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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.

Another way to learn enjoy history is with our Deadly! Irish History series: an anarchic mix of archaeology, history, cartoon, quizzes and storytelling.

Celtic Pre-History

Ireland's Epic Adventure
By Liam Mac Uistin Illustrated by Donald Teskey

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

Emperor of the Irish

An enthralling account of the life of Brian Boru, who grew to become High King of Ireland before dying in the Battle of Clontarf in 1014.

1014 Clontarf; A Battle Begins

A thrilling tale of magic and warfare in ancient Ireland. Three children's lives are drawn together amidst the intrigue and magic of an epic battle.

The Story of Richard and Aoife

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 Norman invader.

14th Century

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.

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

A story of immense bravery and daring, as 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.

The Kidnap of Hugh O'Donnell

In 1857 the old Irish clans struggled desperately to hold on to their lands against Queen Elizabeth, who also had the Spanish Armada to worry about. Could this be Hugh O'Donnell's opportunity to escape from Dublin Castle?

17th Century

Pirates and crooked rulers make seventeenth-century Ireland a dangerous place. Tom’s father has had savage losses in business and his whole world is under pressure. Tom starts mixing with smugglers in Roaringwater Bay and learns all about boats and smuggling – and secret treasure. And then Tom discovers the best-kept secret of all ...

A City Besieged

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...

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.

A Story of the 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 Ireland, forever…

When her father commissions a famous artist to paint her portrait, Louise Eeden reluctantly agrees. In the studio Louise unexpectedly finds freedom to be herself. But someone has been watching her every move...

18th Century

The Stolen Life of James Lovett

A fictionalised account of the life of James Lovett, son of Lord Dunmain, set in 1730's Dublin and colonial America.

Book 2: The Louise Trilogy In another time and another country, the portrait of Louise Eeden continues to influence the lives of all it touches.

19th Century

An Arctic Adventure

Francis Crozier, second-in-command to Sir John Franklin, is arctic-bound with HMS Erebus and Terror, in search of the fabled North-West Passage. In Derry, Ann and brother William are convinced that the spirit of their dead sister Weesy is haunting them. An enthralling novel based on real events.

Scéal éachtach ar an Drochshaol, agus ar thriúr óga a sháraíonn gach guais lena linn. The bestselling Under the Hawthorn Tree beautifully translated into Irish.

Children of the Famine
By Marita Conlon-McKenna Illustrated by Donald Teskey Cover design or artwork by PJ Lynch

The first book in the famine trilogyUnder the Hawthorn Tree is Ireland's top selling children's book and a classic for young readers worldwide. Set during the Irish famine, it follows three children as they travel across the country to find their family.

By Marita Conlon-McKenna Illustrated by Donald Teskey Cover design or artwork by PJ Lynch

The second book in the famine trilogy 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 to America …

The final book in the famine trilogy 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?

Three Children Caught Up In Ireland’s Land War

In 1880’s Ireland, with the Land War raging and evictions and boycotting overturning everyday life, three children from very different background form a secret – and dangerous – alliance.

20th Century

By Sarah Webb Illustrated by Rachel Corcoran

When their father’s business fails, Eliza and Jonty Kane move to a tenement flat in Dublin city, number 16 Henrietta Street. From a crowded tenement to the dazzling world of the circus – can dreams really come true? A tale of bravery, adventure and bee charming!

By Nicola Pierce Illustrated by Emma Byrne

The ghost of fifteen-year-old Samuel Scott moves restlessly aboard the Titanic as she sails to her doom in 1912. An eyewitness to the final days in the lives of rich and poor, crew and passengers, this is Samuel’s story …

A True-Life Titanic Story

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.

By Judi Curtin Cover design or artwork by Rachel Corcoran

When Lily is a young teenager, the time comes for her and her friends to leave school and find work; some are emigrating to America, some going to work in shops. Lily is going into service in the Big House – Lissadell. A warm and engaging story about friendship, life in the early 20th century and how the political world affects everyone.

A Lissadell Story
By Judi Curtin Cover design or artwork by Rachel Corcoran

Lily and Nellie work hard as housemaids in Lissadell. And yet their days are full of friendship, fun, and even madcap bicycle rides with Maeve, daughter of the famous Republican, Countess Markievicz. But Nellie is all alone in the world; she grew up in the workhouse, where she was separated from her sisters. Lily longs to help her, but how can she?

A Lissadell Story
By Judi Curtin Illustrated by Rachel Corcoran

The further adventures of Lily: life as a maid in Lissadell House is always interesting, but with her friendship with Maeve under strain, a war in Europe starting and uncertainty about her future, she needs all her wits about her!

When Liam, a poor eleven-year-old boy, and Nora, a rich ten-year-old girl meet at a Feis Ceol, an unlikely bond is formed - a bond that leads to a friendship spanning the deeply divided city that was Dublin in 1913.

