Read Ireland by Frank Delaney Online


In the winter of 1951, a storyteller arrives at the home of nine-year-old Ronan O'Mara in the Irish countryside. The last practitioner of an honored, centuries-old tradition, the Seanchai enthralls his assembled audience for three evenings running with narratives of foolish kings and fabled saints, of enduring accomplishments and selfless acts -- until he is banished fromIn the winter of 1951, a storyteller arrives at the home of nine-year-old Ronan O'Mara in the Irish countryside. The last practitioner of an honored, centuries-old tradition, the Seanchai enthralls his assembled audience for three evenings running with narratives of foolish kings and fabled saints, of enduring accomplishments and selfless acts -- until he is banished from the household for blasphemy and moves on. But these three incomparable nights have changed young Ronan forever, setting him on the course he will follow for years to come -- as he pursues the elusive, itinerant storyteller . . . and the magical tales that are no less than the glorious saga of his tenacious, troubled, and extraordinary isle....

Title : Ireland
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780060563493
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 651 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Ireland Reviews

  • Neptunem
    2019-04-04 09:33

    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
    2019-04-09 09:28

    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 look forward to listening.

  • Bill Pardi
    2019-04-06 10:21

    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 using some rather clever narrative devices throughout.In the first act, we meet a young boy who is visited by a… wait for it… travelling storyteller with a penchant for walking around Ireland telling the stories that make up the history of his beloved country. In act two the boy is grown and, through a series of events sown together by a strange connection to the storyteller, finds himself walking the streets and countryside of Ireland hearing stories and telling a few of his own. In the third act the boy, now a man and notable historian in his own right, continues his pursuit of the storyteller and ends up finding himself in the process. If all this sounds a bit contrived and superficial, it isn't. I don't want to spoil the story, but suffice it to say that Delaney weaves a rich, highly textured tapestry of characters and history that I couldn't put down. I hadn't read much of any Irish history before this book, but I've gained a new found respect and admiration for this tiny country and a people that have had an enormous impact on the world. Highly recommended.

  • Marialyce
    2019-03-25 10:26

    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 me dread going back to a book I knew or at least I thought I knew, I was going to love. What a big disappointment! Where was that Irish charm, those wonderful folktales, or even where was that pot of gold we always hope to find in the Irish rainbow's end? Sadly, this was definitely missing in this book.I made it halfway and even had my husband read it (He has a lot more Irish in him than I) and he could not even get past the first 100 pages.So, sorry to say, this is my second book of the month that has gotten a "no can do" from me. I have to say this is a record for me...I have never quit two books in a row before. :(

  • Jim
    2019-04-03 06:27

    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 up with the storyteller, we are regaled with a series of anecdotal episodes from Irish history, many heavily laden with mythical overtones. Not that it matters to me: I have always been interested in Irish history and realized from the outset that the mythical elements form a large part of it. I keep harking back to that line from John Ford's film (and was he not an Irishman?) The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."I have always loved stories. Many of my favorite writers -- men like Nikolai Leskov, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Robert Louis Stevenson -- were great storytellers, who, like the Irish seanchai, belonged in a very special way to the land of their birth. In his essay on Leskov (reprinted in Illuminations), Walter Benjamin rues what has become of the story:The art of storytelling is reaching its end because the epic side of truth, wisdom, is dying out. This, however, is a process that has been going on for a long time. And nothing would be more fatuous than to want to see in it merely a "symptom of decay," let alone a "modern" symptom. It is, rather, only a concomitant symptom of the secular productive forces of history, a concomitant that has quite gradually removed narrative from the realm of living speech and at the same time is making it possible to see a new beauty in what is vanishing.Ireland is perhaps a bit behindhand in this secular process, as I recall from the good priests and nuns of my Catholic education, and that is a good thing for those of us who love a good tale. Allow me to end with the storyteller himself, on the last page of Ireland:Conveniently for me, I liken Ireland to whiskey in a glass -- a cone of amber, a self-contained passage of time, a place apart, reaching out to the world with sometimes an an acrid taste, a definite excess of personality, telling her story to all who would listen, hauling them forward by the lapels of their coats until they hear, whether they want to or not. But always, always -- the story is the teller and the teller is the story.This is the first of a score or more books I plan to read this year featuring those tales of Ireland -- tales told by historians, poets, and storytellers like Frank Delaney, a worthy practitioner of his craft.

