Ireland’s celebrated traits

For a small country, Ireland packs an enormous punch on international literary, music, film and cultural scene.

Literary Ireland

Ireland is the country that gave the world Ulysses, Dracula and Gulliver’s Travels.  Dublin has been named one of only four UNESCO Cities of Literature. And writers William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Becket, and Seamus Heaney have won Ireland four Nobel Prizes for Literature. Dublin UNESCO City of

Other playwrights of note include Oliver Goldsmith, Oscar Wilde, Sean O’Casey, Brendan Behan, John B. Keane and, more recently, living legend Conor McPherson.

Our contemporary novelists Roddy Doyle, John Banville, Anne Enright, William Trevor, Sebastian Barry, and Colm Toibin have won Ireland a host of Costa and Man Booker prizes. Eoin Colfer delights young adults throughout the world with his tales of Artemis Fowl, and our chic-lit heroes Cathy Kelly, Celia Ahern and Marian Keyes soar high in the international best seller lists.


Dance, music and storytelling are in our blood. Traditional Irish music has influenced country, blue grass, folk, jazz and rock music in North America, Europe, Australia and beyond, and wherever you go in Ireland, you’ll never be far from a session.

Our music is incredibly powerful…and diverse. U2 has been described as rock’s hottest ticket. Enya is one of the biggest selling female artists in the world.  Altan, Celtic Woman, and six-times Grammy winners The Chieftains have brought traditional Irish music to the world.  Boy-band West Life made musical history when their first seven singles went straight to Number One in the UK charts. We have even got our own Irish Tenors!

When it comes to eclectic, there’s Damien Rice, Imelda May, Mundy, Sinéad O’Connor, The Script, and The Divine Comedy.

Other greats, past and present, include Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy, Rory Gallagher, Bob Geldof and The Boomtown Rats, Snow Patrol’s lead singer Gary Lightbody, Clannad, Horslips, The Corrs, The Undertones, Van Morrison, The Saw Doctors, Planxty, Mary Black, The Wolfe Tones,  Paul Brady, Christy Moore, Daniel O’Donnell and Boyzone.

Visual and Performing Arts

Riverdance took the world by storm and has brought about a renaissance in Irish dance. Louis Le Brocquy is widely acclaimed for his Portrait Heads, which celebrate some of Ireland’s greatest literary figures. And Irish-born Francis Bacon, creator of The Scream, has had his studio re-created and preserved at Dublin’s Hugh Lane gallery. Trinity College & Riverdance


Irishmen Jim Sheridan and Neil Jordan, who have brought their genius to world of the silver screen, and are now being joined by a new generation of Irish filmmakers, behind modern classics such as Once and The Garage, plus a hosts of Oscar winning and nominated short animations.

Our men make brooding Hollywood heartthrobs: Gabriel Byrne (Ireland’s current cultural ambassador), Pierce Brosnan, Colin Farrell, Liam Neeson, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Patrick Bergin, Daniel-Day Lewis, Brendan Gleeson and Cillian Murphy.  Meanwhile, our leading ladies include Oscar and Emmy winners, Brenda Flicker, Dearbhla Walsh and Joan Bergin, along with the young Sorcha Ronan, who has already gained critical acclaim for her roles in blockbusters such as Atonement and The Lovely Bones.



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