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The 111 Greatest Works of Irish Literature

The Greatest Literature of Ireland list is based on the same extensive research and surveys carried out over the past two decades for our Greatest Literature of All Time list with special attention paid to additional evaluations by Irish readers, writers and critics.

The included authors are those who have resided or created their work anywhere on the Irish isle—that is, in both the area today known as the Republic of Ireland and the area today designated Northern Ireland.

This list focuses on major creative works—such as novels, plays, epic poetry and story collections—although some shorter or nonfiction writing of literary significance may also be included.

Latest update: January 17, 2023

c. 0700
The Táin
Anonymous
Ireland, Epic prose, poetry
c. 1100–1200
The Madness of Suibhne
Anonymous
Ireland, Epic poem
1726
Gulliver's Travels
Jonathan Swift
Ireland, novel
1800
Maria Edgeworth
Ireland, novella
1820
Melmoth the Wanderer
Charles Maturin
Ireland, novel
1864
Uncle Silas
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Ireland, novel
1872
In a Glass Darkly
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Ireland, story collection
1890
Lake Isle of Innisfree
W.B. Yeats
Ireland, poem
1891
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde
Ireland, novel
1892
Lady Windermere's Fan
Oscar Wilde
Ireland, play
 
Irish Fairy and Folk Tales
W.B. Yeats
Ireland, story collection
1894
Esther Waters
George Moore
Ireland, novel
 
Arms and the Man
George Bernard Shaw
Ireland, play
1895
The Importance of Being Earnest
Oscar Wilde
Ireland, play
 
A Ideal Husband n
Oscar Wilde
Ireland, play
1897
missing graphic
Dracula
Ireland, novel
 
The Ballad of Reading Gaol
Oscar Wilde
Ireland, long poem
1898
Candida
George Bernard Shaw
Ireland, play
1899
Some Experiences of an Irish RM
Somerville and Ross
Ireland, novel
1903
Man and Superman
George Bernard Shaw
Ireland, play
1904
Riders to the Sea
John Millington Synge
Ireland, play
1905
Major Barbara
George Bernard Shaw
Ireland, play
1907
The Playboy of the Western World
John Millington Synge
Ireland, play
1914
Dubliners
Ireland, story collection
 
The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists
Robert Tressell
Ireland, novel
 
Pygmalion
George Bernard Shaw
Ireland, play
1917
The Charwoman's Daughter
James Stephens
Ireland, novel
1918
Exiles
Ireland, play
1920
Heartbreak House
George Bernard Shaw
Ireland, play
 
The Second Coming
W.B. Yeats
Ireland, poem
1922
Ireland, novel
1922–1923
Back to Methuselah
George Bernard Shaw
Ireland, Plays
1923
Saint Joan
George Bernard Shaw
Ireland, play
1924
The King of Elfland's Daughter
Lord Dunsany
Ireland, novel
 
Juno and the Paycock
Sean O'Casey
Ireland, play
1926
The Plough and the Stars
Sean O'Casey
Ireland, play
1938
Murphy
Samuel Beckett
Ireland, novel
 
The Beast Must Die
Nicholas Blake
Ireland, novel
1939
missing graphic
Finnegans Wake
Ireland, novel
 
At Swim-Two-Birds
Flann O'Brien
Ireland, novel
1941
The Case of the Abominable Snowman
Nicholas Blake
Ireland, novel
 
The Poor Mouth
Flann O'Brien
Ireland, novel
1950
The Ginger Man
J.P. Donleavy
Ireland, novel
1951
Watt
Samuel Beckett
Ireland, novel
1951–1953
The Trilogy
Samuel Beckett
Ireland, novel series
1952
Waiting for Godot
Samuel Beckett
Ireland, play
1955
The Trusting and the Maimed
James Plunkett
Ireland, story collection
1957
All That Fall
Samuel Beckett
Ireland, play
 
Endgame
Samuel Beckett
Ireland, play
1958
Borstal Boy
Brendan Behan
Ireland, memoir
 
