Becoming a member of the LoveReading community is free.

No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.

New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…

Find out more

Future Popes of Ireland

by Darragh Martin

Modern and Classic Literary Fiction

Future Popes of Ireland Synopsis

Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2019

A big-hearted, funny and sad novel about the messiness of love, family and belief


In 1979 Bridget Doyle has one goal left in life: for her family to produce the very first Irish pope. Fired up by John Paul II's appearance in Phoenix Park, she sprinkles Papal-blessed holy water on the marital bed of her son and daughter-in-law, and leaves them to get on with things. But nine months later her daughter-in-law dies in childbirth and Granny Doyle is left bringing up four grandchildren: five-year-old Peg, and baby triplets Damien, Rosie and John Paul.

Thirty years later, it seems unlikely any of Granny Doyle's grandchildren are going to fulfil her hopes. Damien is trying to work up the courage to tell her that he's gay. Rosie is a dreamy blue-haired rebel who wants to save the planet and has little time for popes. And irrepressible John Paul is a chancer and a charmer and the undisputed apple of his Granny's eye - but he's not exactly what you'd call Pontiff material.

None of the triplets have much contact with their big sister Peg, who lives over 3,000 miles away in New York City, and has been a forbidden topic of conversation ever since she ran away from home as a teenager. But that's about to change.

MEGA GIVEAWAY! Win a year's worth of reading with our 2019 Star Books!

MEGA GIVEAWAY! Win a year's worth of reading with our 2019 Star Books!

Closing date: 06/12/2019

WE LOVE BOOKS! LoveReading is the UK’s leading book recommendation website. Our mission is to promote a love of books and reading to all by offering the tools, advice and information needed to help our members and browsers to find their next favourite book. We have a panel of editorial experts that select books right across the genres and read the latest releases to keep you fully updated. Their reviews and recommendations make it easy for you to choose the perfect book to read next. Search by author, genre or book title to find the next book for you - and once you are a member, you can sign up to receive regular newsletters and save all the books you want to read or have read to your own digital bookshelf. Membership of the site is free and delivers a helpful range of unique online tools, including 10-15 page opening extracts and listening to samples of audiobooks from specially selected titles. You can also subscribe to our personalised newsletters to help you keep on top of all the new releases while having recommendations tailored just for you. Our Star Books are a selection of our personal favourites from the books we've read each year. The ones that have really stood out from the crowd for us. We always say if you're only going to buy a few books this year, take a look at our Star Books selection. We have a HUGE giveaway for you to really end your year on a high. We're giving you the opportunity to win all the books selected as Star Books this year! That's around 40 books that you can keep for yourself, share with friends and family or give as Christmas gifts. A year's worth of reading and some of our favourite books published this year, for you, for free! What are you waiting for? This draw is open only for UK residents currently in the UK and is free to enter, multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once. The draw closes on 6th December 2019. The winners will be notified as soon as possible.

Enter Now

Future Popes of Ireland Press Reviews

`Bulging, big-hearted, engrossing ...Writers such as Anne Tyler and Jane Smiley come to mind, or Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections ... Epic in scale and a pleasure to read, Future Popes of Ireland will have no problem finding its congregation' Sarah Gilmartin, Irish Times

`Very moving, highly entertaining, clever and funny' Sunday Times (Ireland)

`Darragh Martin's bustling, bubbly novel plants a flag on terrain Roddy Doyle's Barrytown novels made their own ... a great deal of bittersweet fun' Daily Mail

`You can practically smell the past as it wafts up at you from [these] pages ... and while there's tragedy, and outrage, too, there's whipsmart satire and riotous comedy alongside a type of scholarliness that provides this novel with its zest and ingenuity. Think Zadie Smith. But much funnier' Sunday Independent

`Stylish verve and astute characterisation' Irish Independent

`Funny, warm and full of heart' Image Magazine

`Raucously funny and genuinely moving. It's the depth of the characters which makes Future Popes of Ireland such a compelling, beautifully conceived family saga; the Doyles are going to stay with me as insistently as the people I've met in real life. A humane, deeply witty and intelligent exploration of faith and its contradictions, and a world which combines the quotidian and the metaphysical, in which every object - from a bottle of water to a smartphone to a scratchcard - could be a holy relic. A joy from start to finish' Luke Kennard

`I really enjoyed this story of four siblings who grow up, discover who they are, fall apart, and somehow, against all odds in an Ireland that is itself struggling to emerge from its mired past, find a way back to each other. This is salutary, compassionate, concerned and oh-so-human storytelling at its very best' Alan McMonagle, author of Ithaca

`Well observed, original, gripping, funny and poignant. This novel is a classic' Jo Spain

`Hilarious and timely, a dazzling debut' John Boyne

If you loved this, you might like these...

Dear Edward
Saving Missy
Don't Look At Me Like That
The God Child

All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780008295394
Publication date: 20/08/2018
Publisher: Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780008295394
Publication date: 20th August 2018
Author: Darragh Martin
Publisher: Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardback
Genres: Literary Fiction,

About Darragh Martin

Originally from Dublin, Darragh Martin now lives in London. He has written several plays and a children's novel, The Keeper, which was shortlisted for Children's Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards in 2013. Future Popes of Ireland is his first adult novel.

More About Darragh Martin

Share this book