Eilís Dillon (1920-1994) wrote more than thirty books for young people, as well as fiction for adults, including the best-selling historical novel Across the Bitter Sea
, about the struggle for Irish independence in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. With few exceptions, her young people’s books are set in the west of Ireland, in small communities struggling to make a living on the islands and along the Atlantic coast. As the critic Declan Kiberd wrote in Dillon’s obituary: “What Laura Ingalls Wilder did for children’s literature in the US, she achieved in Ireland, imparting a sure historical sense in books such as The Singing Cave
. That interest in history was a natural expression of her curiosity of mind, and of her family inheritance.