The Best Books About Ireland In The 17th Century

The Books I Picked & Why

Nine Lives Of John Ogilby

By Alan Ereira

Nine Lives Of John Ogilby

Why this book?

While not specifically about Ireland, this is a most fascinating tale and true story about a man who started as a dancer, ran theater in Ireland, became a soldier, sea captain and so much more before he went on to publish the first road atlas in Britain. It’s the quirky details in this book that make it fun to read and quite informative about life in the 17th century.


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The Stolen Village: Baltimore and the Barbary Pirates

By Des Ekin

The Stolen Village: Baltimore and the Barbary Pirates

Why this book?

In 1631, the small fishing village of Baltimore in West Cork, Ireland, was attacked by Algerian pirates. About 100 villagers were carried away to a life of slavery. Known as “the Sack of Baltimore,” it was considered the most devastating Islamic invasion in Ireland or England. Yet, greed, politics and intrigue played major roles in the event that had little to do with pirates. Written by a journalist, this book reveals the struggles and dangers faced in by ordinary people in Early Modern times.


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Age of Atrocity: Violence and Political Conflict in Early Modern Ireland

By Clodagh Tait, Padraig Lenihan, David Edwards

Age of Atrocity: Violence and Political Conflict in Early Modern Ireland

Why this book?

Notorious for its violence, the 17th century is also a time of sweeping change. Change ignites resistance. When I first started researching Irish history, I was well aware of Cromwell’s march, and soon discovered much more and perhaps worse. How could people survive under constant threat and fear? How could humans justify such cruelty? This book examines several horrific events, the people and the policies that allowed them to happen—in the interest of learning from history that which we should never repeat.


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Cavalier: A Tale of Chivalry, Passion, and Great Houses

By Lucy Worsley

Cavalier: A Tale of Chivalry, Passion, and Great Houses

Why this book?

Also not specifically set in Ireland, this book reveals in wonderful detail what life was like in the great manor houses of both England and Ireland. Such houses distinguished the 17th century from the age of castles and fortresses, and were lavishly constructed and furnished as tangible statements of power and wealth. You’ll learn what daily life was like from chambermaid to earl.


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Cromwell

By Antonia Fraser

Cromwell

Why this book?

For those who like biographies, this story of Oliver Cromwell (1599 – 1658) follows him from young man to gentleman farmer, reluctant politician, military leader, regicide, and Lord Protector of England. To me, Cromwell will always be the cold destroyer who led his most brutal and devastating army across Ireland after England’s civil war. But, there are many differing opinions. This interesting read presents all sides of the man, so you can be the judge. 


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