Every March 17, people commemorate the life of Ireland’s patron Saint Patrick with a celebration. People remember the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and revel in the culture of the Irish people. In the midst of Lent, the holiday – which began in the 17th century – allowed the Irish people to relax from religious practices for a day and celebrate their national culture.
To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, we’re taking a look at the nine best books written by Irish authors. They would be perfect reading companions for your St. Patrick’s Day festivities!
The first book in The Chronicles of Narnia series set the tone for a fantasy-filled universe that is both kid-friendly and appropriate for adults. It was published in 1950, thirteen years before Lewis’ death.
Molloy is one of the more experimental novels in Irish literature. It tells the story of two different people who are blurred together by the increasingly vague writing techniques of Beckett. Much of the novel remains obscured in mystery, an enduring legacy of Beckett’s.
McGahern’s prominent novel took aim at the Irish Republican Army (IRA), one of the most pivotal groups in Irish history. Michael Moran is a member of the IRA and a tyrannical husband and father, but he commands respect, making him one of the deepest characters in Irish literary history.
Lesser known among the pantheon of Irish greats, McCabe penned one of the great stories of the 1990s with The Butcher Boy, which tells the story of a boy who immerses himself in a world of fantasy to escape the troubles he is faced with at home.
Forget the weird Jack Black adaptation of the book – it’s an Irish classic. Swift was not just an Irish writer; he was a member of the clergy as well. That didn’t stop him from making a parody of the travel genre, though, making fun of human nature in the process.
The quintessential horror novel takes place in the United Kingdom, but is written by Stoker, an Irish author. The introduction of the famous vampire has spawned countless movies, television shows, and other media entities related to Dracula, making Stoker’s work one of the most seminal of the genre.
Fifteen short stories make up one of Joyce’s most important works. The Irish author’s stories told the tale of the Irish middle class, revealing a group that had been marginalized in the local media prior to Joyce’s emergence.
Wilde, one of the greatest playwrights of all-time, only wrote one novel. Originally published in a monthly magazine in 1890, it eventually became a popular work after Wilde’s death. Dorian Grey, the protagonist, is pursued by a painter and sells his soul for youth and beauty, a classic bargain revisited by literature up to today.
Ulysses is widely hailed as one of the greatest novels of all-time, not just in Irish history, but in world history. The 1922 modernist novel is notoriously difficult to read, but incredibly rewarding for those who grasp upon it and want to understand how the modernist movement of literature took off.
Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia.