The Luck Of The Irish (Writers)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! I thought it would be fun to do a post about my favorite Irish authors today because… well… authors are awesome! (What further justification do I need?!) So, without further ado, here are some thoughts about my favorite Irish writers!

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narnia-lamp-post[1]C.S. Lewis spent much of his life in England, but he was born in Belfast and the little bit of research I did for this post ended up providing me with amusing quotes from him such as, “The strange English accents with which I was surrounded seemed like the voices of demons… I have made up the quarrel since, but at that moment I conceived a hatred for England which took many years to heal.” Dude. Demons, really?

Anyway, I adore his Chronicles of Narnia – whether you read them as an adventure story or as Christian allegory (or both!), they’re amazing. I also enjoyed The Screwtape Letters, an epistolary novel about a junior devil trying to damn a young man, and his uncle-the-senior-devil giving him advice. SERIOUSLY BRILLIANT STUFF. I cannot even. Wow.

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And what about Jonathan Swift? He’s cool, too. Reading his essay “A Modest Proposal” will make you seem very highbrow ’cause you’re reading a CLASSIC, and it’ll also make you laugh. It’s a satirical piece about eating children and, like… it’s gross but also hilarious because of his writing style. Check it out!

And while I’m at it, I should mention Gulliver’s Travels. Now, the purists might shoot me for saying this, but I really do think that this is one of the few classics that you can go ahead and read in abridged format, if old-fashioned writing freaks you out. Because his word choices aren’t the best/most important part here – it’s the weird, weird fantasy worlds Swift created that are the best parts of this novel.

And it’s another satire, to boot, because this dude was just that awesome.

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AND NOW IT’S TIME TO TALK ABOUT OSCAR WILDE. Oscar Wilde, peoples. I have

The sass is strong in this photo.

The sass is strong in this photo.

been looking forward to writing THIS part of the post all day because he was just such an awesome dude. Like, I think a reasonable life goal of mine is “becoming the female, modern-day equivalent of Oscar Wilde”? Here are the steps I’m taking to accomplish this:

  1. Be Irish. Somewhat accomplished – thanks for those genes, Mom.
  2. Be absolutely freaking hilarious. I’m doing my best with this. I WANT TO BE A HUMOR WRITER WHEN I GROW UP.
  3. Be astonishingly, amazingly gay. Working hard to achieve this. (Help me out by sending pictures of Hayley Atwell? [Becomes distracted thinking about Hayley Atwell’s lips and collarbones and…] Sdjghsdkfhgsfkhdf. Sorry, where was I? What was I saying? Mmmmm, Hayley Atwell…)
  4. Be a published author whose works are read all over the world. Um. Someday, hopefully…

But, you know, hopefully I’ll avoid a tragic ending like his? That would be nice. I don’t want to imitate him that much.

Basically I will recommend Oscar Wilde’s books to ALL THE PEOPLE EVER because he is brilliant. And witty. And his stories make me laugh until my sides hurt. Try The Importance of Being Earnest or the slightly darker (and infinitely gayer) The Picture of Dorian Gray. (Seriously, the dude who paints Dorian’s picture spends sooooo much time looking at it and commenting on how attractive he is and dude wow you have it really really bad for him.)

And I couldn’t possibly pick only one Oscar Wilde quote to be my ALL-TIME favorite, but the following is ONE of my favorites: “I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.”

(Want more Wilde quotes? Check my blog’s tagline; there’s another.)

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last stand of dead menNow, my favorite Irish writer whose books are actually set in Ireland is… Derek Landy, of course. He wrote the astonishingly funny Skulduggery Pleasant YA fantasy series. The first book in that series won the title of Best Irish Book of the Decade (2000-2010), and I think that was very well deserved. The series is about a walking, talking, wise-cracking, fireball-throwing, impeccably-well-dressed skeleton detective and his teenage sidekick, and takes place in and around Dublin. AND IT’S UTTERLY FANTASTIC. Definitely one of the best series I read last year – or in a long time, for that matter.

Also, St. Patrick’s Day actually becomes an important date as the series progresses, which is also fantastic. Skulduggery complains that “everyone has a story about what Christmas means to them, but no one tells you their feelings about St. Patrick’s Day,” for a start.

