What is Ireland Reads?

A new national day to celebrate reading.

On Thursday 25 February we’re inviting people of all ages to get reading.

Why? Because taking some time for yourself to relax and do the things you enjoy (like reading) is important to help look after your mental wellbeing.

Ireland Reads is a public libraries initiative, in partnership with publishers, booksellers, authors and others under the Government’s ‘Keep Well’ campaign.

A woman with a prosthetic leg sits in an open fridge holding a book in one hand and reaching for sweets with the other

Take the Pledge

Pledge today to squeeze in a read on Thursday 25 February.

Just let us know how many hours or minutes you would like to pledge to read for below.

The outline of a stack of fourteen books of varying sizes fills with colour and animates one by one in correlation to the number of minutes pledged

Ireland has pledged to read for 935,678 minutes on Thursday 25 February.

Please select a valid form

Ireland has pledged to read for 935,678 minutes on Thursday 25 February.

A young man in swim shorts and a snorkel sits squeezed into a fish tank holding a book out of the water with his right hand

Find a Book

Time
55

Found 785 Books

    3 of 785    

The Long Gaze Back: An Anthology of Irish Women Writers by Sinead Gleeson (Ed.)

The Continual Condition: Poems

by Bukowski, Charles

If you squeeze in 30 minutes a day, you can read this book in approximately 10 days

If you squeeze in 0 hours and 10 minutes a day, you can read this book in approximately 29 days

Get this Book at the Library   Get this Book at a local Bookshop

Did you know there are 330 library branches all around Ireland? Find your local library here

Our Partners & Ambassadors

Libraries Ireland would like to thank our incredible partners and ambassadors who are helping to get Ireland reading for Ireland Reads.

A boy sits squeezed into the knot hole in a tree reading a book wearing a red hat, striped jumper and jeans
Emma Donoghue
Rick O'Shea
Sebastian Barry
Áine Ní Ghlinn
Frank Ormsby
Patricia Scanlan
Luke O’Neill
Sarah Fitzgerald
Ray Cuddihy
Melanie Murphy
Jennifer Egan
Kevin Barry
Melatu-Uche Okorie
John Sharry
Tony Bates
The Bookselling Ireland logo
The Children's Books Ireland logo
The Junior Certificate School Programme logo
NALA logo
The Publishing Ireland logo
The RTÉ Supporting the Arts logo
The Solas logo
The Borrow Box logo

Rick O’Shea

Broadcaster and Presenter of RTÉ’s The Book Show

Rick O'Shea

I think that, more than most other years, 2020 and now 2021 are the years we need reading in our lives most. For me it’s always been a brilliant way to escape, keep my mental health on an even keel, learn new information and developments that change my view of the world, fall in love with incredible characters, meet old friends having new adventures, experience pasts and even futures that I couldn’t otherwise, and even travel when I haven’t been able to!

I am thrilled that the Ireland Reads initiative is happening and I hope it kick-starts reading all year round for you!

Sebastian Barry

Laureate for Irish Fiction

Sebastian Barry

Writers are readers first. Until I was eight, I could not read for myself. Then, once the miracle happened of entering books with amazed eyes and brain lit up by wonders, I bought a book every Saturday in Easons in Dun Laoghaire. Later, as a poor writer, libraries were my free palaces of happiness. Reading is a form of human joy. What rivals it?

I wholeheartedly support the Ireland Reads initiative. For myself in the first place, to remind myself that the act of reading puts restorative light back into the brain. Puts equanimity, equilibrium, and hope. In Ireland we are in a golden age of writers and readers. Let’s rejoice in that!

Áine Ní Ghlinn

Laureate na nÓg (2020-2023)

Áine Ní Ghlinn

Osclaíonn leabhar doras na samhlaíochta, doras isteach i saol ina mbuaileann páistí le cairde nua – cairde na samhlaíochta. Sa domhan seo tá saoirse ag páiste a bheith ina bhleachtaire nó ina asarlaí, ina chailleach nó ina thaiscealaí. Tá saoirse aige nó aici a rogha rud a dhéanamh sa domhan samhailteach seo. Faoi láthair ní féidir linn dul ag taisteal sa bhfíorshaol. Tá srianta na pandéime an-dian ar pháistí. Taobh istigh de leathanaigh an leabhair, áfach, tá na srianta sin imithe. Tabhair tacaíocht don bhfeachtas Éire ag Léamh. Tabhair saoirse na samhlaíochta dár bpáistí.

