Every country around the world prides itself on its culture and heritage, and who better to represent a country’s culture than its public figures, especially its authors.
Ireland has a long history of bringing forth perhaps some of the best and most prominent authors known to man. Whose names have been immortalised in literary history. Every Irish author on this list had a large impact on the country’s tourism. By drawing much attention to its beautiful historical sites and stunning locations. That made their readers unable to resist visiting such a gorgeous country.
Irish tourism will be forever grateful for their amazing influence. Dublin was once named the City of Literature by the UNESCO. Therefore we saw fit to discuss some of the authors who have made Ireland the cultural hub it is today.
Famous Irish Authors and Writers
C.S Lewis was born in Belfast in 1898 and created the world of Narnia that is loved all around the world. Although he moved to England later in his life. Lewis is said to have enjoyed many trips to the North Coast of Ireland. It in that the stunning ruins of Dunluce Castle inspired a well-known castle from his stories.
Whether it’s the stunning imagery in his stories or his well-rounded life. You cannot help but be intrigued about where he’s been and how he drew the inspiration that helped him create one of the most well-known children’s books of all time.
There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind – C.S Lewis
In honour of the great author, the city of Belfast created a square in his name, so head over to the article to see how his famous characters were immortalized in the heart of the city of Belfast! In Rostrevor, there is a Narnia Trail that is also dedicated to the much-loved. During a short walk, you see all the popular characters from the book, that adults and children will both enjoy.
Perhaps the youngest on the list since she was born in 1981, I chose to begin with Ms. Ahern since she might be the closest to mind when it comes to contemporary readers and movie-goers. Headquartered in Dublin Ireland, Cecelia Ahern rose to fame after she published her very first novel in 2004, titled “P.S I Love You.” Which was later adapted into a film starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler.
The story captured the hearts and minds of many and the movie helped bring the lush scenery and landscapes of Ireland even more to life. Even though the main story takes place in New York, the heroine of the novel does take several trips to Ireland to visit her late husband’s homeland and find her own peace of mind.
Shoot for the moon, even if you fail, you’ll land among the stars- Cecelia Ahern, P.S. I Love You
More Film Adaptations
Another of Ahern’s well-known novels, Where Rainbows End, was adapted into a film in 2014 titled “Love, Rosie.” Starring Lily Collins and Sam Claflin and was a British-German production. In the same year, Ahern created two TV movies for a German TV station bringing in more attention to Ireland from international viewers. The films, Zwischen Himmel und Hier (Between Heaven and Here) and Mein ganzes halbes Leben (My Whole Half Life) were both filmed on location in Ireland and aired for millions of viewers on ZDF network as part of its ‘Heart’ series.
Zoë Redmond, Tourism Ireland’s manager for Central Europe, said: “We know that film and television are recognised as strong influencers for prospective holidaymakers and Tourism. Ireland regularly works with TV and film production companies, to facilitate the making of films and travel programmes around the island of Ireland. Films shot on location here, like the two Cecelia Ahern films, can be really influential. Showcasing our stunning landscape and helping to whet appetites among German travellers to come and visit the beautiful locations where the film was shot.”
3. James Joyce
Born in 1882, Joyce was an Irish author, short story writer, and poet. He is regarded as one of the most influential and important authors of the 20th century. Joyce, as an Irish author, was deeply impacted by his surroundings and Irish upbringing. Which is quite evident through the settings and subject matter of his novels.
One of his best pieces of work is thought to be the short story ‘The Dead’. This is found in his Dubliners short- story collection written in 1914. It has even been considered a ‘masterpiece of modern fiction’. Director John Huston then turned the story into a film years later, which was publicly praised.
To learn one must be humble. But life is the great teacher – James Joyce
The ‘Dubliners’ collections were his first ever publication. These tell stories of middle class Irish during the period of Home Rule.
The James Joyce Centre in Dublin showcases several temporary exhibitions, walking tours and lectures. As well as a permanent exhibition focusing on Joyce’s life and his brilliant works. To this day, his work continues to influence artists all over the world.
4. Bram Stoker
Born in 1847 in Dublin, Ireland little did Bram Stoker know that his writing would be one of the most famous literary works of all time. Spawning numerous adaptations and spin-offs through the years and until this day. The Irish author is best known for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula.
While it has been purported that Dracula is based on the story of Vlad the Impaler of Romania. Many critics argue that the inspiration for the deadly character came from the author’s homeland. And was perhaps enhanced by some of his own personal experiences.
For example, the idea of blood-sucking may have resulted from the common practice of bleeding patients. That was used in the 1840s in Ireland and was practised on Bram himself when he was sick as a child.
I want you to believe…to believe in the things you cannot – Bram Stoker, Dracula
Influences on His Writing
His mother was also another considerable influence on him as a child. She had lived through the Irish Famine. His mother used to regale him with morbid stories of skeletal people walking countryside, practically living dead. It is also a known fact that Stoker’s original manuscript was titled “The Undead.”
Another likely Irish influence on Bram Stoker was the first vampire novel to be written by Irish author Sheridan Le Fanu “Carmilla” (1871).
Some critics also argue that the story of Dracula was in fact inspired by the Irish legend of The Sidhe or fairy people. A supernatural race who lived in a parallel world. In which they walked amongst the living and who drank the blood of humans and animals to survive.
As for the novel’s title, it is said to have been derived from the Irish word “dreach-fhoula.” (pronounced drac-ula) Which means tainted blood, a term used to refer to blood feuds.
To commemorate the author and novel that changed the literary world forever, Dublin hosts the Bram Stoker Festival. By organising events, lectures and exhibitions to honour the Irish author. You can also walk by his former house in, Kildare Street, Dublin.
