5 Books Based In Ireland For People Obsessed With Sally Rooney’s ‘Normal People’

If you're missing Marianne and Connell, look to these page-turners
normal people

If, like us, you were captivated by Irish author Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People and follow-up series starring Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal, you’re probably starting to miss Marianne and Connell’s complicated romance. We certainly felt the void of late in our reading choices, which is why we’re looking for the next great read to enamour us. 

After all, Ireland is the perfect setting for romance – from luscious green countrysides to the accent, we can’t deny its beautiful and surprising depths for a fictional tale. To feed your Rooney addiction, we’ve rounded up some best-selling books that are set in Ireland, exploring themes of growing up, forbidden love, and for some, the mystery of Ireland’s iconic fables. 

Gallaghers of Ardmore Trilogy, Nora Roberts 

In the gripping trilogy series Gallaghers of Ardmore, best-selling author Nora Roberts returns to the lush, green hills of Ireland, where “love is forever touched by magic”, exploring the fiery relationships of the Gallagher siblings. The first book, Jewels of the Sun, follows eldest brother Aiden as he returns to Ireland after years of travelling, possessing an uncommon understanding of his country’s haunting myths. 

nora roberts

A Swift Pure Cry, Siobhan Dowd

Dowd’s standalone novel, A Swift Pure Cryfollows Shell after the death of her mother and the consequences the tragedy has for her religious father. As Shell tries to mourn, while helping her family, her best friend Declan leaves Ireland for America, creating a beautifully captivating story of grief and growing up. 

swift pure cry

Conversations With Friends, Sally Rooney 

If you loved Sally Rooney’s Normal People, you’ll also be gripped by her debut novel Conversations With FriendsThe Irish author’s acclaimed debut tells the tale of two college students, Frances and Bobbi, and the strange, unexpected connection they forge with married couple Melissa and Nick. The book is also getting its own TV adaptation, so you’ll want to read it before the 12-part series is released. 


This Charming Man, Marianne Keyes 

As one of the most successful Irish authors of all time, Marian Keyes is often hailed as the “queen of contemporary fiction”. Her 2008 novel, This Charming Man, centres on the engagement of popular politician Paddy de Courcy and the impact this has on the women in his life. The novel won the Popular Fiction Award at the Irish Book Awards in 2009 and is considered to be a powerful testament to the strength women find in themselves in response to trying times. 

this charming man

You Have To Make Your Own Fun Around Here, Frances Macken

You Have To Make Your Own Fun Around Here follows Katie, Maeve and Evelyn, three girls united by their childhood games and their dreams of escaping the tiny Irish town they call home. As marie claire Australia’s Feature Editor writes, “Frances Macken has creatively navigated the exploration of growing up through unforgettable characters and her unflinching look at how we deal with both platonic and sexual relationships. This powerful debut novel packs all the right emotional punches.”

Related stories