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4.01  ·  Rating details ·  8,457 ratings  ·  1,220 reviews
From a land famous for storytelling comes an epic novel of Ireland that captures the intimate, passionate texture of the Irish spirit.

One evening in 1951, an itinerant storyteller arrives unannounced at a house in the Irish countryside. In exchange for a bed and a warm meal, he invites his hosts and their neighbors to join him by the wintry fireside, and begins to tell for
Audio CD, 20 pages
Published 2005 by HarperAudio (first published August 26th 2004)
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Jul 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is as if Frank Delaney wrote his novel, Ireland, to be an audio book. Ireland is a novel about a Storyteller and the stories he tells about Irish history. We are treated to the creation of Newgrange and the Book of Kells. We learn about Brendan the Navigator and Conor, the King of Ulster. Each story stands alone but together they form still another story. I cannot recommend this book more highly…especially as an audio book.
Apr 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
I read this for my book club and did not look forward to it. What a surprise! I was enchanted by the storyteller's tales. The novel has both a plot and a history of the stories told by a traditional storyteller in Ireland. Ireland has had a rich history of itinerant storytellers, and it was as if I were being read to rather than reading it myself. Frank Delaney's goal is to tell the history of Ireland during the course of his life's work. If any of his other books are anything like this one, I ...more
Bill Pardi
Jul 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Ireland, by Frank Delaney, is a compelling and in some ways remarkable book. When I found it I was looking for a history of Ireland. I didn't get that, or at least not exactly. This is a story of Ireland, told by examining the lives of several Irish individuals. The main theme of the book is that you can't really understand Ireland with just names, dates, and facts. To really understand the country and its people you must hear the stories behind the history, and the author does exactly that usin ...more
Jan 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ireland
Frank Delaney"s Ireland reminds me of a caduceus, like the staff of the Greek god Hermes, with two intertwined serpents. One of the serpents is the story of a young man named Ronan O'Mara, son of a prosperous Irish attorney, who falls under the spell of the last of the traveling storytellers, known in Gaelic as a seanchai. The other thread (or serpent) is the story of Ireland itself, from prehistoric times at Newgrange to the Easter Rebellion of 1916 in Dublin.

In between Ronan's quest to meet u
May 30, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I just could not get into this book at all. I found the tales to be boring and the storytelling even worse. I have many Irish friends who are able to tell a tale in a most fun and witty way. They are never boring and with that true Irish wit and the glint in their eyes, they weave a story that amazes and thrills you. (or perhaps it is that wonderful accent and laugh they all seem to have naturally!) Frank Delaney, unfortunately, could not seem to muster up any enthusiasm in this reader. He made ...more
Frank Delaney has taken the legends of Ireland and the woven them together through charmingly written stories told by a wandering storyteller. The life of the storyteller becomes intertwined with one special boy who is entranced by both the stories and the teller of the stories.
This book was a gift from my dad, it is the story of a Irish boy whose life is changed by the visit of a storyteller at his familys home in the 50's. When the storyteller leaves town due to the frostyness and strait out bitch of a mother,the boy becomes obsessed with finding the Storyteller and learning all he can from him.

So this was moved to the top of the reading pile because the Irish boy's name was Ronan and my sons name is Ronan and he is my most favourite person ever.
This is my Ronan
He i
Laura Leaney
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Travelers to Ireland
A slow, winding read about the central stories that make up the core of Ireland's mythology and history. The novel is framed by the story of Ronan O'Mara, who journeys through a great swath of the countryside in search of an itinerant storyteller, a Seanchai, who created an enigmatic obsession in him when he was young. Braided throughout his search are the facts and fictions of the country, as told by the mysterious storyteller. Newgrange, Strongbow, the Battle of the Boyne, St. Patrick, Hugh O' ...more
Apr 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hist-fic
Frank Delaney’s Ireland is my kind of novel. Rich with character, history, and lyrical language, it is at once the chronicle of a nation and the coming of age tale of a young man. The story opens with the arrival of a man who may be Ireland’s last itinerant storyteller, and from the moment he lights his pipe by the fireside, and begins describing the evolution of prehistoric New Grange, his audience is enthralled. As is Ronan, who from that evening on finds his career and his very life shaped by ...more
Jean Carlton
Nov 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-book
I don't listen to many audio books because I tend to forget to listen and lose part of the story. With this one I listened while hand quilting - and it worked well. I was able to stay focused as I was forced to sit in one place and the repetitive motion of quilting did not demand my attention. The added benefit of making progress on my quilt and the motivation to hear more of the story worked well.
Beautifully read by the author this was a joy to listen to and a good way for me to learn more abo
Oct 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fantastic book that combined history, myth, and imagination. The stories of Ireland, ancient and modern, form the centerpiece of the book. This could easily be a disjointed collection but the author skillfully weaves a backstory that ties the whole thing together beautifully.

