The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I've no spade to follow men like them.
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I'll dig with it.

Seamus Heaney

Around Ireland
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You're very welcome to the Island Ireland directory for Irish literature.
The following hand-picked links will take you to resources on Irish writing of all kinds, Irish poetry, useful academic organisations and more.
The Princess Grace Irish Library (Monaco) provides an A-Z Dataset with comprehensive biographical & bibliographical information on 4,500 Irish writers, along with extracts from their works and commentaries. Once you have reached a given author, you can browse through seven possible types of information (Life, Works, Criticism, Commentary, References, Quotations & Notes). The database also includes similar material on Irish serial publications and journals of all periods. A tremendous academic resource...
Columbia University's includes information and online works J.M. Synge, Padraic Colum, W. B. Yeats, Oscar Wilde, G. B.Shaw, and Oliver Goldsmith.
The International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures was founded in 1969 to promote the teaching and study of Irish literature in third-level education throughout the world, and to facilitate contact between scholars researching Irish literature. Of special note is information on their yearly scholarly conferences, a very good online newsletter, and an extensive list of links to further resources on literary topics and Irish studies.
Irish Pages isa biannual journal, edited in Belfast, which publishes contemporary writing from Ireland and overseas.
The Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Yeats in 1923, Shaw in 1925, Beckett in 1969 and Heaney in 1995. Visit the Nobel site for their biographies, acceptance speeches, and more.
CELT is a collection of online text documents related to Irish literature, history and politics. The texts can be searched, read on-screen, downloaded, and printed out. From 'The Annals of the Four Masters' to writings by Oscar Wilde, this University College Cork project is a wonderful resource.
On Reading Ancient Literature:The Text and the Context is an interesting essay by Michael Sundermeier that discusses the importance of cultural context and background in reading Irish literature.
Literary figures tend to have interesting graves. The intriguing is a collection of photos of the graves of all sorts of famous individuals... See the final resting places of Brendan Behan, Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, James Joyce and many others.
Find out about upcoming workshops on all sorts of writing at The Irish Writers' Centre. Details of upcoming readings too, and a list of literary journals, links, information on competitions and an online newsletter.
Poetry Ireland is the place to go to find out about poetry readings, festivals, writing courses and new publications. There's also information on a rather intriguing service whereby tentatively established poets can send a selection of their work along to be evaluated, an advice section for those just starting out, and details on the Great Book of Ireland project of 1991. A very good resource.
Specially designed to help young people understand and enjoy Irish poetry, the Study Ireland: Poetry site from BBC Northern Ireland presents twelve poems by Irish authors (Seamus Heaney, Ciaran Carson, Elaine Gaston, Michael Longley, Medbh McGuckian, Eilish Martin, Paul Muldoon.) Audio files, suggestions for literary discussion, and comments from the poets themselves.
Maureen O'Brien is an enthusiastic exponent of Medieval Irish poetry who maintains a site featuring poetry in Irish with English translations.
Mary Mark Ockerbloom is collecting links to Internet resources on Irish women authors. The list of names she's complied is a useful resource, in and of itself...
The issue of copyright laws and the Internet is complicated. There are many sites where you can read online versions of Yeats poems or Shaw plays... but for the most part I am not including such sites individually. You may want to check the following for the works of particular authors:
Lyra Celtica is an extensive anthology of Celtic poetry originally published in 1896, and updated in 1932. Mary Ann Dobratz has made it available online... works range from Saint Columba through Douglas Hyde and Padraic Colum.
Sonnets from Ireland features many lesser-known poets. Some would, I believe, be almost downright obscure...
The New York Times Book Section provides excellent book reviews, excerpts, forums, audio specials and more in their extensive archives.
The Atlantic Monthly is full of interesting literary articles, reviews and audio. You can search their archives to see what might be available...
Julia M. Wright provides a bibliography of Irish literature from 1789-1840
The Samuel Beckett Endpage includes information on the Samuel Beckett Society, biographical material and photos, details on conferences, links, current and upcoming productions, bibliographies, etc. In short, a really comprehensive resource.
The Samuel Beckett On-Line Resources and Links Page is an interesting and extensive hodgepodge, well worth visiting if you want to do some serious Beckett browsing.
Visit The New York Times on the Web to read their review of 'Samuel Beckett: The Last Modernist' by Anthony Cronin. You will need to register at their site, but it only takes a moment, then you should be able to continue directly to this article. You'll also find links to a whole range of other interesting articles and play reviews from their archives, and a RealAudio clip of Billie Whitelaw describing what it was like to work with Beckett.
Improving the Day! is a toast to the legendary Bredan Behan...
Information and links for contemporary poet Eavan Boland can be found at the Academy of American Poets. A RealAudio version of her reading 'That the Science of Cartography is Limited' is available at the W. W. Norton site. Have a listen.
The New York Times on the Web provides a September 1999 Roddy Doyle audio special in their Books Section... 52 minutes of RealAudio which includes readings from 'A Star Called Henry' and an interesting question and answer session. (You'll need to register the first time you use the site, but it only takes a moment.)
Here's a university site that looks at Dancing at Lughnasa... themes and ideas for papers, Friel biography, pictures from the film, bibliography and more...
Seanus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen's University, Belfast...
The Seanus Heaney, Irish Poet website features both the author and the place he grew up - South Derry.
Guardian (UK) interview: Irish poet Dennis O'Driscoll talks with Seamus Heaney, November 8, 2008...
BBC Four audio interviews with Seamus Heaney
PBS correspondent Elizabeth Farnsworth interviews author Seamus Heaney about his book, Beowolf, on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer (March 28, 2000).
An embarrassment of Joycean riches is available on the web. In fact, it's all a bit overwhelming. Where to start? The Brazen Head: a James Joyce Public House would be an excellent choice if you have a bit of time. A creative, inviting site with a very comfortable feel.
The James Joyce Centre on North Great George's Street in Dublin is run by members of the Joyce family...
The James Joyce Summer School at University College Dublin...
The Patrick Kavanagh Centre in Inniskeen, County Monaghan, provides a very interesting website which includes information on the poet, the new community literary resource centre devoted to his work, a virtual local tour of Kavanagh places and more. Nicely done.
You'll need to register at the site, but the New York Times on the Web provides a September 1999 Frank McCourt audio special which includes introductions and readings from both Angela's Ashes and 'Tis, as well as an audience question and answer session. Once you register you should be able to continue on directly to this article...
US television networks PBS and C-Span provide online transcripts of their interviews with Frank... some include RealAudio too.

