Ireland: A Novel [NOOK Book]


In the winter of 1951, a storyteller, the last practitioner of an honored, centuries-old tradition, arrives at the home of nine-year-old Ronan O'Mara in the Irish countryside. For three wonderful evenings, the old gentleman enthralls his assembled local audience with narratives of foolish kings, fabled saints, and Ireland's enduring accomplishments before moving on. But these nights change young Ronan forever, setting him on a years-long pursuit of the elusive, itinerant storyteller and the glorious tales that ...

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Ireland: A Novel

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In the winter of 1951, a storyteller, the last practitioner of an honored, centuries-old tradition, arrives at the home of nine-year-old Ronan O'Mara in the Irish countryside. For three wonderful evenings, the old gentleman enthralls his assembled local audience with narratives of foolish kings, fabled saints, and Ireland's enduring accomplishments before moving on. But these nights change young Ronan forever, setting him on a years-long pursuit of the elusive, itinerant storyteller and the glorious tales that are no less than the saga of his tenacious and extraordinary isle.

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Editorial Reviews

Bill Sheehan
The stories of Irish history are familiar but still stirring, and Delaney brings a fresh perspective and a depth of understanding to the telling. His detailed grasp of Irish history lends weight and authority to this long, discursive tale. At the same time, his familiarity with every aspect -- social, cultural and economic -- of Irish society, his empathetic rendering of a varied cast of real and imagined characters, and his ability to convey the intricate beauty of the Irish countryside enrich the narrative at every turn. Mostly, though, the novel draws its power from Delaney's conviction that stories matter, giving shape and meaning to our otherwise fractured personal -- and national -- histories. The troubled history of Ireland makes a particularly memorable story. Delaney tells it very well indeed.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
BBC reporter Delaney's fictionalized history of his native country, an Irish bestseller, is a sprawling, riveting read, a book of stories melding into a novel wrapped up in an Irish history text. In 1951, when Ronan O'Mara is nine, he meets the aging itinerant Storyteller, who emerges out a "silver veil" of Irish mist, hoping to trade a yarn for a hot meal. Welcomed inside, the Storyteller lights his pipe and begins, telling of the architect of Newgrange, who built "a marvelous, immortal structure... before Stonehenge in England, before the pyramids of Egypt," and the dentally challenged King Conor of Ulster, who tried, and failed, to outsmart his wife. The stories utterly captivate the young Ronan ("This is the best thing that ever, ever happened"), and they'll draw readers in, too, with their warriors and kings, drinkers and devils, all rendered cleanly and without undue sentimentality. When Ronan's mother banishes the Storyteller for telling a blasphemous tale, Ronan vows to find him. He also becomes fascinated by Irish myth and legend, and, as the years pass, he discovers his own gift for storytelling. Eventually, he sets off, traversing Ireland on foot to find his mentor. Past and present weave together as Delaney entwines the lives of the Storyteller and Ronan in this rich and satisfying book. Agent, Ed Victor. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
On a November evening in 1951, a shanachie (storyteller) visits the rural Irish home of the O'Maras, where neighbors have gathered to hear his tales of Ireland's heroism, intrigue, and bloody grandeur. Nine-year-old Ronan is captivated by the old man and drawn to his life of itinerant story gathering. As best he can, young Ronan follows the traveler over the years, collecting his stories while earning a history degree in Dublin. As Ronan and the shanachie grow closer, the young man fantasizes about a life on the road and, for a time, tries to emulate his hero, walking the fields and living on the kindness of strangers. The retelling of the great legends as "true events" may require a few imaginative leaps on the part of the reader, but the bonding between the apprentice and the master is both touching and real. An accomplished historian and novelist, Delaney (The Sins of the Mother) deftly weaves the story of a people and a country with a poignant coming-of-age tale; fans of Edward Rutherford's historical sagas will love it. Highly recommended for all Irish fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/04.]-Susan Clifford Braun, Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A vivid rendering of Irish history, imagined and real, embracing "blood and bones, legends, guns, and dreams, Catholics, Protestants, England, horses and poets and lovers."Any novel not meant for children that opens with a character called the Storyteller and praises at length the necessity of the Storyteller's art runs the risk of calling undue attention to its author, who is, after all, the real teller. Throw Hibernia into the mix, and the danger of hokum and, worse, goopy sentimentality (for which see Malachy McCourt's History of Ireland, p. 851) mounts. Thankfully, former BBC reporter Delaney steers clear of mawkishness and seems much less interested in calling attention to himself than in emphasizing the importance of the oral tradition to Irish memory and writing; his Storyteller may smoke a pipe and charm the country people with wee yarns that unfold into vast epics, but the rest of his characters are as real as can be, quick to take up arms against Vikings or Brits or one another, quick to strike up a song and take a drink while resisting the cliches to which people who fight and sing and drink lend themselves. Delaney's sprawling narrative takes in the time of King Conor of Ulster and Saint Patrick, the Battle of the Boyne and the building of Newgrange "before Stonehenge in England, before the pyramids of Egypt," the Easter Uprising and the Troubles of more recent times. Delaney keeps a close eye on plot and connects past and present with subtle, writerly touches: a wild man with tawny hair fights a bear in the misty prehistoric past, then resurfaces, 50 centuries later, to die in the ruins of the Dublin post office, while the Irish landscape itself becomes a key character whosepresence spans the centuries, reminding the reader just why the little island should have inspired so much writing to begin with. Reminiscent of the best of James Michener in scope and sheer crowd-pleasing potential. Agent: Ed Victor/Ed Victor Ltd.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061829772
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 55,022
  • File size: 692 KB

