Boston Public Library
The New Celtic Revival:   Recent Books About the Irish Experience
Booklists for Adults

Folklore and Mythology

Steve Blamires. Celtic Tree Mysteries.  Examines the ancient Celtic form known as Ogham and its application for spiritual growth.

Steve Blamires. Glamoury: Magic of the Celtic Green World. Celtic spirituality based on the cycles of Irish mythology.

Courtney Davis and David James.   The Celtic Image. The art of the Celtic world, from prehistoric to contemporary times.

Mike Dixon-Kennedy. Celtic Myth & Legend: An A &endash; Z of People and Places. This comprehensive, authoritative reference work includes a spelling and pronunciation guide and a valuable bibliography.

Randy Lee Eickhoff, translator. The Raid.  The classic myth of ancient Ireland, central tale in the Ulster cycle, chronicles the heroics of a boy warrior Cuchulainn in the battle between the provinces of Ulster and Connacht. A translation.

Miranda J. Green. Celtic Goddesses: Warriors, Virgins, and Mothers. From archeological and written sources, the author explores the role of women in Celtic myth and religion.

Miranda J. Green. The World of the Druids. Archeological evidence, classical commentaries, and Irish mythology come together in this lavishly illustrated history of the Druids.

Caitlin Matthews. The Celtic Book of Days: A Daily Guide to Celtic Spirituality and Wisdom. The Celtic year of traditions and festivals begins with the November 1st Festival of Samhain, the Celtic New Year, in this day-by-day account.

Edain McCoy. Celtic Myth & Magick.  A complete reference book of the Celtic tradition of magic.

Nigel Pennick. Celtic Sacred Landscapes.  A journey through the holy sites of the ancient Celtic world including a "Gazetteer of the Notable Celtic Sacred Places."


Thomas Cahill. How the Irish Saved Civilization. A scholarly yet readable account of Ireland’s role in preserving Western civilization during the "dark ages."

William D. Griffin. The Book of Irish Americans. Told in amazing detail through text, illustrations, photographs, and charts.

Noel Ignatiev. How the Irish Became White.  Investigates the often conflict-ridden history of Irish- and African-American relations.

Edward Laxton. The Famine Ships: The Irish Exodus to America. The Atlantic crossing of more than one million Irish during the famine years of 1846 to 1851 is here revealed, richly illustrated with archival material, drawings, and color plates.

Helen Litton. The Irish Famine: An Illustrated History. Background and contemporary reports, eyewitness accounts, and the aftermath of the famine chronicle the Great Hunger in Ireland.

Kerby Miller and Paul Wagner. Out of Ireland: The Story of Irish Emigration to America. A sweeping historical epic of the seven million people who emigrated from Ireland to start a new life in America.

George Reedy. From the Ward to the White House. The former press secretary to Lyndon Johnson traces the growth of Irish-American political power culminating in the election of JFK.



Gerry Adams. Before the Dawn: An Autobiography. The man who has been president of Sinn Fein since 1983 speaks powerfully about his life.

Keith Alldritt. W.B. Yeats: The Man and the Milieu. The poet’s life is placed in the context of his times.

Tim Pat Coogan. Michael Collins: The Man Who Made Ireland. The definitive work on the freedom fighter who laid the groundwork for Irish independence.

R.F. Foster. W.B. Yeats: A Life. The Apprentice Mage. Vol. I. The first of two volumes explores the poet’s life up to 1914, including his role in the formation of a national Irish theatre and identity.

John Glatt. The Chieftains: The Authorized Biography. This first comprehensive biography of the traditional Irish music group traces its journey from humble beginnings to stardom.

Terry Golway. Irish Rebel: John Devoy and America’s Fight for Ireland’s Freedom.  The first biography of the Irish-American instrumental in the Easter Rising of 1916 and the creation of the Irish Free State.

Lois Gordon. The World of Samuel Becket.  Examines the first forty years of the play-wright’s life and their subsequent influence on his later work.

Frank McCourt. Angela’s Ashes. A Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir of childhood survival told with eloquence, humor, and compassion.

Ulick O’Connor. Michael Collins and the Troubles. The esteemed Irish biographer, poet, and playwright tells the story of one of the leading figures in Ireland’s resistance to British rule.

Alice Taylor. Country Days. One of Ireland’s most popular writers shares a poignant memoir of growing up in the village of Innishannon, County Cork.

Marrie Walsh. An Irish Country Childhood: Memories of a Bygone Age.  She remembers her enchanted child-hood in the mountains of County Mayo.


Ciaran Carson. Last Night’s Fun: A Book about Irish Traditional Music. Told by an accomplished Irish poet and musician.

Sybil Connolly. Irish Hands: The Making of Beautiful Crafts. A tour of the studios and workshops of Ireland’s artisans by the renowned Irish designer, Sybil Connolly.

Elaine Gill. The Book of Celtic Saints.  Biographical sketches of sixteen Celticsaints, from the first to the seventh centuries, accompanied by the unique artwork of Courtney Davis.

Ida Grehan. The Dictionary of Irish Family Names. A guide to the origins, etymology, related forms, and geographic distribution of more than 550 Irish surnames.

Seamus Heaney. Crediting Poetry: The Nobel Lecture. His address to the Swedish Academy upon receipt of the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Bobby Sands. Bobby Sands: Writings from Prison. The smuggled writings of IRA member Bobby Sands, dead at the age of 27 in the notorious H Blocks of Long Kesh prison in Northern Ireland, after a 66-day hunger strike.

Judy Sierra. Celtic Baby Names. The history meaning, and pronunciation of more than 1200 traditional first names from the six Celtic languages of Irish, Scottish, Gaelic, Welsh, Cornish, and Manx.


Colin Bateman. Of Wee Sweetie Mice and Men. The sequel to Divorcing Jack combines gallows humor and fast-paced intrigue.

Seamus Deane. Reading in the Dark.  A luminous tale of childhood set against the violence of Northern Ireland in the 1940s and 1950s.

Peter De Rosa. Pope Patrick. This futuristic comedy involves the papal election of "a kindly old Irish priest who reads Yeats and publishes obscure academic theses." With his golden Lab Charley, he turns the Vatican and the industrial world upside down.

Michael Dorris. Cloud Chamber. An epic family saga that spans two continents and more than one hundred years, from the author of A Yellow Raft in Blue Water.

Roddy Doyle. The Woman Who Walked into Doors. From the author of The Barrytown Trilogy and Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, a heartrending story of a woman’s experience in an abusive marriage.

Bartholomew Gill. The Death of an Irish Tinker. A murder mystery set in the mysterious world of the tinkers, itinerant travelers who have roamed Ireland for generations.

Andrew M. Greeley. Irish Gold. Irish Lace. Irish Whiskey. A cloak-and-dagger series with Irish sleuth Nuala Anne McGrail.

Geoffrey Moorhouse. Sun Dancing: A Vision of Medieval Ireland. Monastic life in a remote island off the west coast of Ireland between the sixth and thirteenth centuries is followed by a detailed explanation of the major figures, traditions, and historical events included in this fictional account.

Mary Maher. In Sunshine or in Shadow.  An anthology of short stories by nineteen of Ireland’s finest women writers.

Niall Williams. Four Letters of Love.  In a novel "as intricate as a Celtic knot," the stories of two families unfold and eventually become entwined.


Seamus Heaney. The Spirit Level.  New poems from the 1995 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Paula Redes, editor. Irish Love Poems.  Spanning four centuries of the romantic poetry of Ireland, this anthology includes a ten-page appendix of biographies of poets.

Compiled by Owen Miller.  Brighton Branch, Boston Public Library, 1998.