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Last Updated on July 10, 2020 by Jella Erhard

9 Lesser-known & Famous Modern Irish Poets

Let these enchanting lesser-known and modern Irish poets take you to Ireland and help you fall in love with Irish poetry.

You probably know and love one of the most famous Irish poets of all time; Oscar Wild. His witty and entertaining short stories and plays are still widely beloved but he’s also written quite a few remarkable poems.

Oscar Wild also introduced many poetry lovers to the world of Irish poems.

Here you’ll find some of the most amazing and accomplished contemporary Irish poets. Explore beautiful poems about life, love, death, struggles, and of course poems about the beautiful nature in Ireland.

These stunning Irish poetry books will not only make you want to travel and explore Ireland but will help you understand more about its culture and its people.

Enchanting Irish Poets You Will Easily Fall in Love With

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9| Painting Rain by Paula Meehan | 2009

Painting Rain by Paula Meehan - famous modern Irish POets and poems (Small)

Paula Meehan is certainly amid the most remarkable contemporary Irish poets you can find. During her childhood, she has been through a lot, which partly inspired her to write some of the most moving pieces Irish poetry has seen.

In Painting Rain you are going to find lengthy and shorter poems as well. If you are experiencing difficult times, this collection will most definitely help you climb out of your dark hole.

There have been some saddening times Meehan writes about, dealing with grief and all sorts of wounds your soul may need help with. There is no way you are going to be a one-time reader of this melancholic and supportive book.

You are very likely to keep it close and pick it up again and again.

Painting Rain by Paula Meehan is one of the most heartbreaking Irish poetry books, which will first make you utterly sad, then slowly ease your pain.

8| Collected Poems by Patrick Kavanagh | 1964

Collected Poems by Patrick Kavanagh - famous modern irish poets (Small)

Patrick Kavanagh lived an active life and shared quite a lot of himself over the six decades our planet was lucky enough to have of him. He was a pretty interesting person, who grew up in the Irish farmlands and set out in the UK to then settle down in Dublin.

He is sometimes pretty raw, other times very artistic and dreamy. His inspiration was mostly his time spent in Monaghan County. There he worked for his shoemaker father and at their farm, then left to live for his passion; poetry.

His fantastic works have gained some, but deserve much more recognition around the world. This magnificent collection is going to make a great read for everyone, who enjoys colorful simplicity.

May sound strange, but a simple his art is, he manages to make it unforgettably enjoyable.

Collected Poems by Patrick Kavanagh contains some of the greatest Irish poems the 20th century has brought to us.

7| On Ballycastle Beach by Medbh McGuckian | 1988

On Ballycastle Beach by Medbh McGuckian - famous modern irish poets

Multi-award winner Northern Irish poet McGuckian had a lot to share about her experience growing up and living in suburban Belfast. It is no wonder why her works are praised by both critics and Irish poetry lovers.

She has an outstanding style mixing reality with imagination. On Ballycastle Beach gets quite personal and intimate allowing readers to enter one of the most beloved contemporary Irish poets.

It is a great piece for those males, who struggle with understanding female desires and difficulties. The beauty of this collection is actually getting to the realization by the time readers put it down, that we are not alone with our feelings and others face issues similar to ours as well.

Medbh McGuckian is certainly a very open poet, who doesn’t shy away from saying out loud what is on her heart. 

On Ballycastle Beach is among the must-pick up Irish poetry books for both genders to find a companion on our way to understanding ourselves.

6| Moy Sand and Gravel by Paul Muldoon | 2002

Moy Sand and Gravel by Paul Muldoon - modern irish poets

Paul Muldoon is probably the most well known contemporary Irish poet in the US. He had left Ireland in 1987 and moved to New Jersey.

Throughout his active life Muldoon was arts producer for BBC Belfast and following his emigration to the USA, he taught at Princeton. The numerous awards he has won over the years include a Pulitzer Prize for poetry and the T.S. Eliott prize as well.

Now, he is the arts editor of The New Yorker. If you love poetry and live on the East Coast, it is more than likely you have come across his name. Moy Sand and Gravel is an extensive collection with loads of amusing, meaningful, and sometimes a little melancholic pieces.

Even if you are not perfectly up to date with Irish and US literature or history (there are countless references to both), you are still going to enjoy this collection.

Moy Sand and Gravel by Paul Muldoon is a gem of Irish poetry colored with the poet’s passion for US literature.