By Anna Carey Cover design or artwork by Lauren O'Neill

Mollie Carberry's life seems pretty dull until she discovers her older sister Phyllis is a suffragette! When she and her friend Nora get involved they must face the question of how far a girl should go for her beliefs.

By Anna Carey Cover design or artwork by Lauren O'Neill

Mollie Carberry is a suffragette! Well, sort of. Mollie and her best friend Nora have been bravely fighting for women’s rights – even though no one else really knows about it. But when they hear a big protest is being planned, they know they have to take part.

A 1913 Dublin Lockout Novel
By Anna Carey Cover design or artwork by Lauren O'Neill

It’s summer 1913 and Betty Rafferty has had to leave school aged 14. She is lucky to gets a job in a sweet shop, but is bored and looks with envy at her customers who attend the nearby posh girls school. But life in Dublin becomes anything but boring when industrial unrest brings the city to a halt.

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 ...

In May 1915 the ocean liner Lusitania sails from New York. It is rumoured to have spies on board. Thirteen-year-old stowaway Finbar Kennedy finds works as a deck-hand. He begins to understand what’s happening, but there’s nothing he or the crew can do. Then a torpedo from a german submarine hits ...

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 …

Easter 1916: The Rebellion That Set Ireland Free
By Gerry Hunt Illustrated by Gerry Hunt

The Easter 1916 Rising: an unlikely band of freedom fighters – teachers, poets, writers, patriots, trade unionists – declare an Irish Republic. From this dramatic gesture, a nation is born…The rebellion that set Ireland free, told as a graphic novel.

It is 1916 and Europe is at war. From the poverty of the Dublin slums twelve-year-old Jimmy Conway is pulled between the British Army and the rebels in the Easter Rising. Real history seen through the eyes of a child from a master storyteller.

A stirring story set against the background of the 1916 Rising. John Joe is a pupil in Padraig Pearse's school, and gets caught up in the dramatic events of the Rebellion. Compelling and evocative.

1916: 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?

The Flight of Alcock and Brown

As the First World War comes to an end, teams of pilots and navigators gather in Newfoundland. The challenge: to be the first to fly non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean.

Stories from Ireland's 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.

Ireland's War of Independence

During the War of Independence, friends Johnny, Stella and Alice grapple with conflicting loyalties – then matters come dramatically to a head on the night the Black and Tans set Balbriggan ablaze during a murderous night of vengeance.

Will Colm stay in Ireland and join the Volunteers or will he fulfil his dream of working as a musician in America? A long-held family secret comes to light, rocks Colm’s world and shows him the way to go.

Hero and Rebel

Hero and leader. Loyal friend and formidable enemy. A man with a mission and a legend in his lifetime. This is the story of Michael Collins.

Ireland’s War of Independence. United friends ... divided loyalties

As the War of Independence grows more lethal, the three friends must decide where their loyalties lie. Then a secret from Johnny’s past changes everything…

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.

A Boy. A Girl. A Nation Torn Apart.

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.

Ireland’s War of Independence: when the truth can get you killed

Sarah becomes involved in spying for Michael Collins during the War of Independence.

How long can a secret be kept?

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.

20th Century: World War II and after

When Ma dies, Nancy is determined to keep her family together in their Dublin tenement and not in the industrial schools where the Cruelty Men believe they should be. Will she succeed?

Tomi Reichental's Holocaust Story

‘At the age of six I began to fear for the future. … By the age of nine I was on the run for my life. … By the time I was ten I had seen all there was to see.’ The incredible true story of how a small boy survived Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. An accessible and honest account of the Holocaust that provides lessons that are relevant today.  

Sophie and Hugh are left homeless when their house is bombed during the London Blitz. Their mother is seriously injured and their Dad is away fighting, so the children are sent to their grandfather in Ireland.

Two friends in a world at war

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.  

Two Jewish children are sent from Nazi-occupied Austria to a refugee farm in Northern Ireland. Will they ever see their families again? Based on the true story of Millisle refugee farm in Ards, Co Down.

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.

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.

Book 3: The Louise Trilogy Louise's portrait becomes part of a Nazi horde, while its previous owner, Izaac, is interned in Auschwitz. Can Louise reach out to save him? The gripping conclusion to this multiple-award-winning trilogy.

In a Nazi-Occupied Ireland, Where Would You Stand?

In Nazi-occupied Ireland, Roisin Tierney hides her Jewish heritage. But when the chance arises to resist the Nazis, Roisin and her friends face hard choices - that could cost their lives.

New Friends. Old Differences.

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. The complicated friendships prove life-threatening when the simmering tensions in Northern Ireland erupt into violence in the summer of 1969.