Famous Irish Novelists

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde
5
Famous As: Poet, Playwright
Birthdate: October 16, 1854
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Westland Row, Dublin, Ireland
Died: November 30, 1900

Widely regarded as one of the most popular writers of all time, Oscar Wilde is best remembered for his plays and epigrams. He was also one of the best-known personalities during his time as he was popular for his conversational skills, flamboyant dressing sense, and biting wit. Imprisoned in 1895 for consensual homosexual acts, Oscar Wilde was pardoned posthumously in 2017.

 2 James Joyce

James Joyce
4
Famous As: Poet, Novelist, Short Story writer
Birthdate: February 2, 1882
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rathgar, Ireland
Died: January 13, 1941

James Joyce was an Irish novelist, poet, teacher, short story writer, and literary critic. Widely considered one of the 20th century's most important and influential writers, James Joyce contributed immensely to the modernist avant-garde movement. Joyce's work has influenced several scholars and writers, such as Jorge Luis Borges, Salman Rushdie, Seán Ó Ríordáin, Flann O'Brien, John Updike, and Cormac McCarthy.

 3 Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift
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Famous As: Satirist & Essayist
Birthdate: November 30, 1667
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: October 19, 1745

Eighteenth-century essayist, poet, and pamphleteer Jonathan Swift is remembered for his iconic works such as A Tale of a Tub, A Modest Proposal, and Gulliver's Travels. One of the world’s greatest satirists, he gave rise to the deadpan Swiftian style. He had also been the Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral.

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 4 Samuel Beckett

Samuel Beckett
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Famous As: Novelist, Playwright
Birthdate: April 13, 1906
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Foxrock, Ireland
Died: December 22, 1989

Samuel Beckett was a legendary Nobel Prize-winning Irish postmodernist and minimalist playwright and author, regarded as a prominent figure of the "Theatre of the Absurd.” He is best known for the play Waiting for Godot and for his tragi-comic themes and black comedy. He was also the Saoi of Aosdána.

 5 Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker
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Famous As: Author of Dracula
Birthdate: November 8, 1847
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Clontarf, Dublin, Ireland
Died: April 20, 1912
Irish author Bram Stoker wrote the iconic Gothic novel Dracula, which has inspired scores of movies over the years. The Victorian-era author also served as the personal assistant of actor Sir Henry Irving and managed the Lyceum Theatre, which was owned by Irving. He had also written many short stories.

 6 Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 13, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Castledawson, Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Died: August 30, 2013

Seamus Heaney was an Irish poet, translator, and playwright. One of the most respected poets of his generation, Heaney was honored with the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. He also won other prestigious awards, such as the Eric Gregory Award. Several years after his death, Seamus Heaney is still considered one of the main contributors to poetry in Ireland.

 7 Iris Murdoch

Iris Murdoch
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: July 15, 1919
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: February 8, 1999

One of the most popular Irish-born British novelists, Iris Murdoch is remembered for her psychological novels, which had a good dose of sexuality, philosophy, morality, and comic elements. While she won the Booker Prize for The Sea, the Sea, the Oxford alumnus had also worked for the HM Treasury and the UN.

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 8 Lady Caroline Lamb

Lady Caroline Lamb
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Famous As: Novelist, Aristocrat
Birthdate: November 13, 1785
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dorset, England
Died: January 25, 1828

Better known as one of Lord Byron’s lovers, Lady Caroline Lamb met a 24-year-old Byron when she was 26, married, and has an autistic son with her husband, future British prime minister William Lamb. An author, too, she is known for her anonymously published Gothic novel Glenarvon.

 9 Neil Jordan

Neil Jordan
3
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: February 25, 1950
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rosses Point, Ireland

Neil Jordan is a screenwriter, film director, short-story writer, and novelist. In 1979, his book Night in Tunisia earned him the Guardian Fiction Prize and a Somerset Maugham Award. In 1992, he received an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for his work in the film The Crying Game. He is also credited with creating a TV series called The Borgias.

