Ireland has been awarded four Nobel prizes for literature-- the winners being George Bernard Shaw, W.B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney.
I think W.B. Yeats was the greatest English-language poet of all time, hands down.
I think Shaw was a wonderfully articulate writer, but I always found his plays unbearably dull. I've read more of his correspondence with Chesterton than any original works he wrote. His anti-romantic view of the world might be the outlook I hate the most, short of pure nihilism. I understand Yeats's reaction on seeing a Shaw play: "I had a nightmare that I was haunted by a sewing-machine, that clicked and shone, but the incredible thing was that the machine smiled, smiled perpetually."
I think Samuel Beckett was a complete charlatan, although perhaps not a conscious charlatan. Waiting for Godot is the dullest play ever written-- it's a good idea, but once you've understood the idea, there's nothing left to say. Audiences hated it at first, but were subsequently told to suffer through it, and obligingly did. Everything else he wrote was just the same idea trotted out again and again. His life is quite interesting, and the atmosphere of his plays is mildly stimulating-- or at least, the atmosphere of stills from his plays. There is a Samuel Beckett exhibition in the library where I work and I quite like the photographs. (It's nearly all photographs-- everything is presentation these days.)
Seamus Heaney was, I think, another charlatan-- though once again, I think he was probably not a conscious charlatan. I think his poetry is entirely without merit of any kind. He wrote about fashionable themes, Northern Ireland and all that, and for whatever reason he was chosen from the hundreds of others also writing about Northern Ireland and all that.
That's it. So when people compliment Ireland on its four Nobel prizes for literature, I can't take it very seriously.