HUMS 639
A Terrible Beauty: How Irish Writers Transformed Modern Literature and Changed the Way We See the World

Daniel Burt

June 28 Introductions and Preliminaries
June 30 Irish Drama I: Yeats and Synge
July 5 Irish Poetry I: Yeats
July 7 Irish Fiction I: Joyce: Dubliners
July 12 Irish Poetry II: Yeats
July 14 Irish Fiction II: Joyce: Portrait and Ulysses
July 19 Irish Fiction III: Joyce: Ulysses
July 21 Irish Drama II: O'Casey
July 26 Irish Drama III: Beckett
July 28 Irish Poetry III: Heaney
August 2 Irish Drama IV: Friel
If you must miss a class, please contact me ahead of time by phone or e-mail. More than two unexcused absences require a withdrawal from the course. Deadlines for submission of work and presentations are serious, and grade reductions will be made for any unexcused missed deadline. Please see me ahead of the due date to discuss any problems you may have. Each class meeting will include a 10-minute break. I don’t mind your bringing something to eat or drink to sustain you through our discussions, provided you are unobtrusive, and sharing would be nice!
Students are advised to keep a reading journal recording your reaction to your reading throughout the term and come to class with a critical questions and tentative answers on each class’s reading. Each student will lead a discussion on a selected poem by Yeats or Heaney or a story from Dubliners and distribute a “lesson plan” for you presentation to the class. A final critical essay on one of the works below and a take-home final exam will be due on August 12.
Works for Final Critical Essay

Works for Final Critical Essay


You should select one of the works listed here as the subject for a critical review (5-7pp) that attempts to place the work in the wider context of Modern Irish Literature and with the other works on the reading list. 

Sebastian Barry

The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty

Samuel Beckett  

Endgame; Krapp’s Last Tape; Trilogy: Malloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable

Brendan Behan  

The Hostage; The Quare Fellow

Elizabeth Bowen

The Last September

Clare Boylan  

Home Rule

Austin Clarke

Mnemosyne Lay in Dust

Anne Devlin

After Easter

J.P. Donleavy

The Ginger Man

Roddy Doyle  

A Star Called Henry; Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha; Barrytown Trilogy

Paul Durcan  

A Snail in My Prime

Brian Friel

Dancing at Lughnasa

Jennifer Johnston

Shadows on Our Skin

Patrick Kavanagh  

The Great Hunger

John B.Keane  

The Field

Martin McDonagh

The Leenane Trilogy: The Beauty Queen of Leenane, A Skull in Connemara, The Lonesome West; The Cripple of Inishmaan

Patrick McCabe

The Butcher Boy

John McGahern ,

The Barracks; Amongst Women

Frank McGuinness

Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Toward the Somme

Conor McPherson

The Weir

Paul Muldoon

New Selected Poems: 1968-1994

Richard Murphy

The Battle of Aughrim

Flann O’Brien  

At Swim-Two-Birds

Kate O’Brien  

Mary Lavelle

Sean O’Casey

Juno and the Paycock

Jamie O’Neill

At Swim Two Boys

Bernard Shaw

John Bull’s Other Island

Colm Toibin  

The Heather Blazing

William Trevor

Fools of Fortune

Selected Bibliography



Malcolm Brown, The Politics of Irish Literature

James M. Cahalan, Irish Novel: A Critical History

Neil Corcoran, After Yeats and Joyce: Reading Modern Irish Literature

Seamus Deane, Celtic Revivals; A Short History of Irish Literature

Denis Donoghue, We Irish

Douglas Dunn, Two Decades of Irish Writing

Michael Etherton, Contemporary Irish Dramatists

Richard Fallis, The Irish Renaissance

Robert F. Garratt, Modern Irish Poetry: Tradition and Continuity from Yeats to Heaney

Seamus Heaney, Preoccupations: Selected Prose; The Place of Writing

John Hilderbidle, Five Irish Writers

Robert Hogan, After the Irish Renaissance: A Critical History of the Irish Drama Since “The Plough and the Stars”

Herbert Howarth, The Irish Writers, 1880-1940: Literature and Nationalism

Rudiger Imhof, The Modern Irish Novel

A.N. Jeffares, Anglo-Irish Literature

Johnston, Dillon, Irish Poetry after Joyce

Hugh Kenner, A Colder Eye: the Modern Irish Writers

Declan Kiberd, Inventing Ireland; Irish Classics

Benedict Kiely, Modern Irish Fiction

Augustine Martin, Anglo-Irish Literature

D.E.S. Maxwell, A Critical History of Modern Irish Drama

Vivian Mercier, Modern Irish Literature: Sources and Founders; The Irish Comic Tradition

