Written By: Frank Delaney

Narrated By: Frank Delaney

Date: February 2005

Duration: 19 hours 31 minutes


“Dramatic, adventurous, heroic, romantic. . . these historical chronicles, legends, myths, tall tales and fables, featuring warriors, kings, monks, explorers and clever common folk, imaginatively tell the history of Ireland.”  — Philadelphia Inquirer

This New York Times bestselling epic is an unforgettable tour de force that marries the intimate, passionate texture of the Irish spirit with a historical scope that is sweeping and resplendent. Storyteller extraordinaire Frank Delaney takes his readers on a journey through the history of Ireland, stopping along the way to evoke the dramatic events and personalities so critical to shaping the Irish experience.

In the winter of 1951, a storyteller, the last practitioner of an honored, centuries-old tradition, arrives at the home of nine-year-old Ronan O'Mara in the Irish countryside. For three wonderful evenings, the old gentleman enthralls his assembled local audience with narratives of foolish kings, fabled saints, and Ireland's enduring accomplishments before moving on. But these nights change young Ronan forever, setting him on a years-long pursuit of the elusive, itinerant storyteller and the glorious tales that are no less than the saga of his tenacious and extraordinary isle.


  • Lisa Maltos

    This by far was very very interesting and enjoyable. I will be listening to this one again!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Sue M.

    Very engaging, one of the best audiobooks I've listened to. The narration was engrossing and the stories wrapped within the story was keenly entwined. Really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Kathi M

    I had this book playing while I was working on a quilt. The stories were so colorful and layered that I found myself sitting stock still and just listening. ...At times a little gory, but those pass quickly and always play an important part in the tonal quality of the story. I can't wait to listen to the last half. I was superbly entertained by the first half! I highly recommend this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Freddie Johnson

    I usually bypass books that are read by the author but this was special. Nobody could have narrated this nearly as well as Frank Delaney. I loved the book and learned so much; if only all teachers could be this clever When I finished the second set, I was sorry to see all my friends (the characters) go.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Tony Crites

    I liked it. I listen in my truck, and always wanted to learn of Ireland. Hope to visit their one day. Loved the stories of long ago, My favoite was about St. Patrick and the snakes. wanted to know how he ran the snakes out of Ireland, now I know. thanks very much.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Don Brubaker

    This is one of those long books that once complete, you are glad that you made the investment to read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Anonymous

    Very fun and enjoyable way to learn a little more about Ireland and her history. I listened while driving in my car, but I wish I could have followed along with a map.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Linda S.

    This book is deep and rich and mysterious like Ireland herself. Amazing storytelling.

  • Jackie Vance

    Possibly most interesting and touching audiobook I've heard yet.

  • Dori Augustine

    Knowing that my husband and I will be traveling to Ireland next summer, I wanted to find a book that goes into the country's history and culture. I found the perfect title! As I was listening, I made notes of the different places the storyteller describes and will definitely look them up when we're there. And the narrator was the best I've heard yet. He made me feel like I was there in a cottage in front of a fire listening to his tales. Wonderful book!!

  • Anonymous

    Loved this book's storytelling format. A wonderful way to learn about places and history without being bored. Very clever of the author. I will be visiting Ireland for the first time this summer and this book definitely put me in the mood and I will be on the lookout for places mentioned in the story.

  • Nancy

    Loved this book, gave me insight about the country and it's history in a delightful folk lore format, kept me engaged. Never boring. Colorful language

  • Anonymous

    Engaging,,,,loved the narrator. Really brought you there.

  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed the first story, but then it got repetitious and boring. I struggled through the first set of CDs, but canceled the second as I just didn't want more of the same.

  • Marshel

    I was totally unprepared for this format of writing but it was a fantastic listen. I have been to Ireland and could recall many of the locations described. It is truly a unique way of learning history. Wonderfully done.

  • Doriene Shook

    One of the most compelling stories I've listened to in ages. The storyteller was fascinating and I'll most likely listen to it...maybe read it, again. One of the smaller folk tales concerning the black carriage of death prophecy is like a story told of my ggrandmother who "saw" the carriage from time to time herself but she was always reluctant to reveal the identity of the newest passenger. Now I understand. Many thanks to Frank Delaney.

  • Brian Gleason

    This "Story of the History of Ireland" was magnificent! The voices and characters weaved in and out out this era and all parts of Ireland tell a history that makes you want more and makes you feel part of it. Delaney adds more through the use of his voices and characters than could ever be read in a book. If you have an intrest in Ireland, its people and history you MUST listen to this book.

  • Anonymous

    My family and I are going to Ireland this summer and I wanted to learn more about Irish history and culture but was concerned that the book would be "dry." I read the other reviews and now can wholeheartedly agree with them. This book has been fascinating and quite enjoyable to listen to. The author has a great voice and the story within a story format makes it interesting. Not only did my commute time pass much more pleasantly, but I am definitely going to enjoy my visit to Ireland much more after learning from this book.

