History Through Fiction

Historical fiction is a fantastic way for young people to get drawn into finding out about the past. We are delighted to have a large selection of novels covering the major events in Irish history. These have been used extensively in the classroom, and many teaching resources are available for them: but they are also the perfect way for young people to get inside the skins of people from other ages and really understand what the world looked like in the past.

Celtic Pre-History

Celtic Magic Tales

Celtic Magic Tales

by Liam MacUistin

Celtic Ireland: Four magical legends from Ireland's Celtic past vividly told - heroic quests, great deeds, fantasy and fun.

Celtic Tales of Enchantment

Celtic Tales of Enchantment

by Liam MacUistin

Celtic Ireland: Four exciting stories of magic, heroism and love featuring some of the best-known names from Irish myth and legend.

The Hunt for Diarmaid and Gráinne

The Hunt for Diarmaid and Gráinne

by Liam MacUistin

Celtic Ireland: One of the Great Tales from the ancient Celtic tradition. This story tells of how Fionn Mac Cumhaill, the great Fianna leader, who wishes to marry Gráinne, but she will not have him. Instead she runs off with Diarmaid. Then begins the great chase and the final battle, involving mixed loyalties, a warrior's honour and a woman's tragedy.

The Táin

by Liam MacUistin

Celtic Ireland: The most famous Irish legend of all in an exciting and easily understood version. Read about the feats of the famous warrior Cuchulainn who singlehandedly defends Ulster against the army of Queen Maeve. War, peace, love, greed, fate are the stuff of an epic, and in The Táin they are present in full.

Vikings and Normans

Brian Boru

Brian Boru

by Morgan Llywelyn

Vikings in Ireland: This internationally best-selling author, winner of many awards in adult historical fiction, now turns her hand to historical fiction for children with a personalised account of the life of Brian Boru, from his childhood in the midst of a large warrior family to his final role as High King of Ireland.

Blood Brother, Swan Sister

Blood Brother, Swan Sister

by Eithne Massey

Battle of Clontarf: A thrilling tale of magic and warfare in Norman Ireland. April 1014: Dubliner Elva watches helplessly as her sister comes under the control of an evil queen. Dara marches towards the city as part of Brian Boru’s army, while Skari sails from the Orkneys to fight with King Sitric of Dublin. As the armies come ever closer to each other, no one knows what will happen when they meet to fight what has been called the last battle.

Strongbow

Strongbow

by Morgan Llywelyn

Normans in Ireland: The dramatic story of the Norman conquest of Ireland in the 12th century. Full of battles and warfare, but a story of love, too, between an unlikely pair - wilful and wild Irish princess Aoife, and Strongbow, the greatest of the Norman knights to come to Ireland. A clash of cultures and a vivid story of one of the Greats of Irish history.

14th Century

The Silver Stag of Bunratty

The Silver Stag of Bunratty

by Eithne Massey

In an Ireland full of war and danger, four children are determined to prevent Richard De Clare, Lord of Bunratty, from killing the magical Silver Stag to display his head on the castle walls. Adventure, conflict and danger awaits them.

Where the Stones Sing

Where the Stones Sing

by Eithne Massey

Medieval Dublin: As the spectre of the Black Death hovers over medieval Dublin in the fourteenth century, Kai is plucked from the filthy streets to sing in the great Christ Church choir. But Kai has a secret that must be kept hidden - even from new friends Tom and Jack. Kai will need great strength, talent and help from unexpected quarters just to survive.

16th century

Granuaile

Granuaile

by Morgan Llywelyn

In the sixteenth century, Granuaile, the Pirate Queen, warrior and leader, and the most feared woman in Ireland. Heading a large army and a fleet of ships, she lived by trading and raiding and demanding tribute from all who sailed through her territory. A story of immense bravery and daring, Granuaile takes on the great Norman lords, smuggles weapons and mercenaries for the Ulster Gaelic O'Donnell and O'Neill clans, and finally goes to confront Elizabeth Tudor herself.