Conor Cruise O’Brien, The Politics of Literature

William Trevor, A Writer’s Ireland: Landscape in Literature

G.J. Watson, Irish Identity and the Literary Revival

Robert Welch, Changing States: Transformations in Modern Irish Writing



John Ardagh. Ireland and the Irish  

J.C. Beckett, The Making of Modern Ireland

Mark Bence-Jones. Life in an Irish Country House   

Terence Brown. Ireland: A Social and Cultural History, 1922 to the Present.

Thomas Cahill. How the Irish Saved Civilization.

Sean Duffy, ed. Atlas of Irish History.

R.F. Foster. Oxford History of Ireland; Modern Ireland

Theodore Hoppen. Ireland Since 1800.  

Richard Killeen., A Short History of Ireland.

James Lydon. The Making of Ireland.  

F.S. Lyons. Ireland Since the Famine; Culture and Anarchy in Ireland, 1870-1939

Cormac McCaffrey. In Search of Ancient Ireland.

Sean McMahon. A Short History of Ireland.  

T.W. Moody. The Course of Irish History.

John  Ranelagh. A Short History of Ireland.  

Conor Cruise O’Brien. A Concise History of IrelandStates of Ireland

Michael J. O’Kelly. Early Ireland.  

Douglas Roy. Ireland Since 1690: A Concise History

Peter Somerville-Large. The Irish Country House.  

Charles Townsend. Ireland: The 20th Century.  

Fintan Vallely. The Companion to Irish Traditional Music.  

Cecil Woodham Smith. The Great Hunger.  


W. B. Yeats

Richard Ellmann, Yeats: The Man and the Mask; The Identity of Yeats   

R.F. Foster, W.B. Yeats: A Life   

A.N. Jeffares, W.B. Yeats: Man and Poet

Philip I. Marcus, Yeats and the Beginning of the Irish Renaissance

David Pierce, Yeats’s Worlds: Ireland, England and the Poetic Imagination

Peter Ure, Yeats the Dramatist


J.M. Synge


Donna L. Gerstenberger, John  Millington Synge

Nicholas Grene, Synge: A Critical Study of the Plays

Declan Kiberd, Synge and the Anglo-Irish Drama

David M. Kiely. John Millington Synge

Alan Price, Synge and Anglo-Irish Drama

Ann Saddlemyer, J. M. Synge and Modern Comedy


James Joyce


Harry Blamires, The New Bloomsday Book: A Guide Through Ulysses

Frank Budgen, James Joyce and the Making of Ulysses

Richard Ellmann, James Joyce

A. Nicholas Fargnoli and Michael Patrick Gillespie, James Joyce A to Z: The Essential Reference to the Life and Work

Harry Levin, James Joyce: A Critical Introduction

A. Walton Litz, James Joyce


Sean O’Casey


Bernard Benstock, Sean O’Casey

Robert Hogan, The Experiments of Sean O'Casey

Garry O’Connor, Sean Casey, a Life

Jack Mitchell, The Essential O'Casey: A Study of the Twelve Major Plays of Sean O'Casey

Ronald Gene Rollins, Sean O'Casey's Drama: Verisimilitude and Vision

B. L. Smith, O'Casey's Satiric Vision


Samuel Beckett


Anthony Cronin, Samuel Beckett: The Last Modernist

John P. Harrington, The Irish Beckett

Hugh Kenner, A Reader’s Guide to Samuel Beckett; Samuel Beckett: A Critical Study

James Knowlson, Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett

Eoin O’Brien, The Beckett Country

Alan Simpson, Beckett and Behan and a Theatre in Dublin


Seamus Heaney


J. Bemporad, Seamus Heaney: Life and Works

Robert Buttel, Seamus Heaney

Neil Corcoran, The Poetry of Seamus Heaney

Catharine Malloy and Phyllis Carey, Seamus Heaney—The Shaping Spirit

Arthur E. McGuinnes, Seamus Heaney: Poet and Critic

Helen Vendler, Seamus Heaney


Brian Friel


Elmer Andrews, The Art of Brian Friel: Neither Reality nor Dreams

Ulf Dantanus, Brian Friel: The Growth of an Irish Dramatist

D.E.S. Maxwell, Brian Friel

George O'Brien, Brian Friel

Alan J Peacock, The Achievement of Brian Friel

Richard Pine, Brian Friel and Ireland's Drama

Ireland: A Selective Timeline

9th century, B.C.                    Arrival of first settlers.


