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Famous Playwrights from Ireland

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List of notable or famous playwrights from Ireland, with bios and photos, including the top playwrights born in Ireland and even some popular playwrights who immigrated to Ireland. If you're trying to find out the names of famous Irish playwrights then this list is the perfect resource for you. These playwrights are among the most prominent in their field, and information about each well-known playwright from Ireland is included when available.

Oscar Wilde and William Butler Yeats are included on this list.

This historic playwrights from Ireland list can help answer the questions "Who are some Irish playwrights of note?" and "Who are the most famous playwrights from Ireland?" These prominent playwrights of Ireland may or may not be currently alive, but what they all have in common is that they're all respected Irish playwrights.

Use this list of renowned Irish playwrights to discover some new playwrights that you aren't familiar with. Don't forget to share this list by clicking one of the social media icons at the top or bottom of the page. 
1
Brendan Behan is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
Dec. at 41 (1923-1964)
Brendan Francis Aidan Behan (christened Francis Behan) ( BEE-ən; Irish: Breandán Ó Beacháin; 9 February 1923 – 20 March 1964) was an Irish poet, short story writer, novelist ...more
2
Colm Byrne is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
age 53
Colm Byrne (born 1966) is an Irish playwright. He was born in Limerick and lives in Galway. His plays have been noted as political, lively and poetic. He is a recipient of a Bay Area Critics ...more
3
Colm Tóibín is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
age 63
Colm Tóibín (Irish pronunciation: [ˈkɔl̪ˠəmˠ t̪ˠoːˈbʲiːnʲ]; born 30 May 1955) is an Irish novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, journalist, critic and ...more
4
Conor McPherson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
age 47
Conor McPherson (born 6 August 1971) is an Irish playwright, screenwriter and director of stage and film. In recognition of his contribution to world theatre, McPherson was awarded a doctorate ...more
5
Declan Lynch is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
age 58
Declan Lynch (born 1961) is an Irish journalist, writer and playwright. Lynch was born in Athlone, Ireland, and now works for the Sunday Independent. Lynch graduated from Marist College ...more
6
Dion Boucicault is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
Dec. at 70 (1820-1890)
Dionysius Lardner "Dion" Boucicault (né Boursiquot; 26 December 1820 – 18 September 1890) was an Irish actor and playwright famed for his melodramas. By the later part of the ...more
7
Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron of... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
Dec. at 79 (1878-1957)
Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany (; 24 July 1878 – 25 October 1957), was an Anglo-Irish writer and dramatist; his work, mostly in the fantasy genre, was published under ...more
8
Emma Donoghue is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
age 49
Emma Donoghue (born 24 October 1969) is an Irish-Canadian playwright, literary historian, novelist, and screenwriter. Her 2010 novel Room was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and an ...more
9
Enda Walsh is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
age 52
Enda Walsh (born 1967) is an Irish playwright.
10
Frank McGuinness is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
age 65
Professor Frank McGuinness (born 1953) is an Irish writer. As well as his own plays, which include The Factory Girls, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, Someone Who'll Watch ...more
11
Frank McMahon is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
Dec. at 65 (1919-1984)
Frank McMahon (September 20, 1919 – December 22, 1984) was an American-Irish playwright and broadcasting executive. His adaptation of Brendan Behan's autobiographical Borstal Boy played on ...more
12
Gary Duggan is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
age 39
Gary Duggan (born 14 March 1979) is an Irish playwright. Born in Dublin in 1979, Duggan was raised in the North Dublin suburb of Donaghmede. He studied Media Production at Dublin Institute of ...more
13
George Bernard Shaw is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
Dec. at 94 (1856-1950)
George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote ...more
14
George Moore is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
Dec. at 81 (1852-1933)
George Augustus Moore (24 February 1852 – 21 January 1933) was an Irish novelist, short-story writer, poet, art critic, memoirist and dramatist. Moore came from a Roman Catholic landed family ...more
15
Hamilton Deane is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
Dec. at 78 (1880-1958)
Hamilton Deane (1880–1958) was an Irish actor, playwright and director. He played a key role in popularising Bram Stoker's Dracula as a stage play and, later, a film.
16
Hugh Leonard is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
Dec. at 83 (1926-2009)
Hugh Leonard (9 November 1926 – 12 February 2009) was an Irish dramatist, television writer and essayist. In a career that spanned 50 years, Leonard wrote nearly 30 full-length plays, 10 one-act ...more
17
Isaac Bickerstaffe is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
Dec. at 79 (1733-1812)
Isaac Bickerstaffe or Bickerstaff (26 September 1733 – 1812?) was an Irish playwright and Librettist.
18
James Cousins is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
Dec. at 83 (1873-1956)
James Henry Cousins (22 July 1873 – 20 February 1956) was an Irish writer, playwright, actor, critic, editor, teacher and poet. He used several pseudonyms including Mac Oisín and the ...more
19
James Plunkett is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
Dec. at 83 (1920-2003)
James Plunkett Kelly, or James Plunkett (21 May 1920 – 28 May 2003), was an Irish writer. He was educated at Synge Street CBS. Plunkett grew up among the Dublin working class and they, along ...more
20
Jimmy Murphy is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
age 57
Jimmy Murphy is an Irish playwright living in Dublin. He is a former writer in residence at NUI Maynooth (2000–01), a member of the Abbey Theatre’s Honorary Advisory Council, a recipient of ...more
21
John B. Keane is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
Dec. at 74 (1928-2002)
John Brendan Keane (21 July 1928 – 30 May 2002) was an Irish playwright, novelist and essayist from Listowel, County Kerry.
22
John Banville is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
age 73
William John Banville (born 8 December 1945) is an Irish novelist, short story writer, adapter of dramas and screenwriter. Though he has been described as "the heir to Proust, via ...more
23
Liam Mac Uistin is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
age 81
Liam Mac Uistin is a writer.
24
Maeve Binchy is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
Dec. at 72 (1940-2012)
Maeve Binchy Snell (28 May 1939 – 30 July 2012) was an Irish novelist, playwright, short story writer, columnist, and speaker best known for her sympathetic and often humorous portrayal of ...more
25
Marina Carr is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Playwrights from Ireland
age 54
Marina Carr born November 17,1964 is a prolific Irish playwright. She has written almost thirty plays, including By the Bog of Cats (1998) which was revived at the Abbey Theater in 2014.