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Tipperary: A Novel of Ireland
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Tipperary: A Novel of Ireland

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  1,213 Ratings  ·  217 Reviews
“My wooing began in passion, was defined by violence and circumscribed by land; all these elements molded my soul.” So writes Charles O’Brien, the unforgettable hero of bestselling author Frank Delaney’s extraordinary new novel–a sweeping epic of obsession, profound devotion, and compelling history involving a turbulent era that would shape modern Ireland. 

Born into a resp
Paperback, 464 pages
Published June 3rd 2008 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2007)
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Oct 26, 2015 Seraphina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-reads
This was more of a 3.5 star for me. I really enjoyed the historical aspect of this novel, reading about England's rule in Ireland at the time and the fight to give back rule to the Irish. I also enjoyed the story of the restoration of Tipperary castle and his descriptions of it were superb. It was largely unbelievable that a person who wasn't well connected or wealthy could meet with every person of interest in Ireland at the time which is why a lot of people may be put off this story. Although ...more
Jan 10, 2008 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An author's second novel seldom lives up to the first. Mr. Delaney, though, has served up another gem. In the author's note to his first novel, Ireland, Mr. Delaney points out “Beneath all the histories of Ireland...there has always been another, less obvious, reporter speaking – the oral tradition, Ireland's vernacular narrative, telling the country's tale to her people in stories handed down since God was a boy”.
Wikipedia lists ten castles in County Tipperary, but Tipperary Castle is either
Aug 10, 2011 Kelsey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Irish history
Tipperary reads like a textbook with a human interest story thrown in for good measure. This makes sense when you find out that the author is a retired BBC broadcaster. If you are interested in the Irish revolution, this novel is a terrific way to find out more. But I don't recommend this book for anyone looking for an "escape" or "for fun" read.

On a personal level, the characters frustrated me (especially Charles and his inaction/immaturity). The storyline tends to drag, too, probably because
Oct 08, 2008 Terry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I usually devour books but for some reason this took me almost a month to read. I just didn't feel as engaged in the book so I let days pass without reading it. I loved Delaney's previous book, Ireland. My favorite part of Ireland was Delaney's love of storytelling, Irish culture, and Irish history shone through his beautifully-written book.

Tipperary shows his love of Irish culture/history as well, but the storytelling piece suffered a bit. He also recycled almost all of the elements in Ireland:
Apr 15, 2011 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-on-tape-cd
I really enjoy reading Frank Delaney's books on Ireland. Tipperary is my favorite (although I haven't read all of his titles..who knows?) The novel takes place in the early 20th century which I found interesting. He combines Irish folk tales, famous Irishmen, history and a good story. The author narrated the book-on-cd. At times it was hard to figure out who the character was because Frank's voice doesn't change enough to delineate a different person. I did figure it out based on the subject mat ...more
Oct 09, 2016 Candy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was okay. I found that I muddled through it, and it really did take me a long time to finish it. I was determined, in the end, to just sit and finally finish it.

It's an interesting account of early Ireland history, from the point of view of a young man (when he started his journal), through the tumultuous years of Ireland's history. As many reviews have pointed out, it does seem to take from Forrest Gump, with notable Irish heroes, writers and poets just conveniently showing up during the cou
When Charles O'Brien sits down to write a history of his life, he starts at his first memory and then moves forward. Throughout his life, Charles' true home was in County Tipperary, in Ireland. It's where he finds a passion for the land and its people, it's where he comes home to after traveling around the country as a healer. It's also the place where an Anglo-Irish castle lies dilapidated and abandoned. For Charles, all of this is also wrapped up in his devotion to one woman and throughout his ...more
May 26, 2013 Maxine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Tipperary" is a book that starts off slowly, and keeps up that pace. Nevertheless, it weaves a tale that will keep you reading, with threads of a fictional long unrequited love woven through the larger pattern of Ireland's turbulent history: the centuries-long struggle of the native Irish with their Anglo-Irish overlords, and the long, hard quest for Home Rule.

