Irish Culture: Books, Movies, and More!

If you plan on studying abroad in Dublin, chances are you are interested in learning all about Irish culture, but you may not know where to start. One effective (and fun!) way to begin learning about a culture you have yet to visit is by consuming media centered around that culture. Here, we are going to share lists of good books, movies, podcasts, music, and more that you might want to consider checking out if you’re hoping to learn more about Irish culture.


First, let’s talk about movies. Movies are an easy and fun place to start in your culture-learning journey. Here are a wide variety of movies to watch, from romance to comedy to action, there’s a movie on this list for everyone.

  1. “The Commitments” – Follow the journey of a group of Dubliners forming a soul band, capturing the spirit of the city’s music scene.
  2. “Once” – A romantic drama set in Dublin, featuring beautiful music and a poignant story about love and aspiration.
  3. “Good Vibrations”: A biographical film about Terri Hooley, a Belfast music lover who opens a record store during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
  4. “Philomena”: Based on a true story, it follows Philomena Lee’s search for her forcibly adopted son, aided by journalist Martin Sixsmith.
  5. “The Banshees of Inisherin”: A dark comedy about a bitter, aging bachelor who becomes obsessed with revenge on his neighbors in a small Irish village.
  6. “Sing Street”: Set in 1980s Dublin, it tells the story of a teenager forming a band to impress a girl and escape his troubled family life.
  7. “Róise & Frank”: A heartfelt drama about an unlikely friendship that develops between an isolated farmer and a troubled teenage girl.
  8. “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” – This historical drama explores Ireland’s struggle for independence and the subsequent Civil War.
  9. “Michael Collins” – A historical biopic depicting the life of the Irish revolutionary leader Michael Collins and his role in the struggle for independence from British rule in early 20th-century Ireland.

TV Shows

Let’s talk about TV shows next. If you’re looking for a new show to watch, consider picking one of these popular Irish TV shows:

  1. “Derry Girls” – A hilarious coming-of-age comedy set in 1990s Northern Ireland, follows the lives of a group of irreverent teenagers as they navigate adolescence amidst the backdrop of The Troubles, showcasing the unique blend of humor, friendship, and resilience in the face of political turmoil.
  2. “Love/Hate” – A gripping crime drama set in Dublin, exploring the city’s underworld and the complexities of loyalty and betrayal.
  3. “Normal People” – The TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel offers a visually stunning portrayal of Dublin and the intricacies of Irish relationships.
  4. “Father Ted” – Though set in rural Ireland, this beloved sitcom offers a hilarious and satirical take on Irish culture and society.


Now, let’s talk about books. There are a lot of great Irish books, so we’ve split them into a few categories. First, let’s talk fiction. If you love a good novel, you may want to pick up some of these:

  1. “Snowflake: A Novel” by Louise Nealon: A poignant exploration of family dynamics and mental illness, following the intertwined lives of three generations of women as they navigate love, loss, and the complexities of identityset against the backdrop of Dublin’s bustling streets. This novel is the One Dublin One Book choice for 2024.
  2. “Normal People” by Sally Rooney – A contemporary novel that captures the nuances of relationships and youth culture in Ireland.
  3. “Conversations with Friends” by Sally Rooney: Set in contemporary Dublin, this novel follows the complex relationships and dynamics between two college students and an older couple. Rooney’s sharp prose and astute observations capture the nuances of modern Irish life.
  4. “The Glorious Heresies” by Lisa McInerney: Winner of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, this novel weaves together the lives of several characters in Cork, but also touches on themes relevant to urban Ireland, including Dublin. It offers a gritty yet darkly humorous portrayal of contemporary Irish society.
  5. “The Barrytown Trilogy” by Roddy Doyle: This trilogy, consisting of “The Commitments,” “The Snapper,” and “The Van,” is set in a working-class neighborhood of Dublin. Focusing on the Rabbitte family and their community, these novels offer a humorous and authentic portrayal of everyday life in Dublin.
  6. “City of Bohane” by Kevin Barry: While not specifically set in Dublin, this novel imagines a dystopian future version of an Irish city reminiscent of Dublin. Its vivid prose and imaginative world-building provide a unique and captivating reading experience for college students interested in Irish literature.
  7. “Artemis Fowl” series by Eoin Colfer: This popular series follows the adventures of a teenage criminal mastermind named Artemis Fowl as he navigates the magical underworld of fairies and other mythical creatures, often with Dublin as a backdrop.
  8. “Skulduggery Pleasant” series by Derek Landy: A blend of fantasy and detective fiction, these books follow the adventures of Stephanie Edgley and her skeleton detective friend, Skulduggery Pleasant, as they solve supernatural mysteries in Dublin and beyond.
  9. “A Greyhound of a Girl” by Roddy Doyle: This touching and humorous novel tells the story of four generations of Irish women who embark on a road trip across Ireland, including stops in Dublin. It’s a heartwarming tale of family, love, and Irish folklore.
  10. “The New Policeman” by Kate Thompson: Set in a small village outside of Dublin, this fantasy novel follows the story of J.J. Liddy, a teenage boy who discovers a world where time moves differently. The book incorporates elements of Irish mythology and traditional music.
  11. “The Dublin Saga” by Edward Rutherfurd: This sweeping historical fiction series traces the history of Dublin from its earliest days to the present. It offers a vivid depiction of Dublin’s evolution through the centuries.
  12. “The Little Bee Charmer of Henrietta Street” by Sarah Webb: Set in Dublin’s historic tenements, this charming children’s book follows the adventures of a spirited young girl who discovers the magic of beekeeping while uncovering secrets about her family’s past, weaving together themes of resilience, community, and the power of connection.
  13. “The Selfish Giant” by Oscar Wilde: This beloved fairy tale reflects the author’s deep connection to Dublin, drawing upon its landscapes and culture to convey timeless themes of redemption, empathy, and the transformative power of love.