 10 Tana French

Tana French
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: May 1, 1973
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vermont, United States

Tana French is an American-Irish theatrical actress and writer. She is best known for her first novel, In the Woods, which received several prestigious awards, such as the Edgar Allan Poe Award, Macavity Award, Anthony Award, and Barry Award. Over the years, Tana French has become an important name among fiction readers across the world.

 11 Oliver Goldsmith

Oliver Goldsmith
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: November 10, 1728
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: County Longford, Ireland
Died: April 4, 1774

Oliver Goldsmith was an Anglo-Irish novelist, poet, and playwright. Described by his contemporaries as a disorganized and impetuous person, Goldsmith is best remembered for his works, such as The Vicar of Wakefield, The Deserted Village, and She Stoops to Conquer. A respected writer, Goldsmith's statue has been erected in several places, including the Trinity College, Dublin.

 12 Colm Toibin

Colm Toibin
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: May 30, 1955
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Ireland

Irish author Colm Toibin is known for his award-winning novels such as Brooklyn and The Master. Born to a schoolteacher, he initially taught English in Barcelona, before working as a journalist in Ireland. He now teaches at Columbia University and the University of Manchester, and was awarded the Irish PEN Award in 2011.

 13 Marian Keyes

Marian Keyes
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 10, 1963
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Limerick, Ireland

 14 Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: October 24, 1969
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Alex Awards winning Irish-Canadian playwright, literary historian, short story writer, novelist, and screenwriter Emma Donoghue is best known for authoring award winning novels like Room and Hood. Room, an international best-seller, was adapted into a film bearing same title that not only emerged as a critical and commercial success but also garnered four Oscar nominations at the 88th Academy Awards.

 15 Brendan Behan

Brendan Behan
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: February 9, 1923
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: March 20, 1964
Irish author and poet Brendan Behan is remembered for his trademark satire and for his works such as The Quare Fellow and Borstal Boy. In a life plagued with arrests, he had served 14 years behind bars for the attempted murder of a policeman. He was also a lifelong alcoholic.

 16 Edna O'Brien

Edna O'Brien
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: December 15, 1930
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tuamgraney, County Clare, Ireland

Irish novelist Edna O'Brien is known for dealing with themes related to women’s issues, such as sexual repression of women in a male-dominated society. While she initially studied pharmacy, she later soared to fame with novels such as The Country Girls trilogy, some of which were banned in Ireland for their sexual openness.

 17 Cecelia Ahern

Cecelia Ahern
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 30, 1981
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Best known for her iconic bestselling debut novel PS, I Love You, which was made into a hit movie later, Irish author Cecelia Ahern has won many accolades, including the British Book Award. The daughter of former Irish PM Bertie Ahern, Cecelia has also produced the sitcom Samantha Who?

 18 Roddy Doyle

Roddy Doyle
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 8, 1958
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

 19 Laurence Sterne

Laurence Sterne
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: November 24, 1713
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Clonmel, Ireland
Died: March 18, 1768

 20 Maeve Binchy

Maeve Binchy
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: May 28, 1939
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dalkey, Dublin, Republic of Ireland Ireland
Died: July 30, 2012

 21 John Banville

John Banville
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: December 8, 1945
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Wexford, Ireland

 22 Darren Shan

Darren Shan
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: July 2, 1972
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom

 23 John Millington Synge

John Millington Synge
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Famous As: Playwright, Poet
Birthdate: April 16, 1871
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Rathfarnham, Dublin, Ireland
Died: March 24, 1909

A major figure of the Irish Literary Revival, John Millington Synge is best remembered for his play The Playboy of the Western World, which caused riots in Dublin due to its satiric depiction of the Irish nature of boasting. His life ended abruptly at 37, due to blood cancer.