3100 B.C.                                Construction of Newgrange Passage Tomb, Boyne Valley


c. 300                                      Arrival of the Celts.


c. 400                                      Introduction of Christianity.


c. 432                                      St. Patrick begins his mission, by tradition establishes church in Dublin.


795                                          First Viking raids.


841                                          First Viking settlement in Liffey valley


917                                          Vikings established Dublin as a permanent  settlement..


1014                Battle of Clontarf that curtails Viking power. Death of Brian Boru, king of Munster.


1166                                        Dermot MacMurrough, king of Leinster, is driven overseas and seeks help of Henry II, initiating British control of Ireland.


1170                                        Siege and capture of Dublin by Anglo-Norman forces. Marriage of Norman warlord Strongbow to Dermot’s daughter Aoife.


1366                                        Statutes of Kilkenny forbidding Irish and Norman intermarriage.


1534                                        Silken Thomas rebellion.


16th-17th centuries                 During the reign of Elizabeth I, England crushes a series of rebellions by Irish chiefs and tries to impose the Protestant Reformation on Ireland. James I (who ruled 1603-1625) offers large tracts in the northern counties of Ulster, Antrim, and Down to over 100,000 Protestant settlers from the Scottish Lowlands to develop plantations there.


1592                                        Trinity College founded by Elizabeth I.


1649                                        Arrival of Cromwell in Ireland and bloody sieges of Drogheda and Wexford.


1689                                        Derry, an English outpost, withstands a 100-day siege by the forces of James II, a Catholic, who had been driven from the throne of England in 1688 by William III of Orange.


1690                                        On July 1, William III leads an army of 36,000 men across the Boyne River near Drogheda, routs the Catholic forces and prompts the flight of James II to France. Irish Catholics hold out for more than a year before the capture of Limerick crushed their resistance. (The anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne is celebrated annually by the Orangemen of Northern Ireland as a decisive victory for the Protestant cause.)


1695                                        The first Irish Penal Laws forbid Catholics to keep weapons, own horses, to be educated overseas, and to teach or run schools in Ireland. Catholic clergy and public Catholic worship banished.


1704                                        New penal laws forbid Catholics to buy land, inherit land from Protestants, take leases for longer than 31 years, practice law, hold political office, or serve in the armed forces.


1728                                        Catholics lose the right to vote.


1782                                        Grattan’s Parliament establishes legislative independence.


1791                                        The Society of United Irishmen, founded by Wolfe Tone (1763-1798), and others, urges Catholics and Protestants to cooperate in seeking constitutional independence for Ireland as a republic on the model of the United States and France.


1795                                        The United Irishmen shift from a constitutional to a revolutionary approach and seek French aid for Irish rebellion. Rural rioting between Catholics and Protestants leads to the foundation of the Orange Order.


1798                                        United Irish rebellion. In County Wexford the uprising is brutally is crushed by the English on June 21, commemorated in songs like “The Croppy Boy. In the fall, to revive the rebellion, a small expeditionary force of about 1,000 French soldiers lands in Killala on the north coast of County Mayo. When an Irish force fails to materialize, the French are forced to surrender. Fighting alongside the French, Wolfe Tone is captured at sea and sentenced to death for high treason. Imprisoned in Dublin, he commits suicide.


1800                                        The Act of Union dissolves the Irish parliament in Dublin. Ireland becomes part of Great Britain and is governed directly from Westminster.


1803                                        Robert Emmet (1778-1803) leads an assault on Dublin Castle, but it fails when aid from Napoleon and Emmet’s Irish allies fails to materialize. After hiding out for month, Emmet is captured and publicly executed.


1823                                        Daniel O’Connell (1775-1847) forms the Catholic Association to work for Catholic emancipation.


1829                                        Catholic Emancipation Act passes, removing many civil restrictions imposed on Catholics since 1695.  Catholics permitted to sit in parliament. Introduction of “national” system of elementary education and suppression of the Irish language.


1840                                        O’Connell founds the Repeal Association to work toward repeal of the Act of Union supported by a series of “monster meetings” throughout the country.


1845-48                                    Great Potato Famine in which nearly a million Irish die and some two million emigrate.


