So who was the greatest British novelist of the 20th century? Most of the millennial critics leaned toward James Joyce, which would be alright with me. The greatest poet? Less agreement there, but WB Yeats, who would be my choice, got some traction (the American TS Eliot got a bit more). If you were talking about the second half of the century, Seamus Heaney might get my shout out. The greatest playwright? More competition here, but my vote still goes to Samuel Beckett, who gets extra credit for his prose. George Bernard Shaw would top some lists.
My point being of course that all those writers, who are naturally assumed to be British (if not English) are actually Irish, and where would we be without them today? Happy St Patrick's Day.