about a life lived, sometimes, in the city, John Banville's "quasi-memoir" is as layered, emotionally rich, witty, and unexpected as any of his novels. Born and bred in a small town a train ride away from Dublin, Banville saw the city as a place of enchantment when he was a child, a birthday treat, the place where his beloved, eccentric aunt lived. And though, when he came of age and took up residence there, and the city became a frequent backdrop for his dissatisfactions (not playing an identifiable role in his work until the Quirke mystery series, penned as Benjamin Black), it remained in some part of his memory as fascinating as it had been to his seven-year-old self. And as he guides us around the city, delighting in its cultural, architectural, political, and social history, he interweaves the memories that are attached to particular places and moments. The result is both a wonderfully idiosyncratic tour of Dublin, and a tender yet powerful ode to a formative time and place for the artist as a young man. -Panguin Random House
Every year millions of Americans celebrate St. Patrick's Day, but they may not be aware of how great an influence St. Patrick was on the subsequent history of civilization. Not only did he bring Christianity to Ireland, he instilled a sense of literacy and learning that would create the conditions that allowed Ireland to become "the isle of saints and scholars" -- and thus preserve Western culture while Europe was being overrun by barbarians. In this entertaining and compelling narrative, Thomas Cahill tells the story of how Europe evolved from the classical age of Rome to the medieval era. Without Ireland, the transition could not have taken place. Not only did Irish monks and scribes maintain the very record of Western civilization -- copying manuscripts of Greek and Latin writers, both pagan and Christian, while libraries and learning on the continent were forever lost -- they brought their uniquely Irish world-view to the task. As Cahill delightfully illustrates, so much of the liveliness we associate with medieval culture has its roots in Ireland. When the seeds of culture were replanted on the European continent, it was from Ireland that they were germinated. - Penguin Random House
Growing up in Derry, Northern Ireland, amid the unspeakable violence of the Troubles, Anderson was accustomed to poverty and fracture. Avoiding British soldiers, IRA operatives, unexploded bombs, and stray bullets, he and his friends explored their hometown with boundless imagination and innocence despite their dire circumstances. But his parents and extended family, Catholics living in Protestant-controlled Northern Ireland, could not evade the persecution. His father joined the IRA, spent time in prison, and yearned to escape the hellish reality of the Troubles. Throughout his inventive, evocative memoir, Anderson chronicles the history of Derry’s evolution from an island backwater to a crucial Allied naval base during World War II, and the diverging paths of his two grandfathers in the wake of the American military’s arrival: one, an alcoholic army deserter, drowns in the legendary River Foyle―the river that will take the life of the grandfather’s wife years later―while the other, a smuggler, lives off the river, retrieving the bodies of the drowned. -Macmillan
At the height of the Irish Famine, now considered the greatest social disaster to strike nineteenth-century Europe, Anglo-Irish landlord Major Denis Mahon was assassinated as he drove his carriage through his property in County Roscommon. Mahon had already removed 3,000 of his 12,000 starving tenants by offering some passage to America aboard disease-ridden "coffin ships," giving others a pound or two to leave peaceably, and sending the sheriff to evict the rest. His murder sparked a sensation and drove many of the world's most powerful leaders, from the queen of England to the pope, to debate its meaning. Now, for the first time, award-winning journalist Peter Duffy tells the story of this assassination and its connection to the cataclysm that would forever change Ireland and America. -HarperCollins
Colm Tóibín begins his incisive book with a walk through the Dublin streets where he went to university and where three Irish literary giants came of age. Oscar Wilde, writing about his relationship with his father stated: “Whenever there is hatred between two people there is bond or brotherhood of some kind…you loathed each other not because you were so different but because you were so alike.” W.B. Yeats wrote of his father, a painter: “It is this infirmity of will which has prevented him from finishing his pictures. The qualities I think necessary to success in art or life seemed to him egotism.” James’s father was perhaps the most quintessentially Irish, widely loved, garrulous, a singer, and drinker with a volatile temper, who drove his son from Ireland. Elegant, profound, and riveting, this book illuminates not only the complex relationships between three of the greatest writers in the English language and their fathers, but also illustrates the surprising ways these men surface in their work. Through these stories of fathers and sons, Tóibín recounts the resistance to English cultural domination, the birth of modern Irish cultural identity, and the extraordinary contributions of these complex and masterful authors. -Simon & Schuster
Ireland's remarkably rich food heritage dates back millenia and, in The Irish Cookbook, acclaimed chef Jp McMahon captures its unique culinary origins and varied influences. Irish food is the summation of what the land and sea gives; the book's 480 home-cooking recipes celebrate the range and quality of Ireland's bounty, from oysters and seaweed on its west coast to beef and lamb from its lush green pastures, to produce and forage from throughout the island. Presenting best-loved traditional dishes together with many lesser-known gems, this book vividly evokes the warmth, hospitality, and culinary spirit of the Emerald Isle. -Phaidon
Told from the perspective of beloved housekeeper Kinky Kincaid, one of the cherished starring characters in Taylor’s An Irish Country series, An Irish Country Cookbook explores Ireland’s rich culture through its delicious dishes and stories of its charming people. These authentic tried-and-true family recipes have been passed down from generation to generation, and are the original comfort food for millions. Organized into sections such as: starters, soups, breads, mains, sides, sauces, desserts, cakes, candy and treats, and Ulster Christmas recipes, this cookbook brings the magic of Irish cooking and time-honored Irish traditions to life. - Forge Books
Pubs in Ireland are the cornerstone of their communities, relaxed places where locals and visitors can experience the best of traditional Irish hospitality. Many pubs have also become the place to go for a great meal, with a choice of both traditional and contemporary dishes. In recent years Irish cooking has been transformed, with skillful cooks making the most of fresh local produce to create delicious new dishes and giving a twist to many classics. This collection includes the best of both worlds--with best-loved favorites, such as Irish Stew and Split Pea and Ham Soup, as well as newer recipes, like Scallop Chowder or Oatmeal and Raspberry Cream. -Parragon Books
In this beautifully illustrated cookbook, Rachel Allen offers the delicious, inspiring, and easy-to-follow recipes that have made her Ireland's most famous chef. Favorite Food at Home draws on international influences, classic regional Irish fare, and good old family favorites to provide creative options for every occasion, whether planning a simple family meal, hosting a festive dinner, cooking a romantic meal for two, or just relaxing on the sofa with your favorite comfort food.