Meet the Author

Frank Delaney

Frank Delaney was born in Tipperary, Ireland. A career in broadcasting earned him fame across the United Kingdom. A judge for the Booker Prize, several of his nonfiction books were bestsellers in the UK, and he writes frequently for American and British publications. He now lives with his wife, Diane Meier, in New York and Connecticut. Ireland is his first novel to be published in the United States.


J.R.R. Tolkien was famously inspired to write The Lord of the Rings because England did not have a mythology to call its own. Had Tolkien been born a few hundred kilometers to the west, he might have created something more akin to Frank Delaney's Ireland: A Novel.

Set in the country of Delaney's birth, Ireland is, according to Publisher's Weekly, a "sprawling, riveting read, a book of stories melding into a novel wrapped up in an Irish history text." Although the length and subject matter of Delaney's novel invites comparisons to the work of James Michener, Delaney's book aims for the heart rather than the intellect. As opposed to Michener's meticulously researched histories, Ireland is steeped in the Irish storytelling tradition, in which fact and fiction intertwine in the pursuit of a good story.

Ireland is Delaney's first novel to be released in the United States, but he has been a well-known writer and broadcaster in the United Kingdom for many years. In addition to writing seven other novels and a number of nonfiction works, he hosted a long-running and highly-rated series on BBC radio called Word of Mouth. His interest in Irish culture led him to create The Celts, a six-part BBC television series on Celtic history that is notable for giving the musical artist Enya her first popular exposure.

The seeds for Ireland were planted in early 1990, during breakfast with a literary agent and friend named Ed Ficter. Delaney loved the idea of writing an epic history of Ireland, but his busy schedule left him with little time to work on the project. Over the years, Delaney continued to meet with Ficter, and every time, Ficter would leave the conversation with, "Don't forget Ireland: A Novel." After 12 years, Ficter finally managed to wear Delaney down. He dropped his agent, signed up with Ficter, and began work on Ireland.

The basis of many of the stories in the novel were informed by Delaney's extensive travels around his home country. When Delaney was working as a bank clerk in his early 20s, he would often hitchhike around Ireland during holidays, visiting small, forgotten villages and having long conversations with the locals. It was during these travels that Delaney fell in love with Ireland and the people who live there.

Although critical response to Ireland has been highly favorable, Delaney balks when asked if this is his masterpiece. "Oh, God no," he told British bookseller The Book Place, "this is just the start of a new phase. I do want to write a series of big novels about Ireland, and this is the first of them." Fans of Delaney's magical, moving novel eagerly await the forthcoming results of this "new phase."

Good To Know

In our interview, Delaney shared some fun and fascinating insights with us:

"For a startling period of my life I reported the Troubles in Ireland for the BBC. I lived in Dublin and was called out to all sorts of incidents that, if taken together, add up to a war -- bombings, assassinations, riots, shootings, robberies, jailbreaks, kidnappings, and sieges. It was a 24/7 life, lived on the road, or so it felt, with never a still moment, never knowing what was going to happen next. I've touched on it in a novel called Desire & Pursuit, but the vast portion of the experience is still in there, somewhere in my unconscious mind; and I expect it will emerge one day."

