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Literature: Sheridan Le Fanu, Jonathan Swift, Seamus Heaney, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, W. B. Yeats, Laurence Sterne, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, C. S. Lewis

Music: Sinéad O'Connor, David Holmes

"We now turn to Glendalough, the most interesting spot in Ireland to the antiquary who desires to examine relics of ancient Irish architecture and sculpture."--Phallic Objects, Monuments, and Remains (1889) by Hargrave Jennings

"Dubliners are the blacks of Ireland. And the Northside Dubliners are the blacks of Dublin. So say it once, say it loud: I'm black and I'm proud."-- Jimmy in The Commitments

"If England may justly boast of her Stonehenge as the noblest monument of its kind now existing, Ireland can, with equal reason, feel proud of the sepulchral tumulus of New Grange-a monument of human labour only exceeded in grandeur by the tomb of Agamemnon at Mycenæ, or the pyramids of the Egyptian kings, to both of which it is so nearly allied in many of its general characteristics, and which, in point of antiquity, it probably rivals, or even possibly exceeds." The Shrines and Sepulchres of the Old and New World (1851) by Richard Robert Madden

"The Book of Kells is a book of Gospels and miscellaneous matter that came from the monastery of Kells in Ireland. Records tell of a gold cover now lost." --Gardner's Art Through the Ages (1926) by Helen Gardner

"Her hot lips travelled along my cheek in kisses; and she would whisper, almost in sobs, 'You are mine, you shall be mine, and you and I are one for ever'." --Carmilla (1872) by Sheridan Le Fanu

"The most famous of these literary treasures are exhibited in cases which stand on the floor of the great library, and among these the highest place is held by the Book of Kells."--Ireland Illustrated with Pen and Pencil (1891) by Richard Lovett and Edward Payson Thwing

"The first of the Melmoths, she says, who settled in Ireland, was an officer in Cromwell's army, who obtained a grant of lands, the confiscated property of an Irish family attached to the royal cause. The elder brother of this man was one who had travelled abroad, and resided so long on the Continent, that his family had lost all recollection of him. Their memory was not stimulated by their affection, for there were strange reports concerning the traveller. He was said to be (like the 'damned magician, great Glendower,') 'a gentleman profited in strange concealments."--Melmoth the Wanderer (1820) by Charles Maturin

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Ireland is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, in north-western Europe.

Gaelic Ireland had emerged by the 1st century AD. The island was Christianised from the 5th century onwards. Following the 12th century Anglo-Norman invasion, England claimed sovereignty. However, English rule did not extend over the whole island until the 16th–17th century Tudor conquest, which led to colonisation by settlers from Britain. In the 1690s, a system of Protestant English rule was designed to materially disadvantage the Catholic majority and Protestant dissenters, and was extended during the 18th century. With the Acts of Union in 1801, Ireland became a part of the United Kingdom. A war of independence in the early 20th century was followed by the partition of the island, leading to the creation of the Irish Free State, which became increasingly sovereign over the following decades, and Northern Ireland, which remained a part of the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland saw much civil unrest from the late 1960s until the 1990s. This subsided following the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. In 1973, both the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, with Northern Ireland as part of it, joined the European Economic Community. Following a referendum vote in 2016, the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland included, left the European Union (EU) in 2020. Northern Ireland was granted a limited special status and allowed to operate within the EU single market for goods without being in the European Union; the economy has subsequently grown faster than the rest of the UK.

Irish culture has had a significant influence on other cultures, especially in the field of literature.


Literature and the arts

For an island of relatively small population, Ireland has made a disproportionately large contribution to world literature in all its branches, mainly in English. Poetry in Irish represents the oldest vernacular poetry in Europe with the earliest examples dating from the 6th century; Jonathan Swift, still often called the foremost satirist in the English language, was wildly popular in his day for works such as Gulliver's Travels and A Modest Proposal, and he remains so in modern times. More recently, Ireland has produced four winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature: George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney. Although not a Nobel Prize winner, James Joyce is widely considered one of the most significant writers of the 20th century; Samuel Beckett himself refused to attend his own Nobel award ceremony, in protest of Joyce not having received the award. Joyce's 1922 novel Ulysses is considered one of the most important works of Modernist literature, and his life is celebrated annually on June 16 in Dublin as the Bloomsday celebrations.

The early history of Irish visual art is generally considered to begin with early carvings found at sites such as Newgrange. It is traced through Bronze age artifacts, particularly ornamental gold objects, and the religious carvings and illuminated manuscripts of the mediæval period. During the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, a strong indigenous tradition of painting emerged, including such figures as John Butler Yeats, William Orpen, Jack Yeats and Louis le Brocquy.

Modern Irish literature is still often connected with its rural heritage, though writers like John McGahern and poets like Seamus Heaney. There is a thriving performing arts culture in many Irish centres, most particularly in Galway.


Irish traditional music and dance have seen a surge in popularity and global coverage since the 1960s. In the middle years of the 20th century, as Irish society was modernising, traditional music had fallen out of favour, especially in urban areas. However during the 1960s, there was a revival of interest in Irish traditional music led by groups such as the Dubliners and the Chieftains. Groups and musicians including Van Morrison and Thin Lizzy incorporated elements of Irish traditional music into contemporary rock music and, during the 1970s and 1980s, the distinction between traditional and rock musicians became blurred, with many individuals regularly crossing over between these styles of playing. This trend can be seen more recently in the work of artists like Enya, Sinéad O'Connor, the Cranberries and the Pogues among others.

Visual art

National Gallery of Ireland

The early history of Irish visual art is generally considered to begin with early carvings found at sites such as Newgrange and is traced through Bronze Age artifacts, particularly ornamental gold objects, and the religious carvings and illuminated manuscripts of the medieval period. During the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, a strong indigenous tradition of painting emerged, including such figures as John Butler Yeats, William Orpen and Jack Yeats.

Ireland's best known living artists include Louis le Brocquy, a figurative painter and print maker, Sean Scully an abstract expressionist who lives and works in New York, Dorothy Cross, a sculptor and filmmaker and James Coleman, an installation and video artist.

Interest in collecting Irish art has expanded rapidly with the economic expansion of the country, primarily focussing on investment in early twentieth century painters. Support for young Irish artists is still relatively minor compared to their European counterparts, as the Arts Council's focus has been on improving infrastructure and professionalism in venues. That said, Ireland's unique tax break for creative artists (writers, visual artists and composers) has encouraged a wide community of artists to remain in Ireland.


In 2005 a Jameson Whiskey-sponsored poll selected the top 10 Irish films: the results are below.

  1. The Commitments (1991)
  2. My Left Foot (1989)
  3. In the Name of the Father (1993)
  4. The Quiet Man (1952)
  5. The Snapper (1993)
  6. Michael Collins (1996)
  7. The Field (1990)
  8. Intermission (2003)
  9. Veronica Guerin (2003)
  10. Inside I'm Dancing (2004)

Critically acclaimed Irish films released since this poll was taken include The Wind That Shakes the Barley, " Blackbird (2018 film) ", The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea, Garage, The Guard, and Brooklyn.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Ireland" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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