• PBS: Elizabeth Farnsworth interview April 7, 1997
• PBS: Terence Smith interview 17 March, 1999

Tom and Evelyn Moore, who run an Irish B & B, have provided an online tour of The Limerick of Angela's Ashes.
'It has been said that growing up in Ireland one learns sin from the priests, Latin from the nuns, and passion from Edna O'Brien...' So begins an interesting April 2000 interview with O'Brien in Atlantic Unbound.
Witty, satirical Brian O'Nolan (Flann O'Brien) went by various names... here are excerpts of his work and some relevant articles.
Eric Mader provides Flann O'Brien: A Biographical Introduction.
Here's the 'Unofficial Liam O'Flaherty Homepage' which includes a brief biography, chronology of his life, and some excerpts from his novels and stories.
ERNIE O'MALLEY is a site with pages devoted to the arts and culture of the west of Ireland: Ernie O'Malley (1916 rebel).
Cary M. Mazer, University of Pennsylvania, provides an interesting biography of G. Bernard Shaw (it says he hated "George' and never used it.)
Many people don't realize the author of Dracula was Irish! Elizabeth Miller (Department of English, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada) maintains Dracula's Homepage, (hope that keeps her on his good side!) which provides information on Bram Stoker; the novel Dracula; the historical Dracula; the vampire in folklore, fiction, film, popular culture, and lots more.
Every classic piece of literature should have a site as nice as Gulliver's Travels. Lee Jaffe has created a wonderful resource which includes the full text with amplifying links, a timeline, dictionary, collection of Swift quotes, all sorts of relevant illustrations, and more. Another example of what can happen when intelligence and enthusiasm get together on the web. Highly recommended.
JOHN MILLINGTON SYNGE is a site with pages devoted to the arts and culture of the west of Ireland: J. M. Synge (Irish dramatist).
COLM TÓIBÍN provides lots of interviews, biographical information, writing excerpts and discussion...
The "official" website for Oscar Wilde...
"Wilde" is a film about the life of Oscar Wilde, the first modern man...
In 1985 Niall Williams and Christine Breen moved from New York to a small cottage in the west of Ireland. Their popular book O Come Ye Back to Ireland was the story of their first year's adventures, and they've been living there and writing ever since...
An online exhibition Yeats: The Life & Works of William Butler Yeats at the National Library of Ireland...
The Yeats Society Sligo provides a poetry tour of Yeats' Sligo, information on their popular summer and winter schools, and background information on the poet, the poems and the Society.