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By the way, my future college – the University of Iowa – has a study abroad session called the Irish Writing Program and WOW I REALLY REALLY WANT TO GO TO IT. A month and a half in Dublin, learning about authors and writing and all that jazz? Yes please. I hope to make that dream a reality someday!

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And last but not least: This is only marginally related to the rest of this post, but Ireland temporarily banned heterosexuality and legalized drugs by accident this week and I’M LAUGHING SO HARD. WHAT A COUNTRY. WHAT A GREAT COUNTRY. Can I move there? I don’t care about the drug thing, but can we put a picture of Oscar Wilde on the flag now, please?

What even is Ireland? Is Ireland even real?

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Who are your favorite Irish writers? I’d love to know!

About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
This entry was posted in Books and Reading!, LGBTQ+, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to The Luck Of The Irish (Writers)

  1. Bridget says:

    I’m not entirely sure that Ireland is real either. I think I visited a couple years ago??? It all feels like a dream now, though. I’m not even sure that it actually happened.

  2. Cait says:

    OMG. This was incredibly hilarious. xD Although the very second I saw the title I was screaming, “WELL THIS IS GONNA BE ABOUT DEREK LANDY OBVIOUSLY.” XD *awards fifty points to Slytherin* I AM SO RIGHT.
    Ahem.
    Dude, yes, to Ireland. I’m still laughing. XD

  3. I didn’t even know C S Lewis was Irish! Obviously he’s a million times cooler now. I also love Martin McDonagh – he writes plays, not books, but they’re comedies about terrorists killing cats and they’re brilliant 😉

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ooh, thanks for the rec! Never even heard of Martin McDonagh before, but he sounds hilarious. (Are Irish authors just exceptionally talented when it comes to humor, or what? xD)

  4. Precious @ Clockwork Desires says:

    I read “The Modest Proposal” for English last year; it was pretty weird…. Anyway, I didn’t know all these people were Irish. Huh, you learn something new every day.

  5. orphu44 says:

    Ooh! I love the Screwtape Letters! And actually quite a lot of the things here, although I’ve never read any Jonathan Swift.
    Also I fully support Ireland, both as a place for a writing program and as a place that banned heterosexuality. And as a place to go be detectives and partners in crime.
    Also a) becoming the modern-day non-tragic Oscar Wilde sounds like an excellent goal, and b) I am fully willing to help with becoming astonishingly, amazingly gay.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Oh, I didn’t know you’d read The Screwtape Letters as well! 😀 That’s awesome.

      It sounds like such a lovely country. ❤
      Why, thank you for supporting my goals! *kisses ur cheek* You're sweet.
      So I've noticed. xD The Atwell picture was the first thing I saw when I checked Facebook this morning. 😛 You're the literal best.

  6. Miriam Joy says:

    I love Kate Thompson, who is not actually Irish by birth but lives in the west of Ireland and nearly all her books are set in Ireland too. (I met her when I visited Kinvara, where some of her books are set, which was awesome.) As a kid I was also really fond of Eoin Colfer, whose Artemis Fowl books are very much set in Ireland. They remind me a bit of Skulduggery Pleasant in tone, actually, though I think they’re probably less violent. And I can tell you any number of stories written by anonymous Irishmen in the middle ages, potentially originating from oral tradition…. because y’know, that’s my degree.

    • nevillegirl says:

      I should try her books…
      uGH I CANNOT BELIEVE I FORGOT EOIN COLFER I AM A FAILURE I *KNEW* THERE WAS SOMEONE I’D ACCIDENTALLY LEFT OFF THE LIST YES THANK U MR. COLFER, FOR BEING AWESOME
      (And yeah, the Artemis Fowl books remind me of Skulduggery Pleasant, too.)
      Like the story where the guy had a crush on the girl after seeing only her ankles? Or whatever that was about? Was that Irish?

    • nevillegirl says:

      Wow, I’m curious to know how the Irish stories can make even less sense than the ankle-fetishizing dudebro. O_o

  7. Mo says:

    I love all of these writers! They’re awesome. I also have an Irish orthodontist.

    …Hayley Atwell? What? *stares at desktop background which I recently changed to Peggy Carter*

    • nevillegirl says:

      Is your orthodontist secretly Kenspeckle Grouse?