"As an arts journalist in London, working mainly for the BBC, I interviewed hundreds if not thousands of authors. From them I gleaned a great deal of passing instruction in writing and I observed one fascinating detail: no two writers approach their work -- physically -- in the same way. Some write longhand in pencil; some have voice-trained their computers -- and in between lies the world of authorship. As for an interesting moment -- Harold Robbins emerging from his hotel bathroom for an interview with a pretty, bikinied blonde girl on each arm; talk about true to type!"

"No country impresses me as much as the USA. ‘Well, he would say that, wouldn't he?' you think -- to which I answer, 'Well, no I wouldn't.' The fact is -- if you want to know how warm Americans, are all you have to do is stand on a sidewalk and open a map. Within seconds, passers-by will gather, offering to help. If you think it happens everywhere else -- it doesn't."

"Writers have opinions -- that, in part, is why they write. Therefore they have strong likes and dislikes. I love hamburgers but hate beets. (Note: I'm using the word 'love,' not 'like.') I love baseball, hate reality shows (all that licensing of people to behave badly). I love libraries, hate noise in public spaces. I'll stop there -- this could become an endless list!"

"Interests and hobbies: Writing -- and reading about writing; renovating houses (I've done three so far); sport, in most forms; great music -- anything from harmonica to harpsichord. In fact, I'd have to struggle to find a subject in which I can't get some kind of interested pulse started."

"Favorite ways to unwind: I like to sprawl in front of the television -- but it has to be good! Good political comment, good drama, good documentary, good drama. One of the mysteries of life is why television is so frequently so bad -- it doesn't have to be, and many have proven that fact. I also like gardening and general pottering and organizing things and walking -- all of these give me good thinking time."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Francis Bryan
    2. Hometown:
      New York, New York, and Kent, Connecticut
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 24, 1941
    2. Place of Birth:
      Tipperary, Republic of Ireland
    1. Education:
      Thomastown National School 1947-54; The Abbey School, Tipperary, 1954-60; Rosse College, Dublin, 1960
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt


Here in Ireland we've received most of our inner riches from Mother Nature. In olden days, the monks in the abbeys made art from natural matters. They were inspired by the sights they saw every day -- a rabbit leaving its burrow; a fox running across a hillside with its red brush of a tail streaming out behind it; a horse standing in a field, its back to the rain; a hawk making its point far up in the sky. And even their painting materials also came from the non-human world -- bird's feathers and colors from the earth.

So: all our expression, all our means of saying what's in our souls, came first from the universe that we see every day all around us, out under the air. We were not alone in this. For example, Man made his first music from blowing air through reed pipes and kept rhythm by tapping a stick on another stick.

But here in Ireland we made music from one very unusual source. It's our greatest musical instrument, it's very contrary to play and it had its roots in the sea. This is the story of how we invented -- the harp.

Once upon a time, before swans learned to swim and before bears wore fur coats, the wife of Breffni O'Rourke, a Sligo chieftain, liked to walk the sands at Rosses' Point. She enjoyed looking out over the Atlantic hoping to see whatever glories might lie far away to the west. As she walked she listened to the crawk of the gulls, the hiss of the tide, the ocean's hush.

One morning, however, she heard a new sound. It was strange and wondrous, it was a melody so tinkling and beautiful she thought she must capture it forever. She looked around to see where it came from -- but nobody walked near her, the sands stretched white and empty and she could not find the source of these harmonies.

It was all very peculiar. The noise grew louder and then fainter and then louder and then fainter. She asked herself, "What comes and goes, and then comes again and then goes again?" After a moment's thought, she found the answer rising in her brain -- the wind! The wind comes and goes, and comes again and goes again. So the Lady Breffni looked in the direction the wind was coming from and she found the source of the glittering tunes.

On the sands of Rosses' Point, near the original Coney Island, lay the beached carcass of a whale, high and white like a monument. The silver noises she heard came from the ribcage, where the sea breezes danced through the bones. For many minutes the lady stood and watched and listened to sounds that moved her to tears. She returned enthralled to her castle and immediately summoned her musicians who played every night at supper.

"Visit straightaway the sands at Rosses' Point," she instructed them, "and listen to the sound of the wind in the bones of the whale and then come back here and devise a means of making that music."

The musicians mounted their horses, rode off to the beach and dismounted by the carcass. They also found the sound enchanting and they spent hours there that day, scratching their heads, walking north, south, east and west of the white shape, trying to divine how the music was caused. What structures, they asked, what tensions would be needed to create something so lovely? Like scientists, somber and grave, they debated and they questioned and they considered.

