Trying to fix the world, one story at a time...


About the author

I was born in Limerick, Ireland and live and work in Dublin. Dublin has many selling points, especially her maritime location, with great beaches and fresh seafood, and love for 'going out'. I've lived in New York and London and like travelling. Paris is the most impressive city that I've experienced to date.

Question everything

My art is expressed through literature, film, visual art and the web and is part of a conversation about Ireland, her heart of darkness, her people's malaise and the causes of our decay (politics, religion, colonialism, external media/cultural influences). I stress the need to question everything and try to design a map through the maze.

Smart animals?

My subject matter has a global context, so I explore the connectedness of humans and the human condition, our fondness for folly. I dwell on our pending choice between a deluded, catastrophic, fail future and an Internet-led evolutionary leap towards a completely new, secular, participative democratic model.


Do you like to read? I am a Crime Writers' Association Dagger Award-nominated author, with edgy, mind-expanding works at Amazon.comSmashwords.comiTunes and many more outlets. Find my Facebook author page here, like it, connect.

My artistic vision is to help break the malaise by questioning everything and helping to encourage new forms of thought, expression and art.

My aim is to create entertaining, intelligent artforms that challenge how we perceive our realities and the forces that build our realities for us.


  • Art - Limerick School of Art and Design
  • Design - National College of Art and Design
  • Engineering - University of Limerick
  • Business - Dublin Institute of Technology

What I like

  • Cheese - Camembert and cheddar
  • Red wine - ideally French but I'm not too picky
  • Lens flare
  • Quesadillas
  • Steak, medium rare
  • Onions
  • The sea
  • BLT sandwiches
  • Forests
  • Mojitos
  • Converse All Stars
  • Sunglasses
  • Space - Apollo 11, the moon, stars
  • Art, 20th century European
  • Sharks, tigers, elephants and dolphins. Who doesn't like elephants and dolphins? The Japanese.
  • Summer
  • The Sun, our star, as seen on my brand:

Why Gary J Byrnes and not Gary Byrnes or Gary Burns?
I incorporated the J (for John) into my writing and online identity because there were a couple of Gary Byrneses out there already. It's Byrnes because that's the Irish variation of the name, from the ancient (pre-Tudor conquest) kings and queens of County Wicklow. Burns is more Scottish. And, for the record, virtually nobody named Gary spells their name Garry (except chess guy Kasparov), so drop the second R people! Gary Numan, Gary Cooper, Gary Oldman, Gary Larson, Gary Player. I never met a Gary who used two Rs. Okay, that's off my chest. Feeling better now.



Here are some 100% discount coupons for my ebooks on Smashwords. They can be downloaded in any ebook format or read online. Some books may be on free promotion, so don’t need the codes. Please feel free to pass on to friends and family. Happy reading!


You can find these books at:

To Eat The World - Nazi conspiracy thriller: QM29L

Ireland Trilogy - Edgy shorts: WW76G

History Trilogy - Shorts: BL39V

Pure Mad - The Author's Cut (Irish crime thriller): KT99Q

The God Virus (International conspiracy thriller): WH66J

The Death of Osama bin Laden - An Alternative History (War thriller): ZF59J

The Writer (short story collection): JX96T

9/11 Trilogy (shorts): JH28Y

Witch Grannies (Kids' book): BF64P

Witch Grannies 2 (Kids' book): MC96T

Please do me a favour. If you enjoy my writing, please post on social media and give me a review or rating in any ebook marketplace. This means a lot to me. Gracias!

Books I Love

I adore Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson. It's such a great book, on so many levels, Ralph Steadman bringing the work to a whole new place with his artwork. The Rum Diary is also an excellent read. Both key characters were really well-captured by Johnny Depp in the films.

Game of Thrones saga by George RR Martin is a very enjoyable story; a bit like Lord of the Rings, but without the elves. And I like books with maps. Finished the book series and enjoying the HBO series, as it comes. Dear Mr Martin, can you please get your shit together and finish the books? Please?

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell is one of my favourite novels. It's a rich tapestry covering a sprawling history with strong characters and plausible (though often bizarre) scenarios. Love it! I also enjoyed Mr Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell is a really powerful novel, so well-written that it's spawned many of the cliches we take for granted today (Big Brother etc). A stark warning about the dangers of authoritarian rule and permanent war, I conclude that we actually live in his nightmarish vision today. Animal Farm is also a great book and describes the Republic of Ireland's recent history pretty well. Scary stuff. Down and Out in Paris and London is an evocative description of Orwell's time on the edge of despair in the 1920s and his essays are as powerful and relevant as anything being written today. I would rate George Orwell as my favourite author.

Roald Dahl is one of the best, any of his books are a pleasure. I really like George's Marvellous Medicine.

Norman Mailer was a great writer and a great man. I particularly enjoyed The Executioner's Song, Ancient Evenings, Tough Guys Don't Dance and The Naked and the Dead.

Lord of the Flies 
by William Golding is a great vintage book, as is For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. What an ending.

Philip K Dick rocks and seems to have done a Van Gogh, finding stellar fame only after death, now powering endless film and TV stories. Currently most appreciated for Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep (filmed as Bladerunner). A super book. I also enjoyed Ubik a lot and consider it his best work.