1848                                        Young Ireland rebellion rejects O’Connell’s non-violent strategy.


1858                                        James Stephens organizes secret society known as the Irish Republican Brotherhood with an American counterpart, the Fenian Brotherhood (named for a professional military corps of ancient Ireland in the service of the high kings), bent on the violent overthrow of British rule.


1867                                        Attempted Fenian rebellion is suppressed.


1873                                        Home Rule League founded.


1875-1889                               Charles Stewart Parnell (1846-1891) enters the British Parliament and becomes the leader of the Irish Home Rule movement.


1879                                        National Land League founded by Michael Davitt (1846-1906) and Parnell. The League will encourage the use of boycotts as a form of civil disobedience.


1881                                        The National Land League achieves passage of the Land Act, which grants relief to tenant farmers by ensuring fair rent, fixity of tenure, and freedom from sale.


1882                                        On May 6, Lord Frederick Cavendish, the new chief secretary of Ireland, and Thomas Henry Burke, an undersecretary in Dublin Castle, are stabbed to death in Phoenix Park, Dublin, by the Invincibles, a splinter group of Fenians organized in 1881 for the purpose of assassinating key members of the British government in Ireland.


1884                                        Gaelic Athletic Association founded.


1885                                        Poems by W.B. Yeats first published in Dublin University Review. Dublin Hermetic Society formed with Yeats presiding.


1886                                        First Home Rule Bill defeated in House of Commons.


1888                                        Anthology, Poems and Ballads of Young Ireland, edited by Yeats and others.


1889                                        News of Parnell’s affair with married woman Kitty O’Shea breaks.


1890                                        Irish M.P.s repudiate Parnell’s leadership of Irish Parliamentary party. Yeats’ first book, The Wandering of Oisin.


1892                                        Irish National Literary Society founded by Yeats and others. Opening programs: George Sigerson’s “Irish Literature” and Douglas Hyde’s “The Necessity for the De-Anglicising of the Irish Nation.” Yeats, The Countess Kathleen and Various Legends and Lyrics.


1893                                        Gaelic League founded by Douglas Hyde to revive use of Irish language. Yeats, Celtic Twilight. Yeats addresses the Irish National Literary Society on “Nationality and Literature.” Hyde, The Love Songs of Connacht.


1894                                        Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire.


1895                                        Yeats, Poems and articles on “Irish National Literature.”


1897                                        Yeats meets with Lady Gregory and Edward Martyn to form an Irish theater. Yeats, The Secret Rose; The Tables of the Law and The Adoration of the Magi. Stoker, Dracula (greatest best-selling book by an Irish writer).


1899                                        Boer War (-1902). Queen Victoria visits Dublin. Irish Literary Theatre debuts with Yeats’ The Countess Cathleen and  Martyn’s The Heather Field. Yeats. The Wind Among the Reeds. Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest. Hyde, A Literary History of Ireland. The United Irishman, edited by Arthur Griffith, appears (through 1906) and becomes the most influential voice for political change.


1902                                        End of Boer War. Irish National Theatre Society established. Yeats, Cathleen ni Houlihan. Lady Gregory, Cuchulain of Muirthemne.


1903                                        Wyndham Land Act provides cut-rate loans for tenants who wish to buy land and offers bonuses to landlords willing to sell. Orange Order (Unionist) founded. Yeats, In the Seven Woods. George Moore, The Untilled Field.


1904                                        Abbey Theatre opens. AE (George Russell), ed. New Songs. Shaw, John Bull’s Other Island. Synge, Riders to the Sea. Yeats, On Baile’s Strand. Lady Gregory, Spreading the News.


1905                                        Arthur Griffith (1872-1922) founds Sinn Féin (“We Ourselves”) as a political movement for Irish national independence based initially on strategy of passive resistance. Shaw’s John Bull’s Other Island rejected by the Abbey. Synge, In the Shadow of the Glen and The Well of the Saints.


1907                                        Riots at the Abbey Theatre to protest Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World. Gregory, The Rising of the Moon. Joyce, Chamber Music. Synge, The Aran Islands. Yeats, Deirdre.


1909                                        First movie theatre, the Volta, opens in Dublin with James Joyce as manager.


1910                                        Irish made compulsory matriculation subject for the National University (established 1908). Yeats, The Green Helmet and Other Poems.