  • Jessi
    2019-03-28 03:35

    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 RonanHe is a cheeky monkey but chances are he would not be too impressed by a travelling storyteller, nore would it alter his course in life, the course right now has a lot to do with getting out into space and taking pictures of planets with my cell phone,its not a great life course but he seems committed to it.Anyway through out this story we get different tales of Ireland which were great (Brain Boru,St.Patrick,poetry)but this was 700 pages I just could not get what made book Ronan tick. Why the obsession with the stoyteller? Why so anti-social? No interest in girls or boys or religion? I just didn't get him. There is a twist mid book which I did not see coming but was interesting and shed more light on the family situation. We have chapters and chapters on discussions with teachers, or towns people but then one paragraph to another we skip ahead like 3 or 5 years and are move on to somthing different with Ronan as he grows older, I felt the author at times did not give enough explanantion to Ronans inner thought or emotions it was a lot of "and then this happened" If I stopped this book halfway through when the first twist was revealed I would have probably given this 4 or 5 stars because I really enjoyed it but the extra 400 pages rubbed me the wrong way.

  • Laura Leaney
    2019-04-05 08:27

    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'Neill, the creation of Handel's Messiah (and its first performance) in Dublin, the Easter Uprising, are but to name a few of the stories. The reader also learns about the penal laws, the land laws, and the further depredations levied at the Irish people by the British. Yet, the book focuses on the beauty and "ancient profundity" of the island. Small little things interested me, like the linguistic history of "Uileann pipes" ("uile" is an Irish word for "elbow") or that Galway is called the City of the Tribes, a city that "aches with memories of those who made the long--and, in those days, forced and never to be retraced--journey to the New World." Did you know that Ireland is the only country whose national symbol is a musical instrument? Do you know the Irish origin of the word "boycott"?The book is sentimental, to be sure. However, since I'll be traveling there next month, I think the stories in this book will help bring the history of the country to life for me in a way that a copy of Lonely Planet's guidebook could not. Despite the contrivance of the frame story, and the slow nature of the episodic pacing, the book is a deep and heartfelt ode to Ireland.

  • Cheri
    2019-04-11 11:24

    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.

  • Jean Carlton
    2019-04-06 11:30

    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 about Ireland and its people and history from as far back as the 1300's. The characters in the story are living in the 1950's but the inclusion of 'stories' told by an itinerant story teller fill in the 'history' of Ireland and its myths.* An Author's Note addresses something many of my readings for Modern Fiction class discussed and that is the role of memory, what is fact and what is fiction etc.Author's Note excerpt:..."beneath all the histories of Ireland" there is a the "less obvious reporter speaking" via the use of oral tradition: "telling the country's tale to her people in stories handed down since God was a boy." The fireside voice makes it clear that". . imagination and emotion insist on playing their parts in every history and therefore, to understand the Irish, mere facts can never be enough. This is a country that reprocesses itself through the mills of it's imagination. But we all do that. We merge our myths with our facts according to our feelings. We tell ourselves our own story. And no matter what we are told, we choose what we believe. All'truths' are only our truths because we bring to the 'facts' our feelings, our experiences, our wishes.Thus storytelling, from wherever it comes,forms a layer in the foundation of the world and glinting in it we see the trace elements of every tribe on earth."Planning a trip to Ireland next summer I am reading and watching films about the country.

  • Linda
    2019-04-23 10:48

    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 this enigmatic, nameless wanderer. The millenium-long, traumatic epic of a nation’s building, the travails of a single 20th century family, the beauty of the landscape, the pain of loss, forgiveness and love, poets and leprechauns – it’s all here, fascinating and beautifully expressed. If the book has a flaw, it’s in its length. Though it bogs down after the halfway mark, Delaney’s riveting conclusion more than makes up for that. Highly recommended for lovers of good historical fiction.

  • Poiema
    2019-04-15 08:36

    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 intertwined. At first the story of their two lives seemed to play a minor role, kind of a backdrop to the stories. As the book progresses, however, the backstory becomes front and center. It is an utterly fascinating read and I learned much about the rich culture of Ireland. Highly recommended!

  • Jonathan Briggs
    2019-04-03 05:21

    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, but the damage has been done. As soon as he's old enough, Ronan sets out in the footsteps of the storyteller to find him and learn more. His quest takes him all over the country, always too late to catch the storyteller but in time to hear the stories repeated. The thousands of years of myth and history Delaney recounts in "Ireland" are interesting, but his framework is bland. The travels and travails of storyteller-in-training Ronan feel like dreary rest stops on a vacation thru Ireland's past. Delaney glosses over the darkest moments of history with folksy good cheer, treating the "troubles" like a minor neighbors' tiff to be resolved at the fireside over a worn pipe and a warm cuppa. I picture Delaney as a rosy-cheeked, relentlessly chirpy tour guide reciting well-rehearsed routines with a twinkle in his eye. Well, there are some people who just won't be twinkled at.

