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Irish Non-Fiction
Old Ireland in Colour by John Breslin and Sarah-Anne Buckley Old Ireland in Colour by John Breslin and Sarah-Anne Buckley

This book aims to bring Ireland’s modern history to life through the colourisation of 173 black and white photographs. They are organised thematically in sections such as The Irish Revolution, Society and Culture and The Irish Abroad and together with their historical contexts bring immediacy to these moments captured in time.

 
That Place We Call Home by John Creedon That Place We Call Home by John Creedon

This provides an enjoyable look at the placenames of Ireland by popular RTÉ presenter John Creedon. He has travelled the highways and byways of Ireland over the last few years and shares his stories of the origins of placenames through language, geography and history. His interest in the subject dates back to his childhood and the book reflects his enthusiasm and would make a perfect read for the armchair toponymist.

 
A Light that Never Goes Out by Keelin Shanley A Light that Never Goes Out by Keelin Shanley

Keelin was a well-known current affairs journalist on Irish television before her death in February 2020. She describes her battle with terminal cancer with humour and honesty and looks back at a career which focussed on social issues. Her husband Conor Ferguson completed the last chapter of the book and the title won RTÉ Radio One’s Listeners Choice Award at the 2020 Irish Book Awards.

 
Champagne Football by Mark Tighe and Paul RowanChampagne Football by Mark Tighe and Paul Rowan

This is a riveting exposé of the John Delaney years of the FAI and the growing dysfunction of his reign. Winner of the Sports Book of the Year in 2020, the book explains the background of why the FAI needed a bailout from the Irish government and why Delaney held so much power within the footballing world.

 
True Colours by Barry GeraghtyTrue Colours by Barry Geraghty

Barry Geraghty, an Irish horseracing legend, gives an honest insight into the world of a top jockey. Rider of almost 2,000 winners, Barry retired in July 2020. He recounts the numerous physical injuries he endured during his career along with tales of endurance, resilience and success.

 
The Hill by Bernard Brogan and Kieran Shannon The Hill by Bernard Brogan and Kieran Shannon

The story of how a player who didn’t make the cut at underage level in Dublin went on to win seven All-Irelands. Read how he ascribes the success of the Dublin team to the attitude of the individuals, the commitment they gave, good leadership and a bit of luck. Ghost written by Clare-based sports journalist Kieran Shannon.

 
Here’s the Story by Mary McAleese Here’s the Story by Mary McAleese

McAleese needs no introduction but the trajectory of her life growing up in North Belfast during the Troubles to becoming a professor in Dublin, her involvement in the peace process and spending two terms as our President is fascinating and inspiring. In recent years, she has become a voice for women against the misogyny of the Catholic Church.

 
Ok, let’s do your Stupid Idea by Patrick Freyne Ok, let’s do your Stupid Idea by Patrick Freyne

A predominantly light-hearted essay collection from the Irish Times journalist including a story of an unusual camping trip with his Army father in the Wicklow mountains and stories of his summer jobs in Germany. Freyne also includes an essay on his mental health struggles which adds depth to his honest recollections.

 
Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa

Poet Ní Ghríofa grew up in Clare. Her book weaves an eloquent story inspired by a poet of the 1700s and her own life as a young mother. A poem by Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill has long fascinated the author who decides to investigate its story more closely. This beautifully written work has received rave reviews regarding the freshness of its voice and honesty.

 

<< Staff Picks - Recommended Reads 2020