Two declarations: I’m Irish, and I love literature.

This blog’s origins lie in a few days of a damp and dreary Irish October in 2012. Firstly I attended the launch of “Silver Threads of Hope”, the Sinéad Gleeson-edited collection of 28 short stories by Irish or Irish-based authors, which will benefit the suicide charity Console. The contents page of “Silver Threads…” contains an impressive list of writers, and many of them were packed into the upstairs room at the Lost Society near Dublin’s Grafton Street. There were so many writers there that the writers were trying to spot writers.

“Are you in the book?” someone asked me. Maybe I should’ve lied.

And then a few days later, while flicking through the list of Nobel Laureates after the Chinese writer Mo Yan was announced as the latest winner of the award, it struck me just how impressive our collective literary legacy really is. Yes, I always knew it, of course, but seeing the names of Yeats, Shaw, Beckett and Heaney on the list was still an epiphany of sorts.

Later that evening, as I tried to customise Google News to quieten its noise, I noticed several news pieces about Claire Keegan and Eavan Boland and John Montague.

I decided to try to bring things together in one place. The “Loose Leaves” column is one of the first ports of call of a Saturday, the only criticism being that the experience lasts just five minutes before I’m left yearning for the next instalment seven days later. So I thought that if I could create a site about Irish writing (and writers and readings and events) that I would be interested in visiting, then maybe a few others might be interesting in visiting it too.

Welcome to the Irish Writing Blog.

I hope you find something to bring you back.



27 thoughts on “About

    1. Thanks Nuala.

      By necessity of limited time and general laziness, it’ll be a softly, softly approach with a view to gradual build. It’s already got me a comment from Nuala Ní Chonchúir and a tweet from Sinead Gleeson. I’m counting that as early successes.


    1. Thanks CJ.

      Giving a sustained commitment to a blog like this is a bit new for me but I’m trying to stick to it. Hopefully it will build over time.


    1. Hi.

      It’s not something I’ve done yet but it’s certainly something I’d like to in the near future. I hope to carry author interviews, podcasts and a few other things in time, and short stories and poetry from budding Irish writers would also fit the bill.

      Thanks for getting in touch. Drop me a line at shane.breslin@gmail.com if you’ve something definite in mind.


  1. Great stuff, Shane, just spotted your blog now as I was googling Sarah Hall of all people, she being not Irish so don’t know how your blog came up. Am looking forward to reading your blog as I love Irish short stories and novels, but mostly short stories! Who are you reading at present?


    1. Hi Rozz,

      Apologies for the delay in getting back to you – March was a bit of a write-off for me and consequently for the blog. Trying to get things back up and running now – starting with the announcement of the book club choice for April!

      Finished the previous book club, er, book, David Park’s The Light of Amsterdam at the weekend. Very good in parts, passable in others. Currently really enjoying Keith Ridgway’s Hawthorn and Child. (Which reminds me that I must start getting some considered reviews up here.)

      Sarah shows up in a lot of Irish writing related searched – the benefits of an established social media presence, I reckon!

      Thanks for the comment, and chat soon.


  2. Hi Shane,
    Just discovered your blog and am following. My name is Paul Newman and I’m an Irish writer living in Australia. I’ve just had my debut novel published a week ago by http://www.reallybluebooks.com. The book is entitled ‘Fin Rising’ and I’d like to send you a promo copy for your I pad or suchlike. The story is a dark comedy set in the west of Ireland, it involves a bit of drinking, enough fishing to make it interesting and a bit of romance thrown into the mix too. Oh, and there’s a chase on for a ton of money hidden away in a secret Swiss bank account. If you go to the link below you’ll be able to read a few sample pages to see if it’s the kind of think that might interest you. I’m obviously keen to bring it to the attention of as many readers as possible and get people racing to amazon.

    1. Hi Claire,
      Apologies for the delay in responding. A couple of posts lined up this week so hopefully you enjoy them. Let me know either way anyway.

  3. Howya, Shane.
    I was wondering why “there aren’t many blogs about Irish books” and Google finally offered yours up. I guess the book retailers have more Googlejuice than bloggers? Very happy to find your corner of the web. I’m from Meath (between Navan & Kells) and now living in the US. I’m a writer who mainly works in book marketing, and I look forward to reading your blog in the future.

    1. Hey Rich, how’s the form?
      Great to have you on board here. This part of the country is bubbling nicely at the moment – over the past month we’ve had the Spiegeltent Festival in Navan, the Hay Festival in Kells (which was fantastic – you should try to coincide any return trip next year around the dates July 4-6) and then the Swift Satire Festival in Trim. It’s all a great improvement from the lie of the land which prevailed a decade or two ago and which prompted the Tommy Tiernan joke which characterised Navan as “a cultureless f***ing hole of a town”.
      Anyway, I look forward to chatting with you a bit more about the things that matter.
      PS The A Trip to Ireland is a great website by the way – do you update it solo, or is there a few of you involved? What kind of traffic do you get?

    2. Incidentally, no doubt that the retailers have more Googlejuice. Way more traffic too, in a sort of self-fulfilling loop. But I’ll get my foot on that particular roller-coaster yet…

  4. Hi Shane. I think you might enjoy the radio programme ‘Counting the Milestones’ going out on RTE lyric fm at 7 pm on Friday 18 July about the Irish writer Jim Phelan (1895-1966). He described himself as a professional tramp, spent 13 years in jail, and wrote nearly 30 books of fact and fiction, including autobiography, short stories and novels. I came across him a few years ago and it has been fascinating hearing his story from his biographer, his son and his grand-daughter, as well as speaking with various academics about his writing. An intriguing character, worth re-discovering. Claire

  5. Dia duit, a Shane!
    What a lovely blog. Really like your artilce about Beckett.
    You attract cool comments, too. I didn’t know all that about Jim Phelan (see preceding comment.)

    Can we talk…? I’d love to discuss with you also my own book … If I may shamelessly tell you about it:
    “The Assassination of Michael Collins: What Happened At Béal na mBláth?”

    Would love to hear from you sometime.

    You can read excerpts at my blog:  

    Customer reviews: 


  6. Feeling good about finding your blog. I came across it as I perused the Net about William Trevor. I’m Irish-American living in Mexico yearning for another peek at Slieve League and Little Huey’s Pub in Gweedore. My blog is icareinmerida.com.

    1. Fantastic. I’m on the other side of the country but I’ve got loads of family in Donegal – Slieve League is a special, special place.
      Thanks for sharing your blog.

      1. Shane:
        Dia duit.
        It’s taken a while for me to respond seeing as that my Windows on my computer got dirty and I couldn’t see out to the Internet for a few days. My maternal grandparents’ families came from Donegal – Coyle’s and O’Donnell’s. My dad’s came from Holland and Ireland – Snyder and McGonigle. I don’t know much about any of them from your side of the ocean, but I can say that the day I stood on Slieve League looking into the sea the sense of my Irish roots were the strongest they’ve ever been. I was moved to jump up and down like the crazy Celts I’ve read about. Fortunately for my companions, I kept my clothes on.
        Trevor’s brilliant by the way.
        Stay in touch, Bill.

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