Holiday Reads – Irish-Language Books to read this Summer

Written by Helen de Búrca May, 2024

With Summer upon us, now’s a great time, to get stuck into a good story while you’re relaxing poolside or on the beach. Whether you’re a major horror head, a hopeless romantic, or an armchair detective, here are 5 reading recommendations to get you into reading in Irish this Summer.

Holiday Reads – Irish-Language Books to read this Summer

1. Mythological Romance: ‘Éadaoin’ By Diarmuid Johnson

The story of Éadaoin is our finest Old Irish love story, a story which survived only in fragments, in the Book of the Dun Cow, and in the Book of Lecan. Diarmuid Johnson has reconstructed these fragments and filled the gaps in our knowledge to present a full-bodied, exciting retelling. Johnson has transformed this tale into an ancient epic which can hold its own alongside other greats such as Helen of Troy and the tale of Tristan and Isolde.

Éadaoin descends from the birds of the fairy fort. She spends her time visiting the transient, mortal world but returns always to the land of the eternal, Brí Léith. Éadaoin was the wife of Eochaidh, King of Tara, but it was to Midhir that she gave her heart – to Midhir of the fairies, Midhir of Brí Léith, Midhir the beautiful and of the honeyed words.

2. Thriller: ‘Bean i mBiarritz’ By Brian Ó Dochartaí

Thanielle finds herself alone running a restaurant when the owner, Mario, is killed in a car accident. Her world is torn asunder. Mario was the father of her children but he also had a hidden life. Thanielle embarks on a quest for her own father, an Englishman who visited Biarritz on a rugby weekend long before. She seeks him out in Manchester. He has his own criminal interests and a daughter from Biarritz did not figure on his agenda. The story unfolds through searches, pursuits, gambling, murder and – who knows – maybe the solution!

3. Magical Realism: ‘An Cúigiú Díochlaonadh’ By Dáibhí Ó Cróinín

Resembling a dream – or rather a nightmare – An Cúigiú Díochlaonadh is a dark, sinister book in many respects. Nevertheless, the crazy humour of this unpredictable and exhilarating novel makes it a compulsive read right to the end...Murder, cat-murder, and worst of all, the stealing of a ‘word collection’...!

4. Philosophical Drama: ‘Beatha Phí’ By Yann Martel (Translated to Irish by Risteárd Mac Annraoi)

This is an Irish translation of the famous novel Life of Pi. It tells the magical story of a young Indian boy who finds himself shipwrecked and lost at sea in a large lifeboat. His companions are four wild animals: an orangutan, a zebra, a hyena, and, most notably, Richard Parker, a Bengal tiger.

5. Murder Mystery: ‘Cur i gCéill’ By Celia de Fréine

Cass Ó Caoimh is a psychologist who moves to Connemara after being widowed. Along with her job-sharing in the local medical centre, she takes on a part-time job at the Garda Headquarters as a forensic psychologist. When Niamh, the daughter of her friend, is drowned, Cass believes that the young woman was murdered in spite of what Detective Inspector Tom Breasal (who happens to be her former lover) thinks. With the help of journalist Gearóid, Tom’s son, and the people she meets along the way, she investigates Niamh’s death and reveals a chilling tale.

What do you think of these recommendations? Each of these books is available for purchase on, or for more recommendations, become a member of and see what other readers thought in our online forums or from what was discussed on the podcasts!

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