Ireland has been gifted with many talented writers who were born in Ireland and whose legacies still live on to this day. Many of these writers were inspired by the landscape and people of Ireland when writing, despite a few of them living elsewhere for some time. Their writings have not only been enjoyed by locals but the world over, and have inspired many to follow in their footsteps.

Today, there are still signs of Ireland’s literary greats in museums, theatres and other places across its four provinces, all of which provide an opportunity for travellers to delve deeper into the lives of these writers and their work.

As we celebrate International Literacy Day on 8th September, below is a list of some of Ireland’s most famous literary greats and the places to find out more about them. Why not go on a ‘literary trail’ of Ireland by following one of our Drive Ireland routes and seeking out the places commemorating these talented writers? Who knows, you might even be inspired to write your own novel, poem or play whilst doing so!

Visit the Places Commemorating Ireland’s Great Writers

 

CS Lewis, Belfast

Image via Flickr

CS Lewis (Clive Staple Lewis) was born in Belfast in 1898 and went on to become most famous for his series of books named The Chronicles of Narnia, a favourite among children (and adults!).

In Belfast, there are still signs of the author in his birthplace. Firstly, there is CS Lewis Square along East Belfast’s Connswater Greenway. The square has a magical array of statues dotted along its paths, honouring the writer and his stories. What’s more, overlooking the square is JACK (CS Lewis’ supposed nickname), where it is possible to enjoy a breakfast or lunch (and perhaps even a read of your favourite Lewis novel).

Not many people know about this but it is also possible to discover more about CS Lewis at Belfast’s Queen’s University Library. The library has within it a tribute to the writer by way of a Reading Room, which can be entered through a replica of the Chronicles of Narnia wardrobe door. Find out more here.

Check out the latest Belfast hotel deals and plan a weekend in Northern Ireland’s capital.

James Joyce, Dublin City

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Most famous for his novel Ulysses, based on Homer’s The Odyssey, James Joyce (1882 – 1941) is one of Ireland’s most influential and well-known writers. Other popular novels include Dubliners and Finnegan’s Wake.

Although Joyce lived most of his life outside of Dublin (his birthplace), the writer did base a lot of his stories in the city, including famous Dublin buildings such as The Gresham Hotel and Belvedere College.

Today, fans of Joyce can visit The James Joyce Centre, a restored 18th-Century townhouse in Dublin City. The centre exhibits the life and works of the writer and also holds tours for those keen to discover other sights related to the writer across Dublin. A statue of Joyce also sits proudly in Dublin’s City Centre (as seen above).

Check out the latest Dublin hotel deals and plan your literary tour of the capital today. You’ll spot a few more Dublin literary hotspots to explore as you continue on reading below.


WB Yeats, County Sligo

 

Yeats is a much-celebrated writer in Ireland; his quote “there are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met” very much represents Irish hospitality and culture.

The writer was born into a privileged Anglo-Irish family in Sandymount, County Sligo. He did much to support Irish Literature and became one of the most respected and admired writers of the 20th Century.

In the deepest depths of west Ireland, below the Benbulben Mountains, lies the writer’s grave at Drumcliffe Cemetery, a humble grave sat amongst Irish Celtic crosses, a small church and jaw-dropping views across the countryside.

In Sligo City is also Yeats Memorial Building, where it is possible to find out more about the writer’s life and contribution to society.

Check out the latest deals for Sligo hotels and plan your trip to ‘Yeats Country’ today. Be sure to check out our Sligo foodie guide to help you get the most from your trip to Sligo.

 

Lady Gregory, Abbey Theatre, Dublin City

 

One of Ireland’s most respected playwrights, Lady Gregory, along with WB Yeats and Edward Martyn [an Irish dramatist], founded the Abbey Theatre in Dublin City in the late 19th Century. The opening of the theatre and other efforts by the group of writers sparked somewhat of a renaissance in Irish writing.

Born in County Galway in 1852, Lady Gregory wrote and translated over 40 plays during her life. Her plays include The Image and Damer’s Gold and The Golden Apple.

Although much of the Abbey Theatre was destroyed by a fire, the existing building and performances within, mark the strong legacy left by Lady Gregory and her famous writer friends.

Check out the latest Dublin hotel deals and plan your literary tour of the capital today. You’ll spot a few more Dublin literary hotspots to explore as you continue on reading below.

George Bernard Shaw, national Museum of Ireland, Dublin City

 

George Bernard Shaw is one of Ireland’s most celebrated playwrights having written 60 plays over the course of his life. His plays include Major Barbara, Caesar and Cleopatra, and Pygmalion. The writer won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925.

A statue commemorating Shaw stands in the National Gallery of Ireland for all to see. The museum also sometimes gives talks on the writer.

Find the best deals on hotels in Dublin City Centre. and enjoy a leisurely trip to the museum and to other famous sites across the city.

 

Seamus Heaney, County Derry

 

Three years after the passing of Seamus Heaney in 2013, the Seamus Heaney Homeplace was erected in Bellaghy, County Derry, where the writer was born and grew up. Seamus Heaney was a much-loved poet and writer, loved by locals and those further afield. His collections of poems were celebrated across the world and in 1995 Heaney was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Homeplace serves to commemorate the poet in a very special way, with its two floors filled with stories of the poet’s life – from his upbringing to having grandchildren, clippings from his work, and a library filled with copies of his work for the public to enjoy.

View the latest Derry City hotel deals and plan your trip to this cultural hotspot today.

 

Samuel Beckett, Little Museum of Dublin, Dublin City

Born on the outskirts of Dublin City in 1906, Samuel Beckett was an author and playwright probably best known for his play Waiting for Godot. He was awarded a Noble Prize for Literature in 1969.

Beckett studied Romantic Languages at Trinity College from 1923-27 and in 1928 he went to Paris to teach. Whilst in Paris he befriended fellow writer James Joyce. The two writers are now celebrated at The Little Museum in Dublin, a museum detailing the story of Ireland throughout the ages and is well worth a visit.

Have any favourite Irish literary greats to add?

Share in the comments section below your Irish literary great and where you can find out more about their own journey to literary greatness.

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