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Irish Biographies & Memoirs

Selected Books - Videos

Selected Books

For additional titles, browse Ireland Biography and Authors, Irish.

Behan, Brendan
Borstal Boy (1959)
Arrested as an IRA terrorist at age sixteen, Behan describes the time he served in one of the Borstal Institutions (reform schools) in northern England.
Wild Irish Women Broderick, Marian
Wild Irish Women: Extraordinary Lives from History
From Queen Maeve to Veronica Guerin, Broderick weaves a tapestry of incredible lives well-lived over the centuries -- some overlooked by historians, but included here. Mother Jones, the labor activist, Peig Sayers, the great chronicler of life on the Blasket Islands, Lola Montez, dancer and mistress of King Ludwig of Bavaria, and the mysterious wise woman of Munster, Biddy Early, are just a few of the fascinating characters who spring to life in this well-researched compendium.
The Man Who Made Ireland: The Life and Death of Michael Collins Coogan, Tim Pat
The Man Who Made Ireland: The Life and Death of Michael Collins
This is a comprehensive biography of the "Big Fellow," Michael Collins, by the former editor of the Irish Press. Collins was the key figure in the Irish Republican Army's War of Independence of 1919-1921. He destroyed the British Secret Service network in Dublin and negotiated the treaty with Great Britain that led to the Irish Free State, only to be assassinated by a partisan in 1922.
Culligan-Hogan, Matthew J.
The Quest for the Galloping Hogan
The "Galloping Hogan" was a legendary Irish hero, one of the "Wild Geese" of 1691. The author, while attending a tourist banquet at Knappogue Castle, heard a ballad sung detailing the exploits of Hogan at the Siege of Limerick and came to the realization that he may be descended from Hogan himself. This book chronicles the genealogical adventure that followed.
Book Cover Golway, Terry
For the Cause of Liberty: A Thousand Years of Ireland's Heroes
Golway, a journalist and historian, has written a popular history of Irish nationalism over the past thousand years. The heroism and leadership of Wolfe Tone, Daniel O'Connell, and Michael Collins are described, as well as the later sacrifices of Bobby Sands and his fellow prisoners. The role of Irish women in the nationalist struggle is also included, as exemplified by such notable personalities as Anna Parnell, Countess Markievicz, and Bernadette Devlin.
The Bend for Home Healy, Dermot
The Bend for Home
One day, years after he's moved away from his childhood home in rural Ireland, author Dermot Healy returns to care for his ailing mother. Out of the blue she hands him the forgotten diary he had kept as a fifteen-year-old. He is amazed to find the makings of the writer he has become, as well as taken aback at the changes his memory has wrought upon the events of the past.
O'Casey, Sean
I Knock at the Door: Swift Glances Back at Things that Made Me (1939)
Dramatist O'Casey profiles his early years in this first installment of a multi-part autobiography.
Kee, Robert
The Laurel and the Ivy: The Story of Charles Stewart Parnell and Irish Nationalism (1993)
British historian Kee profiles the political rise and downfall of Charles Parnell and his role in the Home Rule Movement.
Angela's Ashes McCourt, Frank
Angela's Ashes
No booklist of Irish titles would be complete without this luminous, Pulitzer Prize winning memoir of childhood and coming of age in the lanes of Limerick.
Taylor, Alice
To School Through the Fields: An Irish Country Childhood
This charming memoir is Ireland's all time bestseller. Taylor recounts her years growing up in rural Ireland and a way of life that is rapidly disappearing.
Remembering Ahanagran White, Richard
Remembering Ahanagran: Storytelling in a Family's Past
This is the story of Sara Walsh, her emigration from Ireland to Chicago and her subsequent marriage to a Russian Jewish immigrant, as told by her son. With elements of both history and a memoir, this eloquent work captures the emotion and energy of Sara's growth as she left behind her native land and forged a new identity for herself in America.
O Come Ye Back to Ireland Williams, Niall and Christine Breen
O Come Ye Back to Ireland; Our First Year in County Clare
Williams and Breen, an Irish national and Irish American who met while attending college in Dublin and subsequently married, recount their relocation from the publishing world of New York City to life at Kiltumper Cottage in County Clare. The descriptions of their adventures with bees, cows, and the rural inhabitants of Kilmihil are a delightful read.

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Angela's Ashes Angela's Ashes
The film version of the Pulitzer Prize winning memoir of life in impoverished Depression-era Ireland by Frank McCourt. (DVD and VHS)
Michael Collins Michael Collins (1996)
Presents the life of one of the founders of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) whose dreams inspired hope, whose words ingited passion, and whose courage forged a nation's destiny. Stars Liam Neeson. (DVD and VHS)
Veronica Guerin (2003)
Veronica Guerin was a relentless crime reporter for The Sunday Independent during the early '90s. Guerin's violent murder in 1996 led to a revision of Ireland's laws and the creation of the Criminal Assets Bureau. Picks up with her pursuit of the underground drug trade in Dublin.
William Butler Yeats: the Heart of Ireland
Portraying both an Irish inn proprietress and William Butler Yeat's beloved Maud Gonne, stage actress Irene Worth regales three members of the First Poetry Quartet with stories about the great poet and the Irish countryside. Originally produced in 1977 for the PBS television series: Anyone for Tennyson? (VHS)