Red Hugh

Red Hugh

by Deborah Lisson

English rule in Ireland: The extraordinary true story of Red Hugh O'Donnell -- kidnap, gaol, dungeons, escape. Ireland in 1587 was a tough place. The old Irish clans struggled desperately to hold on to their lands. With the Spanish Armada threatening her in the background, the English queen, Elizabeth I, set out to subdue them.

A few weeks before his fifteenth birthday, Red Hugh was captured and taken to Dublin Castle. He was held as hostage to ensure the good behaviour of his father, chief of the powerful O'Donnell clan of Donegal. After several years, one freezing winter's night the chance of escape seemed to come at last. But there were great risks …

17th Century

Cave of Secrets

Cave of Secrets

by Morgan Llywelyn

Pirates: Tom feels rejected by his father and finds a secret second family among the smugglers who trade in and around Roaringwater Bay. Tom doesn’t know it, but his father has had big losses in business, and in 17th century Ireland cut-throat interests control everything, and loyalty counts for nothing. From his new family, Tom learns about boats and smuggling – and secret treasure. And then he finds the best-kept secret of all ...

Behind the Walls

Behind the Walls

by Nicola Pierce

Derry. 1689. The city’s inhabitants resist all attempts by the King James’s men to storm their gates. Outside, the soldiers reckon the only effective weapon they have left is to starve them out...

Kings of the Boyne

Kings of the Boyne

by Nicola Pierce

Two kings, three young soldiers, one battle to end all battles. As King James and King William prepare to meet at the Boyne in battle, three young men face the horrors of war.

Fugitives!

Fugitives!

by Aubrey Flegg

Flight of the Earls: When young Con disappears, the others must find him – and quickly. His father Hugh O’Neill, the great Ulster chieftain, is about to depart, forever. The Irish have lost at the Battle of Kinsale, and now there is nothing left for them in their own land. Hugh’s son is in great danger – and he doesn’t even know it! What would the English do to him if they caught him? Especially now as his father may be gathering another foreign army to threaten their own conquest of Ireland?

18th Century

Black Wreath

Black Wreath

by Peter Sirr

Aristocracy, Dublin City: A fictionalised account of the life of James Lovett, son of Lord Dunmain, set in 1730s Dublin and colonial America. This is a fast-paced and intriguing story of adventure, friendship, mystery and survival against the odds. With a great cast of bandits, slaves, cruel and dishonest landlords in a rich historical setting, this will appeal to students and teachers alike.

19th Century

Faoin Sceach Gheal

Faoin Sceach Gheal

by Marita Conlon-McKenna

Irish Famine: The bestselling Under the Hawthorn Tree available in Irish.

Under the Hawthorn Tree

Under the Hawthorn Tree

by Marita Conlon-McKenna

The first book in the famine trilogy

Irish Famine: Ireland in the 1840s is devastated by famine. When tragedy strikes their family, Eily, Michael and Peggy are left to fend for themselves. Starving and in danger of the dreaded workhouse, they escape. Their one hope is to find the great aunts they have heard about in their mother's stories.With tremendous courage they set out on a journey that will test every reserve of strength, love and loyalty they possess.

Wildflower Girl

Wildflower Girl

by Marita Conlon-McKenna

The second book in the famine trilogy

Post-famine emigration: At seven, Peggy made a terrifying journey through famine-stricken Ireland. Now thirteen, and determined to make a new life for herself, she sets off alone across the Atlantic to America. Will she ever see her family again?

Fields of Home

Fields of Home

by Marita Conlon-McKenna

The final book in the famine trilogy

Land War: For Eily, Michael and Peggy the memory of the famine is still strong. But Mary-Brigid, Eily's first child, has the future to look forward to. What kind of future is it?

Ireland is in turmoil, with evictions, burnings, secret meetings, fights over land. Eily and her family may be thrown off their farm. Michael may lose his job in the big house. And Peggy, in America, feels trapped in her role as a maid. Will they ever have land and a home they can call their own? Eily, Michael and Peggy have once shown great courage. Now this courage is called on again …

20th Century

Spirit of the Titanic

Spirit of the Titanic

by Nicola Pierce

1910s: Fifteen-year-old Sam plunges to his death whilst building his beloved Titanic. Now as the greatest ship the world has ever seen crosses the Atlantic Ocean, Sam finds himself on board – as a ghost. But disaster strikes when Titanic hits an iceberg ... Can Sam’s spirit reach out to save the passengers?

