Ireland by Frank Delaney


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 ...

Details Ireland

Release DateOct 13th, 2009
PublisherHarperCollins e-books
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Cultural, Ireland, European Literature, Irish Literature

Reviews Ireland

  • Neptunem
    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.
  • Karen
    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 ...
  • Bill Pardi
    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 ...
  • Jim
    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 ...
  • Marialyce
    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...
  • Cheri
    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.
  • Jessi
    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 m...
  • Laura Leaney
    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, Strong...
  • Linda
    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 e...
  • Jean Carlton
    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...
  • Poiema
    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 audi...
  • Kw
    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 choi...
  • 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 ...
  • Carly
    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 enj...
  • Sue Wargo
    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 v...
  • Anne
    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...
  • Barbara
    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.
  • Roberta
    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 i...
  • Aisling
    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.
  • Justin
    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 even...
  • Nicole
    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 t...
  • Sarah Elizabeth
    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...
  • Joy
    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, collec...
  • Amanda
    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 under...
  • Sherrill
    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 mo...
  • Rebecca
    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
    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
    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.
  • Colleen
    I received this for Xmas from my lovely Irish mum. Our ancestors were from Ireland and Scotland, amongst other places, and so I’ve always been interested in the culture and history of Ireland. I felt drawn to this book and the storyteller as a focal point, but (and I realize I am in the minority), I completely disliked this book. I read it shortly after other Irish novels and I felt ripped off. It felt fake and pretentious, like it was taking t...
  • Marinela
    Frank Delaney weaves this masterful tale of Ireland--its heroes, myths, legends and everyday people–through the mysterious Story Teller. This traveler walks through Irish hills, valleys and mountains regaling folks with stories of courage, innovation, with and humor. On one those story-telling nights the Story Teller meets Ronan O'Mara and their lives will forever be entwined as Ronan. The young Ronan is beholden to the mysterious man and their...