St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday many Americans celebrate by wearing green, eating corned beef and cabbage, and drinking Irish stout. But did you know that several of the most influential writers in English literature came from Ireland? To help celebrate St. Patrick’s Day the SimpleK12 way, here is a list of some of the most famous Irish writers:
1. James Joyce – When I think Irish writers, I think James Joyce. Perhaps most famous for Finnegan’s Wake, Ulysses, and Dubliners, Joyce drew inspiration from the ordinary people of Ireland and their everyday lives. That inspiration is clear in all of his work.
2. C.S. Lewis – Most people think of Lewis as being an English author but, although he lived much of his life in England, Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland. Irish mythology had much influence over his work, and he is most well-known for his children’s stories, and in particular The Chronicles of Narnia series.
3. Marita Conlon McKenna – Another author famous for children’s stories, McKenna is most famous for her series, The Children of the Famine. Originally published in 1990, this series is still a best-seller and considered to be classic.
4. Jonathan Swift – Swift was a satirical writer, best known for his work, Gulliver’s Travels. He was heavily engaged in Irish politics and causes, and served as Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral (It doesn’t get much more St. Patrick’s day than that!). His political views largely influenced his writing.
5. Oscar Wilde – Another author known for satire, Wilde is best known for his novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, which contains elements of gothic-horror and satire. Later in life he became more well-known as a playwright; his most famous play is arguably The Importance of Being Earnest, which is full of wit and humor that is synonymous with Wilde’s writing style.
6. Bram Stoker – Yes, Bram Stoker was from Dublin, and not a creepy castle in Eastern Europe. Stoker’s classic horror novel, Dracula, is iconic and considered to be a pioneering work in the horror genre. It has been made into several film versions, and has inspired many other writers, and trick-or-treaters, over the years.
7. W.B. Yeats – One of Ireland’s most celebrated poets, Yeats was an influential figure in the Romantic Movement. His most famous poem is perhaps The Second Coming.
This list is compiled of writers that I know and whose work I have read. But we would LOVE to hear about other Irish writers with whom you’re familiar, and what your plans are for St. Patrick’s Day!
Let us know what you think in the Comments below…
Carolina Fransen is the EdTech Apps and Tools Editor at SimpleK12.com. She writes regularly about the use of educational technology in K-12 classrooms. If you have an app, tool, website, or service that you think we should know about, please send your information or tip to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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