Honestly we’d make an Irish person sit and read their grocery list aloud, if we could. That accent…*chef’s kiss*. A country chalk full of warmth and whiskey, what’s not to love? We know this year that COVID will put a damper on the grand American tradition of green beer at 8am with friends while a cover band plays a painful version of “Shipping Up to Boston”, so instead why not listen to an Emerald Isle themed read over your morning brew (or beer, we won’t judge)? Below are some of our picks paired with an appropriate bev. Slainte!
If an inspirational crying jag is what you’re going for, we suggest this portrait of love, grief, and ultimately, learning to love life. Holly and her husband Gerry have their ups and downs, but when he suddenly dies of a brain tumor, Holly is distraught (obviously). Then the dude has the thoughtful audacity to write her beautiful letters after his passing, to help her discover who she is and can be without him. Last Valentine’s Day we received half a Kit-Kat; It’s fine. We’re fine. We’d imagine it would pair well with red wine, is that a red wine over there? Cool, we’ll be right back.
Perhaps a good old tried and true romance novel to cure your “Bridgerton” hangover is what you need. If so look no further. Ava and Deaglan won’t work. They can’t. Stop trying to make them. It was one night, and she never meant to see him again. Besides, he’s damaged, can he even fall in love? Spoiler alert; probs. By the end of this book, she’s going to scale his emotional walls like a damn mountaineer. And she’s going to put her mouth on his mouth while she does it. Would go well with whiskey or rosé, or perhaps something with bubbles? We mean, they probably take a bath together at some point so…
Oh you want spooky beer time? This one starts with robbery gone wrong, stilted recovery, mysterious dying uncles, all rounded out with skulls in trees. This last event is inspired by an actual creepy true crime case in which a skeleton was found in an elm, and nothing was as it seemed. Here to the unsettling themes about family and healing bringing the past to light, and leaving the hero with more questions than answers (if he even is the hero). Muhahahaha. Would pair well with Baileys in hot cocoa, you know, to round out your fear.
Ireland has given us so much, Guinness, Luna Lovegood, stiff armless dancing, but do we really give them all the credit they deserve? Thomas Cahill’s answer would be a resounding “nope.” He chronicles how back in the day, like way back, everyone was pillaging and burning everyone else’s civilizations. Apart from the human toll, the other huge loss was that of literature and art; the very thing that made a society unique and enlightened. But not on Irish monks’ watch! Cahill chronicles in lively prose, just how this process all went down, and how we owe the Irish more than we ever consider. Would pair well with a light white wine, but only if you do the thing where you smell it and then pretend to taste notes of “earth and cigar smoke” and stuff.
Lastly, if you’re looking to listen to a book that feels like a thick cozy cardigan, this is the one. It’s the classic city mouse country mouse dynamic, with the young hotshot Dr. Barry saying things like “that’s not how we did it in med school!” and old curmudgeon Dr. Fingal being like “well this is my town and here we throw the rule book out the window and do medicine my way!” Then they become lifelong friends in a quirky Irish town. Delightful. We’re sorry but asking what alcohol to drink with this is like asking for Mickey Mouse’s weapon of choice in a street fight. Go find some tea and a sweater vest.