1912                                        Third Home Rule Bill debated. Beginning of military organization in Ulster to protest Home Rule for Ireland. Ulster Volunteers formed. Joyce’s final visit to Dublin.


1913                                        Third Home Rule Bill passes the House of Commons but is rejected by House of Lords. The Great Lockout and strike in Dublin. Irish Citizen Army founded by James Connolly. AE (George Russell), Collected Poems. First important studies of Irish literary revival: Lady Gregory’s Our Irish Theatre, Cornelius Weygandt’s Irish Plays and Playwrights, and Katherine Tynan Hinkson’s Twenty-five Years.


1914                                        Home Rule Bill is passed but is then suspended by the outbreak of the Great War. Irish Parliamentarian Party pledges support for England for the duration. Joyce, Dubliners. Yeats, Responsibilities .Curragh “Mutiny” in which British troops refuse to hinder raids for arms by Ulster Volunteers. Arms landed at Larne for Ulster with no opposition. A similar arms landing at Howth  for the Irish Volunteers results in troops’ firing on Dublin crowd.


1915                                        Patrick Pearse delivers the funeral oration for the burial of Fenian leader Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa: “life springs from death, and from the graves of patriotic men and women spring living nations.”


1916                                        Easter Rising followed by executions of 15 of its leaders, deportation of 1,700 to English prisons, and trial and execution of Roger Casement. Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Yeats, At the Hawk’s Well.


1917                                        De Valera elected President of Sinn Féin and Irish Volunteers. Yeats, The Wild Swans of Coole.


1918                                        Agitation in Ireland against conscription. Sinn Féin electoral triumph. Joyce, Exiles.Ulysses begins to appear in Little Review.


1919                                        Anglo-Irish War (-1921). First Dail meets in Dublin and declares independence, electing de Valera president. Raid on Royal Irish Constabulary opens war. De Valera escapes from prison. Sean O’Casey, The Story of the Irish Citizen Army.


1920                                        Increasing violence with arrival of “Black and Tans.” Anti-Catholic riots in Belfast. Terence MacSwiney, Lord Mayor of Cork, dies on a hunger strike. Michael Collins directs counterespionage. “Bloody Sunday”: thirteen men killed by IRA in Dublin, eleven of whom were British intelligence officers; reprisal killing of twelve people at a football match in Croke Park. English Parliament passes Government of Ireland Act, providing for two Irish parliaments, one in Belfast over the six northern counties, and one in Dublin for the 26.


1921                                        Anglo-Irish Treaty in December that gains southern part of Ireland dominion status and partition with Northern Ireland remaining part of Britain. The treaty falls short of the republic desired by many. Debate over the treaty splits the Dail and sparks the Civil War. Yeats, Michael Robartes and the Dancer; Four Plays for Dancers.


1922                                        Treaty ratified (64-57) establishing the Irish Free State; de Valera resigns presidency. Civil War (-1923). Southern Ireland divided among four governments: the Dail (Griffith president), the allied Provisional government under Michael Collins; the disaffected Republicans under de Valera, and the army under Rory O’Connor, whose troops seize Four Courts as headquarters in April. Four Courts attacked in June, and Republicans are defeated in Dublin; guerilla combat continues throughout the country. Michael Collins is killed. Campaign of terror against government leaders with assassinations and house-burnings, followed by reprisal executions. Joyce, Ulysses. Yeats, Later Poems.


1923                                        Continuing internment of republicans. Cease-fire. De Valera confined for a year without trial. Censorship of films introduced under Free State Law. Yeats wins Nobel Prize. O’Casey, The Shadow of a Gunman.


1924                                        O’Casey, Juno and the Paycock. Daniel Corkery, The Hidden Ireland.


1926                                        De Valera forms Fiana Fail (“men of destiny”). O’Casey. Plough and the Star. Yeats, Autobiographies.


1928                                        The Gate Theatre opens. O’Casey’s The Silver Tassie is rejected by the Abbey. Yeats, The Tower.


1929                                        Censorship of Publication Act.


1932                                        Fianna Fáil under De Valera wins the general election (in power until 1948).


1933                                        Yeats, The Winding Stair.


1934                                        Lord Craigavon refers to Northern Ireland as “a Protestant Parliament and a Protestant State.” Beckett, More Pricks than Kicks. Sean O’Faolain, A Nest of Simple Folk. Robert Flaherty, Man of Aran.


