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Historical Fiction - Ireland

Choose historical fiction books about ancient and medieval Ireland and the Irish Celtic myths.

Buy Historical Fiction Books about Ireland
Lion of Ireland
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Lion of Ireland
by Morgan Llywelyn


Now back in print, Lion of Ireland tells the magnificent story of the great Brian Boru - hero of Ireland, High King at Tara, and defeater of the Danes. The golden age of 9th and 10th century Irish history comes to life, though there is a definite pagan bias. A great read.

Llywelyn has written many historical fiction books based on the wonderful Irish and Celtic myths and the Druid religion (including others on Brian Boru), - here are just a few that may interest you:

Druids - set in Gaul at the time of Vercingetorix and Caesar, circa 50 BC.

Finn Mac Cool - the legend of Finn Mac Cool brought to life, great fun!

Red Branch - retelling in fictional form of the legend of Cuchulain from The Tain, Ireland's most famous epic

Bard: The Odyssey of the Irish - Amergin leads his people, the sons of Mil (the Irish), from Spain to their new home (which Llywelyn sets in the fourth century BC).
Patrick : Son of Ireland
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Patrick
by Stephen R. Lawhead


From the back cover: "In the summer of the year AD 405, Irish raiders under the command of King Eochaid attack the western coast of Wales....Many of those who survive the attack are rounded up and carried back to Ireland. Among the survivors is a 16-year-old boy named Succat...who is sold in the slave market to a merciless ruler. When Succat is gravely punished after a foiled attempt to escape, he comes to the attention of Cormac, a novice Druid eager to practice his healing skills. Succat learns to respect the Druid's lore and love of learning and is given a new name, Patrick, the Celtic word for nobleman. What follows is the story of Patrick's missing years--years of calamity, defeat, and crushing disappointment that form him into a bard and advisor to the High King of Ireland, and lead to the mission for which his name will be remembered throughout history." Lawhead at the top of his form - don't miss this one.
The Princes of Ireland
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The Princes of Ireland : The Dublin Saga
by Edward Rutherfurd


While vividly and movingly conveying the passions and struggles that shaped the character of Dublin, Rutherfurd portrays the major events in Irish history: The tribal culture of pagan Ireland; the mission of St. Patrick; the coming of the Vikings and the founding of Dublin; the glories of the great nearby monastery of Glendalough and the making of treasures like the Book of Kells; the extraordinary career of Brian Boru; the trickery of Henry II, which gave England its first foothold in Medieval Ireland. The stage is then set for the great conflict between the English kings and the princes of Ireland, and the disastrous Irish invasion of England, which incurred the wrath of Henry VIII and where this book, the first of the two part Dublin Saga, draws to a close, as the path of Irish history takes a dramatic and irrevocable turn.

His other three best-selling, millennium-spanning historical novels about England are Sarum: The Novel of England (10,000 years on the Salisbury Plains, including Stone Henge and Salisbury Cathedral), The Forest (traces upteen generations through their lives in the New Forest near present-day Bath), and London (the history of London from Roman times all the way to the Blitz in World War II).
Ireland by Frank Delaney
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Ireland : A Novel
by Frank Delaney


One wintry evening in 1951, an itinerant storyteller -- a Seanchai, the very last practitioner of a fabled tradition extending back hundreds of years -- arrives unannounced at a house in the Irish countryside. In exchange for a bed and a warm meal, he invites his hosts and some of their neighbors to join him by the fireside, and begins to tell formative stories of Ireland's history. One of his listeners, a nine-year-old boy, grows so entranced by the story-telling that, when the old man leaves abruptly under mysterious circumstances, the boy devotes himself to finding him again.

Delaney travels through the centuries, interweaving Ronan's quest for the Storyteller with a richly evocative unfolding of the great moments in Irish history, ranging from the savage grip of the Ice Age to the green andtroubled land of tourist brochures and political unrest. Along the way, we meet foolish kings and innocent monks, fabled saints and great works of art, shrewd Normanraiders, strong tribal leaders, poets, politicians, and lovers. Each illuminates the magic of Ireland and the eternal connection of its people to the land.
The Changeling of Finnistuath
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The Changeling of Finnistuath
by Kate Horsley


The Changeling of Finnistuath is the story of Grey, a peasant girl who is raised as a boy, and who, until adolescence, never doubts herself to be male. The revelation of her womanhood marks the beginning of her journey—including son, whore, warrior, and mother—each of which brings its own special wisdom, but none of which, she discovers, can ultimately define her. In the course of her adventurous life, Grey deals with all the challenges of her tumultuous age—from political oppression to corrupt Church hierarchy to the horrors of the Black Death—ultimately finding peace and a kind of redemption by embracing the beautifully impermanent quality of identity that her unusual life has enabled her to understand.

Horsley also wrote Confessions of a Pagan Nun.
Bright Sword of Ireland
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Bright Sword of Ireland
by Juilene Osborne-McKnight


Bright Sword of Ireland is the third in Juilene Osborne-McKnight's wonderful retelling of cherished Irish folktales. Her focus this time is the great warrior queen Medb of Connaught. Beautiful. Bold in battle...and in bed. A legend among her people, she lusts for the Brown Cow of Cuailnge for the power and the glory that it would bring to her. And she will use anyone, do anything, to reach her goal. Who should stand in her way? None other than the fabled hero Cuchulainn, thought to be not quite of this world and who is said to able to use the spirits of the forest and glen to conquer his enemies.

McKnight's first two novels based on Irish myth are I Am of Irelaunde : A Novel of Patrick and Osian and Daughter of Ireland about a druid priestess in the time of Ireland's Christianization.
The Kings in Winter
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The Kings in Winter
by Cecelia Holland


It was a time of legend, a time of strugle, a time when the Kingship of the hero Brain Boru is being contested by men of other clans, and by the Danish invaders who had come in their longships to take hold of Ireland and make it their own. All through a long winter of strife, Muirtagh struggles to balance his own honor and that of his clan, against his divided loyalties to the three would-be Kings of Ireland.

First published in 1968, The Kings in Winter is considered by Cecelia Holland's fans to be her finest work. The book is set in Ireland during the Danish invasion around 800 A.D.. Set against this background is a clan feud that consumes the majority of the plot.