The oral tradition of storytelling was kept alive by a roving master, nearly the last of his breed in 1951. His art sparks an awakening in a young boy in the audience, and the destiny of the two are deftly intert
May 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I decided to read this in memory of my Irish brother-in-law, who died a year ago. And a great choice it was, I'll tell you for sure! This book offers a wonderful overview of Irish folktales, history, topography, and people. The Washington Post stated, "History, legend, memory and myth come seamlessly together." They do.

At first I thought it was Irish stories woven together by a novel, but it is those and so much more. I'm so glad I made this choice.

(I miss you, Bill.)
Jonathan Briggs
As a folklorist, Frank Delaney is pretty decent. As a novelist ... Frank Delaney is a pretty decent folklorist. His book celebrates the Irish tradition of the itinerant storyteller who earns his room and board by spinning tales and captivating audiences. One such storyteller, perhaps the last of his kind, drops by the home of 9-year-old Ronan O'Mara, and for three nights weaves his spell over the boy. One of his stories gets Ronan's mother riled up, and she tosses the storyteller out on his arse ...more
Nov 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is now my favorite book. I couldn't pick one specific aspect of the book that makes it my favorite, their are a variety of factors that do so. First of all the fact that the book features a large selection of stories about Irish history. Since I have little to no background knowledge on Irish history this book helped me to have a little more information about it. Not only did the stories help me to learn I also found them to be immensely enjoyable and I didn't want to put the book down.

In a
Sue Wargo
Dec 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Near the beginning of this story the narrator of the story says..."a good story lifts the heart." There is nothing like an Irish brogue in the voice of Frank Delaney telling a compelling story of Ireland. I have enough Irish ancestry to celebrate St. Patrick's day but know little of the stories and legends that pepper the Irish heritage and landscape. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the notion of a story teller who goes from home to home and village to village with not much more than a story ...more
Jan 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I often will read books along a theme. This was one from my 'Ireland' period. It was a fictional story of the last traveling storyteller in the country, and the boy who became obsessed with following what he did. The book intertwines include the storyteller's tales, which are fictional and historical stories of Ireland, with the the stories of the lives of the storyteller, the boy, and the boy's family. And, like any good Irish story (or at least the ones I grew up on), there's an unexpected twi ...more
Sep 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
I listened to this in audiobook form and it was read by the author, Frank Delaney. He has a background in broadcasting and, unlike most authors reading their own works, he was the perfect choice. I don't know if I would have given it 5 stars if I had just been reading it myself, but the audiobook is outstanding.
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful book which captures much of the essence of the Irish. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. T. Bartlett Ryle (the professor at Trinity College Dublin) is one of the greatest characters ever.
This was a delightful novel! It covers the history of Ireland as told by a travelling 'storyteller' which means that it has a lovely, quaint feel. Imagine sitting around a fire (or in an Irish pub...) with an accomplished storyteller--someone who is quite good at his craft--listening while he summons up stories of Ireland's past. He was a very good storyteller and kept me spellbound and always anxious for more!

Intertwined with the Irish history is the narrative of the life of the storyteller and
I do not know how I feel about this book. I loved the story telling within the story telling. The history was a 4 star, the O’Mara family were certainly different as their story unfolds half way through the book and becomes more enjoyable. Delaney is a wonderful writer and may seek out some of his other works.
I was strongly recommended this book after reading and enjoying Delaney’s subsequent work, Tipperary. The acclaim from friends and colleagues was certainly not exaggerated; the book immediately grabbed my imagination, and is one of the most enjoyable I have read in quite some time.

