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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 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.

As usual, the focus is on major creative works—such as novels, novellas, plays, epic poems and collections—although some significant shorter works may also be included.

Latest update: January 17, 2023

Click linked titles and authors for details, critiques and other comments.

c. 0700
The Táin
Anonymous
Ireland
Epic prose and poetry
c. 1100–1200
The Madness of Suibhne
Anonymous
Ireland
Epic poem
1726
Gulliver's Travels
Jonathan Swift
Ireland
Novel
1800
Castle Rackrent
Maria Edgeworth
Ireland
Novel
1820
Melmoth the Wanderer
Charles Maturin
Ireland
Novel
1864
Uncle Silas
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Ireland
Novel
1872
Carmilla
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Ireland
Novella
 
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
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
 
The Jewel of Seven Stars
Bram Stoker
Ireland
Novel
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
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
Play series
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
1928
The Tower
W.B. Yeats
Ireland
Poetry collection
1938
Murphy
Samuel Beckett
Ireland
Novel
 
The Beast Must Die
Nicholas Blake
Ireland
Novel
1939
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
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 Spllendid Isolation
Edna O'Brien
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
Seamus Heaney
Human Chain
Northern Ireland
Poetry collection
2012
A Week in Winter
Maeve Binchy
Ireland
Novel
 
The Spinning Heart
Donal Ryan
Ireland
Novel
2014
Nora Webster
Colm Tóibín
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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