#OTD in 1928 – Birth of playwright, novelist and poet, John B. Keane, in Listowel, Co Kerry.

“I was writing about people I knew, people who lived about two miles from Listowel, and that I’d grown up with. They’re all gone now, but they made me their spokesperson and I felt a responsibility to tell their story, to preserve a wonderful tradition in written form.” –John B. Keane John B. Keane was […]

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#OTD in 2003 – James Plunkett, best known for his epic novel of Dublin, ‘Strumpet City’, dies at the age of 83.

“Two divine persons in one. A mother lamenting her children in bondage. A girl ravished by the Saxon, who weeps over her stringless harp. But her young champions keep watch in the mountains, awaiting the dawn of the bright sun of Freedom. They will gather around her with pikes and swords.” –James Plunkett ––Strumpet City […]

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#OTD in 1940 – Birth of Maeve Binchy, an Irish novelist, playwright, short story writer, columnist, and speaker best known for her humorous take on small-town life in Ireland, her descriptive characters, her interest in human nature and her often clever surprise endings.

Her novels, which were translated into 37 languages, sold more than 40 million copies worldwide, and her death, announced by Vincent Browne on Irish television late on 30 July 2012, was mourned as the passing of Ireland’s best-loved and most recognisable writer. In September 2012, a new garden behind the Dalkey Library in Dublin was […]

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#OTD in 1906 – Birth of playwright, Samuel Beckett, in Foxrock, Co Dublin.

“We are all born mad. Some remain so.” –Samuel Beckett An Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet, who lived in Paris for most of his adult life and wrote in both English and French. Beckett is widely regarded as among the most influential writers of the 20th century. During the 1930s and 1940s […]

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#OTD in 1964 – Death of Brendan Behan, an Irish poet, short story writer, novelist, and playwright who wrote in both Irish and English.

He was also a committed Irish Republican and a volunteer in the Irish Republican Army. He died in Meath hospital after reportedly telling a nun looking after him: ‘Ah, bless you, Sister, may all your sons be bishops’. Brendan Behan was born in Dublin into a republican family, and became a member of the IRA’s youth […]

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#OTD in 1893 – Peadar O’Donnell, novelist, editor of the newspaper An Phoblacht (The Republic) and social reformer, is born in Co Donegal.

A school teacher by profession, he taught on Arranmore Island before leaving for Scotland to assist migrant labourers in their strike for improved pay and conditions. Returning to Ireland, he became involved in the Republican Movement and played an active part in the War of Independence. O’Donnell opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty and in January 1922 […]

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#OTD in 1964 – Death of novelist Maurice Walsh, author of the original story of The Quiet Man.

Maurice Walsh was born in Ballydonoghue, near Listowel, Co Kerry, and is best known for the short story The Quiet Man which was later made into an Oscar-winning movie directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. He was one of Ireland’s best-selling authors in the 1930s. John Walsh’s main interests were […]

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#OTD in 1873 – Death of journalist, novelist, and short story writer, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, in Dublin.

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu – ‘The Invisible Prince’ – is best known for his novel about the ‘venerable, bloodless, fiery-eyed’ uncle, Uncle Silas (1864), however, it was his vampire novella Carmilla (1872) that would contribute to defining the horror genre and influenced Bram Stoker in his writing of Dracula. He was a leading ghost story […]

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‘A Childhood Christmas’ by Patrick Kavanagh

One side of the potato‑pits was white with frost— How wonderful that was, how wonderful! And when we put our ears to the paling‑post The music that came out was magical. The light between the ricks of hay and straw Was a hole in Heaven’s gable. An apple tree With its December‑glinting fruit we saw […]

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#OTD in 1967 – Death of poet and novelist, Patrick Kavanagh, who was born in Inniskeen, Co Monaghan in 1904.

Patrick Kavanagh was born on 21 October 1904, in Mucker townland, Inniskeen parish, Co Monaghan, the son of James Kavanagh, a small farmer with sixteen acres who was also a cobbler, and Bridget Quinn. He attended Kednaminsha National School from 1909 to 1916 and worked on the family farm after leaving school. His poem ‘Raglan […]

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