Library of recommended books

If you relish books, and enjoy Encounters with the Good People, I think you will enjoy the selection of books I have hand-picked below.

There are fiction and non-fiction books within this collection to suit everyone.



The Dark Spirit

Written by Dr Bob Curran. Illustrated by Andrew Whitson.

Sinister Portraits from Celtic Folklore. This collection of grim Celtic characters is sure to have you checking under the bed–twice. In this book, you will meet those lurking in the dark shadows of Celtic folklore: the Black Sisters, who brought death wherever they went… the wolf of Badenoch, a blasphemous sorcerer who plundered church and countryside… and canny Alexander Colville, who did a deal with the Devil. In these ominous stories, the strand of Celtic myth threads its way through the British Isles and across the Atlantic to colonial shores, drawing into its coils along the way immigrant and indigenous American folklore. This book will wondering… and trying to convince yourself something is not still out there in the mist, especially not a dark spirit…skulking in the shadows.


Irish Gothic Fairy Stories: From the 32 Counties of Ireland

From the 32 counties of Ireland: Written by Steve Lally and Paula Flynn Lally. This book features as my ‘Halloween Giveaway’ for 2019 and according to Author Steve Lally, was not without unique challenges…

“During the writing of this book huge obstacles were put in our way to see if we would falter or give up. We believe the fairies were testing our belief to see if we were serious, and maybe to see our motives for writing a book about them. We did not give up despite everything that was put in our way, we still believe in the fairies and each other and maybe even more than ever. Our belief in them and each other has become stronger as a result of writing this book. ” – Steve Lally, Author.


The Fairy Realm by Ronan Coghlan

Written by Ronan Coghlan. This book was featured as the first prize giveaway on ‘Encounters with The Good People’.

Ronan takes a relaxed look at various beliefs, traditions and encounters with ‘Fairies’ across Europe and the United States.

These include recorded and anecdotal accounts of fairies and other creatures such as: giants, ogres, trolls, mermaids, brownies, wildmen, kelpie and puca.

You are sure to find creatures in this book you have never heard of before. It is a great read to gain an overview of the creatures said to dwell in European and U.S. Folklore.


Vanishing Ireland

By James Fennell and Turtle Bunbury.

I absolutely love this book, well actually there are now 4 books in this series. I can heartily recommend every one of them.

The ‘Vanishing Ireland’ books offer a collection of portrait interviews looking at the dying ways and traditions of Irish life and taking us back to an Ireland virtually unrecognisable today. Illustrated with over a hundred stunning photographs, we meet sixty-four men and women who transport us back to a time when people lived off the land and the sea, when music and storytelling were essential parts of life.

There is so much heart in these books, and fair warning: they will not only make you feel better about our world, they will make you want to be a better person too! So inspiring.


Good Faeries/Bad Faeries

by Brian Froud… ‘nuf said?

This is a gorgeous book for all ages. Filled to brim with exquisitely detailed creatures from the mind of Brian Froud. Every home should have a copy of this book.

“As it turns out, faeries aren’t all sweetness and light. In addition to such good faeries as Dream Weavers and Faery Godmothers, Brian introduces us to a host of less well behaved creatures — traditional bad faeries like the Soul Shrinker and the Gloominous Doom. Brilliantly documenting both the dark and the light, Good Faeries/Bad Faeries presents a world of enchantment and magic that deeply compels the imagination.”


Meeting the Other Crowd: The Fairy Stories of Hidden Ireland

The Fairy Stories of Hidden Ireland: by Eddie Lenihan. For me, this book is like an old friend. If it is not within arms reach, I could tell you exactly where in the house it is. An absolute must-read for anyone interested in the real Faerie of Ireland.

Eddie Lenihan, is an Irish author, storyteller, lecturer and broadcaster. He is one of the few practising seanchai (storyteller) remaining in Ireland and has been described as a ‘national treasure”.

This collection of tales were personally collected by Lenihan and he offers context and observations to each and every one. The charming, sharp and determined character of Lenihan shines through this book and at every page we find ourselves grateful that he is so passionate about preserving the oral heritage of Irish Faerie Folklore. Oh, and the stories are wonderful too!


In Search of Biddy Early

by Eddie Lenihan.

Another terrific book from Lenihan.

Biddy Early was a traditional Irish herbalist who is credited with possessing great insight, intuition and understanding of the ‘mysteries’. In 1865 Biddy was accused of witchcraft under the Witchcraft Act 1586 and was brought before a court, which was unusual in the 1860’s.  She was released for lack of sufficient evidence as no one would testify against her.

The very mention of Biddy Early’s name in any part of Ireland, especially in County Clare, releases an astonishing amount of stories about her cures, her magic bottle, her gift of prophecy and her many other curious talents.


Magical folk: British and Irish fairies: 500 AD to the present


by Simon Young and Ceri Houlbrook.

Young runs and is known for collecting and collating the The Fairy Census 2014-2017. Many of the encounters collected in the Fairy Census have been included in this book.

Magical Folk features 16 chapters, each looking at Fairies from Britain and Ireland, as well as those who crossed the pond to North America. Each chapter is written by an expert in Faerie Folklore of the particular region.


