Irish Love Stories – passion tinged with tragedy

Irish love stories. Image copyright Ireland Calling
Irish love stories. Image copyright Ireland Calling

Ireland has had a turbulent history full of invasions, suppression and endless rebellions.

It’s perhaps not surprising then that the political and social turbulence has created many great love stories full of passion, heartache and – all too often – tragedy.
Irish love stories. Image copyright Ireland Calling

These are just some of the stories that emerged over centuries of turmoil and trouble.


Tristan and Isolde

Tristan and Isolde


An ancient legend of an English knight and an Irish princess and their love affair that ends in tragedy. Tristan found Isolde so irresistible that he betrayed his uncle, King Mark, and was banished from his kingdom forever.


Joseph Plunkett and Grace Gifford

Joseph Plunkett and Grace Gifford


Plunkett and Gifford were both leading Irish nationalists at the beginning of the 20th century. They got engaged when the Easter Rising began and planned to marry as soon as it was over.


Michael Collins and Kitty Kiernan

Michael Collins and Kitty Kiernan


Michael Collins and Kitty Kiernan are yet another Irish couple whose relationship was constantly interrupted – and eventually ended – by Ireland’s complicated and turbulent history.


Charles Parnell and Kitty O'Shea

Charles Parnell and Kitty O’Shea


Charles Parnell was one of the towering political figures of the 19th century. At the height of his career, however, he was suddenly brought crashing down – not by a political opponent but by his love life.


WB Yeats and Maud Gonne

WB Yeats and Maud Gonne

WB Yeats was one of the greatest poets of the 20th century and a Nobel prize winner. Maud Gonne was an actress. Yeats fell in love with her but his feelings were not reciprocated.


Patrick Kavanagh and Hilda Moriarty

Patrick Kavanagh and Hilda Moriarty

Patrick Kavanagh’s love for Hilda Moriarty inspired the poem Raglan Road, which was sung by Luke Kelly of the Dubliners and became one of the biggest Irish songs of all time. Read about the history of the song on our sister site www.irishmusicdaily.com

Stories More great Irish stories

Do you qualify to become an Irish citizen?

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Did you know?

Fans of Game of Thrones can soon visit some of the key filming locations in Northern Ireland, in a move that will provide a huge tourism boost for the area. Find out more.

Have you heard about…

A two-minute film from showcases Irish dancing in all its glory. It sees Cork trio Kieran Hardiman, Alan Kenefick and Ciaran Plummer performing their perfectly choreographed routine around the grounds of University College Cork. Find out more.

What about this…

Female Irish warrior Grainne Ni Mhaile, or Grace O’Malley is one of the most colourful characters in Irish history. Born around 1530, she was a Pirate Queen and became a constant thorn in the side of British Queen Elizabeth I. Find out more.

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