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The Irish have a proud history in the area of Literature, ranging from the "Book of Kells" to the latest 1997 Pulitzer Prize winner Frank McCourt for "Angela's Ashes"

This is only a small example of Irish People and Organisations who have enriched the world of Literature

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James Joyce.

Born on February 2, 1882 in Dublin, Ireland. His subtle yet frank portrayal of human nature, coupled with his mastery of language made him one of the most influential novelists of the 20th century. Joyce is best known for his experimental use of language and his exploration of new literary methods. His works include "Ulysses" (1922) A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man" (1916) and "Finnegans Wake" (1939). Each year thousands of people celebrate "Blooms Day" in honour of one of the characters in Ulysses Ulysses for Dummies   James Joyce's Dubliners a Reference page
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Bram Stoker

(1845-1912), Irish writer, best known for his classic horror novel, Dracula (1897). He was born in Dublin, Ireland in Marino Crescent in Clontarf, he studied at Trinity College and became a civil servant. Stoker left Ireland in 1876 to become secretary and business manager for English actor Sir Henry Irving, joining him in the management of the Lyceum Theatre in London. Stoker wrote many books, including Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving (1906). Dracula introduced the character of the vampire Count Dracula of Transylvania.  Dracula's Homepage
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Brendan Behan

Born in Holles St Hospital Dublin on 9th Feb 1923, and dying on the 20th March 1964 in the Meath Hospital Dublin. A member of the IRA, he was arrested at the age of sixteen for carrying explosives, he spent a year and a half in a English Borstal home. He served four years in an Irish prison for the shooting of a policeman.   His works include "The Quare Fellow", "Borstal Boy", "Confessions of an Irish Rebel", "The Hostage" and   "Richard's Cork leg. Brendan Behan Worship page
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Jonathan Swift

The author of Gullivers Travels born in Ireland in 1667, he became Dean of St Patrick's in 1713, he died in 1745, other works include "The battle of the Books", and "Tale of the Tub"


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Patrick Kavanagh

Born 1905 Inneskeen, Monaghan. Self educated, his works include, Tarry Flynn, The Great Hunger & A Green Fool.  . Why not visit the Patrick Kavanagh Centre
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Oscar Wilde

Born on October 16, 1854 in Dublin, Ireland, and died on November 30, 1900 in Paris.  Was an Irish poet and dramatist. Won the Newdigate poetry prize in 1878 for Ravenna. Was notorious for his style of dress and odd behavior.   Was convicted of  homosexual practices and served two  from 1895 to 1897.   His works include The Ballad of Reading Gaol, The Importance of Being Earnest , , Lady Windermere's Fan,  A Woman of No Importance, Poems by Oscar Wilde    Why not visit   Oscariana
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Seamus Heaney

Born in County Derry in 1939 and attended Queen's University Belfast. He was awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature. He has frequently read his poetry throughout Ireland, UK and the US. His works include Door into the Dark, Death of a Naturalist, Seeing Things.


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Roddy Doyle

Born in Dublin in 1958, his first novel, The Commitments was made into a successful film, the Snapper and The Van followed that were also made into films. He won the Booker Prize in 1993 for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. Other works include, the Woman Who Walked Into Doors, 1996, and the plays Brown Bread and War
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Eamonn MacThomais

Dublin Born writer famous for his novels about Dublin they include "Me Jewel and Darlin Dublin, "Gur cake & Coal Blocks, "Down Dublin Streets", "The Labour and the Royal", Janey Mack Me Shirt is Black, and "Lady at the gate"
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Frank McCourt

"Born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank's mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank's father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy-- exasperating, irresponsible and beguiling-- does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his father's tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies. " Angela's Ashes. The Limerick of Angela's Ashes   The Movie
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Samuel Beckett

Was born in Foxrock, Ireland, in 1906, and suffered, as he claimed, an eventless childhood. He attended Trinity College in Dublin, and left for Paris when he was twenty-two (he would later call this city home). In Paris he fell in with a group of avant-garde artists, including James Joyce, who was to become a life-long friend. Although he continued to write in both English and French throughout his life, most of his major works were written in French between 1946 and 1950. Beckett was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1969. He died in Paris in 1989.His work s include Waiting For Godot, Endgame, Happy Days, and Krapp's Last Tape. The Samuel Beckett Centre      , Quotations from Samuel Beckett Samuel Beckett Endpage
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Sean O'Casey

Born Dublin 1880. Playwright, renowned for his realistic dramas about the slums of Dublin in war and revolution.  His works include Shadow of a Gunman, Juno and the Paycock, The Plough and the Stars and The Silver Tassie. O'Casey frozen out by feminists


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Liam O'Flaherty Born Aran Islands 1896. Novelist, short-story writer. Trained for the priesthood but declined it, soldiered in WW1, lumber jack in Canada. His works include Thy Neighbour's Wife, The Black Soul and The Informer which was made into an award winning film. 

