Literature Studies Site

Irish Writing

Wider Reading

Irish Literature
There is a great deal of Irish Literature to read, giving various insights into Irish Society, the influence of Catholicism and Ireland's political dilemmas.


James Joyce:
Dubliners: short stories concerning various lives in Dublin.
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, an autobiographical novel.

Roddy Doyle:
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha: growing up in Ireland, honest and funny. Also the Barrytown Trilogy.

Seamus Deane
Reading in the Dark: a powerful semi-autobiographical novel about a young boy growing up in Derry thorugh the 50s and 60s.

Go to the Reading in the Dark page


Brian Friel:
Dancing at Lughnasa is probably Friel's best known play after Translations, also set in Ballybeg.
Philadelphia, Here I Come! concerns emigration to America, also an undercurrent in Translations.

JM Synge:
The Playboy of the Western World: a wild, comic-grotesque play where a supposed murderer of his father becomes a local hero — until his dad turns up.

Sean O'Casey:
Early 20th C playwright, often with a sharp focus on Ireland's political troubles and its relationship with England. Try Juno and the Paycock


WB Yeats:
Recalling Irish myths and legends, Yeats had a passionate belief in redeeming Ireland and the Irish people at the beginning of the 20th C, wanting a renaissance of Irish culture, which he saw being threatened and eroded. There are also some political poems.

Seamus Heaney
The most important contemporary Irish poet, with a world-wide reputation. In his Selected Poems you will find a wide range, including poems which consider Ireland's violent past through prehistoric bodies found in peat bogs to concerns with the torn politics and loyalties of contemporary Ireland.

Go to the Seamus Heaney page

Post-Colonial Literature

If you get interested in the political dimensions of England's relationship with formerly colonised countries, there is wealth of post-colonial literature to read. Follow the link for further information..