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For a readable and comprehensively illustrated short history pick up A Concise History of Ireland by Máire & Condor Cruise O'Brien or try The Oxford History of Ireland edited by RF Foster.Books about Northern Ireland's recent history tend to go out of date before they're published, and are rarely impartial. Free Ireland: Towards a Lasting Peace is Sinn Féin President Gerry Adam's latest, though David Thomson's enchanting memoir, Woodbrook, provides a more palatable slice of Irish history.Edna O'Brien's Mother Ireland is a lovely autobiographical travel book.If you're visiting Dublin, be sure to read Joyce's Dubliners or Roddy Doyle's Barrytown Trilogy. If you're heading off the beaten track to the Aran Islands, take JM Synge's The Aran Islands or Tim Robinson's Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage for company.Culture Shock! Ireland by Patricia Levy is recommended as an up-to-date introduction to aspects of Irish culture.The Irish Pub Guide lists and describes a number of pubs across Ireland that are interesting for one reason or another.

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