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Irish History

History Books

For additional titles, browse Ireland -- History.

A Farther Shore: Ireland's Long Road to Peace
Adams, Gerry
A Farther Shore: Ireland's Long Road to Peace (2003)
Sinn Féin President Adams reflects on Ireland's decades of political troubles leading up to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement between the Irish and British.
 
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Cahill, Thomas
How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe
In this entertaining and enlightening work, Cahill chronicles the achievement of the Irish monastic scribes in preserving the classical literature of Greece and Rome when, with the collapse of the Roman Empire, continental Europe was plunged into the Dark Ages. Tales of Saints Patrick and Columcille are interwoven with the history of Ireland and Celtic Europe until the rise of Charlemagne.
 
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Coffey, Michael, ed.
The Irish in America
With contributors like Pete Hamill, Peter Quinn, Frank McCourt, and Denis Leary, this book is a celebration of the Irish immigrants' assimilation and contribution to the American melting pot.
 
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
Coogan offers a sympathetic look at one of the founders of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) -- ultimately assassinated by his own followers for perceived easy settlement with the British.
 
The Troubles: Ireland's Ordeal, 1966-1995, and the Search for Peace
Coogan, Tim Pat
The Troubles: Ireland's Ordeal, 1966-1995, and the Search for Peace (1996)
Journalist Coogan covers Ireland's "Troubles" from the mid 1960s to 1990s -- covering the role of such notables as Ian Paisley, John Hume, Bernadette Devlin, Gerry Adams, and Albert Reynolds.
 
De Breffny, Brian, ed.
The Irish World: The History and Cultural Achievements of the Irish People
This is a lavishly illustrated history of Ireland, beginning with prehistoric Ireland (AD 500) and concluding with modern Ireland. Included are chapters on the Celtic Revival, the early Irish Church, and the Irish in America.
 
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Dezell, Maureen
Irish America: Coming into Clover
Dezell has written an absorbing, easy to read social and cultural history of the Irish in America.
 
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Donnelly, James S., Jr.
The Great Irish Potato Famine
With one million Irish dead and millions more lost to emigration, the population of Ireland was decimated by the continual failure of the potato crop from 1845 to 1849. The argument as to whether or not the Great Famine was an act of genocide by the British or simply British indifference to the catastrophe is debated in this book. Soup kitchens, workhouses, coffin ships, mass evictions and the lingering psychological effects of the disaster are some of the topics discussed in this comprehensive, extensively illustrated work.
 
Edwards, Ruth Dudley
An Atlas of Irish History
Seventy-four maps and graphs outline the history of Ireland from earliest to modern times. Chapters fall under the headings of land, religion, military developments, literature, politics, communications, social change, the Irish abroad, and industry and trade. The accompanying text makes this an appealing way to learn and visualize the major events of Irish history.
 
The Great Shame and the Triumph of the Irish in the English-Speaking World
Keneally, Thomas
The Great Shame and the Triumph of the Irish in the English-Speaking World
In this prodigiously researched work, Keneally, author of Schindler's List, focuses on the time period between 1841 and 1881, when the population of Ireland was decimated by death and emigration as a result of the Great Famine. Irish convicts deported to Australia, Union and Confederate officers in the Civil War, and American Fenians plotting to invade British Canada are just a portion of the Irish Diaspora that Keneally skillfully chronicles.
 
Liddy, Pat
Dublin be Proud: In Celebration of Dublin's Millennium Year 1988
Anyone who is interested in Dublin and its architecture, from its Viking origins through the Georgian period to the twentieth century, will consider this book a real find. The informative text is accompanied by lovingly rendered illustrations of such sites as the General Post Office, the Custom House, Dublin Castle, Trinity College, and Christ Church and St. Patrick's Cathedrals, to name a few.
 
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McCaffrey, Carmel
In Search of Ancient Ireland: The Origins of the Irish, from Neolithic Times to the Coming of the English
Neolithic monuments, the arrival of the Celts, Tara, Irish myth and legend, saints, scholars and warriors are presented in this highly readable companion to the PBS series of the same name.
 
Wars of the Irish Kings
McCullough, David Willis
Wars of the Irish Kings: A Thousand Years of Struggle from the Age of Myth through the Reign of Queen Elizabeth I
Drawing on ancient manuscripts such as the Book of Invasions, McCullough takes the reader on a journey from the age of myth to the age of history, including a memorable recounting of Brian Boru's leadership in the Battle of Clontarf. The adventures of other Irish chieftains as chronicled in old Irish documents, including a seventeenth century siege diary, are the main thrust of this work. It concludes with a dramatic account of the Battle of Kinsale in 1601 and the disastrous defeat of the armies of the O'Neills and the O'Donnells at the hands of the English.
 
McKittrick, David, et al.
Lost Lives: the Stories of the Men and Women and Children who Died as a Result of the Northern Ireland Troubles
This work of epic proportions is a poignant memorial to the 2,037 individuals who lost their lives between 1966 and 1999 in the violent conflict in Northern Ireland. There is an entry for each person, detailing the way in which he or she was killed and the circumstances under which he or she died.
 
