St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are usually boisterous and cheerful affairs with freely flowing alcohol and merriment.
But there’s a darker side to Irish culture, a penchant for the macabre and mysterious. Remember, Halloween itself was brought to us by the Irish, who gave us everything from jack-o-lanterns to headless horsemen, from banshees to Dracula.
The cultural legacy and mythology of the ancient Celts – wildly imaginative and unsettlingly powerful – was surely an influence on Irish literature, which abounds with the gruesome, ghastly, and the just plain weird. Indeed, the Irish may have contributed more to Gothic sensibilities than any other culture.
Some of these classic authors are probably familiar (Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker, for example), but if any of them are new to you, please consider spending your St. Patrick’s Day discovering the morbid joys they have to offer!
So on this day that we celebrate all things Irish, let’s lift a Guinness to honor seven of Ireland’s best.