  • Carly
    2019-04-10 05:49

    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 addition to the stories I also enjoyed the main plot line of the book. I found Ronan to be an extremely relatable character and loved hearing about his life. His career path that he took is similar to my ideal plan for college. I really loved his personality and found so much to love in him.Both the segments about Ronan and about the stories were beautifully written and everything just made sense to me. I can't really explain how it made sense, I think I just found Delaney's writing style to be very relatable and personable. Overall everything about the book was entertaining and heartfelt at the same time. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good read.

  • Sue Wargo
    2019-04-07 10:44

    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 in his pocket is a great device. The storyteller hopes to find respite in any home that will listen to his stories and giving him room from any place such as a barn to a long term place among a family unit. I listened to the audio version of this book in my car and was enchanted. You will visit the such tales such as the story of St. Patrick to the potato famine. The story of the two bishops will leave you chuckling. Enjoy this trip to Ireland and you will not be sorry you spent the time there.

  • Anne
    2019-04-04 11:22

    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 twist at the end.

  • Justin
    2019-04-01 03:27

    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, fascinating tales of Ireland’s myth and history. The story follows Ronan through his youth as he attempts to find the old man again, and through both the journey itself and the various stories and fables he is told on the way, he explores the secrets of his own family and discovers the quiet, waiting destiny born of their revelation.The star of this book is the rich selection of Irish folk tales hidden in its pages, bringing to life such towering figures as Brian Boru, St. Patrick, Strongbow, and James Connolly. The lyrical and dreamlike quality of these stories brought them to life as I read them; they begged to be read aloud, and I can see why many have suggested that this book be enjoyed as an audiobook. Ultimately, I felt that the book was all about the power of collecting and passing on these stories; the tale of Ronan was secondary to the exploration of the storytelling tradition. Personal perspectives on history, including the balance of emotion and fact, are big themes in this book.Which leads me to my only complaint: the main narrative begins to drag in the final third of the book. As pained as I am to admit it, the central story of Ronan and the Storyteller is not very strong. The motives of the characters are muddled and unclear, and the twists near the end are not very difficult to see coming (I guessed both of them well before they were revealed). After I read about halfway through the book, I found myself largely ignoring the narrative in favor of the interspersing historical/mythological stories, until the last fifty pages or so.Even with that problem, though, I loved reading this book. Delaney is a talented storyteller, and has a knack for placing layered, realistic characters in a magical and almost dreamlike interpretation of a country he obviously loves and has extensively researched. This translates into an literary Ireland in which I very much enjoyed spending time exploring.

  • Nicole
    2019-04-19 10:48

    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, for it spans centuries and millennia without missing a beat. It is transporting, for it feels like you are really there, in a living room by the fire, sharing this moment with Ronan, who is lovable from the moment he is introduced.Ireland is also a story about stories, the lost art of the traveling storyteller and the way that myths and history are weaved together to form a blanket that encompasses all sides of history. It hearkens to the days when families spoke to each other, sharing their collective histories to pass on to successive generations. And, to top it all off, it’s beautifully written. Frank Delaney’s writing warms the heart like freshly baked bread (I’m sitting next to a loaf of it right now and it smells the way that I imagine it has smelled for centuries). Rarely have I encountered a book that takes on the whole spectrum of emotions like this book; I wanted to start reading it again the second I finished it, making the stories into part of my own personal story. I know this review seems like a laundry list of things that I loved about the book. Reading over the review, I see that. The only thing that I didn’t like about the book was that it ended; I’m comforted by the fact that I will be able to read it again and again, revisit the characters in both the Storyteller’s tales Ronan’s narrative. This kind of book does not happen everyday.

  • Sarah Elizabeth
    2019-04-20 07:28

    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 early to read, and I stayed up much too late to read. It was such a wonderful book, I didn’t even want to stop reading it. I still want to go back and copy down my favorite passages, but it will take days and days to do because I had so many favorites. Delaney’s writing was addicting. The story may seem too quaint for many readers, but it was a fabulous read. Smooth and spectacular. The book tells the story of Ronan O’Mara, beginning as a boy of nine, and his search for a Storyteller, a man who had stayed with his family for three nights telling stories of Ireland. As Ronan journeys through life, and throughout Ireland, he never stops searching for the Storyteller. Ronan has his whole life surrounding his search for the Storyteller; the search is the only thing he wants, and he finds himself constantly in the Storyteller’s wake. Ronan’s search for life and the man’s stories is peppered with the stories themselves, which are as spectacular as Ronan’s life itself. I certainly recommend the book, especially to readers who love writing and history. And stories.

  • Joy
    2019-04-19 05:36

    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 always just a step behind the story teller, but in the meantime, he and the reader learn the history of Ireland--even from the days of its' formation as an island. Part of the basic plot of the story is the story of the boy and his family (I can't remember his name.) If you love good storytelling and wonderful, very human characters, and are a very patient reader (the book is quite long), you will enjoy this tremendously.