 24 Sheridan Le Fanu

Sheridan Le Fanu
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 28, 1814
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: February 7, 1873

 25 Pauline McLynn

Pauline McLynn
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 11, 1962
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sligo, Ireland

 26 John Boyne

John Boyne
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 30, 1971
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dublin

 27 John Connolly

John Connolly
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: May 31, 1968
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

 28 Eoin Colfer

Eoin Colfer
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 14, 1965
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wexford, Ireland

 29 Patrick Kavanagh

Patrick Kavanagh
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: October 21, 1904
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Inniskeen, Ireland
Died: November 30, 1967

Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh is best remembered for his long poem The Great Hunger and his depictions of harsh rural conditions. His initial experience of working on a farm offered him the setting for his novel Tarry Flynn, which was banned for a while and later performed as a play.

 30 Elizabeth Bowen

Elizabeth Bowen
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 7, 1899
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: February 22, 1973

 31 Liam O'Flaherty

Liam O'Flaherty
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 28, 1896
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Inishmore, Ireland
Died: September 7, 1984

 32 Liam O'Flaherty

Liam O'Flaherty
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: August 28, 1896
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Inishmore, Ireland
Died: September 7, 1984

 33 Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany

Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany
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Famous As: Dramatist
Birthdate: July 24, 1878
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 25, 1957

Edward Plunkett was a talented Irish author, known for his fantasy novels such as The King of Elfland's Daughter. Initially educated at Eton and then at Sandhurst, he had also been part of the British Army in World War I. He also designed chess puzzles and was a keen hunter.

 34 William Trevor

William Trevor
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: May 24, 1928
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mitchelstown, Ireland
Died: November 20, 2016

 35 Maria Edgeworth

Maria Edgeworth
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 1, 1768
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Blackbourton, England
Died: May 22, 1849

 36 Sebastian Barry

Sebastian Barry
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: July 5, 1955
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

 37 Flann O'Brien

Flann O'Brien
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 5, 1911
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Strabane, Ireland
Died: April 1, 1966

 38 Robert Erskine Childers

Robert Erskine Childers
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Famous As: Former Teachta Dála of Ireland
Birthdate: June 25, 1870
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mayfair, London, England
Died: November 24, 1922

 39 Jason Byrne

Jason Byrne
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: February 25, 1972
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Dublin-born Perrier Award-nominated Irish stand-up comedian Jason Byrne is best known for his roles in projects such as the sitcom Father Ted and the TV film Alice in Wonderland. He was also a finalist on stand-up show So You Think You're Funny and is known for his insult comedy.

 40 Anne Enright

Anne Enright
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 11, 1962
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

 41 Amanda McKittrick Ros

Amanda McKittrick Ros
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 8, 1860
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Drumaness, County Down, Ireland
Died: February 2, 1939

 42 Caitlín R. Kiernan

Caitlín R. Kiernan
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Famous As: Paleontologist
Birthdate: May 26, 1964
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Skerries, Ireland

Caitlín R. Kiernan is an Irish-born American author and paleontologist. A two-time winner of both the Bram Stoker and World Fantasy awards, Kiernan has written over 250 short stories and several novels. She has also won several other prestigious awards, such as the International Horror Guild Award, Barnes and Noble Maiden Voyage Award, and James Tiptree, Jr. Award.  

 43 Joseph O'Connor

Joseph O'Connor
2
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 20, 1963
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland

 44 Ken Bruen

Ken Bruen
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: 1951 AD
Birthplace: Galway, Ireland

 45 Dominic Behan

Dominic Behan
2
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 22, 1928
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: August 3, 1989

 46 Michael Scott

Michael Scott
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 28, 1959
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

 47 John B. Keane

John B. Keane
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Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: July 21, 1928
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Listowel, Ireland
Died: May 30, 2002

 48 Naoise Dolan

Naoise Dolan
2
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: April 14, 1992
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

 49 Brendan Graham

Brendan Graham
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Famous As: Songwriter
Birthdate: 1945 AD
Birthplace: County Tipperary, Ireland

 50 Kevin Barry

Kevin Barry
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: 1969 AD
Birthplace: Limerick, Ireland