Based on the incredible true story of the 1983 mass breakout of 38 IRA prisoners from a high-security prison, the film charts how inmate Larry Marley engineered the largest European prison escape since World War II. Up against the most state-of-the-art and secure prison in the whole of Europe (a prison within a prison), Larry must coordinate with inmates across several cellblocks. While scheming his way towards pulling off this feat, Larry forms a close bond with prison warden Gordon Close. Watch the trailer here.
Suspense, terror, and the supernatural meet when Sarah and her young son Chris move to a new home in the Irish countryside. One night, Chris vanishes; when he reappears, he seems unharmed and unchanged. But as Chris's behavior grows increasingly disturbing, Sarah fears they boy who has returned may not be her son. Watch the trailer here.
Laura and Tyler have been flatmates and best friends for ten years, marauding around the streets of Dublin, rejecting the expectations that bombard modern women and acting purely on desire. For Tyler, this is the best version of life, even with the inevitable hangovers, but when Laura's younger sister Jean gets pregnant on purpose Laura panics. Should she still be partying into her mid-thirties? And where has her supposed talent as an aspiring writer got her, apart from notebooks full of scribbles? Watch the trailer here.
In the fall of 1960, the Vatican sent two priests, Father Thomas Riley and Father John Thornton, to investigate a statue of the Virgin Mary weeping blood in a rural Irish convent. In hopes of capturing photographic evidence of this apparent miracle, Father Thornton films their inquiry with a portable 16mm camera. However, the resident Mother Superior denies knowledge of any supernatural phenomenon. When the priests finally gather indisputable evidence of a potential miracle, it leads to an exhaustive search of the convent's grounds, where they discover Kathleen O'Brien, a 16-year-old pregnant girl exhibiting signs of demonic possession, leading the priests to question whether the omens witnessed have been the work of God ... or Satan. Watch the trailer here.
See 1980s Dublin through the eyes of fourteen-year-old Conor, who is looking for a break from a home strained by his parents' relationship and money troubles while trying to adjust to his new inner-city public school where the kids are rough and the teachers are rougher. He finds a glimmer of hope in the mysterious, über-cool Raphina. With the aim of winning her heart he invites her to star in his band's music videos. There's only one problem: he's not part of a band yet. Watch the trailer here.
John lives with his mother, Jean, in a social housing suburb and ekes out a meager existence as a taxi driver. After finding his mother unconscious from yet another night of binge drinking, John learns that without treatment, she will not have much longer to live. Desperate to save their broken family, he offers his services to a petty criminal in order to pay for Jean's costly rehab treatment, but this decision runs the risk of changing their lives forever. Watch the trailer here.
The Pogues were an Celtic punk band fronted by Shane MacGowan and founded in Kings Cross, London in 1982. The name is a play on of the Irish Gaelic póg mo thóin, meaning "kiss my arse". Listen to them here.
The Dubliners were an Irish folk band founded in 1962 and garnered international success with their lively Irish folk songs, traditional street ballads and instrumentals. Listen to them here.
Snow Patrol are a Scottish-Northern Irish rock band formed in 1994 who were originally and indie-rock band and rose to prominence in the early-mid 2000s as part of the post-Britpop movement. Listen to them here.
My Bloody Valentine are a shoegaze band formed in Dublin in 1983 and best known for its merging of dissonant guitar textures, androgynous vocals, and unorthodox production techniques. They helped to pioneer the alternative rock subgenre known as shoegazing during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Listen to them here.
Thin Lizzy are a hard rock band formed in Dublin, Ireland, in 1969 and are known for having a wide range of influences, including blues, soul music, psychedelic rock, and traditional Irish folk music, but is generally classified as hard rock or sometimes heavy metal. Listen to them here.
The Cranberries were an Irish rock band formed in Limerick, Ireland, in 1989 and classified themselves as an alternative rock group, but incorporated aspects of indie pop, post-punk, folk rock, and pop rock into their sound. Listen to them here.