The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien is a trilogy I read for the first time just before the movies came out. I have to say: "This is a mighty impressive work." And you can quote me on that.

Harry Harrison is an excellent writer of science fiction. Check out Make Room, Make Room, the book on which the Charlton Heston-starring movie Soylent Green was based. Top class. Great for a laugh is The Technicolor Time Machine, about a Hollywood studio using a time machine to make a Viking movie on the cheap.

Kurt Vonnegut is a brilliant writer and has a great understanding of the shapes of stories. Check Vimeo.

Favourite Films

Mad Max: Fury Road from George Miller has growled to the top of my list as quite possibly my favourite film ever. Stunning stuff!

Bladerunner The Final Cut by Ridley Scott is my consistent number one, as good as the Philip K Dick book that inspired it. Best film I've seen in recent years is Drive by Nicholas Winding Refn. It's a brilliant piece of art, with beautiful visuals, a dreamy soundtrack, great actors, enigmatic characters and a plot that propels everything forward. Pure class.

Melancholia by Lars von Triers is a mind-blowing movie, great cast, exciting ideas, superb visuals and such an ending!

I love French cinema, with films like Betty Blue and A Prophet fine examples of the quality of production from Europe's cultural heart. My own political views strongly resonate with the ideals of the French Republic, as I have no time for monarchies or organised religions or Anglo-American cultural domination.

My all-time top films would have to include The GodfatherJawsAlienGladiator and Goodfellas. I also appreciated Pan's Labyrinth and The Lord of the Rings. Recently great was Taken, go on Liam! I rate Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now and Napoleon Dynamite as true classics.

Mel Gibson is a great actor and director. George Miller's Mad Max and Mad Max 2 are quality films and Gibson's direction on Braveheart and Apocalypto was incredible.

I like most movies by Ridley Scott, David Lynch, Francis Ford Coppola, Mel Gibson and Martin Scorcese.

My first short film as writer-director, Vampire Story, premiered in Tahiti in November, 2013. Find out more here. Available to enjoy right now, for free, on YouTube here.

TV is the mind killer and much of what passes for 'reality' programming, especially as seen on MTV, makes me want to throw up. But there is great tv, and I consider Better Call SaulTrue DetectiveBreaking BadGame of Thrones and Fawlty Towers to be up there with the greatest art ever made by humans. I like current affairs and geopolitics news and enjoy seeing Fareed Zakaria, Richard Quest and Bob Baer on CNN and Sam Riley on Sky News.

Favourite Artists

Van GoghDali and Picasso are incredible and seeing any of their work in the flesh is always a goosebump moment for me. Cezanne, the father of modern art, has left an amazing legacy. Turner was a revolutionary and witnessing his works in the National Gallery, London, is always a treasured experience. The Louvre and Musee d'Orsay in Paris are utterly sublime experiences. The Venus de Milo has an excellent bottom crack, well worth a trip to Paris just to experience that. While you're there, go for dinner at Bouillon Chartier, the best restaurant in the world! More details here:

Roy Lichtenstein is another favourite artist of mine, along with Andy Warhol. Pop Art is good.

My favourite piece of art? Email me and I'll tell you. I love history in general and art history in particular. I just go with everything EH Gombrich has to say in the best art history book every written, The Story of Art. Read it.


Roger Waters is an inspiration, both musically and politically.

Dead comedian Bill Hicks still resonates strongly with me. Check out his material, some quotes here on WikiQuote. This is a good example:

Wouldn't you like to see a positive LSD story on the news? To base your decision on information rather than scare tactics and superstition? Perhaps? Wouldn't that be interesting? Just for once? "Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration – that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There's no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we're the imagination of ourselves. Here's Tom with the weather."

Other heroes include philosopher Slavoj Zizek, Russell Brand, who is advocating revolutionary polictical change and also a great writer, Noam Chomsky,
 José Mujica, President of Uruguay, SpartacusSalvador Dali, a genuine genius who created his own path, Jim MorrisonJames JoyceBob Marley, Philip K Dick and elBulli's Ferran Adrià.

Top Music

I'm gone off U2, mainly because of Bono's crazed religious delusions. Muse have been pretty good lately. Also good are Talking HeadsHuman LeagueGary NumanAir are an excellent band, the soundtrack to Lost in Translation included their work and is incredible. But my favourite band, when all is said and done and the fat lady sings and the shit hits the fan, is The DoorsThe Doors by The Doors is one of my favourite albums. Amazingly, this was release in the year of my birth, 1967. I love that connection.

Kate Bush is an incredible talent. Kate reminds me of the fab Carol Keogh, Ireland's latest hot songstress. 80s synth legends Sparks are wonderful for their energy, current Irish synth duo KuBo likewise, and M.I.A. is pure heat, her Paper Planes being one of those songs that I can listen to over and over (as when I'm writing this).

My favourite album is a toss-up between Fatboy Slim Greatest Hits and The Great Gatsby OST. Lana del Ray, mmm...

I adore Pink Floyd's The Wall. I bought this on vinyl when I was 12. Class, and with amazing art by Gerald Scarfe! In September 2013, I witnessed Roger Waters - The Wall live in Dublin. It was the live music event of a lifetime, genuinely wonderful, thrilling, political and thoughtful all at once!

Human Condition Survey by writer Gary J Byrnes