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Morrogh, Michael MacCarthy
The Irish Century
In this book, riveting photographs and illuminating text reveal the defining moments of Ireland's turbulent history. Haunting images of major historical events and portraits of illustrious cultural and political figures are presented, as well as depictions of daily life among the general populace, providing a window into a way of life that is rapidly disappearing.
 
 

Historical Fiction

For additional titles, browse Ireland History to 1172 -- Fiction

Flanagan, Thomas, 1923-
The Year of the French
In 1798, Irish patriots, committed to freeing their country from England, landed with a company of French troops in County Mayo, in westernmost Ireland. They were supposed to be an advance guard, followed by other French ships with the leader of the rebellion, Wolfe Tone. Initially successful, they were crushed by a brutal English counterattack.
 
Famine
O'Flaherty, Liam, 1896-
Famine
Set in the period of the Great Famine of the 1840s, Famine is the story of three generations of the Kilmartin family. It is a masterly historical novel, rich in language, character, and plot--a panoramic story of passion, tragedy, and resilience.
 
Rutherfurd, Edward
The Princes of Ireland: the Dublin Saga (2004)
The saga begins in tribal, pre-Christian Ireland during the reign of the fierce and mighty high kings at Tara. Rutherfurd takes the reader on a powerfully imagined journey down the centuries. Through the interlocking stories of a memorable cast of characters - druids and chieftains, monks and smugglers, noblewomen and farmwives, merchants and mercenaries, rebels and cowards - we see Ireland through the lens of its greatest city.
 
The Leper's Bell
Tremayne, Peter
The Leper's Bell
And for you mystery fans, Peter Tremayne, the pen name of Celtic historian Peter Berresford Ellis, has written a series of Sister Fidelma mysteries set in 7th century Ireland.
 
 

Videos

A Celtic Journey through Time: a Short History of Ireland A Celtic Journey through Time: a Short History of Ireland (1998)
A panoramic look at the personalities and events that shaped Ireland and a tour of its most beautiful locales, including the medieval streets of Dublin, the rugged coasts and the verdant countryside. (VHS)

Behind the mask: the IRA and Sinn Fein
This BBC News/WGBH Frontline production tells the story of the Irish Republican Army and its political wing Sinn Fein. Includes America's role in this struggle with Britain. (VHS)

Celebrating the Green: the History of Saint Patrick's Day (1998)
This is the videocassette release of the 1998 production by the History Channel tracing the life of Saint Patrick, the history of St. Patrick's Day and how the day has been celebrated throughout the centuries. (VHS)

The IRA: 30 years of terror (1998)
A look at the history of the turmoil in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republican Army, which has fought, to frequently bloody results, for a unified Catholic-dominated Ireland independent of Great Britain. Produced by CBS News Productions in association with A&E Network as a segment of the television series: 20th Century with Mike Wallace as the narrator. (VHS)

In Search of Ancient Ireland (2002)
Produced by PBS/WNET (see the companion website), this is a look at the history and legends of ancient Ireland from 2000 B.C., when Stone Age farmers built some of the largest and most spectacular Neolithic monuments in Europe, through 1167 A.D, when the Norman invasion placed Ireland under English control. A book is also available. (DVD and VHS)

Ireland and your Irish Ancestry
This special Irish Heritage video is the story of Irish ancestry, the history of Ireland, her landscape and music. (VHS)

The Irish Country House
Filmed at different locations across Ireland, this documentary looks at the development of the country house from cliff-top castles to the great Palladian mansions. It offers an unusual insight into Ireland's history. (VHS)

Out of Ireland: the Story of Irish Emigration to America Out of Ireland: the Story of Irish Emigration to America (1995)
Examines the history of the seven million Irish who emigrated to America in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries including the causes of the exodus and the immigrant experience in the United States. Uses photographs, archival footage, manuscript material and interviews with Irish immigrants to describe their experiences and the profound influence they have had on American culture. Based on the book by Kerby Miller and Paul Wagner. (VHS)

Saint Patrick: the Man, the Myth (1996)
Videocassette release of one episode of the A&E television series Biography. Born in 385 A.D. to a wealthy family in Britain, Patrick was kidnapped at 15 and enslaved for six years as a shepherd in Ireland. He escaped back to Britain, but later returned to Ireland determined to convert the people to Christianity. (VHS)

 

Websites

  • History Ireland Magazine
    This online site of the print magazine offers selected articles, its book review section, a collection of links to history sources, museums, and historical organizations.
  • Ulster American Folk Park
    The Ulster American Folk Park is an open-air museum in Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland, that tells the story of emigration from Ulster to America in the 18th & 19th centuries and provides visitors with a "living history" experience on its outdoor site. It is of particular interest to Pittsburghers because it includes the cottage in Ireland where Thomas Mellon was born and a replica of his log house and barn in Western Pennsylvania.