Books to Read Before Travel to Ireland

Before traveling to Ireland it’s good to have some background on the country, its landscape, its heritage and its people.  For our tours which focus on “thin places” or mystical sites, its also good to have an understanding of the legends, the lore and the rituals that compelled people to build cairns, stone circles, and mark sacred places.

Here are some books that helped me learn about mystical Ireland.

FICTION

REd Branch by Morgan LlywelynRed Branch by Morgan Llywellyn – this is the best book I’ve read that describes the Irish trilogy.  It’s the story of Cuchulain, the Hound of Ulster and the Knights of the Red Branch that were based in Emain Macha – now Armagh, specifically the Navan Fort both of which are sites on our tour.  It’s an entertaining saga and one that taught me a lot about Irish history and lore.

Finn Mac Cool - Morgan LlywelynFinn Mac Cool by Morgan Llywellyn – another fictional account about the escapes of an Irish giant.  He’s associated with many of the sites we’ll visit including the Giant’s causeway.  Another great account of Ulster lore and legend.

Princes of Ireland - Edward RutherfordPrinces of Ireland by Edward Rutherford – gives a great account of Irish history starting with Cuchulain all the way to the Cromwellian invasion, Great Hunger and Eastern Uprising.  It’s a long book, but it’s gives the reader a great background.

NON-FICTION

Sacred Ireland by Cary MeehanA Traveler’s Guide to Sacred Ireland by Cary Meehan – my all-time favorite book on thin places in Ireland.  This is a guide book to mystical sites, sacred places and their associations with the Irish legends, folklore and people.  It’s divided by provinces and counties.  Hundreds of sites are listed.

Legendary IrelandLegendary Ireland by Eithne Massey – an entertaining account of Ireland’s myths and legends.  This is a book you’ll reach for time and time again.  It addresses both the places and the myths behind them.  Many of the sites we’ll be visiting are featured in this book.

Wisdom of the Celtic Saints by Ed SellnerWisdom of the Celtic Saints by Edward Sellner – A  quick study of some of Ireland’s greatest saints, their insights, their contributions and the benefit of being a pilgrim or traveler moving within the context of a story.
Goddess Alive by Kris WaldherrGoddess Alive! by Kris Waldherr – gives great insight into the Celtic and Norse goddesses and the sites they are associated with.  This book also offers insight into what thin places are and ways to travel between the two worlds.
What are some of your favorite books on Ireland and the Northern areas?

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About Mindie

Mindie Burgoyne is a travel writer, blogger and tour guide and tour operatior living on Maryland's Eastern Shore - a worthy destination and thin place in its own right. Mindie and husband Dan own Thin Places Mystical Tours and offer tours, itineraries and advice on visiting Ireland's Thin Places.
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2 Responses to Books to Read Before Travel to Ireland

  1. sissy says:

    what were your recommended books for the west trip?!! LOVE THIS SITE!

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