Discovering the Fascinating Paranormal Side of Irish Literature

Ever wonder what fantastical things are lurking in the shadows? Read on for some recommendations on Irish ghost stories and folk tales.

Fantasy Horror Recommendations Thriller & Mystery
Book jackets for The Anthology of Irish Folk Tales by History Press UK, Irish Ghost Tales: And Things That Go Bump in the Night by Tony Locke, and Irish Gothic: Tales of Celtic Horror by Ronald Kelly and Zach McCain are placed inside Polaroid pictures on a background of an eerie, foggy forest. Respectively, on the thick white band of the Polaroid, are graphics of spiders, ghosts, and skulls.

Ghost stories, myths, legends, and folktales are passed down from generation to generation in almost every culture. Each is unique, fascinating, and magical, leaving readers with an energetic imagination. If you ever need a good scare or a spooky tale to whisper over a campfire, here are six collections of Irish horror stories to deliver a fright!

Irish Ghost Stories by Maura McHugh

Book jacket for Irish Ghost Stories by Maura McHugh. On a dark teal background, silhouettes of crows fly above an orb showing a shadowy woman in a white dress walking into a foggy forest.

Irish Ghost Stories by Maura McHugh is an anthology of philosophical, thought-provoking, and eerie tales by revered authors such as Oscar Wilde, Sheridan Le Fanu, and Lord Dunsany. Stacked with beautiful, lyrical prose, this book provides readers with classic Irish ghost stories and equally fearsome lesser-known narratives. Not only will readers learn a lesson in literature, but they will also be left bewitched by these tales.

True Irish Ghost Stories: Authentic Tales of Haunted Houses, Banshees, Poltergeists, and Other Supernatural Phenomena by St. John D. Seymour and Harry L. Neligan

Book jacket for True Irish Ghost Stories, Compiled by St. John D. Seymour, Fiction, Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology, Ghost, Horror by St John D. Seymour and Harry L. Neligan. A painting of three people, one on a white horse, all in ancient Irish clothing, stumble upon an eerie cottage in the woods in the dead of night.

Sinister tales and ghostly recounts in letters sent to St. John D. Seymour, an Irish Anglican priest, have been assembled into this spine-chilling collection. This is not a fictitious story but true anecdotes from people who experienced the paranormal face to face, which will leave readers with a hair-raising fear.

The Anthology of Irish Folk Tales by History Press UK

Book jacket for The Anthology of Irish Folk Tales by History Press UK. A black illustration of a spindly tree is etched on a lavender purple background. White circles decorate the blank space, and there are three fairy creatures. One is at the base of the tree, another on a low branch, and another one at the top.

The Anthology of Irish Folk Tales celebrates Irish culture, superstition, and language. This collection of tales by a series of renowned storytellers honors the vibrancy of Irish folklore. History Press, the leading resource of Irish folk tales, carefully curated this collection to be an engaging illustration of Ireland’s customs.

Irish Fairy Tales and Folklore by W. B. Yeats

Book jacket for Irish Fairy Tales and Folklore by W. B. Yeats. The title, in yellow, is encompassed by an ornate light green frame with leaves and clovers on a darker green background.

Irish writer, poet, and dramatist W. B. Yeats compiled this stunning Irish literature and folklore collection. Centuries-old tales, written in stunning lyrical poetry, illustrate the enchanting culture of Ireland. This collection contains a captivating myriad of classic Irish characters and tales, including the Trooping, Tir-na-n-óg, the leprechaun, and how Thomas Connolly met the banshee.

Irish Gothic: Tales of Celtic Horror by Ronald Kelly and Zach McCain

Book jackets for Irish Gothic: Tales of Celtic Horror by Ronald Kelly and Zach McCain. An ornate gold frame splits an image of a woman who appears to be in a wedding dress. On the left side of the split, rolling hills and bright skies illuminate her white dress, veil, and bouquet of red roses. On the right side of the split, the woman is not a skeleton in silver armor, standing in front of dead grass and Celtic headstones.

Ireland is often only thought of as a beautiful island with lush, grassy hills and a rich history waiting to be explored. But no one thinks as hard about what lurks in the darkness — the banshees, werewolves, leprechauns, and fairies, to name a few — that come out at night. Author Ronald Kelly takes a tour of his ancestry with seven Celtic horror stories that will make readers leave the lights on.

Irish Ghost Tales: And Things That Go Bump in the Night by Tony Locke

Book jacket for Irish Ghost Tales: And Things That Go Bump in the Night by Tony Locke. On a blue paper in a blue and brown frame is a picture of a porcelain doll with long, curly brown hair, a green dress, and a matching hairpin, with black eyes and cracks in her face. She stands in front of a black horse with red eyes, whose mane is flowing in the wind.

Based on the real myths and legends of Ireland, this curated collection of stories set in a fantastical place called Erin answers some of the most budding questions: Do ghosts exist? Which tales are rooted in truth, and which ones are made up? In castles and graveyards, readers will devour stories about possessed dolls, evil ghosts, and everything supernatural and undead.

In need of a spine-chilling, blood-curdling tale? Put any of the books above on your TBR today!

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