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March came in like a lamb here in Kentucky, bringing with it daffodils and springlike temperatures. And while a second taste of winter in March (or even April!) isn’t out of the question, hopefully spring is here to stay. With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, it’s a great time to curl up with a cupán tae and a good mystery. All you need is the perfect book to transport you to the Emerald Isle.

In this list. I’ve gathered six mysteries with Irish settings that range from cozy to gritty, so you’re sure to find something that will suit your taste. Sláinte!

Buried in a Bog by Sheila Connolly

In the first of the County Cork Mysteries by the late Sheila Connolly, Maura Donovan leaves Boston to fulfill her grandmother’s dying wish. She asked Maura to travel to Ireland to inform those she left behind years ago of her death. But Maura never expected to find herself taking a job at the local pub and investigating a murder. If you’re looking for a fun, cozy Irish village mystery, Buried in a Bog is a great choice. And if you find yourself eager to spend some more time with the inhabitants of Leap, there are 8 more stories waiting for you.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

This one falls more under the heading of thriller than mystery, but I really enjoyed it. Perhaps not a surprise, as it’s received many comparisons to the works of Agatha Christie. On an isolated island off the coast of Ireland, a magazine publisher and a rising television star are about to get married, and everyone want to be on the guest list for their glitzy wedding. But with poor cell service, bad weather, and rough seas isolating the party from the mainland, it’s almost inevitable that guests are going to start dropping dead. If you enjoy modern settings and characters who aren’t always likeable, The Guest List is a good fit for you.

No Strangers Here by Carlene O’Connor

Carlene O’Connor is perhaps best known for her cozy County Cork Mysteries, which began with Murder in an Irish Village. No Strangers Here is the first installment in her new County Kerry mystery series. I couldn’t wait to read it when I saw it was set in Dingle, Ireland, where I spent a week a few years ago. It did not disappoint—I thoroughly enjoyed picking out all the details I remembered from my visit. But you don’t have to have visited Dingle to enjoy No Strangers Here, because it has an absorbing story and interesting characters. This series is a little less cozy than the County Cork series, but I wouldn’t call it dark at all. Looking for a more traditional style mystery story? This one would be perfect for you.

In the Woods by Tana French

In the Woods is the book that launched Tana French to fame and kicked off her Dublin Murder Squad series, which has since been made into a TV show. The book is very well written, but be aware that it is on the grittier side and if you aren’t a fan of unresolved questions, I’d steer clear. (That’s the one thing about this book that frustrated me.) Otherwise, it’s an excellent story with plenty of atmosphere and complex characters. Enjoy darker stories with ambiguous endings? This would be a good choice for you.

Haunted Ground by Erin Hart

Haunted Ground is also the first book in a series, this one about an Irish archaeologist and an American pathologist. The two join forces after farmers cutting turf in a peat bog discover the head of a young woman, so perfectly preserved it’s difficult to tell if she was killed hundreds of years ago or much more recently. (Bodies turning up in bogs seems to be a recurring theme in Irish-set mysteries.) As the archaeologist and pathologist attempt to uncover the woman’s identity, it begins to look as though there is a connection to a recent local disappearance. Looking for mystery, suspense, and a little romance? This is your book.

Himself by Jess Kidd

This recommendation comes via my sister-in-law’s mother, whose taste in books is always excellent, and it’s on my TBR list for this month. According to the Daily Express, it is a darkly comic tale of murder, intrigue, haunting and illegitimacy . . . wickedly funny. Himself is the story of a man who, after being abandoned at an orphanage as a baby, decides to return to the town where he was born in search of the truth about his past, But his arrival shakes up the town and not everyone is pleased to see him or willing to tell him the truth.

I hope you find something on this list to get you in the spirit for St. Patrick’s Day! Looking for more St. Patrick’s Day inspiration? Check out this free wallpaper I shared a few years ago. If you need me, I’ll be curled up with a cup of Barry’s tea and Himself.

How about you? Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?
What is your favorite St. Patrick’s Day tradition?

6 mysteries with Irish settings for St. Patrick's Day

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I’ve been a little bit obsessed with all things Irish for . . . well, pretty much always. But since I visited in 2016, it’s reached a whole new level of madness. I absolutely cannot wait until I’m able to go back to see more of the country, but until then I relive my visit through the many, many pictures I took while I was there. (And through all the Irish products I can find locally—Guinness, Jameson, Barry’s Tea, Bewley’s Coffee . Not to mention the Butler’s White Chocolate I order direct from Dublin. If you haven’t tried it, you must. It doesn’t really taste like white chocolate to me. It’s like Eagle Brand Condensed Milk in candy form.)

It’s no secret that I love all things Irish. So to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, I’m giving away an Irish Blessing wallpaper & a free printable.

The beauty of the Irish countryside is simply breathtaking.

