First published in the early twenties, Joyce's novels Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake are the most commonly known of his work. The Dublin-based author was best known for his stream of consciousness writing and alcoholic binges ending in bar fights.
George Bernard Shaw
Shaw, Irish born but thought of as English, is considered one of the most important dramatic writers since Shakespeare. His play Pygmalion was adapted into the Broadway musical My Fair Lady, as was his earlier work Arms and the Man.
A member of the French resistance who earned both the Croix de guerre and the Meacute;daille de la Reacute;sistance Beckett was acclaimed writer of both novels and plays. He also wrote for a radio drama entitled All That Fall and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969.
Swift was a satirist whose most famous proposal involved eating the babies of Ireland as a way of dealing with the Irish potato famine. He also wrote the children's novel Gulliver's Travels which was later made into a made-for-TV movie with Ted Danson.
William Butler Yeats
A novel writer and activist, Yeats became part of the Irish Free State as a senator later in life. Yeats, also born in Dublin, had his first major literary successes with The Isle of Statues and The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems.
The Trinity College graduate and author of The Picture of Dorian Gray was not only sentenced to two years of hard labor for "gross indecency," but while in prison wrote De Profundis, which was supposed to be an apology for his life.
Heaney was born northwest of Belfast and earned a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. He later became a professor at Berkeley campus of the University of California and is best known for his works of prose called The Government of the Tongue and The Redress of Poetry.