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Ten Irish Books for Children to Bring on Holiday

As the nation collectively plans for a fun staycation this summer, parents should be sure to pack plenty of books to keep little ones entertained. These ten beautiful titles are some of the best Irish books for children available and the perfect holiday companions for kids of all ages.

Young Readers: 4-8

To start, a couple of gorgeous books for children as Gaeilge. They’ll introduce younger readers to the Irish language, as they discover all our beautiful countryside has to offer. Cá Bhfuil Puífín Beag? (5-6) is a translation of the original, Where Are You, Puffling? by Erika McGann and Gerry Daly. Set on Kerry’s rugged Skelligs (a stunning part of the country to staycation), it follows a little puffin who has set off on an adventure, unbeknownst to her parents. Kíla musician Rossa Ó Snodaigh has penned a gorgeous book to help children learn their first Irish words. Aistir an Aibítir (6-11) illustrated by Wayne O’Connor comes with an online musical accompaniment (composed by Ó Snodaigh), to really bring those cúpla focail to life. The English-language Let’s See Ireland by Sarah Bowie meanwhile does exactly what it says on the tin! Map out your own fun road-trip, as Molly, her parents and cat Mipsy set off around the country, with stop-offs at Dublin Zoo, the Cliffs of Moher and Newgrange. 

Children: 8-12

Keep older children entertained on rainy days with this selection of compelling holiday books. In Lily & the Lissadell Ghost by Judi Curtain (8-12), we meet housemaids Lily and Nellie, who, along with their friend Maeve (daughter of Countess Marcievicz), must solve the mystery of the house’s ghost. The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle (8-12) is a magical adventure, steeped in Irish myth and set on windswept Arranmore Island, off Donegal – another stunning county well worth visiting! Inspired by his own adventures as a child on Achill meanwhile, comedian David O’Doherty’s The Summer I Robbed a Bank (8-12) is a hilarious, heart-warming tale that sees young Rex persuaded to rob the island’s travelling bank by his eccentric Uncle Derm. Children with an interest in the environment will love A Short, Helpful Guide to Climate Change by Oisín McGann (12+). Positive and practical, it explains how young people can do their part in the face of this urgent crisis.

Young Adults: 12-14

There are plenty of great Irish books for older children and teens to pack for that staycation, too. On Midnight Beach by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick (12-14) is a sweet coming-of-age story that follows four friends during the summer a dolphin arrives at their local cove. In Why the Moon Travels by Oein DeBhairduin and illustrated by Leanne McDonagh (13+), readers will find a haunting collection of stories rooted in the Irish Traveller community. Finally, Deirdre Sullivan’s Savage Her Reply illustrated by Karen Vaughan (YA) (12-14) is a mesmerising feminist rework of the Irish legend, The Children of Lir. 

Those are just some of the best books of 2021 by Irish authors. If you can’t find them in a bookstore, be sure to visit your local public library. It’s a lovely habit that will help instill a passion for reading in your child.

Find more book recommendations for kids on our ReadersWanted hub. And as always, let us know what you make of these books. Share their favourite children’s authors and books with us online, using #ReadersWanted.

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