Survivors

Survivors

by Elisabeth Navratil

Titanic disaster: Based on the true story of the author's father and uncle, who survived the Titanic disaster as children, but could not be identified because they had been travelling under false names.

Across the Divide

Across the Divide

by Brian Gallagher

1913 Lockout: Across the Divide asks what happens when your best friend ought to be your enemy: Liam’s father, a mechanic, is a proud trade union member, while Nora’s father is a prosperous wine importer. When Jim Larkin takes on the might of the employers in 1913, resulting in strikes, riots and lockouts, Liam and Nora’s friendship is challenged and their loyalties torn.

The Msking of Mollie

The Making of Mollie

by Anna Carey

Suffragettes: It’s spring 1912, and 14-year-old Mollie Carberry lives in Drumcondra with her loving but distracted parents, her older sister Phyllis, her spoiled older brother Harry and her saintly little sister Julia. Mollie’s convinced that her life is boring - until she discovers that Phyllis is a secret suffragette. After attending a suffrage meeting, Mollie wants to do something for the movement too – and she soon convinces her best friend Nora to join her. At last, they have some excitement in their lives!

Amelia

Amelia

by Siobhán Parkinson

Suffragettes: The year is 1914 and Amelia Pim will soon be thirteen. There are rumours of war and rebellion, and Dublin is holding its breath for major, dramatic events. But all that matters to Amelia is what she will wear to her birthday party and how she can be the envy of her friends. But where are Amelia's friends when disaster strikes her family? Now that the Pims have come down in the world, what use will Amelia have for a shimmering emerald-green dress?

When Mama's political activities bring the final disgrace, it is Amelia who must hold the family together. Only the friendship of the servant girl Mary Ann seems to promise any hope.

SOS Lusitania

SOS Lusitania

by Kevin Kiely

World War 1: Finbar Kennedy runs away from home in Queenstown (Cobh) to follow his sea-captain father onto the Lusitania. On the return journey from New York, Finbar works as a deck-hand, and running messages gives him a lot of information. He begins to understand that something strange is happening. But what can he do? And whom can he trust?

No Peace for Amelia

No Peace for Amelia

by Siobhán Parkinson

World War 1, 1916 Rising: It's 1916 but Amelia Pim's thoughts are on Frederick Goodbody and not on the war in Europe. Then Frederick enlists. The pacifist Quaker community is shocked but Amelia is secretly proud of her hero and goes to the quayside to wave him farewell. For her friend MaryAnn, there are problems too, with her brother's involvement in the Easter Rising. What will become of the two young men and what effect will it have on the lives of Amelia and MaryAnn?

A story of conflict, hope and courage. Sequel to the No. 1 Bestseller Amelia.

Blood Upon the Rose

Blood Upon the Rose

by Gerry Hunt

1916 Rising, Graphic Novel: The 1916 Easter Rising was an attempt by a small group of militant Irish republicans to win independence from Britain. It was the most significant rebellion in Ireland. Though a military failure, it set Ireland on the road to freedom from Britain. The book covers the story from the early planning to the final executions and includes the tragic romance between Joseph Plunkett and Grace Gifford.

The Guns of Easter

The Guns of Easter

by Gerard Whelan

1916 Rising, World War 1: It is 1916. From the poverty of the Dublin slums Jimmy Conway sees World War I as glorious, and loves the British Army for which his father is fighting. But when war comes to his own streets Jimmy’s loyalties are divided: his uncle is one of the rebels occupying the General Post Office. Dublin’s streets are destroyed, business comes to a halt. In an attempt to find food for his family, Jimmy crosses the city, avoiding the shooting, weaving through the army patrols, hoping to make it home before curfew. But danger threatens at every corner.