I was born on a storm-swept rock and hate the soft growth of sunbaked lands where there is no frost in men’s bones. Swift thought and the flight of ravenous birds,and the squeal of hunted animals are to me reality.

Liam O’Flaherty

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Edna O Brien

Born in Tuamgraney, Co. Clare, and one of Ireland’s best loved writers. Her first three novels, gathered together as The country girls trilogy , give a vivid picture of young women growing up with mild rebelliousness in a puritan environment. They are strongly autobiographical. . Her works included  The house of splendid Isolation , Passion's Progress
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Walter Macken

Born Galway 1915.  Novelist & dramatist, actor, stage manager.  His works include Rain On the Wind, The Scorching Wind, Home is the Hero and  The Silent People, Seek the Fair Land
Frank O'Conner Born Cork 1903. Playwright, novelist, short-story writer.   Translator of of Gaelic works from the 9th to the 20th century.  His works include An Only Child, Guests of the Nation, Crab Apple Jelly.
Maeve Binchey Maeve Binchy was born in Dalkey, a small village outside of Dublin, Ireland. To this day she draws on her experiences there when creating the rural villages so often found at the heart of her novels. Binchy received her B.A. from University College in Dublin and became a teacher. Her teaching post at a Jewish school and subsequent vacation in Israel inspired her to work on a kibbutz there. While abroad, Binchy wrote letters to her father every week describing life in a land that was ever on the brink of war. When her father sold one of her letters to The Irish Times for 18 pounds, Binchy, who had been making £16 working at the school, thought that she had truly arrived.  Her Books include The Glass Lake, Silver Wedding Evening ClassThe Copper Beech, The Lilac Bus, Circle of Friends,  Firefly Summer, Echoes, and Light a Penny Candle, which have been celebrated on many continents.
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William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats was third-generation Irish, born in Dublin on June 13, 1865,  

       Easter 1916

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George Bernard Shaw

Born 1856 Dublin. On first going  to London GBS wrote unsuccessful novels. He became a leading figure in the Fabian Society.  He became famous as a journalist and political pamphleteer. He then turned to drama, his works include Caesar and Cleopatra, Major Barbara, Man an Superman, Saint Joan. Quotes of GBS more
Oliver Goldsmith Born 1730 Kilkenny West, Co Meath.  Dramatist essayist, poet, novelist.  Educated at Trinity College Dublin. Samuel Johnson said of him " No man was more foolish when he had not a pen in his hand, or more wise when he had".   His works include She Stoops to Conquer, The Vicar of Wakefield, The Deserted Village.

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Flann O Brien

Brian O'Nolan wrote under the pen names of Flann O'Brien and Myles na Gopaleen. He was born in 1911 in County Tyrone.A resident of Dublin, he graduated from University College after a brilliant career as a student (editing a magazine called 'Blather'), and joined the Civil Service, in which he eventually obtained a senior position. He died in Dublin on April 1, 1966. His novels include 'At Swim-Two-Birds', 'The Dalkey Archive', 'The Third Policeman', 'The Hard Life', and 'The Poor Mouth' (originally published in Irish as 'An Beal Bocht').  Pearly Gates

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Tom Phelan

Photograph by Seamus Clarke

Tom Phelan's novels have been published in four countries--the U.S., Ireland, France, and Germany--and in three languages.
Tom Phelan's latest novel, The Canal Bridge, a story of Ireland and the First World War, is published by the Lilliput Press (Dublin, 2005).  Phelan is also the author of the critically acclaimed novels In the Season of the Daisies (1993), Iscariot (Brandon), and Derrycloney (Brandon).  His essay "My Life As a Priest," was published in the Recorder (spring 2004), the journal of the American Irish Historical Society (

Phelan's  novel, Derrycloney, is a tale of the Irish countryside in the 1940s. Tom Phelan is also the author of the critically acclaimed novels In the Season of the Daisies and Iscariot. In the Season of the Daisies was chosen for the winter 1997 "Discover Great New Writers" series sponsored by Barnes & Noble. It was a finalist for the 1997 Discover Great New Writers Award.

Tom Phelan was born and raised on a farm in Mountmellick, County Laois, in the Irish midlands. He attended St. Patrick's in Carlow, was ordained a priest in the 1960s, and then worked in England for several years. He later emigrated to the U.S., earned a master's degree from Seattle University, and eventually left the priesthood. Today, Tom Phelan makes his home on Long Island, where he lives with his wife Patricia. He is the father of two grown sons. " Text from Tom Phelan's website reproduced by permission of Glanvil Enterprises, Ltd."