Charles O'Brien, brilliant as a 19th Century healer, but almost childishly naive as a man, relates his story, which centers mainly upon
I generally enjoy historical fiction, especially when written about a time and/or place that I know little about. Novels such as "I, Claudius" or "Arthur and George" do a wonderful job of illuminating Ancient Rome or nineteenth century London, respectively. With this novel, however, I didn't feel enlightened so much as lectured to, and ultimately confused. I was never able to get a good sense of the characters, and what they felt and saw. Instead, it just seemed to me that the author simply list ...more
Lynn Bornath
The beginning of the book was a bit boring and the present-day narrator felt intrusive. I didn't care much for Charles either. He came across as a bit pathetic, chasing after a mostly unlikeable woman who wasn't the least bit interested in him. However, about a quarter of the way into the book, things began to improve. The history became more interesting, more was revealed about the present-day narrator, and Charles developed a backbone (and a personality). By the time I reached the end, I'd lea ...more
Oct 31, 2011 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this book on CD and really enjoyed the reading by the author. Who doesn't like listening to a Irish voice. The prose were poetic. He has a gift for telling stories. The Irish history was interesting as it was interwoven with the characters in the story. It was nice to be reminded of the depth of a book and the beauty of words placed together after reading so much by way of an easy read in the YA fiction category.
Lynn Flowers
Jan 01, 2016 Lynn Flowers rated it liked it
I loved the imagery and history in this book, as well as the revelation at the end. However, the first half is too slow and the interweaving of timelines was not as smooth and captivating as it could have been. I learned a lot about Irish history and enjoyed the characters so overall glad I read it!
Teri Pre
Dec 17, 2015 Teri Pre rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: june2016
Made it through 75% and calling it done. Forrest Gump? Meet Ireland. Pfffft!
Jan 09, 2017 Joemodz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent story by Frank Delaney-- the story of Charles O'Brien, born in 1860, and a modern day, retired history teacher who become not only enthralled with the story of Charles but directly entwined within it. The true bonus is listening to it as it is read by the author with his wonderful Irish voice.
Feb 08, 2017 Leah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A narrative that toggles regularly to historical tutorial, which left the story DOA.
From Publishers Weekly

Seventy-five years after the death of Charles O'Brien, an Anglo-Irish itinerant healer and occasional journalist born in 1860, his memoir is discovered in a trunk. The result is this touching novel from Ireland author Delaney, in which the manuscript's putative discoverer adds his own unreliable commentary to the fictive Charles's probably embellished perceptions—making for a glowing composite of a volatile Ireland. Charles claims to treat Oscar Wilde on his deathbed; adv

Oct 02, 2016 Bonnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical-novel
This book starts out very slowly and with a somewhat academic style (the narrator is a history teacher), so if you can't enjoy that style you might quit before the action picks up about half way through. The setting is Ireland mostly in the first part of the 20th century, though there's a lot of historical background given as well. The author was brilliant in his method, which enabled him to insert historical fact and description without abandoning his story. I definitely recommend it to history ...more
Aug 09, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Setting: Ireland, 1860-present


The book is now complete, and now a mini-review before the main review. The book is about a man named Charlie O’Brien, who, at the advanced age of 40, meets and falls in love with a woman named April Burke (who is around 19-23, probably closer to 23). The woman fears the man and finds him disturbing. The man is not put off and continues to seek her. Many years pass. Eventually the woman allows the man to help her in several important tasks. All told agai
This is a fascinating book that ended up grabbing me after my initial assumptions that I wasn’t going to like it very much.

Delaney uses a very specific convention to tell the story, splitting the narration between two main protagonists: the memoirs of an Irish man named Charles O’Brien, written at the turn of the 20th century, and the commentaries and reflections on said memoirs by a historian that discovered them. Through the research of the latter narrator, we also get perspectives through the
Oct 22, 2011 Dianne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Charles O'Brien is nine years old when he witnesses a neighboring Irish family being evicted from their home and the house being pulled down as mother, father and three young children run toward the safety of the forest with only the clothes on their backs. The evicted family and their ancestors had worked the surrounding fields for hundreds of years, and the father had lost a leg while a soldier in the King's army, but none of that mattered to the ruling English. What Charles saw that day haunt ...more
Eco Erin
Feb 03, 2014 Eco Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took a while for the book to really get going with the main character story line. The beginning is more about setting the stage of history in Ireland during the land reformation and declaring independence from Britain. I really loved that about the book. The Irish history was fascinating and the way the author details it was very intriguing. I know little about Irish history, it wasn't touched on in any history class that I remember and what I do know of it mostly comes from documentaries or ...more
Juliet Doubledee
I had a hard time getting into this book for the first 100+ pages as the author spent a lot of time setting the over-tone and establishing the main ch...moreI had a hard time getting into this book for the first 100+ pages as the author spent a lot of time setting the over-tone and establishing the main characters. In fact, I set the book down several times to read/finish other books before returning to it. Glad I didn't give up though, as it is the type book that builds as you get further in. ...more
B. Morrison
I found this novel set in Ireland hard to to get into. The story follows Charles O'Brien, born in 1860, and his quest to win the love of a much-younger April Burke. Along the way, we learn about the history of Ireland in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The first half of the book is rather dry, and bumbling Charles and cold April are not particularly interesting characters.