  • Anonymous

    Thought this book was great. Surprised still listed with only 3 Stars with only one bad review. And that bad review was pretty fruit-loopy. If you are a history buff don't hesitate to get this book. Very clever way of telling short tales.

  • Tawn

    This story kepy me entertained and interested the whole way through. I was disappointed in the audio quality of the download, as it had a tinny sound with some blank spots and sound problems, but have recommended the story to many people (although not through audiodownload)

  • Justice Moor

    A truly amazing book that even has a surprise ending. There are interesting stories about both the ancient and modern history of Ireland. I listened to this book while driving to work and found myself wishing for traffice jams so I could continue listening. Oh that my history teachers were this entertaining.

  • Deborah Martinson

    What a wonderful structural device Delaney uses for this book. He tells the history of Ireland through "story," with an itenerate story teller and a young man as the captivating main characters of the overall plot. Anyone who has been to Ireland, is going to Ireland or is just interested in Ireland must read this book.

  • kjoeson

    Many stories within a story so it keeps the interest level high. The history of Ireland the way the Irish would tell it. Fantastic narration, so many different Irish dialects makes this a better choice to listen to than read. Very entertaining. OK for family listening I think. Sort of reflects the biblical story line of a certain part of Genesis. If that's not offensive neither would this be.

  • Annette

    Felt like I was sitting at the feet of one of the world's greatest storytellers. A great listen. It brought the history of Ireland to you with the wonderful characters along with the beauty of the land.

  • Bob Stewart

    The overarching story is a wonderful one and the vehicle, separate stories told mostly by an itinerant storyteller, are marvelous. As read by Mr. Delaney, the book really comes alive. He changes his accent to match the area of Ireland relevant to each story. There are occasional songs that, if I were reading the book, I'd have no idea as to their tunes. The audio book is probably the best way to enjoy this one. After listening to "Ireland" I went and bought the audiobook as a gift!

  • Jennifer R

    I decided to try listening to books on tape while I work by myself as a pastry chef. This was the first selection I received and I love it! The author/reader's inflection is pleasant to listen to and the story is captivating. My husband and children are Irish and I am Scottish, so we tend to be quite drawn to the magic in the history of these places. I recommend this book highly if you like to hear a story told and can imagine yourself by the fireside.

  • Anonymous

    A very well written and well researched story of Ireland's past and future which also has a running narrative throughout regarding a storyteller and a boy. Many people are included in the tale, those who came before us and paved the distinctive culture of the people of Eire. Anyone with even a wee drop of Irish blood would be delighted to learn more of the Irish history through the lives of various characters whom we can visualise. If only our history lessons had been as good as this in school!

  • Chad Barrett

    An enthralling approach to Irish history. The author tells the history of Ireland through skillfully told stories that bring Irish history to life. The reader is very pleasant to listen to as he speaks in various Irish accents. He does an excellent job capturing the tone of the characters' dialogue. I felt like I was part of the stories myself. If you are interested in Irish history, or just enjoy a good story, I highly recommend this book.

  • Anonymous

    Awesome writing and a fun story a la Michener-only better craft. History made fun!

  • Angela Wilson

    How disappointing!!! I was waiting a while to get this book and couldn't wait to begin listening to the stories but the narrator (who is also the author) is just absolutely awful to listen to. Not because his voice is bad or that he uses any deflection in accents but rather when they created this CD, they did not soften any of the words that come across too hard for the ears. For example, when the reader uses works with "s" or soft "c" like "places" or "sister", the "s" sound comes across very loud while the rest of the word is inaudible. Having the volume loud enough to hear him speak ends up giving you a bad headache from the pitches in the s's. I couldn't handle it.

  • Anonymous

    I really enjoyed this book I liked how the stories of Ireland was set within another story. The only thing was that I wish the stories had more facts to them and were a little more in sequence and I wish somewhere the stories told were summarized somewhere. At times it dragged but overall a very good book to listen to. I do recommend this book

  • Thomas Kennedy

    I am several generations removed from my Irish ancestry but I've always been aware of it. Ireland, the book, was an excellent read because it showed me the character and the history of the Irish people. Who knew how oppessed the Irish have been? Their struggles are larger and longer than the latest IRA history. If you've some Irish blood in you, or just wish that you did, you can learn a great deal from this book. I've also read Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt. That also was a good but unrelentingly sad story. Ireland, at least, has a satisfying ending.

  • Anonymous

    For anyone interested in oral story telling, this is a must hear. Stories were entertaining and followed an interesting thread. Most enjoyable listening.

  • Kevin Shanley

    This book is excellent!!! The ancient Irish tales where myth is completely indistinguishable from history are engaging and entertaining. The author brings back to life the lost art of oral tradition. A time when the story is what was important, you didn’t really care if it was true or not. This is a very enjoyable read. I highly recommend.


by Frank Delaney

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Ireland, Frank Delaney
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