1935                                        Sale of contraceptives prohibited. Beckett, Echo’s Bones.


1936                                        Patrick Kavanagh, Ploughman and Other Poems.


1937                                        New constitution abolishes the Irish Free State and establishes Eire as a “sovereign independent democratic state.”


1938                                        Douglas Hyde becomes first President of Eire (holds office until 1945). Beckett, Murphy. Elizabeth Bowen, The Death of the Heart. Yeats, New Poems; Purgatory.


1939                                        Death of W.B. Yeats. Ireland declares neutrality in Second World War. Joyce, Finnegans Wake. Flann O’Brien. At-Swim-Two-Birds.


1940                                        Yeats, Last Poems.


1941                                        Death of James Joyce. O’Brien, The Poor Mouth.


1942                                        Rationing introduced. Kavanagh, The Great Hunger.


1944                                        Joyce Cary, The Horse’s Mouth. Joyce, Stephen Hero.


1949                                        Easter Monday, April 14, the Republic of Ireland created, severing allegiance to the British Crown and the Commonwealth of Nations. Ireland Act at Westminster guarantees status of Northern Ireland.


1951                                        De Valera elected Taoiseach. Beckett, Molloy. Abbey Theatre burns down.


1952                                        Beckett, Waiting for Godot.


1953                                        Beckett, Watt and Malone Dies.


1954                                        Brendan Behan, The Quare Fellow. Christy Brown, My Left Foot.


1955                                        Ireland admitted to the United Nations. J.P. Donleavy, The Ginger Man. Brian Moore, Judith Hearne.


1956                                        IRA Border Campaign begins (1956-1962)


1957                                        IRA attack on Brookeborough police barracks in Northern Ireland. Beckett, Endgame.


1958                                        Beckett, Krapp’s Last Tape. Behan, Borstal Boy.


1959                                        De Valera elected President (until 1973).


1960                                        Edna O’Brien, The Country Girls. Kavanagh, Come Dance With Kitty Stobling.


1963                                        John McGahern, The Barracks. Richard Murphy, Sailing to an Island.


1964                                        O’Brien, The Dalkey Archive. William Trevor, The Old Boys. Kavanagh, Collected Poems. Brian Friel, Philadelphia Here I Come. The Chieftains’ first album.


1965                                        McGahern, The Dark. John B. Keane, The Field.


1966                                        Fiftieth Anniversary of Easter Rising. Nelson’s Pillar in Dublin destroyed in explosion. New Abbey Theatre opens. Seamus Heaney, Death of a Naturalist. Austin Clarke, Mnemosyne Lay in Dust.


1967                                        O’Brien, The Third Policeman.


1969                                        People’s Democracy march ambushed by militant Protestants at Burntollet. British troops move into Northern Ireland.


1970                                        Split between Provisional and Official IRA. Provisionals embark on campaign of violence.


1971                                        First British soldier killed in Northern Ireland. Internment without trial introduced.


1972                                        Bloody Sunday in Derry. British Embassy in Dublin burned. Mary Lavin, A Memory and Other Stories. Heaney, Wintering Out. John Montague, The Rough Field. Thomas Kinsella, Notes from the Land of the Dead and Other Poems.


1974                                        IRA bombs kill 21 people in Birmingham. Loyalist bomb kills 25 people in Dublin. IRA bomb in Guilford kills four members of British Army.


1975                                        Heaney, North.


1979                                        Lord Mountbatten murdered by IRA. Heaney, Field Work.


1980                                        Hunger Strikes by republicans in Maze Prison. Field Day Theatre Company founded by Brian Friel and Stephen Rea. Friel, Translations.


1984                                        IRA bomb nearly kills Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Heaney, Station Island.


1985                                        Anne Devlin, Ourselves Alone. Frank McGuinness, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme.


1990                                        Mary Robinson elected President of Ireland. John McGahern, Amongst Women. Roddy Doyle, The Snapper. Friel, Dancing at Lughnasa.


1992                                        Clare Boylan, Home Rule. Patrick McCabe, The Butcher Boy. Colm Tóibín, The Heather Blazing.


1993                                        Doyle, Paddy Clarke, Ha Ha Ha.


1994                                        IRA ceasefire.


1996                                        IRA renews campaign of violence with bombs in London and Manchester. All-Party talks revived under chairmanship of US Senator George Mitchell.


1997                                        IRA new ceasefire. Mary McAleese elected President. Conor McPherson, The Weir.


1998                                        Northern Ireland Peace talks lead to Good Friday Agreement. Heaney, Open Ground.