Irish soil is rich with literary and revolutionary brains, these 12 famous Irish poets are the mouthpiece of this fact. Ireland encompasses a grand storytelling tradition from ages. It has produced various prolific playwrights, poets, authors’ songwriters, and journalists. Among these countless acclaimed writers, twelve forever green writers are selected to explore in this guide. Undoubtedly, every poet and author has played an active role in making the country proud. However, the selected ones are celebrated even after the ages of their demise. The twelve most famous Irish writers and poets are listed below.
The first poet among the 12 famous Irish poets is William Butler Yeats. His great works have inspired people of all ages across the world. He was born to John Butler Yeats and Susan Mary Pollex on the 13th of June in 1865, at Sandy mount, in Dublin. He belonged to a highly literate family. His mother fuelled his brain initially while educating him at home. Later, he attended Dublin’s Erasmus Smith High School and studied literature and art. Soon, he tried his hands on writing poems and other literary pieces. With the publication of his first poem in 1885, he officially emerged as an influential poet. His fame reaches every nook and corner of the world. Even great writers and critics sang his praise. James Lonenbach, a great poet and critic, counted him as crucial as Emily Dickenson and Shakespeare. Similarly. T. S Eliot categorized him as the finest writer of his age.
His Best Works
- Some of his best works include “Sailing to Byzantium”, “The Second Coming”, “Adam’s Curse”, “At the Hawk’s Well” and “The Land of Heart’s Desire.”
Another Iconic figure among these 12 famous Irish poets and writers is Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde. He was born in Dublin, Ireland, on the 16th of October in 1854. He was born to Sir William Wilde and Jane, née Elgee. His supportive father and literate mother played a vital role in carving a prosperous future for him. He was an ardent reader from an early age because his house was not less than a library. Thus, his home became his first institution, where he equipped himself with witty and philosophical ideas. Later, with the help of initial grounding, followed by best education, he emerged as a promising literary figure. Besides transcribing his thoughts on paper, he became a part of an atheistic movement, Art for art’s sake. This philosophy is evident in most of his works.
- Some of his best works include “We Are Made One with What We Touch and See”, “On the Massacre of the Christians in Bulgaria”, “Sonnet Written in Holy Week at Genoa” and “Sonnet on Hearing the Dies Irae Sung in the Sistine Chapel” The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Importance of Being Earnest and A Woman of No Importance.
Another astounding Irish poet and writer, James Joyce, was born in Dublin, Ireland, on the 22nd of February in 1882, to John Stanislaus Joyce and Mary Jane Murray. He emerged as a writer in 1901 with the publication of his work, The Day of the Rabblement. Later, he came up with various other notable publications, which touched different hearts across the globe. Moreover, he also contributed to the modernist movement, Avant-grade. James is best known for his poem, Ulysses. However, he published various other praiseworthy poetry books during his writing career. He is mainly adored for his unique sense of humor and imagist quality that Ezra Pound espoused regularly.
- Some of his famous writings are Dubliners, Ulysses, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Giacomo Joyce and , The Cat and the Devil.
A great playwright, poet, and translator, Seamus Heaney was born in Derry, Northern Ireland. He has been coined as the most celebrated Irish poet after Yeats and is undoubtedly the renowned author in the world. He considered poetry as the earth that needs to be turned and plowed, and this thinking made him stand out. His best works are adored for their simplicity, lyrical and vivid rendering of Irish setting and history. With universal thematic strand, realistic portrayal of Irish past, and ethical depth, he was able to win glory and widespread popularity.
- Some of his best-known writings stand Death of Naturalist, North, wintering Out and The Burial at Thebes: A version of Sophocles’ Antigone.
Samuel Barclay Beckett, 20th-century Irish poet, novelist, and playwright, was born in Dublin, Ireland, on the 13th of April, 1906. He spent his early life in France and tried his hands on various French and English writings. Since he befriended James Joyce during his trip to Paris in 1928, his works reflect Joyce’s influence for a long time until he decided to go in a different direction. Although he wrote various literary pieces, yet his play Waiting for Godot made him eternal. His commendable services in the field of literature made him won the Nobel Prize in 1969.
- His promising writings are Waiting for Godot, Happy Daya, A Piece of Monologue, Dream of Fair to Middling Women and More Pricks Than Kicks.
Thomas Moore is yet another eminent Irish writer. He was not just a writer but also a songwriter and avid traveler. Born in Dublin in 1779, Thomas Moore was a god gifted man as he showed a prominent interest in arts and writing at a very young age. Despite facing odds, he never let his passion die. Instead, he emerged as an unbeatable poet and composer. He gained worldwide popularity with the publication of ‘Irish Melodies,” which was published in ten volumes. Besides writing songs and poems, he authored opera and novels, but poetry always remained his first choice. His public life earned numerous successes; however, unfortunately, his personal life was tragic. All five of his children died in his life, and he had a stroke in his later life, which made him completely disabled.