Orkney Folk Tales (Folk Tales: United Kingdom)

by Tom Muir.

I first discovered author Tom Muir on YouTube. As part of the Scottish Storytelling Centre, he was telling the tale of a Selkie. I was captivated by the tale, and also his storytelling that I have since shared it several times on the ‘Encounters’ Facebook page!

The Folklore of the Orkney Islands is rich and endlessly fascinating. In this book Muir shares wonderful old tales that were told by the firesides of the Picts and Vikings. How a Giant created lochs and hills, how ancient standing stones walk and burial mounds are the home of the Trows. We hear of invisible islands, Fin Folk, Mermaids, and of course… seals are not always what they seem to be.


Celtic Tales: Fairy Tales and Stories of Enchantment from Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, and Wales (Irish Books, Mythology Books, Adult Fairy Tales, Celtic Gifts)


By Kate Forrester.

Forrester presents us with 16 traditional tales from  Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, and Wales which have been translated and transcribed by folklorists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Each tale is beautifully enhanced by the silhouette art of Forrester. A beautiful book.



The Burning of Bridget Cleary: A True Story

by Angela Bourke.

This novel offers an account of the true story of Bridget Cleary.

In 1895 at the age of only 25, Bridget Cleary was tortured, burned and eventually killed by her husband and her father. The reason? They believed she was a Faerie Changeling and were attempting to rid her body of the Faerie.

The tragic tale of Bridget Cleary was featured in my Podcast: Episode 6 – Faerie Changelings and Abductions – Human Hysteria or Faerie Intervention?


Mizen: Rescued Folklore, Histories and Songs from Ireland’s South West

by Dr Mike Baldwin

In 1937, the Irish Folklore Commission instructed National Schools countrywide to collect stories, folklore, songs, and history. This extraordinary task required children to collect, curate and transcribe the nation’s oral history. They were told: “‘The task is an urgent one, for in our time most of this important national oral heritage will have passed away forever.”

In this book, Baldwin shares a selection of the folklore tales, histories and songs which were collected in the south-west of Ireland, the region his own family have resided for generations. A must-read.


The Yule Lads: A Celebration of Iceland’s Christmas Folklore

written and illustrated by Brian Pilkington.

Gifts left in shoes, milk disappearing from the fridge, mysterious figures whisking into the shadows…at Christmas time in Iceland this can only mean one thing—the Yule Lads!

Over the centuries the Icelanders have developed a highly unusual set of Yuletide traditions, from the food they eat–smoked lamb, rotten skate and leaf bread– to their colorful folklore featuring the giant troll Gryla, her thirteen rascally sons, and that huge, hungry feline, the Yule Cat.

This book gives readers of all ages a delightful insight into the history, customs and characters of Christmas in Iceland.


Icelandic Trolls


written and illustrated by Brian Pilkington.

For centuries, the mountain trolls used to inspire terror in the hearts of the Icelandic people, but strangely, these days, they are rarely heard or seen. .

Some believe that  many of the old trolls have turned to stone, citing the huge, moss-covered, troll-like basalt rock columns that are found all around the countryside, standing out against the skyline.

In this wonderfully illustrated book,  Pilkington brings the amazing world of the trolls back to life in his warm, unique style.



by Su Bristow.

One of my favourite books.

This extraordinary novel is based on the beloved tale of the Selkie. It strips away the romanticism so often associated with  Selkies and instead tackles the dilemma of a Selkie in Scotland trapped to live on land with a man who has stolen her skin.



The Good People

by Hannah Kent, Author of ‘Burial Rites’.

You might remember me mentioning this novel… more than once. This novel is based on true, and tragic, events which took place in nineteenth century Ireland, This exquisitely written novel immerses the reader in the desperate efforts of 3 women who attempt to rid the body of a 4 year old boy of a Faerie Changeling. I featured this case in Episode 7 of my Podcast: Changelings and Abductions – Michael Leary.

Kent’s novel tells the story of these three women. Nora, desperate after the death of her husband, who finds herself alone and caring for her grandson Michael, who can neither speak nor walk. Nora’s handmaid, Mary attempts to help Nora, and Michael, as rumors spread that Micheal is a Changeling child and is the cause bad luck in the community. Determined to banish the Faerie Changeling, Nora and Mary enlist the help of Nance, an elderly wise woman who understands the magic of the old ways, and The Good People.


Ireland: A Novel


by Frank Delaney.

This book is like an old friend to me. I love its warmth and sense of fun and… it is different: this novel tells its story on its own terms, not following the ‘formula’ or rules of what is considered a a good novel.

One evening in 1951, an itinerant storyteller arrives unannounced at a house in the Irish countryside. In exchange for a bed and a warm meal, he invites his hosts and their neighbors to join him by the wintry fireside and begins to tell colourful stories of Ireland’s history. Ronan, a nine-year-old boy, is so entranced by the storytelling that, when the old man leaves abruptly under mysterious circumstances, Ronan devotes himself to finding him again. Ronan’s search for the Storyteller begins an epic journey of self-discovery and unspoken family secrets.

This unique novel tells us the story of Ronan and the Storyteller, but along the way, their journey is interspersed with the Storyteller’s own tales about Ireland. Brilliant!