Irish History

General Irish history

A Concise History of Ireland by Patrick Weston Joyce, circa 1910.

This is a very useful concise history of Ireland for anyone wishing to get an overview of the subject, and has been written with reasonable objectivity.

Irish Nationality by Alice Stopford Green, 1911.

A good overview of the concept of Irish nationality, covering from the earliest times to the period of the Home Rule movement.

Ireland and Her Story by Justin McCarthy, 1903

A general overview of Irish history from the earliest times to the Home Rule period. Also available as a free ebook download.

An Illustrated History of Ireland by Margaret Anne Cusack (or Sister Mary Frances, Nun of Kenmare), 1868

Cusack converted to Catholicism and became a nun before eventually reverting back to Protestantism. This history was written whilst she was in the convent and perhaps with the zeal of a convert. As with most 19th century histories of Ireland the objectivity of this book is questionable, but it nevertheless contains plenty of interesting information, useful footnotes, and good illustrations by Henry Doyle.

A History of Ireland and Her People by Eleanor Hull

A more in-depth history, well-written and with good objectivity. It covers the History of Ireland from the earliest times until the early part of the 20th century.

The Story of Ireland by A. M. Sullivan, circa 1900.

Sullivan leaves you in doubt to his religious persuasion and political beliefs in this history. The book was published as part of the Atlas and Cyclopedia of Ireland, 1900.

Early Irish History and Antiquities, and the History of West Cork by Rev. W. O'Halloran, 1916.

A good overview of the early history of Ireland from the earliest inhabitants to the Battle of Clontarf. It is also useful for its descriptions of the various antiquities of the country: cromlechs, pillar stones, raths, ogham monuments, etc. The history of West Cork covers from the Battle of Kinsale to the French arrival at Bantry Bay, and includes information on the main families of the area.

Other Irish history

Annals of the Famine in Ireland in 1847, 1848, and 1849 by Asenath Nicholson

A truly shocking eye-witness account of the horrors of the Irish Famine by Asenath Nicholson, an American lady who travelled to Ireland with the express purpose of discovering the conditions for herself and to help in whatever way she could. She berated the indifferent, the callous, the profiteers, but was also quick to praise the good-hearted people from all religious and political backgrounds who did their best to alleviate the suffering of the poor. Mrs Nicholson was a woman of deep religious conviction and was quick to denounce the clergy who didn't practice what they preached. She was a teetotaler, a vegetarian, anti-hunting, and an enthusiastic advocate for women's rights. This was a lady of strong mind and will, and she needed to be in order to face what she did during the Great Hunger. What she personally witnessed could easily have traumatized and destroyed a weaker vessel. She coped, but the memories of what she saw haunted her thereafter.

The Irish Revolution and how it came about by William O'Brien

William O'Brien was a County Cork M.P. who participated in the negotiations for Home Rule in Ireland. In this account, first published in 1923, he provides an insight into the politics and politicians of the time — John Redmond, James Dillon, Arthur Griffith, Sir Edward Carson, Bonar Law, Lloyd George, Winston Churchill, etc. — and gives his analysis of the origins of the Easter Rising of 1916 and the subsequent Irish Civil War. From his own perspective, O'Brien was very much anti-Partition, and was evidently frustrated at the failure to give adequate reassurance to the Northern Unionists.

Ulster's Stand for Union by Ronald McNeill

A Unionist perspective of the Home Rule Crisis of 1912, which includes an account of the subsequent formation of the Ulster Volunteer Force, the signing of the Solemn League and Covenant, gun-running to Ulster, the coming of the First World War, and the establishment of the Ulster Parliament in 1921.

The Irish in America by John Francis Maguire

Originally published in 1868, The Irish in America is still a fascinatingly informative and highly readable book today. The author, John Francis Maguire, sat as Member of Parliament for Cork City (1865-72) and was created a Knight Commander of St. Gregory by Pope Pius IX. Although he is understandably sometimes a little guilty of tending to view his fellow countrymen and co-religionists through rose-tinted spectacles, his account of the Irish emigrant settlers in 19th century America is nevertheless a truly entertaining and invaluable source of social history. It provides a gripping insight into the conditions the emigrants faced, from the horror of the famine ships to the squalor of New York tenements and lodging-houses. It tells of the dangers awaiting new arrivals, the trials and tribulations of settling in a foreign land, and covers a wide diversity of other matters such as perils to female virtue, cannibalism in the Californian mountains, the Irish soldier in the American Civil War, slavery, religious riots in Philadelphia, and how the Irish were viewed by other settlers. Yet, despite the author's desire to have his countrymen appear in a most favourable light, he doesn't shrink from touching upon the Irish reputation for excessive drinking and love of fighting, and he examines the trait and attempts to explain why it is so. This is a thoroughly absorbing chronicle of the Irish in the New World and a must read for any Irish-American.