On their return to the court, they began work immediately with Breffni O'Rourke's carpenter. Some weeks later they produced a very large, ponderous-looking, wooden instrument with long thin staves running from top to bottom across a frame curved like a whale's ribcage. They wheeled this contraption into the castle yard and, as good fortune would have it, the wind blew from the west that very day. To their great delight, their instrument made sounds even more beautiful than the carcass of the whale.

Next, they wheeled it around to the front door of the castle and sent a messenger to tell the lady her music was ready. She emerged at once and could hear the melody as she approached; in fact all the people in the castle turned out when they heard these heavenly notes. As they stood and listened, some people felt that a miracle had come to the great house of Breffni O'Rourke.

But -- there were two problems. First of all, this instrument was as big as a van and the lady pointed out that she could only listen to it in the open air; it wouldn't fit through the castle door and, like the rest of Ireland, Sligo isn't a place where you can listen to music out of doors all the year round. The second point she made -- it was now late afternoon and after a time, as the sun began to sink in the west, the wind dropped. And, of course, the music ceased. The Lady Breffni looked at the musicians and said, "Where's my music?"

They replied quite reasonably that the instrument only played when the wind blew, to which she said, "Then how am I going to hear it when we sit to dine?"

The musicians looked at the carpenter and the carpenter looked at the musicians.

"Place it in the yard outside an open window of the dining-hall," suggested the carpenter, trying to solve two problems at once.

"But the wind may not always blow through that corner of the yard," answered the lady. "And if it does, it'll make the room too cold to sit in."

One of the musicians said, "Perhaps if the carpenter were to make some bellows, like a blacksmith uses for blowing on the fire?"

"I don't want a blacksmith's bellows inside or outside the banqueting hall," said the Lady Breffni. "Are you all dolts or something?" She was cross by now.

A child wandered forward, a boy of nine or so, blond and inquisitive. He leaned in to look at the great instrument, reached out to touch it and drew his fingers across the long, tall staves. But he pulled back his hand with an expression of distaste on his face.

"I'm surprised the wind wants to play this," he said.

He was the son of Lady Breffni's housekeeper and renowned in that house for his cleverness and powers of observation. The musicians knew him well because he spent a great deal of time listening to them and observing how they played; one of them had begun to teach him the whistle.

"What's wrong with it?" asked the carpenter.

The boy thought for a moment.

"It's too -- unfriendly," he said, after struggling to find the word. "These wooden bones -- they offer no welcome."

"And what would you find welcoming?" asked one of the musicians.

"Something easy, a supple thing," the boy said. "Something that would bend to the fingers. Then you wouldn't need the wind. Any of us could learn to play it."

"But how would that make music?" asked the carpenter.

"These don't make the music," said the boy, indicating the wooden slats. "The music is made down here, where the vibrations echo from the blown bones" - and he laid his hand on the broad frame of the instrument.

"He's perfectly right," said the musicians.

"And it could be a lot smaller," said the boy, "provided the box was deep enough to reverberate." They carried the huge instrument away, removed the wooden staves and replaced them with long strings of gut taken from the stomachs of cows and waxed with the grease of a goose. It took them no more than a few hours. They wheeled it back into the castle yard and that night, the Lady Breffni O'Rourke of Sligo sat down to dinner, listening to music that seemed even sweeter than that melody she had heard in the skeleton of a whale. Next day, they made a much smaller version and brought into the castle that very night. It was even sweeter than the first. And that, my friends, is how the harp was invented.

Did you know, by the way, that Ireland is the only nation on earth to have a musical instrument as its national symbol? Canada has the maple leaf; New Zealand has the silver fern; Scotland has the thistle; England has the rose; Wales has the leek; America has the eagle -- and Ireland has the harp.

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Reading Group Guide


One evening in 1951, an itinerant storyteller -- a Seanchai, the very last practitioner of a tradition extending back hundreds and hundreds of years -- arrives unannounced at a house in the Irish countryside for an evening of storytelling. One of his listeners, a nine-year-old boy, grows so entranced by the storytelling that, when the old man leaves abruptly under mysterious circumstances, the boy devotes himself to finding him again.

Storyteller extraordinaire Frank Delaney takes his readers on an epic journey through the history of Ireland, stopping along the way to evoke the dramatic events and personalities so critical to shaping the Irish experience. This is the true story of Ireland and the Irish -- of how the character of the land and its people were shaped by history, by neighboring England and by the Irish themselves-written by a native son possessed of his own prodigious storytelling gifts.

