Ireland has in total 8 Nobel laureates. They break down by category as follows:
Literature: 4, Peace: 2, Physics: 1, Physiology or Medicine: 1
It is hardly a surprise that Ireland excels in literature. Irish mythology divides the society of the Tuatha Dé Danann into three tribes, the Tuatha (nobility) the Dé (priests) and the Danann (bards). In medieval Ireland the communal body of lore was protected by the Filí (court poet historians) and the Bards (itinerant poets, story tellers and minstrels). These individuals were highly respected and honoured. There are dreadful cautionary tales told of the fate of lords who failed to honour a bard properly. No sword cuts as deeply as a well crafted satire.
The claim to fame of my own clan, the MacFhlannchaidh (Clancy) is that we were filí to the Dalcassian Sept. We were the brehons (lawyers), historians, poets, diplomats, ambassadors and scribes. Basically the civil service of the time. The Dalcassians were one of the most powerful tribal groups in Ireland. they successfully rebuffed attempts by the Normans to invade their lands. Two American presidents, J.F.K. and Ronald Reagan trace their heritage back to the Dál gCais.
The Irish literature winners are W.B. Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney.
The last two were born on the same day, April 13th. Happy birthday to half of all Irish Nobel Prize winning literature laureates.
Ascension; by Samuel Beckett
through the slim partition
this day when a child
prodigal in his own way
returned into the family
I hear a voice
it is excited it comments
on the football world cup
forever too young
meanwhile through the open window
over the air in a word
a sea swell of the faithful
her blood spurted in abundance
on the sheets on the sweet peas on her bloke
he closed the eyelids with filthy fingers
on the green eyes big with surprise
she lightly roams
over my tomb of air
Rite of Spring; by Seamus Heaney
So winter closed its fist
and got it stuck in the pump.
The plunger froze up a lump
in its throat, ice founding itself
upon iron. The handle
paralysed at an angle.
Then the twisting of wheat straw
into ropes, lapping them tight
round stem and snout, then a light
that sent the pump up in a flame
it cooled, we lifted her latch,
her entrance was wet, and she came.