5| The M Pages by Colette Bryce | 2020

The M Pages by Colette Bryce - famous modern irish poets

The M Pages is a completely fresh collection, it has just been published in March 2020. This masterly structured collection is definitely going to jerk some tears in your eyes.

Northern Irish poet Colette Bryce has a remarkable way of expressing pain that
comes from losing a loved one. If you are in search of poems that help with grieving, then Bryce’s latest publication will definitely offer a helping hand in the process.

Out of all the contemporary Irish poets, Colette Bryce may be the most under-appreciated, but we have a feeling it is about to change. Critics praise her works all around Great-Britain, and certainly, good days are ahead of her.

The M Pages by Colette Bryce is one of the most poignant Irish poetry books that can help to all, who are in a dark place or having difficulties dealing with the passing of someone close.

4| Parallax by Sinéad Morrissey | 2013

Parallax by Sinéad Morrissey - famous modern irish poets

As the title suggests Morrissey’s fifth collection deals with how things can be differently perceived depending on the viewpoint.

Parallax is a magnificent piece, surely one of the best Irish poetry books you can find that was published in the 21st century. Sinéad Morrissey was born and raised in Northern Ireland, studied in Dublin, Ireland, and lived in various parts of the world (Japan and New Zealand).

All the experience she gained by traveling, exploring, and immersing herself in different cultures is strongly present in this fantastic book.

Critics were extremely fond of this work, it won the T.S. Eliot Prize in 2014. Morrissey’s three previous collections were shortlisted, it was time for her to finally win.

Parallax is perfectly lively, full of rhythm, and positivity. She found a voice that makes every reader’s day without a doubt.

Parallax by Sinéad Morrissey is a beautiful collection with some of the greatest Irish poems that bring a little sunshine into everyone’s library. You will find it very helpful to become more open-minded and look at things from all angles.

3| Selected Poems by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin | 2008

Selected Poems by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin - famous modern irish poets (Small)

Former Ireland Professor of Poetry (2016-2019) and multi-award winner Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin spent most of her life with poetry.

Since her first published collection (Acts and Monuments, Dublin: The Gallery Press, 1972) She enjoyed a productive life. With eleven poetry books, we can say she is among the most published poets in Irish poetry.

Ní Chuilleanáin wasn’t only creative, but highly inspiring as well. Besides dedicating most of her time to researching, translating, and of course, writing, she has also been a great teacher, professor to many aspiring poets, and literature enthusiasts.

Her 2008 publication collects some of the best of her poems, allowing readers, who are new to her art to get a good feel of what to expect.

Selected Poems by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin is a fascinating collection with some of the most remarkable Irish poems that perfectly blends modern and traditional poetry.

2| Opened Ground: Selected Poems, 1966-1996 by Seamus Heaney | 1998

Opened Ground Selected Poems, 1966-1996 by Seamus Heaney , famous modern irish poets

Seamus Heaney is often mentioned as one of the most fascinating contemporary Irish poets. He had multiple talents; he was a great translator and playwright besides being an outstanding poet.

He modernized Beowulf as well and countless pieces by him have changed people’s lives in the past six decades. His passing at the age of 74 in 2013 shook the whole world.

Among the many highly esteemed awards, he has also been the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. Opened Ground collects some of his best works as Heaney himself imagined it.

There are some other works, so you can take a look at his talents in translation as well.

Readers can also find his Nobel acceptance speech along with some fantastic poems.

Opened Ground: Selected Poems, 1966-1996 by Seamus Heaney is definitely one of the most brilliant Irish Poetry books, which collects thirty years of Heaney’s works.

1| The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats | 1994

The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats - famous modern IRish poets (Small)

William Butler Yeats is without doubt the father of modern Irish literature and poetry. His works and efforts have brought a completely new era, which also changed the way how the whole world looks at the Emerald Isle.

Probably Yeats needs no lengthy introduction as he was widely popular all around the globe.

Among a number of prizes, he was awarded the most prestigious one can get, the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923. His imaginative art represented almost every genre, he did get into politics just as well as into mythology.

You are going to find some of the best works by him in The Collected Poems; there are pieces for everyone.

If you are looking for a good laugh, release some stress or anger, feel in love, and loved, you have just opened the right collection of the best Irish poems.

Throughout his life, Yeats was very passionate, tireless, and open-minded, all showing in this fascinating collection.

The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats is certainly the finest collection of the most acclaimed Irish poet, which has a treat for all poetry lovers for sure.

Famous Modern Irish Poets

Thank you for reading!