Friend or Foe

Friend or Foe

By Brian Gallagher

1916 Rising: which side are you on? When Emer Daly saves Jack Madigan from drowning it seems that the two children will be friends for life. Eight months later, however, they are on opposite sides in a life and death struggle, when Dublin city is torn apart in the Easter Rising. With their young lives in turmoil, what will come first – friendship, family or loyalty to a cause?

War Children

War Children

by Gerard Whelan

Irish War of Independence: Six stories, one set in Dublin the others in the countryside, about children who get caught up in the War of Independence and suffer dire consequences.

Katies War

Katie's War

by Aubrey Flegg

Irish Civil War: Caught in the Irish Civil War, Katie has divided loyalties: her shell-shocked father fought in the First World War and wants peace, but others still want to fight for a united Ireland.

Taking Sides

Taking Sides

by Brian Gallagher

Irish Civil War: Dublin, 1922. Working class Annie Reilly is thrilled to win a scholarship to Eccles Street School. Through a classmate she meets Peter Scanlon, a student in Belvedere College. Peter sides with the rebels in the Civil War and carries messages for them. When Annie’s life is threatened, he has to decide where his loyalties lie.

A Winter of Spies

A Winter of Spies

by Gerard Whelan

Irish Civil War: A sequel to The Guns of Easter.

This books tells the exciting story of Sarah (Jimmy's young sister) and their family who are involved in the spying activities of Michael Collins during the War of Independence. Sarah, a young eleven-year-old, cannot figure out why her family is so neutral towards the war and why everybody is so secretive. A strong rebel herself, she wants to do her bit for Ireland. Then she finds out the terrible truth - and she too carries secrets which could cost her her life.

Arrivals

Arrivals

by Brian Gallagher

In 1920s Canada, a summer of fun for three friends is destroyed by a frightening crime. Almost a century later, teenager Ciara Farrelly visits her dead grandfather's Ontario home and tries to solve the mystery surrounding it. Irish and canadian history intertwine as race, prejudice and power are explored.

20th Century: World War II and after

Safe Harbour

Safe Harbour

by Marita Conlon McKenna

World War II, London blitz: Sophie and Hugh are left homeless when their house is bombed during the London Blitz. They are sent to stay with their grandfather in Ireland. Sophie is scared – they have never met Grandfather and his letters cause such trouble in the house. How will they live in a strange country with a man who probably hates them? And will their family ever be together again?

Secrets and Shadows

Secrets and Shadows

by Brian Gallagher

World War II, Ireland’s neutrality: When her home is destroyed in the 1941 Luftwaffe bombing, Grace Ryan moves in with relatives. There she meets Barry Malone, a boy from Liverpool. Barry begins to suspect their teacher Mr Pawlek of spying for the Nazis. But what starts as an exciting adventure puts their very lives in danger.

Faraway Home

Faraway Home

by Marilyn Taylor

World War II, kindertransport: As Hitler’s troops parade down the streets of Vienna, Karl and Rosa’s family send them on a Kindertransport, a refugee ship carrying Jewish children to safety. They end up in Millisle, Co. Down, which has become a refugee centre. But Northern Ireland is in the war too, with rationing and air-raid warnings.

17 Martin Street

17 Martin Street

by Marilyn Taylor

World War II, Jewish children in Dublin: When Hetty’s family move to Martin Street near Portobello bridge in Dublin, they’re not sure of their welcome.

And next door, Ben’s family are not sure about their new Jewish neighbours: it’s The Emergency and they are suspicious of strangers.

'The period detail and sense of place is lovingly recreated . . . utterly authentic' INIS Magazine

City of Fate

City of Fate

by Nicola Pierce

World War II, Stalingrad: Sunday 23 August 1942 is an important day for Yuri. It is his fourteenth birthday and also the day that the Nazis began their carpet-bombing campaign of Stalingrad, which continued every day for the next two weeks. Facing overwhelming odds, it will take all his determination and wits to survive.

Stormclouds

Stormclouds

by Brian Gallagher

Northern Ireland Troubles: Twins Dylan and Emma Goldman move from Washington to Belfast when their journalist father is sent to cover the turbulent early days of the civil-rights movement. New friendships prove life-threatening when the simmering tensions in Northern Ireland erupt into violence in the summer of 1969.