Frank Ormsby

Ireland Professor of Poetry

Frank Ormsby

When I was ten or eleven, the reading of poetry brought the exuberance and musicality of language into my life. It taught me that the benefits of reading are many and varied, that reading helps us to develop, mentally and emotionally at every stage in our lives. It is often a shared experience among siblings, parents, friends and teachers. It is one of the paths to self-discovery and the empathic discovery of others.

Reading helps us to concentrate and trains the memory. It deepens our understanding and stimulates our imagination and creativity.

Patricia Scanlan

Author

Patricia Scanlan

You’re never alone when you have a book. You can travel the universe and beyond, from the comfort of your armchair, by joining Ireland Reads.

I always had my head stuck in a book when I was a child. I can still remember the exhilaration of reading a whole sentence, rather than just words. ‘I’m reading!’ I exclaimed, joyfully. This memory colours everything I do to promote literacy.

Read books you want to read. Read to escape, for inspiration, for knowledge, for pleasure. As the Rachel Anders quote goes… “The journey of a lifetime starts with the turning of a page.”

Luke O’Neill

Immunologist / Professor of Biochemistry, Trinity College Dublin

Luke O’Neill

I am delighted to support Ireland Reads. You can’t beat reading. It takes you away to another place and you can learn so many things to enrich your life. It also means you’re not alone which is most important in this time of Covid-19. So find something to read that you might like. 

Sometimes an author will stay with you, sometimes not, so move on to something else.  You’ll find something great. Now’s the time to get reading!

Sarah Fitzgerald

Sarah’s Book Project

Sarah Fitzgerald

As a self-proclaimed bookworm and poetry-lover, I think reading provides the escape we need from the pressures of life. No matter what you read, be it magazines, novels, short stories – reading gives us hope and light in a world of shadows, and provides us with huge benefits at the same time! I fully support the Ireland Reads campaign and its goal of sharing this wonderful gift of reading.

As Mason Cooley said, ‘Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are’. This has never been more apt, and this campaign is a fantastic way of sharing this vision. 

Ray Cuddihy

Teacher and Presenter of RTÉ’s Homeschool Hub

Ray Cuddihy

Reading is a special way for me to both relax and work. I find that as the world slowed down over the last year, the best way to do the same was to disappear into a book. It has been quite a reflective time for most of us, and as such it has been a rich time to read and relate to characters and authors and entirely new worlds in books. It is a golden age for Irish authors too, which is most inspiring.

Through my work as a teacher, I have the absolute privilege of sharing the wonderful work of children's authors. The creativity and art associated is captivating, and not only for the kids. When I was their age, I remember my local library and the shelves that I perused every week. 

Melanie Murphy

Author and Online Content Creator

Melanie Murphy

When I read, I see through a thousand pairs of eyes and realise how completely un-alone I am. The simple act of reading has been said to increase a person's ability to be compassionate and empathetic, and with all the uncertainty and debate in the world today it’s more important than ever to display these qualities. Reading can help! That’s why I’m supporting Ireland Reads. There’s so much power in a good story – now is the perfect time to spark (or respark) a habit of reading. Think of a good book like Sudocrem for a brain bombarded with bad news: accessible and healing.

Jennifer Egan

Irish Sprint and Marathon Canoeist

Jennifer Egan

Reading is an important aspect of life, even more so during these uncertain times in our lives with the Covid-19 pandemic.  The joy of reading brings tranquillity, stress reduction, escapism, mental stimulation and wellbeing, helping us through this difficult time and beyond.  I am a full-time Irish International Sprint and Marathon Canoeist supported by Canoeing Ireland, Sport Ireland, the Olympic Federation of Ireland and a member of Salmon Leap Canoe Club.  I find it very beneficial alongside my training regime of fourteen to sixteen sessions per week to spend time reading, it helps me to relax, which in turn helps me to recharge and be at my best for training sessions and competing. 

I am supporting the Ireland Reads Campaign by embracing the power of reading for enjoyment and I would encourage everyone to get into the habit of reading, by regularly putting aside time to sit down and experience the pleasure of reading, whether it is a book, a poem, a newspaper, or a magazine, just enjoy it all!