Questions for Discussion

  1. Is the storyteller a phenomenon unique to Ireland?

  2. Why is Ronan enthralled before the storyteller even begins to speak? Can you imagine why Alison is so repelled?

  3. There's nothing quite like Newgrange in the US -- or is there? What do public monuments represent in the United States? Were they built in anything like the same way?

  4. Why is Ronan so much more interested in history than girls? What is it about the Storyteller that has made such a deep impression?

  5. The Storyteller has a very specific method for reaching his audience. Is his method similar to that of an actor or a writer?

  6. The Penal Laws made it very difficult for Catholics to become educated. How is a culture that is forcibly denied the growth and insight available through education and learning able to keep itself vitally alive?

  7. In following the Storyteller for so many years, has Ronan, in fact, become a Storyteller himself?

  8. Between the Norman-Irish and the Anglo-Irish, it seems difficult to define, who, really is "Irish." Is this similar to how "American" identity is formed?

  9. How would have Ronan's life been different if he knew his family's great secret all along?

  10. The book is called Ireland. To what extent is the country itself a character in the novel?

About the author

Frank Delaney was born in Tipperary, Ireland in a time and a place where itinerant storytellers, like the one featured in his novel Ireland, still haunted the country. The Irish oral tradition he celebrates may have played a part in Delaney's own choice of profession -- he began a career in broadcasting, first in Ireland and then in Britain, that earned him fame across the United Kingdom. Frank Delaney is a long time BBC reporter and contributor who has reported on subjects as diverse as the "troubles" in Northern Ireland, literature, and the arts. His first non-fiction work, James Joyce's Odyssey, was a top 5 bestseller in the UK, as were his next books, Betjeman Country and The Celts. He has been a judge for the Booker prize, writes frequently for American and British publications and has been a columnist and lecturer on many literary and historical subjects. Now, Frank Delaney has brought his considerable charm and talent to the United States. Ireland: A Novel is his first book to be published in the U.S. He now lives and writes full-time in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 119 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 119 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2010

    Frank Delaney has done it again

    Author of Shannon and Tipperary, Frank Delaney's passion for writing novels about Ireland has reached its pinnacle. Ireland is a page turning story of a boy who searches for a storyteller who rested at his house for a while. Ronan, the boy, is so enthralled with the storyteller and his stories that he sets out to find him. The storyteller wanders the countryside, staying with people who will feed him and give him shelter in exchange for telling stories. This starts the journey for Ronan to collect the stories of Ireland, find the mysterious storyteller and uncover his, and Ireland's history. The history of Ireland pours through Ronan's journey revealing the beauty and painful history of his country. This book is an excellent read for teenagers and adults. Whether you need a novel for school or something to read on an airplane, Ireland is an excellent choice with only one major flaw, its length. It appears discouraging at first, but when that back cover is closed for the last time, you almost have the urge to read the whole thing again. It is rich with the history and stories of a great nation. I especially enjoyed the beginning because of the stories told by the old man. The wording and imagery were unparalleled and it gave me the desire to keep reading. I too gained the desire to search for the nameless storyteller just as Ronan had while reading the book. For any high school student reading this review, this is a great example for the coming of age theme. Other themes could include the epic journey, self-discovery and tradition. This was an enjoyable read and a great page turner. When I came to "Of love and truth" I would not put the book down until the last word of the story was read. I believe this book is a classic and everyone that is interested in Ireland should read it. Why should you read this book? There is nothing to lose, only wonderful knowledge to gain.

    22 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    Delaney's Ireland is the width and breadth of the country itself

    In "Ireland" Frank Delaney captures the very bittersweet air of his beloved country. For anyone who has heard the stories of Ireland, whether about Newgrange or leprechauns, this book tells those stories within the context of the characters and their lives. Delaney's writing style is lovely and as reminiscent of the Irish people as was Frank McCourt's. He tells the Storyteller's tales, as in the chapter that explains "how poetry came to Ireland," in ways that make those familiar with the history of Ireland feel they are standing on the shores of the Emerald Isle. A native of Ireland might weep to read these pages. It is the only book that I have read in recent memory that I will gladly read again.

    16 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2012

    This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. In th

    This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. In the voice of a storyteller, I have learned more about Ireland than I ever knew and both the writing and the suspense in the novel have kept me glued to the book, which I am almost finished I would recommend this book to anybody and will probably buy additional copies for my children to teach them of their distant heritage.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A worthy addition to the historical fiction of Ireland.