This photo was taken from the Ionad an Bhlascaoid Mhóir—The Great Blasket Centre, in Dingle, Co. Kerry, which is a fascinating history museum. I mean, seriously. Can you imagine having that view all the time? I think I spent about 75% of my trip with my camera glued to my face because everywhere I looked was just beautiful. For instance . . . 

This was our view when we stopped at a petrol station. Yep. A gas station. You know what my local gas station has a view of? A Rite Aid & another gas station.

The Irish have quite a way with words.

Kissing the Blarney Stone (which I did—my fear of heights & the ick factor did not stop me) is supposed to grant you the gift of gab. While I can’t say I’ve become much more loquacious, the Irish are certainly known for their way with words. They gave us Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Jonathon Swift, Bram Stoker, C.S. Lewis. The list goes on and on. Oh, and one of my favorite poets, W. B. Yeats. His The Second Coming is just chilling.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity
. . .

— W. B. Yeats

If those words aren’t prescient, I don’t know what is.

And then there is the Irish blessing, which can admittedly be a bit of a mixed blessing.

Sure, there are the blessings like the one I chose for this post, but there’s also this . . .

May those who love us, love us;
And for those who don’t love us,
May God turn their hearts;
And if He doesn’t turn their hearts,
May He turn their ankles,
So we will know them by their limping!

— Irish Proverb

I like to think my slightly twisted sense of humor comes from my Irish ancestors.

Oh, & if printables are more your thing, visit
this post to download my Irish blessing printable.

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Our gloomy January weather here in Kentucky has left me feeling completely unmotivated to pick up my camera. Or to do much of anything, really. (Except bake and consume cookies. Seriously, last week I baked iced oatmeal cookies, and I’m pretty sure I ate the entire batch myself.) 

So, today I’m sharing one of my favorite shots from our trip to Ireland last year, when I couldn’t seem to put my camera down. We were somewhere along the Wild Atlantic Way, in County Kerry near Dingle. The brilliant turquoise of the water took my breath away. It was nothing at all like the iron gray I’d always expected of the North Atlantic.

Photo of two children on a cliff overlooking the ocean on a stormy day in County Kerry, Ireland

We stopped at an overlook to get a better view of the beautiful waves crashing below, and the sight of my two babies, an ocean away from home and all they’d ever known, seeing the world for the first time, stopped me in my tracks. They looked so very small there at the edge of that big sea. Of all the blessings on our trip, I think the one I’m most grateful for was being able to see it through their eyes. This picture brings all those feelings back every time I see it. I think it may have to go on the wall.

I can’t wait until we get swept away again.

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Is it just me, or has this winter seemed like THE WINTER THAT WOULD NEVER END? I’m excited to see March for lots of reasons, but these top the list.

1 | Daylight Savings Time

Because even though I’m going to lose an hour of sleep (oh the humanity!), I’ll finally be able to walk again in the evenings when my husband gets home from work. I can’t overstate how much I need that hour of solitude every day.

2 | Shamrock Shakes

I feel like I should preface this with I don’t normally eat at McDonalds. I haven’t enjoyed their food since I was a small child and thought that Chicken McNuggets were the best. thing. ever. But y’all—Shamrock Shakes? They are the best. thing. ever. I break my McDonalds ban every year in March so I can have them at least once.

3 | January and February are over, baby!

I struggle with a Seasonal Affective Disorder, which means that January and February are always varying degrees of miserable, but this year those two months were brutal. I have a surprisingly strong hibernation instinct for a human—I must have been a bear in a previous life. But that March sunshine makes us all a little brighter.

4 | St. Patrick’s Day

I ♥ all things Irish. I have Irish roots on both sides of my family, but WAY back. Like 18th century way back. So I’ve always had a little fascination with the Emerald Isle and it’s been #1 on my Places I Want To See Someday list for as long as I can remember. This year, my brother and his fiancée will be getting married there, so our whole family will be going! It’s equal parts exciting and terrifying. I don’t love to fly and I’ve never been out of the country, but I finally get to visit Ireland! I can. not. wait. And what an amazing adventure for the kids! I’ll be spending a lot of time on one of my favorite blogs to prepare for the trip. If you haven’t checked out the Irish American Mom blog, do yourself a favor and hop over there today. She’s an Irish-born Kentuckian who blogs about all things Ireland, including recipes! Try her roasties—I promise you’ll thank me!

Free Printable

In honor of our upcoming trip and St. Patrick’s Day, I’m sharing a free printable of one my favorite Irish blessings.

Free Irish Blessing Printable on quillandglass.com

How about you—what are your favorite things about March?

Fueled by equal parts sweet tea and passion, I spend my days capturing the kinds of images that make you stop, smile and ask time to please slow down. 

Your story, your love, is beautiful and I can’t wait to capture it in images you will treasure for years to come. I believe in real moments and heartfelt conversations on the front porch. In the kinds of images that remind you of the joy that can be found in the simplest of moments together. 

mystery writer & editor

I’m Amanda

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