Kevin Barry

Author

Kevin Barry

For me, reading is above all a mode of transport. It can lift you up from where you are and set you down elsewhere, and as far away and in as exotic a location as you might desire. Since I was a child, reading has been a transforming and a necessary experience - like every dedicated reader, I've learned to see the world through books. A story, a sentence, a word - these are powerful tools, and they can manufacture perfect empathy. That priceless feeling, when you pause suddenly on the page, and you think, yeah, I've felt that way too - I am not alone.

Emma Donoghue

Author

Emma Donoghue

I support Ireland Reads with all my heart because it’s just what we need to stay safe, well and sane this winter. There’s nothing like a good book for engrossing excitement and escape - for transporting you to another time, place or situation. Reading about other people’s lives and dilemmas puts your own into perspective and makes you vividly feel those invisible threads of human connection which bind us all together even in the hardest of times.

Melatu-Uche Okorie

Author

Melatu-Uche Okorie

I love reading because it gives me heroes. I also get to go to different places in my mind's eye, fall in love, be sad, get angry, laugh at other people's idiosyncrasies, all in a matter of minutes.

Professor John Sharry

Child and Family Psychotherapist

Professor John Sharry

As a child mental professional, I have long known the importance of parents reading with their children. Bedtime stories and shared reading times are amongst the most important parenting habits with many benefits for children including improved literacy and communication, better relationships with parents not to mention much more relaxed bedtimes! Instilling in your children a love of reading is life-long gift that keeps on giving. On a personal note, reading a great book is my best relaxation. There is nothing I love more than immersing myself in a novel just before sleep. Even just twenty minutes can take the edge off a difficult day.

Dr. Tony Bates

Psychologist

Doctor Tony Bates

When I open a book, I step into a much larger world than my own. I meet people I grow to care about and enjoy their company for a short time. I feel the relief of lovers who finally find each other, and recognise in them my own need to be loved. I experience the thrill and the intrigue of adventures where I face my worst fears and make the world a better place. Reading reminds what it’s like when life hurts, how relationships heal, and how the courage we need to face some challenge in our lives is never far away. Books reveal the beauty in life and bring out the best in us.

Our Resources

Spread the joy of reading and encourage others to get lost in a book with posters and other resources to promote your event here.

A woman reads upside down squeezed into a doghouse with a dog sitting on top of the doghouse

Get Involved

Éire ag Léamh – Give Leabhar Gaeilge - 7 i.n Dé Máirt, 23ú Feabhra

Ócáid Ghaeilge ar líne chun tábhacht agus pléisiúr na léitheoireachta Gaeilge do dhaoine óga a phlé. Laureate na nÓg, Áine Ní Ghlinn a bheidh sa chathaoir. Tionscnamh de chuid na Comhairle Ealaíon is ea Laureate na nÓg. Is é Leabhair Pháistí Éireann a dhéanann an tionscnamh a bhainistiú agus a sheachadadh ar son na Comhairle Ealaíon agus tá tacaíocht aige ó Chomhairle Ealaíon Thuaisceart Éireann agus ón Roinn Leanaí, Comhionannais, Míchumais, Lánpháirtíochta agus Óige.

An Irish language event hosted by Laureate na nÓg and chaired by the current Laureate Áine Ní Ghlinn exploring the joy of reading children’s books in Irish for pleasure. Laureate na nÓg is an initiative of the Arts Council. It is managed and delivered on Council’s behalf by Children’s Books Ireland, and also supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

Sign Up Now

Reading Matters: science | stories | soul - Wednesday 24th February 2pm

The National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) will lead a look at the science behind the benefits of reading, with input from researchers, writers and readers speaking to the wellbeing aspect of reading for pleasure.

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Ireland Reads: The Great Escape! - Thursday 25th February 7pm

Libraries Ireland present a discussion focusing on reading during lockdown and how books have helped us escape, chaired by Rick O’Shea (RTE).

Sign Up Now

There are many more events being organised by libraries and campaign partners - please check with your local library service for details or follow Libraries Ireland on social media.

A woman sits squeezed into a pot reading a book, a pile of three books in front of her and other plants around her