  • Amanda
    2019-04-23 05:42

    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 things are the way they are today. The deep love he feels for his country I found very moving, it makes me very envious, that is something I have always wanted but unfortunately do not have; instead I have somehow wound up with an inexplicable love for a country that I have never been to and have no family ties to - and strange as that is, the depth of the Storyteller's feelings help explain my own.

  • Sherrill
    2019-03-27 11:27

    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 architect was my favorite. How I wish I lived in that day and age when kids could be entertained by mere stories.

  • Kw
    2019-04-16 11:23

    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.)

  • Rebecca
    2019-04-20 06:21

    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
    2019-04-08 06:49

    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
    2019-04-16 11:46

    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.

  • Marinela
    2019-04-17 11:22

    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 individual journeys will end in a surprising way that is at once sad and exhilarating, so much like Ireland.

  • Sarah M
    2019-03-30 08:33

    It took me a little bit to sink into this one, but it was well worth the wait. A lovely story wrapped up in a collection of legends, myths, recollections, fabrications, and history. As the storyteller and his pursuer travel the countryside, I knew many of the town names and could recall some of the sites I've seen in person during my visits to Ireland. The storyteller grew up in the town of Ballinamore, just a stones throw from Aughavas where my own grandmother was born. Highly recommended and thoroughly enjoyable.

  • Trisha
    2019-04-11 08:22

    This colorful narrative filled with larger than life characters and lyrical language weaves together Ireland’s rich history of myth, folklore, legend, history and song. I enjoyed it all the more because I listened to the Audible version which is wonderfully narrated by the author himself in a variety of delightfully authentic Irish dialects.The book starts in the 1950’s with the arrival of one of Ireland’s last itinerant storytellers at the home of a young Ronan O’Mara who becomes entranced with the stories he hears. But the man disappears the next day and Ronan longs to find where we went in order to learn how to tell stories himself. As he grows up he embarks on a series of journeys that lead all across Ireland in search of the story teller who always seems to be one step ahead of him, leaving a trail of stories behind to be retold by the people who heard them. Furthermore, there’s something mysterious about the storyteller’s connection to Ronan that doesn’t become clear until the very end of the novel.While the plot may not sound like it’s enough to capture the reader’s attention, it’s the stories themselves that captivate us and we end up learning more about Ireland than any history book or travelogue could possibly tell us. In addition, the Audible version lets us experience what it must have been like to sit around the fire listening to a real life Irish story teller because that’s what Frank Delaney is! In his author’s note, Delaney has this to say about stories: "Beneath all the histories of Ireland from the present day through her long troubled relationship with England and back to the earliest times 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. This fireside voice took great care to say that imagination and emotion insist on playing their parts in every history and therefore to understand the Irish mere facts can never be enough. This is a country that reprocesses itself through the mills of its imagination. . . . All truths are only half truths because we bring to the facts our feelings, our experiences, our wishes. Thus storytelling from wherever it comes forms a layer in the foundation of the world and glinting in it we see the trace elements of every tribe on earth."For those who love reading about Ireland and don’t mind taking a while to do it - because this isn’t a short book - this is a real gem.

  • Sara Kreps
    2019-04-23 08:32

    deftly weaves irish mythology with a current story for a very readable pleasure.

  • Kelly
    2019-04-14 06:35

    This seemed an appropriate book to fill my March with as I drove about. One of the best things about the Audible version of this book is that it is read by the author himself, Frank Delaney. And honestly, I don't anyone else could capture the voice of the last of the wandering bards of Ireland, the nameless Storyteller around whom this book so beautifully revolves.The description of this book hints at a "family secret" which is easy enough to guess as you are introduced to young Ronan, his parents and aunt. But immediately I picked up on a second family secret, and with my gift of being able to figure out The Big Twist of any book within the first few chapters, I proclaimed to the interior of my car the second secret that would be the stunner to Ronan three decades later. (And yes, I got both secrets right....)The tales told by the Storyteller that form the basis of Ronan's enchantment and direct the course of his life begin with the creation of Newgrange, and carry us through to inside the General Post Office on Easter Monday 1916. Even more than I had hoped, this book and the tales within tugged at some of the deepest and strongest memories I have. from verses of songs long unheard suddenly rushing back, to my teenaged self cutting across dew-kissed fields from school to the post office a couple miles away in the sleepy village of Drogheda, to suddenly remembering the smell of Michael's pipe and the soft haze that would fill the lounge as night would slowly settle in around the family and we listened to the radio. I remembered my own rain-soaked solo travels, having to hike miles of rural lanes after my car broke down, the distinct feeling of any pub not situated in a city centre, of tales I had read over and over since childhood and suddenly "seeing" them in the countryside before me. Ronan was not the only one enchanted by the Storyteller as I found myself caught in that odd sense of being homesick and yet finally at peace and my true self.