Ireland is home to many authors who have achieved universal fame. Given the small size and population of the country, this is an incredible feat. This nation of writers has produced some of the most renowned and significant works of literature in the English language. Honor the Irish this St. Patrick’s Day by reading a book by an Irish author. Choose from some classic titles, or maybe try a contemporary work.
Dubliners – From perhaps the king of the modernist movement, James Joyce’s Dubliners plants the reader in the heart of Ireland’s capital city. This collection of short stories offers a realistic depiction of the working class in early 20th century Dublin.
Picture of Dorian Gray – The only novel by Oscar Wilde about a devastatingly handsome young man who is struck by the idea he will age—and will do anything to reverse the process. It caused much controversy when published in 1890 for its portrayal of homosexuality. Over 20 films have been adapted of this book.
Dracula – Published in 1897, Bram Stroker’s book, more gothic than horror, induced a thousand nightmares and more than a century’s worth of vampire fiction. Jonathan Harper’s encounter with an ancient evil still terrifies after all these years.
Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats – Winner of the 1923 Nobel Prize for Literature, W.B. Yeats is often regarded as the greatest lyrical poet that Ireland has ever produced, and one that James Joyce cited as a key influence. Yeats is everything you want in a poet: escapist, thought-provoking and politically engaged.
100 Poems – Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney is regarded as one of the finest poets of the 20th century, ranking with Irish poet, W.B. Yeats and the American poet, T.S. Eliot.
Normal People – Sally Rooney, a 21st century award-winning author tells a story of mutual fascination, friendship and love. Marianne and Connell, from different backgrounds but the same small town in Ireland, weave in and out of each other's romantic lives and want to stay apart—but find that they can’t. Now an Emmy-nominated series on Hulu.
A Week in Winter – Irish novelist, playwright, short story writer, columnist and speaker Maeve Binchy was known for her lighthearted depiction of Irish life in small communities and stories with a twist.
Angela’s Ashes – The luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors—yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance and remarkable forgiveness.
Love – As much a hymn to the Dublin of old as a delightfully comic, yet moving portrait of what it means to try to put into words the many forms that love can take.
The Wonder – Tourists flock to the cabin of 11-year-old Anna O'Donnell, who is said to be living without food, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright is hired to keep watch over the girl. As Anna's life ebbs away, Lib finds herself responsible not just for the care of a child but for that child's very survival. Available to stream on Netflix.
This Must Be the Place – A powerful rumination on the nature of identity, and the complexities of loyalty and devotion. A gripping story of an extraordinary family and an extraordinary love.
More Irish Authors
The above authors are just a small sampling of the multitude of Irish writers that hail from the Emerald Isle. You can find many more in our collection including Frank McCourt, Maria Edgeworth, Edna O’Brien, and Roddy Doyle. Sláinte!