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.
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.
Nobel Prize-winning playwright and author George Bernard Shaw was best known for his realism and his support for women’s rights and socialism. His ideas gave rise to the word “Shavian.” His drama Pygmalion inspired the musical My Fair Lady. His other notable works include Candida and Man and Superman.
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.
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.
The director and writer of the Academy Award-winning short film, Six Shooter, Martin McDonagh is also well known as a playwright and stage director. The Beauty Queen of Leenane is one of the his noted works. The crime drama film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was another successful venture of McDonagh. He says he prefers films to plays.
Anglo-Irish statesman and philosopher, Edmund Burke, was a member of parliament (MP) in the House of Commons of Great Britain for several years. He supported Catholic emancipation and strongly opposed the French Revolution. He felt revolution destroyed the fabric of good society and traditional institutions of state and society. He is considered the philosophical founder of modern conservatism.
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.
Irish author, director, and broadcaster Conor Woodman is best known for hosting the TV show Around the World in 80 Trades. Starting his career as a financial analyst, he eventually became an investigative journalist. With time, he branched out into film-making as well. Also a fiction writer, he is planning to launch a novel series soon.
C. Day-Lewis was an Anglo-Irish poet who also wrote many mystery stories. From 1968 to 1972, he served as the Poet Laureate. He also contributed as a publications editor during World War II, working for the Ministry of Information.
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.
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.
Irish comedian Tommy Tiernan is best known to audiences for The Tommy Tiernan Show. The British Comedy Award winner began his stand-up career at a club in Galway City, where he still performs at times. A jazz fan, too, he learned the saxophone till his comedy tours forced him to give it up.
Irish author Thomas Moore was chiefly branded a Whig ally. It is believed he had a role in burning the memoirs of his friend Lord Byron, an act now considered a literary crime. His iconic Irish Melodies contained his most popular works, such as The Last Rose of Summer.
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.
Veronica Guerin wasn’t just one of the most popular crime journalists of Ireland but also represented her country in both basketball and football. Her articles revolved around Irish drug lords and criminals, and she was eventually murdered by kingpin John Gilligan’s men while driving on the outskirts of Dublin.
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.
Anne Inez McCaffrey was an American-Irish writer, whose unpretentious down-to-earth style made her popular with children and adult alike. A prolific writer, she had around 100 titles to her credit, several of which were written in collaboration with her son. Best known for her juvenile fictions, including her Dragonriders of Pern series, she had been honored with many distinguished awards.
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.
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?
Lafcadio Hearn was a writer best remembered for writing about Japanese culture. His writings about Japan threw light on the previously unknown but fascinating culture of Japan. It also helped the Western world understand Japanese culture. Many of his stories have been adapted into films and theatrical productions.
One of Ireland’s best-known TV and radio presenters, Ryan Tubridy soared to fame with the radio show The Full Irish and then with The Ryan Tubridy Show. His talk shows revolve around Irish culture and politics. He has also penned several books, such as The Irish Are Coming and JFK in Ireland.
Irish TV presenter Donal Skehan is not just popular for his food and cooking shows such as Follow Donal, but is also a well-known YouTuber. Known for his award-winning cookbooks and food blogs, he has also been part of the band Streetwize and is a passionate photographer.
Irish celebrity chef, cookbook author, and presenter Clodagh McKenna is best known for her appearances on shows such as This Morning. She is married to the Queen’s godson, British aristocrat Harry Herbert. Known for popularizing Irish recipes in the US, she has also written culinary columns.
Irish-born playwright and satirist Richard Brinsley Sheridan is remembered for his plays such as The School for Scandal and A Trip to Scarborough. He owned Drury Lane Theatre in London and was known for reviving the Restoration comedy of manners, replete with stock characters and satire.
Known for her sold-out shows such as Wine Tamer, Irish comedian Joanne McNally has also gained fame as a Republic of Telly co-host. She has created and hosted the globally hit documentary Baby Hater and has also been a regular on RTÉ 2fm, with her show Mack the Week.
Apart from being the mother of Thin Lizzy lead singer Phil Lynott, Philomena Lynott also made her mark as an author, with her memoir My Boy. She learned about Phil’s struggle with drug addiction after he collapsed in his home. Phil died soon after, following which Philomena became a campaigner against drug abuse.
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.
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.
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.