      …this is my current desktop background, so: http://i.imgur.com/zGsIOKP.jpg

      • Mo says:

        …No, I don’t think so. Although at my last appointment I was reading Skulduggery Pleasant while waiting, if that counts.

        Mine is this. Because FACE. I wanted one with Angie too but none of the production/promotion stills show her very well. (And most of my profile pictures are the dark head turned thing, although I’ll probably change it to Angie once I finish editing a pictures of her.)

    • nevillegirl says:

      Oh. Well, that’s disappointing. But yay for reading SP! Always yay for reading SP!

      *delighted squeeing* I adore that FACE. ❤
      …I still haven't figured out how to turn words into hyperlinks in the comments of my own blog because I am eVIDENTLY A FAILURE but anyway here are some other pictures I found:

      (EDIT: How did I do that? Why are there ginormous photos in my comment now? *can’t figure out how to turn them back into URLs* I DO NOT EVEN UNDERSTAND HOW I DID THAT HAHA THAT’S SO ME, DOING COMPUTER-Y THINGS BY ACCIDENT.)

      • Mo says:

        To get hyperlinks, you use the “<a href=" coding. Or maybe the links themselves were coded to turn into photos when they're pasted, I've seen that happen before.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Oh, right. Huh. Well, thanks, and what was the gay Fairest thing you were going to tell me? 🙂

    • nevillegirl says:

      *cracks up* Oh my god. That’s great. *high-five*

  8. F says:

    This is one of my favourite posts on your blog! Even though I live in Ireland I actually know extremely few Irish authors, bar those soul-destroying ones we have to read in Irish through school.. In fact the only one of these I’ve read is C S Lewis.. As always, my TBR list has grown a bit after reading one of your posts!

    I haven’t read Skulduggery Pleasant, surprisingly, but it sounds similar to another Irish YA I read called New Town Soul by Dermot Bolger. It was a reasonably good urban fantasy (said by someone who doesn’t usually read urban fantasy), also set in Dublin. Other authors I could recommend are Roddy Doyle, Edna O’Brien, Jennifer Johnson and Kate Thompson.

    As for the legalising drugs and banning heterosexuality, I found that hilarious. The literal translation for the wording of the same-sex marriage referendum was something like “any couple, be they two men or two women, may enter a contract of marriage under the law”, however all those presumably high politicians somehow forgot to mention heterosexual couples… Other blunders by our government include wanting to ban road-signs (because “local people should know where they are going by now”) and wanting to change time zone (“to get more sunshine”). That’s just how we roll.

    I hope you decide to study in Dublin! I don’t know what university your writing course would be in, but it may interest you to know that TCD, the uni I hope to go to there, has an old law requiring students to carry a sword at all times, and its library has a copy of every book printed in the UK or Ireland! It’s an awesome place to go, I just hope I get in 😛

    Great post, good luck with becoming a world-famous author! 🙂

    • nevillegirl says:

      (Sorry for the late reply, I’m still catching up on blog comments! Oops. xD)

      Aw, thank you so much! And really, it’s your favorite? Ehehe, the posts I spend very little time on always seem to be peoples’ favorites. It’s funny how that works, isn’t it? 😛

      Anyway, yeah, being forced to read “soul-destroying” authors for school always SUCKS. Ew.

      You totally should read the SP books! They’re AMAZING. And I’ll add New Town Soul to my TBR! Thanks for all the recs. 🙂

      Yeahhhhh, that’s what I heard. 😛 I guess they were trying to make sure that each person could marry only one other person? That’s hilarious. And omg, “because ‘local people should know where they are going by now'”? What even is your country. *is cracking up right now*

      I’m not sure yet, either. xD I checked the website for my college’s Irish study-abroad program but it doesn’t actually say which university/universities aid with this program. Hmmm.
      OH MY GOD THAT SOUNDS AMAZING AND I WANT TO GO THERE. Swooooooords. Booooooks. dkgsjsdfkjgdfkgkfdfhkg

      Thank you (on both counts)! 😀

  9. moosha23 says:

    Yep the Irish sure are lucky (ALL the good writers hail from Ireland). Plus…Irish accents are the bomb! I could listen to them all day. ❤

  10. Pingback: Literature & Laughter | Musings From Neville's Navel

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