Two other features make the book hard to take. One is that it alternates between two first-person narrators: Charles
Skip Slone
I found Tipperary to be an enjoyable, very readable book that covered a tumultuous period of Ireland's history, spanning the 1850s to the 1920s. The book is part history, part love story, and part mystery, all focused in and around the historic site of Tipperary Castle.

The narrator of the story is a modern-day retired history teacher, who tells the story using both his own voice and the voices of people whose documents he has discovered through his own research efforts. One of those other voice
Donna Davis
"The most eloquent man in the world"? It's entirely possible.

This hyper-literate narrative inside a narrative inside a narrative unfolds as a simple tale at first, then becomes more complex as this deft tale-spinner pulls the scope out one notch at a time.

In addition, we are provided with a passionate re-telling of the atrocities visited on the Irish by the Anglo and Irish-Anglo ruling class. Delaney puts such genuine feeling into the narrative of the republican movement as it progressed in the
Brendan Lyons
Jul 01, 2012 Brendan Lyons rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Frank Delaney is a shanachie, following on in the tradition of the old storytellers of Ireland. This would seem to be the art he employs, but behind the apparent simplicity and anecdotal nature of the tales he tells lies a very sharply-honed novelist's mind. There is a design behind the loosely linked series of stories through which the principal narrator, Charles O'Brien, sets out his own life story from the 1860s through to the early 20th century. Charles acts as a witness to the way in which ...more
Nov 07, 2011 Mum rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This author loves his country and its history and if you want a decent, though sometimes broad overview of Irish history, then his novels are a good start. I didn't like this book as much as I liked the previous book I read by Delaney, but I did enjoy the story once it finally turned into one, which was pretty far into the book. I listened to the book, which can be a little confusing at first. There are to start, two narrators. One is in the first person of the main character and another starts ...more
Dec 26, 2013 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tipperary tells the life of Charles O'Brien, an Irishman, traveling healer, proponent of Irish independence and man of some passion. His story is told by the 21st-century narrator who finds some of Charles’ personal effects in an old trunk donated to a library and, curious, begins to research his life.

From with his childhood on an Irish farm and apprenticeship to a local herbalist, we follow Charles to France where he attends Oscar Wilde at his sickbed and also falls in love, and back to Ireland
Di Richardson
This book took me forever to read - not because it wasn't beautifully written or interesting, but because it is not the book I thought it was when I bought it. I bought this book because I sawa sign that said "Frank Delaney's follow up novel to Ireland." I LOVE the book Ireland, and without looking at the fly leave, I assumed that reference meant this was a sequel. Looking back, I shouldn't have made that assumption, as it is a follow up in the sense - it is his next book. I have to say Mr. Dela ...more
Dec 17, 2008 Joy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just started this book and I like it. It's historical fiction, set in Ireland between 1860 and the early part of the 20th century. I read Ireland, also by this author and LOVED it, so I am hoping this one is as good.

Addendum: I finished this book this afternoon and I enjoyed it, but didn't love it the way I loved Ireland. One of the things that I found the most valuable about the book was the history of the uprising of the native Irish people against the British. I realize how little I knew a
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'The Most Eloquent Man in the World', says NPR, about the writer, broadcaster, BBC host and Booker Prize Judge, Frank Delaney. Over a career that has lasted more than three decades, Delaney, an international-best-selling author himself, has interviewed more than 3,500 of the world's most important writers.

Frank Delaney has earned top prizes and best-seller status in a wide variety of formats, from
More about Frank Delaney...

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“We Irish prefer embroideries to plain cloth. To us Irish, memory is a canvas--stretched, primed, and ready for painting on. We love the "story" part of the word "history," and we love it trimmed out with color and drama, ribbons and bows. Listen to our tunes, observe a Celtic scroll: we always decorate our essence.” 33 likes
“A thing doesn't have to be true, he said, for a person to get joy out of it. What it has to be is not evil or malicious.” 0 likes
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