The book opens with a fateful meeting between a young Irish boy, Ronan O’Mara, and an itinerant storyteller who comes to stay at his family’s house for a few evenings and regales the neighborhood with vivid, fascinatin
Mar 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-group
Ireland is a story about Ronan, a boy who hears a traveling storyteller for three consecutive nights, and is forever changed by the experience. Ronan’s relationship with the storyteller is mysterious, sometimes frustrating (because the reader really identifies with Ronan’s journey), moving and heartwarming. It is lyrical, for the storytelling is rich with moments that make you sit back and collect yourself, because you didn’t realize that there could be something so poignant written. It is epic, ...more
Sarah Elizabeth
Jun 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finally read Ireland by Frank Delaney. I have had the book since last summer, but I ran out of time toward the end of last year to read it entirely. I read the first 100 or so pages at the end of last summer. So I read a couple of books this year, and then went back to Ireland, telling myself that I wasn’t allowed to read anything else until I was finished. I was prepared for a long, laborious week of reading (on top of long days at work, etc.). But I finished it in about three days. I woke up ...more
Dec 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is outstanding. At first I was dubious, because the description was that it was the history of Ireland. But the introduction dispels concerns over a dry, dusty retelling of Irish history. The author wrote that many a good history has been ruined by historians. The basic plot is that a storyteller comes to a village and stays with a family and tells them three stories. The boy is enthralled, and follows the story teller for years, collecting his stories. For a long time the boy is alway ...more
Sep 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved loved loved it! This novel combined all my favorite things, a good plot and lots of stories, factual and fantasy and a bit of history. I was more interested in getting to the next "story" for most of the novel than the actual plot that threads them together, but that is the point of it isn't it? I loved how well the Storyteller was able to detail the events of Ireland in such an easy tangible way, it really helped me as an outsider to understand things that have happened there and why thin ...more
Mar 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I seriously loved this book. I love Ireland and I enjoy reading anything about it. I loved the stories the Storyteller told, all of them. I had heard form my grandmother about the traveling storytellers and how they entertained before we had anything like TV and video games. Every story he told was great and I can see why his grandson could not get enough of him and wanted to follow him even with his mother's rudeness. Of course she wasn't his mother after all. The first story about the architec ...more
Donna Davis
This was a really wonderful read. It was sumptuous and descriptive, all the storyteller's stories along with a plot line in which he is featured. I've had this among my to-reviews for a month now, and I still can't find a way to do this book justice. I'd recommend it for anyone who is interested in Irish history and lore, and especially for those who like a good story and support the unification of Ireland forever.
Jan 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was so long, I thought it would last me all winter, but instead I inhaled it. Truly the Irish are the master storytellers. A great story, plus the entire history of Ireland. It helped me understand how the geography affected the history! So much sadness, yet it created a people determined to be happy.
Mary JL
Dec 19, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who like a long story; fans of Irish folklore
Shelves: fiction-classics
The different tales told by the storyteller are very interesting. I had not read much on Ireland before and the tale were well told and interesting.

A gentle, rich book--not fast paced but slow like a warm afternoon with nothing to do but listen to a good tale.
Heather Lutz
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. Story telling at it's best. I am ready to go to Ireland to visit now with a lot more knowledge about the history, the people and the place. I have been to Ireland and this book is as magical as the country.
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Frank Delaney was an author, a broadcaster on both television and radio, journalist, screenwriter, playwright, lecturer, and a judge of many literary prizes. Delaney interviewed more than 3,500 of the world's most important writers. NPR called him 'The Most Eloquent Man in the World'. Delaney was born and raised in County Tipperary, Ireland, spent more than twenty-five years in England before movi ...more
“When I come out on the road of a morning, when I have had a night's sleep and perhaps a breakfast, and the sun lights a hill on the distance, a hill I know I shall walk across an hour or two thence, and it is green and silken to my eye, and the clouds have begun their slow, fat rolling journey across the sky, no land in the world can inspire such love in a common man.” 25 likes
“I believe the world of the spirit is in general greatly neglected and not at all served by the practice of faith as we know it, because religion isn't individual enough.” 11 likes
More quotes…