The Dublin Writers Museum also contains the first edition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula that is worth checking out.
5. W.B Yeats
Born in Dublin, Ireland in 1865 was William Butler Yeats who is one of Ireland best poets and one of the greatest 20th-century poets. Throughout his writing, a lot of it inspired by his homeland of Ireland, especially Sligo.
He first began to take an interest in poetry at a young age and was interested in Irish mythology and legends. He spent many holidays in Sligo with his family and the beautiful landscape of Sligo and other areas of western Ireland became inspirational behind his writings.
I should never go for the scenery of a poem to any country but my own, and I think that I shall hold to that conviction to the end. – W. B Yeats
During his childhood holidays in Ballisodare, Sligo, Yeast was first exposed to country stories and Irish Mythology. His Poem Down by the Sally Gardens was inspired after he heard a woman singing a folk song. Yeats called Sligo “The Land of Heart’s Desire’ and it was the beautiful mountains, lakes and character of the place that helped write some of his greatest work.
Coole-Park a nature reserve in Galway’s was also another place that Yeats enjoyed wandering through with other writers. It has also become the setting for some of his poems including ‘The Wild Swans at Coole’. It makes you want to go and explore these Irish landscapes and appreciate them as much as he did.
6. Frank McCourt
Born in New York City on the 19th of August 1930 to Irish parents, Malachy Mccourt and Angela Sheeran.
During the great depression, Frank and his family moved back to Ireland, returning to their mothers native home of Limerick. At the age of 19, he headed back to America and even served in the army. He was able to talk himself into getting a place at New York University by proclaiming that he was very intelligent and read a lot. Frank graduated in 1957 with a bachelors degree in English. He then went on to teach in a variety of schools in New York.
One of McCourt’s best-selling books is his memoir ‘Angelas Ashes’ that he wrote in 1996. The book has gone on to win a variety of awards including Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1997 and The National Books Critics Circle Award in 1996. In the book, Frank details his childhood from the beginning in New York to life in Limerick. A couple of years after the release of the book it was turned into a movie
In Limerick today there is the Frank McCourt Museum that was opened by his Brother Malachy McCourt in 2011 at Leamy House. The building was once the school that McCourt attended as a child. Those who are interested in his work and life and the beauty that Limerick has to offer need to visit.
You might be poor, your shoes might be broken but your mind is a Palace -Frank McCourt
It seems like a common theme that great Irish authors come from Dublin, as many of the people we have mentioned on this list grew up there. Dublin’s much-loved best-seller Maeve Binchy was born in 1939 who went on to become a novelist, playwriter and columnist among other things. Altogether Binchy published 16 brilliant novels, along with four short story collections, a play and novella.
In 1983, her Debut novel “Light a Penny Candle” sold for the largest sum ever to be paid for a novel: £52,000 pounds.
Everyone is a hero in their own stories if you just look – Maeve Binchy
Most of Binchy’s writing is set in Ireland offering readers a contrast between urban and rural life. They also offer an insight into the dynamic changes in Ireland from World War II to the present day. Binchy’s work gives you a glimpse into the good-nature of the Irish people, the small towns and impressive landscape.
The beautiful Dublin seaside landscape is thought to have inspired a lot of her best work such as ‘Circle of Friends’ which was turned into a film along with two of her other books.
Throughout her career as an Irish author, Maeve racked up a variety of awards including the British Book Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1999. Her book Scarlet Feather one the WH Smith Book Award for Fiction. Other awards include the Irish PEN Award in 2007 and in 2010 a second-lifetime achievement award from the Irish Book Awards.
To end this list of incredible Irish Authors we can’t forget to mention the brilliant poet and playwright that is Seamus Heaney. Born in 1939 in County Antrim in Northern Ireland, Heaney has received a Noble Peace Prize for his work.
Heaney made his way to Belfast to study at Queens University where he took on English language and Literature. His inspiration to start writing poetry was during his time in Belfast when he read Ted Hughes Lupercal saying that “suddenly the matter of contemporary poetry was the material of my own life”. After graduating from Queens in 1961 with First Class Honours he went on to do the teaching.
He began publishing poetry in 1962 along with his mentor Micheal McLaverty who was also a writer. Heaney’s first major volume of poetry to be published was by Faber and Faber in 1966 called Death of a Naturalist. It received critical acclaim and he obtained several awards for this work. That was the beginning of his success as a poet and in 1995 he obtained a Noble Peace Prize for Literature. He has become one of the most loved poets in Ireland and all around the world.
Between my finger and my thumb the squat pen rests. I’ll dig with it. – Seamus Heaney
His years spent in Derry are thought to have played a huge role in his award-winning writings. Much of his poetry was about finding something special in the ordinary everyday life and offering up the beauty of Ireland. The simplicity and beauty of his work helped him to earn millions of fans around the world.
Take a trip to Belfast where you can visit the Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queens University where his legacy still lives on. There is also a visitor centre in County Derry ‘Seamus Heaney Homeplace’ that also celebrates his life and legacy.
Irish Literary Figures
Irish history features more than just historical events; it also boasts some of the best literary figures known to man. Who helped shape the literary scene for generations to come. Whether classical or contemporary, these authors made Ireland into a touristic hub for literature lovers and avid readers from across the globe.
If you’re ever in Ireland, make sure to follow the footsteps of your favourite Irish author. Whether at the places they stayed, the coffee shops they liked to frequent or the locations they drew inspiration from. It will definitely be a trip you will never forget.
Also, don’t forget to check out related blogs that might interest you: All About C.S Lewis| Famous Irish People Who Made History in their Lifetime| The Famous Danny Boy Song| The Book of Kells| Waterford Ireland’s Oldest City| Good Vibrations in Belfast: A Guide to Belfast for Movie Fans|