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Six underrated Irish women writers

To celebrate both Women’s History Month and St. Patrick’s Day, the Oxford World’s Classics team has picked just a few of our favorite—and sometimes underrated in Irish literary history—female writers from our series. Ireland is known for producing many influential writers, but the men typically get a lot of the credit and a lot of the attention. Tell us your favorite Irish writer in the comments below.

  1. Maria Edgeworth

9780199537556Favorite novel: Castle Rackrent

Favorite quote: “We cannot judge either of the feelings or of the characters of men with perfect accuracy from their actions or their appearance in public; it is from their careless conversations, their half-finished sentences, that we may hope with the greatest probability of success to discover their real characters.”

  1. Maud Gonne

Favorite political work: The Famine Queen

Favorite quote: “And the reply of Ireland comes sadly but proudly, not through the lips of the miserable little politicians who are touched by the English canker but through the lips of the Irish people.”

  1. Augusta Gregory

Favorite drama: The Rising of the Moon 

Favorite quote:

“MAN [sings].
“As through the hills I walked to view the hills and shamrock plain,
I stood awhile where nature smiles to view the rocks and streams,
On a matron fair I fixed my eyes beneath a fertile vale,
And she sang her song it was on the wrong of poor old Granuaile.”

“SERGEANT.
“Stop that; that’s no song to be singing in these times.””

  1. Sydney Owenson

9780199552498Favorite novel: The Wild Irish Girl 

Favorite quote: “‘A wake, as it is called among us,’ he replied, ‘is at once the season of lamentation and sorrow, and of feasting and amusement.”

  1. Eva Gore-Booth

Favorite poem: “Women’s Rights” 

Favorite quote:

“Oh, whatever men may say
Ours is the wide and open way

“Oh, whatever men may dream
We have the blue air and the stream.”

  1. Ethna Carbery

Favorite poem: “The Passing of the Gael” 

Favorite quote:

“The whip of hunger scourged them from the glens and quiet moors,
But there’s a hunger of the heart that plenty never cures;
And they shall pine to walk again the rough road that is yours.

“Within the city streets, hot, hurried, full of care,
A sudden dream shall bring them a whiff of Irish air–
A cool air, faintly-scented, blown soft from otherwhere.”

Featured image credit: “Typewriter, book, notepad…” by unsplash. CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay.

Recent Comments

  1. e berris

    Plunging in regardless, Somerville and Ross’s travelogue “In the Vine Country” is charming, and I would not want to be without Molly Keane’s delicious and devastating humour.

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