Krapp's Last Tape
Samuel Beckett
Ireland, novel
1960
The Country Girls
Edna O'Brien
Ireland, novel
1961
Happy Days
Samuel Beckett
Ireland, play
1962
Girl With Green Eyes
Edna O'Brien
Ireland, novel
1967
The Third Policeman
Flann O'Brien
Ireland, novel
1969
Strumpet City
James Plunkett
Ireland, novel
1976
Children of Dynmouth
Ireland, novel
1979
Faith Healer
Brian Friel
Ireland, play
1980
Translations
Brian Friel
Ireland, play
1983
Fools of Fortune
William Trevor
Ireland, novel
1987
The The Commitments
Roddy Doyle
Ireland, novel
1989
The Book of Evidence
John Banville
Ireland, novel
1990
Circle of Friends
Maeve Binchy
Ireland, novel
 
The Snapper
Roddy Doyle
Ireland, novel
 
Dancing at Lughnasa
Brian Friel
Ireland, play
 
Amongst Women
John McGahern
Ireland, novel
1991
The Van
Roddy Doyle
Ireland, novel
1992
The Butcher Boy
Patrick McCabe
Ireland, novel
 
The Collected Stories
Ireland, story collection
1993
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
Roddy Doyle
Ireland, novel
1994
The House of Splendid Isolation
Edna O'Brien
Ireland, novel
 
missing graphic
Felicia's Journey
Ireland, novel
1995
The Complete Short Prose
Samuel Beckett
Ireland, story collection
1996
The Woman Who Walked Into Doors
Roddy Doyle
Ireland, novel
 
Angela's Ashes
Frank McCourt
Ireland, memoir
1998
Tara Road
Maeve Binchy
Ireland, novel
 
Seamus Heaney
Open Ground
Northern Ireland, poetry collection
1999
A Star Called Henry
Roddy Doyle
Ireland, novel
 
Tis
Frank McCourt
Ireland, memoir
 
The Blackwater Lightship
Colm Tóibín
Ireland, novel
2000
Scarlet Feather
Maeve Binchy
Ireland, novel
2001
Artemis Fowl
Eoin Colfer
Ireland, novel
 
At Swim, Two Boys
Jamie O'Neill
Ireland, novel
2002
Star of the Sea
Joseph O'Connor
Ireland, novel
2004
P.S. I Love You
Cecilia Ahern
Ireland, novel
 
The Master
Colm Tóibín
Ireland, novel
2005
The Sea
John Banville
Ireland, novel
 
A Long Long Way
Sebastian Barry
Ireland, novel
 
Ireland
Frank Delaney
Ireland, story collection
2006
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
John Boyne
Ireland, novel
2007
The Gathering
Anne Enright
Ireland, novel
 
In the Woods
Tana French
Ireland, novel
 
An Irish Country Doctor
Patrick Taylor
Ireland, novel
2008
The Secret Scripture
Sebastian Barry
Ireland, novel
 
The Likeness
Tana French
Ireland, novel
2009
Brooklyn
Colm Tóibín
Ireland, novel
2010
Human Chain
Seamus Heaney
Northern Ireland, poetry collection
2011
City of Bohane
Kevin Barry
Ireland, novel
2012
A Week in Winter
Maeve Binchy
Ireland, novel
 
The Spinning Heart
Donal Ryan
Ireland, novel
2014
Nora Webster
Colm Tóibín
Ireland, novel
2015
The Green Road
Anne Enright
Ireland, novel
2016
Days Without End
Sebastian Barry
Ireland, novel
2017
The Heart's Invisible Furies
John Boyne
Ireland, novel
 
Conversations With Friends
Sally Rooney
Ireland, Novel
2018
Milkman
Anna Burns
Northern Ireland, Novel
 
Normal People
Sally Rooney
Ireland, Novel
2019
What the Wind Knows
Amy Harmon
Ireland, Novel
 
When All Is Said
Anne Griffin
Ireland, Novel
2020
Hamnet
Maggie O'Farrell
Ireland, Novel

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