Non-Fiction Books

Next, let’s talk about nonfiction. These are great for people who maybe want to learn a bit of history or general facts before their time abroad:

  1. “Lonely Planet Ireland” – A comprehensive travel guide offering detailed insights, recommendations, and practical advice for exploring the diverse landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture of the Emerald Isle.
  2. “The Little Book of Ireland” – A charming collection of Irish folklore, traditions, and captivating anecdotes, providing a delightful glimpse into the country’s enchanting heritage and cultural heritage.
  3. “How the Irish Saved Civilization” by Thomas Cahill – An exploration of Ireland’s role in preserving Western culture during the Dark Ages.
  4. “Angela’s Ashes” by Frank McCourt – A memoir detailing McCourt’s childhood in poverty-stricken Limerick, offering insights into Irish social history.
  5. “Dublin: A Cultural and Literary History” by Siobhán Marie Kilfeather – Learn about Dublin’s rich cultural heritage through this comprehensive guide.


We even have a few poetry recommendations!

  1. Works by W.B. Yeats – Explore the poetry of one of Ireland’s most celebrated poets, known for his evocative imagery and deep connection to Irish folklore.
  2. “The Dublin Poems” by Paula Meehan – Meehan’s poetry often reflects on urban life in Dublin, offering a modern perspective on the city.
  3. “Selected Poems” by Seamus Heaney – While Heaney is associated more with Northern Ireland, his poems resonate deeply with themes of Irish identity and landscape.


Now, we have some Irish music to recommend. Some of these artists you may have already heard, but many will likely be new to you.

  1. The Pogues – Famous Irish punk band
  2. Fontaines DC – Irish rock band who have been grammy nominated. Their debut album, Dogrel, is cemented in modern Irish pop culture
  3. CMAT – Award winning pop singer who has just been nominated for a prestigious Ivor Novello award for songwriting. 
  4. Lankum – Also nominated for the same award, Lankum have been changing the face of modern Irish folk and traditional music.
  5. Inhaler – Indie band from Dublin
  6. U2 – The most well known band from Dublin. Listen to their classic albums such as The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby. 
  7. Kila – Very well respected group that play a lot of traditional music in various ways. Known for their great live performances.


Next, we have a few podcasts to share. You can click the links to find them.

  1. Motherfocloir – Dive into the Irish language and culture with this engaging podcast that explores everything from grammar to slang.
  2. The Irish Passport – Explore Irish history, politics, and culture through this insightful podcast hosted by two Irish journalists.
  3. Shite Talk – History podcast run by two well known comedians. Often perform their live podcast around Dublin.
  4. The BlindBoy Podcast – probably the most popular podcast in Ireland. Covers a wide range of topics from Irish culture to mental health care.

Lastly, we have a few blogs to recommend. These blogs are great to follow if you want to keep yourself up to date on Dublin culture and activity.


  1. Lovin Dublin” – A popular blog offering recommendations for dining, nightlife, and cultural events in Dublin.
  2. DublinTown” – Stay up-to-date with news, events, and activities happening in Dublin through this comprehensive blog.
  3. Dublin Live” – Provides news, entertainment, and lifestyle content focused on Dublin and its surroundings.

There is our complete list of Irish culture content recommendations. We know there is a lot to see here, so maybe pick a handful that sound the most interesting to you. We hope you enjoy your experience with Irish culture!

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