The Scotch-Irish in America by Henry Ford Jones

A classic of Scotch-Irish history by Henry Jones Ford, first published in 1915. The book traces the origins of the Scotch-Irish, examining the Plantation of Ulster and its impact on the formation of their character. It follows them to America, describing the difficult conditions that these pioneer frontiersmen had to face, and demonstrates the influence that the Scotch-Irish had in the foundation of the United States.

The Scot in Ulster: Sketch of the History of the Scottish Population of Ulster by John Harrison

An informative, entertaining and easy read, John Harrison's account of the 17th century Scots settlers in Ulster is perhaps still the best introduction to the subject that there is.

The French Invasion of Ireland in '98 by Valerian Gribayedoff

A fascinating account of the French landing at Killala in Mayo in 1798 and the subsequent campaign against the British in the West of Ireland.

The Irish Constitution Explained by Darrell Figgis

The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

The Historic Case for Irish Independence

Derry and Enniskillen in the Year 1689

Irish Ideas

Essays and Articles on Irish history

State of Ireland during the Eighteenth Century

Search Library Ireland


My Lady of the Chimney CornerMy Lady of the Chimney Corner

A memorable and moving story of the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity. In 1863 the author, Alexander Irvine, was born into dire poverty, the child of a 'mixed' marriage. His parents had survived the ravages of the famine years, but want and hunger were never to be too far away from their door. Irvine was ultimately destined to leave Ireland for America and to become a successful minister and author. He learned to read and write when he had left his home in Antrim far behind, but he came to realize that the greatest lessons he had received in life were at his mother's knee. My Lady of the Chimney Corner is the depiction of an existence that would be unthinkable in modern Ireland; but, more than that, it is the author's loving tribute to his mother, Anna, who taught him to look at the world through clean spectacles. ISBN 978-1-910375-32-7. USA orders. The book is also available as a Kindle download (UK) and Kindle download (US).

Popular Rhymes and Sayings of IrelandPopular Rhymes and Sayings of Ireland

In Popular Rhymes and Sayings of Ireland (first published in 1924) John J. Marshall examines the origin of a variety of rhymes and sayings that were at one time in vogue around different parts of the country, including those which he recalled from his own childhood in County Tyrone. Numerous riddles, games and charms are recounted, as well as the traditions of the ‘Wren Boys’ and Christmas Rhymers. Other chapters describe the war cries of prominent Irish septs and the names by which Ireland has been personified in literature over the centuries. The book is also available as a Kindle download.


Annals of the Famine in Ireland

Annals of the Famine in Ireland

Annals of the Famine in Ireland, by Asenath Nicholson, still has the power to shock and sadden even though the events described are ever-receding further into the past. When you read, for example, of the poor widowed mother who was caught trying to salvage a few potatoes from her landlord’s field, and what the magistrate discovered in the pot in her cabin, you cannot help but be appalled and distressed.

The ebook is available for download in .mobi (Kindle), .epub (iBooks, etc.) and .pdf formats. For further information on the book and author see details ».

Ireland's Welcome to the Stranger

Ireland’s Welcome to the Stranger

This book, the prequel to Annals of the Famine in Ireland cannot be recommended highly enough to those interested in Irish social history. The author, Mrs Asenath Nicholson, travelled from her native America to assess the condition of the poor in Ireland during the mid 1840s. Refusing the luxury of hotels and first class travel, she stayed at a variety of lodging-houses, and even in the crude cabins of the very poorest. Not to be missed!

The ebook is available for download in .mobi (Kindle), .epub (iBooks, etc.) and .pdf formats. For further information on the book and author see details ».

The Scotch-Irish in America

The Scotch-Irish in America

Henry Ford Jones' book, first published in 1915 by Princeton University, is a classic in its field. It covers the history of the Scotch-Irish from the first settlement in Ulster to the American Revolutionary period and the foundation of the country.

The ebook is available for download in .mobi (Kindle), .epub (iBooks, etc.) and .pdf formats. For further information on the book and author see details ».


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