    I can only begin by saying that I wish I had read this book prior to taking my vacation to Ireland a few weeks ago. I found this book to be a joy to read as Irish history was being revealed through the storyteller and his anointed one Ronan. There is a lot to learn from Irish history and what a great way to receive this history through a series of stories told by the storyteller. The characters were very likable and were wrapped around several subplots that added richness and subtlety to the novel.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 7, 2012

    Great book!

    When I began this book, I saw first the # of pages. But, I decided to begin anyway. I love the storyteller theme. We have a friend from Ireland & he is the new & improved storyteller. All the history, counties, & description of the area was so real to me - just like our storyteller. At first I didn't see the connection to the characters, but as I read along it began to unravel. It's a beautiful book and I will read anything Frank Delaney writes. I called our storyteller & recommended it to him. First thing he did was start telling me a story of him when he was a little boy. I knew right then I had fallen in love with Ireland.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013

    A decent read

    I purchased this selection for my St. Patrick's Day reading weekend. Overall, I would recommend the book, although I had hoped for a little bit more of a background storyline woven in than what I feel is there which is why I only gave it four stars. I am enjoying the tales and legends of the Irish people, some of which I had not read about in the past.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2013

    Wonderful story(ies), wonderfully told

    A great story about a story-teller, and his would-be apprentice... along the road, the reader is treated to a home-spun History of Ireland... for an added treat, try the audio version, read by Frank Delaney himself, repleat with his glorious Irish brogue.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 28, 2011

    Highly recommend

    A great read - Ireland told through the tales of a storyteller. If you love historical fiction, thisis the book for you.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 23, 2011

    Not such a good read

    Be prepared for numerous perhaps endless folklore tales supporting a more interesting family story thatvshould be the focus of this very long book.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2009

    This was awesome

    As a person raised in an Irish family of storytellers, I found this book to be wonderfully crafted. I loved settling down with the storyteller as he crafted his yarns, the storyline was intriguing and it held up well. Recommend without reservation.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Great Read

    After reading this book it definitely intensified my desire of wanting to go to Ireland. I thought it was very good insight about the Irish as a people and their history. Out of all the stories told by the Story Teller, my favorite was the story of Finn MacCool and the Mountain of Women. I've already recommended this book to all my friends.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 12, 2013

    An excellent read, my first intro to Irish History never covered

    An excellent read, my first intro to Irish History never covered in school. Delaney gives a brief sketch of the history and flavor of this somewhat mysterious country through wonderful tales, admittedly with a little blarney from time to time. Each tale covers an area of the country, its history and its people, hardships and triumphs, with a warmth and tenderness makes you anxious to read the next. I have missed this author but definitely will read him again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2013

    Breathtaking Prose and a Bit of Irish History

    Frank Delaney is already well known in Ireland and Britain. Now this wonderful, painstakingly crafted bit of lore comes to us in the States. It is hyper-literate and makes beautiful use of the language, as a story teller develops a relationship with a boy that lasts till his adulthood, and then ends with an interesting twist. If you have a love of Irish history and legend, or just appreciate a really well-told story, treat yourself to this beautifully written work. Snuggle in by the pool or fireside. It's nothing to rush through, but rather to savor.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 3, 2013


    A story about a story-teller. It has some interesting insights into the history of Ireland, fables, stories, personalities, etc. However, it is long on repetitive story telling. The book story itself was good, but could have been about 100 pages shorter with fewer details and insignificant details

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2006

    Great summer read

    This book is a great way to experience some of the history and culture of Ireland. Some of the stories were a bit boring and the book could have been shortened a bit. But it was well written and intriguing

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2015


    Idk just how cute you are

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2015



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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2014

    Highly Recommend!

    I bought Ireland not really knowing what to expect. I couldn't put the book down. I am that person who reads a lot of history books for pleasure. The storyteller and his stories, whether folklore or truth (or a mixture of both) are entertaining and my desire to visit the places mentioned in the book is heightened. I've been looking at some of the stories and even see some of them mentioned in other Irish books. Read this book and you will want to visit Ireland.

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  • Posted July 9, 2014

    Amazing.....!Excellent......!Just enjoy it.....!

    Amazing.....!Excellent......!Just enjoy it.....!

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  • Posted July 7, 2014

    Awesome....!Beautiful....!Wonderful....!I really enjoy it.....!

    Awesome....!Beautiful....!Wonderful....!I really enjoy it.....!

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