The Northern Irish writer Ciaran Carson was better known for his poetry than his prose. Shamrock Tea featured the author himself as part of a hard-to-classify blend.
Carson, born into an Irish-speaking family, often took his native Belfast for a subject and Northern Irishness was a running theme in his 17 books of poetry and 10 prose works. He was no fey poet, however, but a natty dresser with a penchant for hand-made suits who also worked for the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, with traditional music as his brief. He was a gifted musician himself, and played the flute and tin whistle in pubs all around Ireland. His gift for language also expressed itself in his many translations, included a much-praised version of Dante’s Inferno.