Sean O' Faolain Sean O'Faolain.  Born Feb 22nd 1900 CO Cork.  Writer of short stories about Ireland's lower and middle class.  he changed his name from John Francis Whelan in 1916, when he witnessed the brutality shown to the volunteers by the British.  he studied gaelic and became involved in anti British activiries.  His works include Come back to Erin, A life of Daniel O' Connell, Bird Alone 

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Thomas Moore Born Dublin May 28th 1779. Died Feb 25th 1852

"The son of a wine merchant, Moore graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1799 and then studied law in London. His major poetic work, Irish Melodies (1807-34), earned him an income of £500 annually for a quarter of a century. It contained such still familiar titles as "The Last Rose of Summer" and "Oft in the Stilly Night." The Melodies, a group of 130 poems set to the music of Moore and of Sir John Stevenson and performed for London's aristocracy, aroused sympathy and support for the Irish nationalists, among whom Moore was a popular hero"

Francis MacManus Born in Kilkenny City in 1909, was educated at Kilkenny C.B.S., St. Patrick's Training College, Dublin and took his B.A. degree at University College, Dublin. He joined the staff of Synge Street Christian Brothers' Schools and taught there until 1948, when he went to Radio Eireann and became Director of Talks and Features, a post which he held until his death in 1965. A major Irish novelist, he also wrote biography, history, travel, essays, poems and short stories. His works include Stand and give Challenge,Candle for the Proud and Men Withering. Candle for the Proud won the Hammersworth Prize, awarded by the Irish Academy of Letters.

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Malachy MCourt

Malachy Mc Court, born in Brooklyn, raised in Limerick, Ireland. Managed to fail every subject in school except English and recess. Returned to the U.S. in '52, worked as a longshoreman, dishwasher and laborer. Became an actor and then established the first singles bar in America.

Malachy is the author of A Monk Swimming which was on the best seller lists for months in the U.S., in Europe and in Australia. His new book,
Singing My Him Song, will be published in October of 2000 by Harper Collins.

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Larry Jordan

After a three-year stint as a ship¹s Radio Officer in the British Merchant Navy, Dublin born Larry emigrated to Los Angles US in 1960. First settling in Los Angeles where he began his 25-year newspaper career. A co-founder and Associate Editor of California GOLF Magazine, he is a lifetime member of Golf Writers Association of America.  His works include "Celtic Echoes" Stories From Ireland" He is also a writer of short stories one of which "The Balls of Malta" is published on this site. Larry Jordan is currently working on another book of Irish short stories and a novel set in Dublin.

He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, Joyce.             

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Joseph O'Connor

Born in Dublin, He   graduated from University College, Dublin in 1986. He went to Nicaragua and worked for the British Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign. He was short-listed for the Whitbread Prize for his  novel, Cowboys and Indians  In 1989, he won the Sunday Tribune First Fiction and New Irish Writer of the year awards.  His Books include  True Believers, Desperados, The Irish Male at Home and Abroad, The Salesman, The Secret World of the Irish Male. His dramatic works include Red Roses and Petrol, The Weeping Angels. Screenplays, A Stone of the Heart, The Long Way Home, Ailsa
William Allingham Born Donegal 19th march 1894.  Poet and Lyricist.  His works include "The Faeries", "Aeolian Harp" "Lovely Mary Donnelly"

Brian Friel

Brian Friel was born on Jan. 9, 1929, outside the town of Omagh in County Tyrone in Northern Ireland. When he was 10, his family moved to Londonderry, Northern Ireland, where his father served as a school principal. Friel studied for the priesthood at St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, Ireland, and earned a B.A. His works include "Philadelphia, Here I Come",  "Dancing at Lughnasa",  "Molly Sweeney" Visit  for further information

Dion Boucicault.  Born. Dec. 26, 1820/22, Dublin, Ireland.  Died. Sept. 18, 1890, New York, N.Y., U.S. Original name DIONYSIUS LARDNER BOURSIQUOT , Irish-American playwright and actor, a major influence on the form and content of American drama.  Educated in England, Boucicault began acting in 1837 and in 1840 submitted his first play to Mme Vestris at Covent Garden; it was rejected. His second play, London Assurance (1841), which foreshadowed the modern social drama, was a huge success and was frequently revived into the 20th century. Other notable early plays were Old Heads and Young Hearts (1844) and The Corsican Brothers (1852). Visit for further information


William Trevor William Trevor was born in Mitchelstown Co Cork in 1928. His novels include The Old Boys (1964), which won The Hawthornden Prize; The Boarding House (1965); The Love Department (1966); Mrs Eckdorf in O'Neills Hotel (1969); Miss Gomes and the Brethern (1971); Elizabeth Alone (1973); The Children of Dynmouth (1976), which won the Whitbread Award 1976; Other People's Worlds (1980); Fools of Fortune (1983) which won the Whitbread Award 1983; The Silence in the Garden (1988) which won the Yorkshire Post Book of the Year Award ; and Two Lives (1991), which was shortlisted for the Sunday Express Book of the Year Award and includes the Booker-shortlisted novella Reading Turgenev. The previous passage was taken from

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Last Updated 19-Apr-09