Forever Green Writings
- His great works include Soul Mates, Care of the Soul, Dark Nights of the Soul and
Widely acclaimed for his pseudonym ‘AE,’ George William Russell was a prolific Irish writer of the 20th century. Although he was born in 1867, in Lurgan County Armagh, his family shifted to Dublin, Ireland, when he was just eleven. During his early educational years, he met a like-minded man, William Butler Yeats and, the two sparked a lifelong friendship. Russell earned a respectable living as an editor, which ultimately allowed him to form a candid relationship with the literary greats of his time. He managed to speak his political, philosophical, and unique literary ideas in his works. Besides writing, he used to draw paintings as well.
- Some of his works are The Nuts of Knowledge, Song and Its Fountains, The House of Titans and Other Poems and Voices of the Stones.
Born on 28th February in 1929, In New York, John Montague is another successful Irish poet. After spending their first few years in the US, he shipped back to Ireland at the time of the great depression. The sufferings that he witnessed upon reaching played a significant role in his writing career. He successfully authored Irish history with a blend of romance and realism. His poetry mainly explored love, the value of relationships, and the importance of history. He is remembered for his unique use of vowel harmonies, echo and assonance.
- Some of his writings are Forms of Exile, The Dead Kingdom, A Ball of Fire and A Chosen Light.
Coming from a rural background, Patrick Kavanagh was another influential Irish poet. He was born in 1904 in county Monaghan, Ireland. Surprisingly, the former poet spent twenty-seven years working in a rural area as a farmer. He also worked as a shoemaker in his town before dipping his hands into the marvelous world of literature. Although much of his early life was darkened with hard luck and endless struggle, yet all these troubles failed to corrode his writing aspirations. After trying odd jobs for various years, he finally worked as a journalist and gossip columnist but failed to gain the desired recognition. The stress, depression, and mental trauma he faced during his struggling life are evident in his works. However, after spending a struggling life, he gained recognition in his late-life and was commemorated with a statue in Dublin, Ireland.
- Some of his writings include The Great Hunger, Tarry Flynn, Ploughman and Other Poems and Come Dance with Kitty Stobling and Other Poems.
Jane Francesca Agnes, Lady Wilde, a forgotten Irish poet, and feminist was the talented mother of Oscar Wilde. She was known to the world under her pen name, ‘Speranza,’ which means hope. She played an active role in the nationalist moment of her time. However, her advocacy of women’s rights and strong nationalist views often put her amid tension and chaos. On one occasion, she became the center of solid criticism and, the authorities even shut the paper her work was published in. These growing troubles reached her personal life when she and her family were taken to court following a false accusation. Unfortunately, after spending a lot of wealth, she lost the case. The troubles did not end here; her daughter’s death added more misery to her life. Disheartened from the hard blow of luck, she abandoned her place and joined her sons William and Oscar in London. There, they started from the scrap by writing books about Irish history and folklore.
- Her best work is Femine Year.
Katherine Tynan, a famous Irish Poet, playwright, and novelist, was born in 1859. Katherine did not share a literary background; instead, she lived in a small house in Dublin. However, her interest in literature and inborn talent provided her a ground where she planted her unique thoughts, ideas, and feelings. Katherine was a part of the significant Irish Literary Revival as she wrote about feminism, nationalism, poverty, and religion. Throughout her professional career, she authored one hundred novels, twelve short story collections, many books on poetry, and several plays.
- Her notable publications include Irish Love Songs, Life in the Occupied Area, The Dear Irish Girl and An Isle in the Water.
12. Eavan Boland
Eavan Aisling Boland, an award-winning Irish poet, author, and professor, was born in 1944. She was born in Dublin, but due to her father’s job, she had to go to England at six, where she witnessed anti-Irish sentiments, which left a lasting impact on her mind. She got back to Ireland at twelve, and after completing her education at Trinity College Dublin, she decided to opt for writing as a profession. Filled with kindness, feministic ideas, and humanistic feelings, Eavan’s writings explore difficult topics such as; life-taking diseases, domestic violence, women’s identity, and Irish history.
- Her notable works stand A Journey with Two Maps, Domestic Violence;Poems, The Lost Land and A Woman Without a Country.
To conclude, these 12 famous Irish poets have contributed their sweat and blood in making their country proud. Their unparalleled writing pieces have inspired generations, and are a guide for the upcoming generations.