It’s that time of year again, folks, so pack your sun cream, umbrella, sandals and wellies! With incredible coast lines, stunning mountain ranges, hidden caves and breath-taking views, Ireland is a beautiful country and a destination location for many of us this year. There’s lots to explore whether it’s going on a monster hunt for mythical Irish beasts, following loveable hounds, searching for a vanishing lake, we have lots of wonderful stories to captivate you. Whether your destination is beautiful Bundoran, glorious Galway, lovely Limerick or terrific Tramore, there’s lots to see and do and even more to read about on your journey there. So sit back, turn the page and enjoy, we have a selection of adventures you won’t want to miss.
There’s a rich collection of books on Ireland available in your local library or book shop, everything from old-time favourites like Irelandopedia to new nature books celebrating Ireland’s rich natural world Our Wild World: From the birds and bees to our boglands and the ice caps by Éanna Ní Lamhna.
For younger readers, Flossie McFluff, An Irish Fairy by Eoin O’Brien with delightful illustrations with a sparkle of magic by Audrey Dowling; there’s lots to amuse young fairy fans in this collection of three magical tales. Scout’s Best Day Ever by Jennifer Farley is an enjoyable romp around Ireland. Eva and the Perfect Rain, a rainy Irish tale by the super talented writer and illustrator Tatyana Feeney is a perfect pick me up on a rainy day. Paddy Donnelly’s charming The Vanishing Lake and James Joyce’s amusing The Cat and the Devil will entertain all the family.
Older readers will enjoy diving into The Great Big Irish Annual, 2021 by Gill Books.
Mark Joyce’s Mythical Irish Beasts will take you on an extraordinary journey around Ireland introducing you to an incredible menagerie of creatures.
Watch out for Caitriona Sweeney’s A Galway Fairytale and My Little Album of Ireland by Juliette Saumande and Tarsila Kruse, coming out soon!
For more recommendations, check out the Children’s Books Ireland reading list over on www.childrensbooksireland.ie
Síne Quinn, a Children’s Books Ireland book doctor, is the commissioning editor at Cubicle 7 and creative writing facilitator, whose debut Holy Shocking Saints: The Extraordinary Lives of Twelve Irish Saints is illustrated by Margaret Anne Suggs and published by Veritas.
Scout’s Best Day Ever by Jennifer Farley, The O’Brien Press, ISBN 978178849174704
Winner of the An Post Irish Book Award, writer and illustrator Jennifer Farley is back with another awesome picture book. Following on from her fantastic collection, Island of Adventures, Shooting for the Stars, Taking the Lead, Scout’s Best Day Ever! A doggy adventure around Ireland is an amusing and heartwarming tale. When Scout joins Dad and Daisy on a holiday to visit Gran, Cat is left behind to mind the house. Will Cat miss the energetic Scout? With gorgeous double-page spreads and entertaining post cards, Scout keeps Cat posted on all their travels. From admiring ancient tomb art to jumping off piers, readers will be inspired to get out and report on their own adventures around Ireland. A book for all the family, especially canine companions and feline friends. 0-4, 5-7
The Vanishing Lake by Paddy Donnelly, Yeehoo Press, ISBN 9781953458032
‘However, there was one peculiar thing about Grandad’s lake. Every so often … for whatever reason … It would vanish! The whole thing! Gone!’
Join Meara on a magnificent adventure as she journeys through the beautiful countryside to visit her grandfather, who lives by Lake Loughareema. From mermaids pulling the plug to narwhals piercing it with their horns, Grandad comes up with a myriad of imaginative and entertaining reasons to explain the mystery of the disappearing lake. Donnelly’s writing is distinct and captivating, you can almost hear Grandad’s voice with its cadence and warmth as he regales Meara with tales. Their wonderful relationship is captured through credible dialogue and striking artwork. Each double-page spread will entice readers into this extraordinary tale. 0-4, 5-7
The Cat and the Devil by James Joyce, illustrated by Lelis, Little Island Books, ISBN 9781912417919
Written for his grandson Stephen in 1936 by one of Ireland’s most famous writers, this new edition is beautiful illustrated and sure to captivate readers of all ages. Though not set in Ireland, but in Beaugency, a town on the Loire in France, James Joyce’s The Cat and the Devil has entertained generations of families across the globe. This new edition by Little Island and illustrated by Lelis with beautiful water-colours captures the old-style fable balanced with Joyce’s incredible wit and laugh-out-loud humour. When the devil offers to build the town a bridge over the wide river, the lord mayor Alfie Byrne (named after the popular Irish politician and lord mayor of Dublin at the time) is not so sure about the deal. With all the town watching the unveiling of the bridge, what could possibly go wrong? One to read and cherish. 4+
(Publication date is the 2nd of September, available for pre-order now)
Mythical Irish Beasts by Mark Joyce, Currach Books, ISBN 9781782189053
‘There are many stories connected to the King of the Cats, the most famous of which is of Irusan… who lived in a cave near Clonmacnoise and was a big as an ox.’
From ‘Suilleach’ a multi-eyed monster dwelling in the deep waters of the river Swilly (named after the monster) in Donegal to the Fear Liath ‘grey man’ lurking in the Sliabh Mish Mountains in Kerry, Ireland is rife with mythical beasts. If in doubt, read on, it’s clear you just need to know where to find them. So keep an open mind and a beady eye out for the King of the Cats, magical deer, shape-shifters, the hawk of Achill and many more mythical Irish beasts. Similar in design, tone and format to the brilliant Mythical Irish Wonders, this book is jam-packed with fascinating myths and legends. A book for everyone. 9+