Irish Literature

Ireland has an extraordinarily rich and varied literary culture and has produced four Nobel Prize winners in literature (George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats, Samuel Beckett, and Seamus Heaney). The vernacular literary tradition of Ireland is one of Europe’s most ancient, with texts written in Irish dating back to the 6th century. Irish writers working in English have made hugely important contributions to the development of Romantic poetry, the Regional Novel, the Historical Novel, the Gothic Novel, and to Modernism/Postmodernism. 

At NTU English we have a number of faculty members carrying out ground-breaking and significant research into a number of Irish writers and texts. NTU has also run several major Irish studies events, including the 2017 International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures (IASIL) conference, and has hosted numerous Irish writers, including Evelyn Conlon, Gerald Dawe, Rob Doyle, Paul Durcan, Dermot Healy, Claire Keegan, Paul Muldoon, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, and Timothy O’Grady.

Dr Michelle Chiang is currently working on a project exploring how Beckett’s work can be ‘intuitively’ appreciated by his audiences and readers through a Virtual Reality adaptation of Beckett’s short story The Lost Ones. Dr Richard Barlow is co-editing a collection titled Finnegans Wake: Human and Nonhuman Histories, which is forthcoming with Edinburgh University Press in 2024. Richard has published in James Joyce Quarterly and Irish Studies Review and will be a keynote speaker at the XXIX International James Joyce Symposium, to be held at the University of Glasgow in 2024.

Irish Studies monographs by NTU faculty include John Banville by Neil Murphy (Bucknell University Press, 2018), Beckett’s Intuitive Spectator: Me to Play by Michelle Chiang (Palgrave, 2018), Jane Wong’s Dissent and Authority in Early Modern Ireland: The English Problem from Bale to Shakespeare (Routledge, 2019), and Richard Barlow’s Modern Irish and Scottish Literature (Oxford University Press, 2023).

Recent NTU Irish Studies publications:

Neil Murphy (co-ed. with Keith Hopper): Writing the Sky: Observations and Essays on Dermot Healy. Victoria TX.: Dalkey Archive Press, 2016.

Neil Murphy (co-ed. with Keith Hopper): Dermot Healy’s Collected Plays. Victoria TX.: Dalkey Archive Press, 2016.

Neil Murphy (co-ed. with Keith Hopper): Dermot Healy’s Collected Short Stories. Victoria TX.: Dalkey Archive Press, 2015. Reviewed in Times Literary Supplement, Irish Times, Irish Independent, Sunday Business Post, The Examiner, Singapore Review of Books. 

Neil Murphy (co-ed. with Keith Hopper): The Short Fiction of Flann O’Brien. Champaign/London/Dublin: Dalkey Archive Press, 2013.


Neil Murphy. “Painters Writing: Art and the Contemporary Irish Novel,” Companion to the Contemporary Irish Novel (Costello-Sullivan, Hand and Murphy Eds.). Syracuse University Press. Forthcoming 2024.

Neil Murphy. “Traces of Mischief: Flann O’Brien and Luigi Pirandello,” in Flann O'Brien: Acting Out. Eds. Paul Fagan & Dieter Fuchs. Cork: Cork University Press, 2022: 95-108.

Neil Murphy. “Aidan Higgins: Disguised Autobiographies,” in Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Contemporary Literature. Ed. James Ward, Oxford: Blackwell, 2021: 29-38.

Neil Murphy. “John Banville’s Fictions of Art,” The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Fiction. Ed. Liam Harte. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2020: 320-334.

Neil Murphy. “The Novel as Heartbeat: The Dead Narrator in Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones,” The Routledge Companion to Literature and Death. Eds Murphy, Jernigan, and Wang, 2020: 109-120. 

Neil Murphy. “John Banville’s Ekphrastic Experiments,” Banville and His Precursors. Eds Pietra Palazzolo, Michael Springer, and Stephen Butler. London: Bloomsbury, 2019: 234-249.

Neil Murphy. “John Banville: The City as Illuminated Image,” in Irish Urban Fictions. Eds. Maria Beville & Deirdre Flynn. London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2018: 167-182.

Neil Murphy. “Death and the Maidens: John Banville’s Ekphrastic Antidotes,” Narrating Death: The Limit of Literature. Eds. D. Jernigan, W. Wadiak, W. Michelle Wang. London: Routledge, 2018: 149-160.

Neil Murphy. “Aidan Higgins,” Dictionary of Irish Biography, Royal Irish Academy, Dublin. (with Alannah Hopkin) Forthcoming 2023.

Neil Murphy. “The Poetics of Pure Invention: John Banville’s Ghosts”, ABEI Journal, The Brazilian Journal of Irish Studies, 2020: 109-120.

Neil Murphy. “The House of Fiction: Dermot Healy’s Short Stories,” (with K. Hopper), Beyond Ireland: Boundaries, Passages, Transitions; (Essays in Honour of Prof. Dr. Werner Huber), Irish Studies in Europe 8, (2018): 219-232.

Neil Murphy. “Elegant Resistance: Dermot Healy’s Fighting with Shadows,” (with K. Hopper) in Studi Irlandesi: A Journal of Irish Studies, (Summer 2017): 185-199.

Neil Murphy. “John Banville and Heinrich von Kleist: The Art of Confusion, The Review of Contemporary Fiction. Vol. XXXIV No. 1 (2014/2015): 54-70.

Neil Murphy. “Contemporary Irish Fiction and the Indirect Gaze,” From Prosperity to Austerity: A Socio-Cultural Critique of the Celtic Tiger and its Aftermath. Eds. Eugene O’Brien & Eamon Maher. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2014: 174-187.


Neil Murphy (co-ed with Derek Hand and Kathleen Costello-Sullivan), Companion to the Contemporary Irish Novel (Syracuse University Press, due 2024).

Neil Murphy. “John Banville’s Artistic Frames,” John Banville in Context, Eds. Nicholas Taylor-Collins and Bryan Radley, Cambridge University Press, 2024.

Related Courses

HL2033​Irish Literature: Romanticism to ModernismDr Richard Barlow
HL3034Irish LiteratureDr Neil Murphy
HL3039​Major Author Study: Samuel Beckett​Dr Michelle Chiang​
HL4033Major Author Study: James JoyceDr Richard Barlow