#OTD in 1860 – Birth of playwright, folklorist, founder of The Gaelic League and the first president of Éire, Douglas Hyde, in Castlerea, Co Roscommon.

“As our language wanes and dies, the golden legends of the far-off centuries fade and pass away. No one sees their influence upon culture; no one sees their educational power.” –Douglas Hyde Douglas Hyde is born at Longford House in Castlerea, Co Roscommon. He was an ardent supporter of the Irish language and was one […]

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#OTD in 1972 – Death of Longford poet and playwright, Padraic Colum. He was one of the leading figures of the Irish Literary Revival.

Padraic Colum was an Irish poet, novelist, dramatist, biographer and collector of folklore. He was one of the leading figures of the Celtic Revival. Colum wrote and met a number of the leading Irish writers of the time, including W. B. Yeats, Lady Gregory and Æ. He also joined the Gaelic League and was a […]

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#OTD in 1929 – Brian Friel, playwright and author of Dancing at Lughnasa, is born near Omagh, Co Tyrone.

“It is not the literal past, the ‘facts’ of history, that shape us, but images of the past embodied in language.” –Brian Friel When asked why he had two birth certificates, one dated 9 January 1929 and the other 10 January, the Irish playwright Brian Friel, replied: ‘Perhaps I’m twins.’ Originally from Tyrone, Friel moved […]

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#OTD in 1900 – Death of playwright, novelist, and poet, Oscar Wilde, in Paris.

Oscar Wilde was an Irish author, playwright and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of the most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. He is remembered for his epigrams, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, his plays, as well as the circumstances of his imprisonment and early death. […]

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‘The Silver Tassie’ by Sean O’Casey

The Silver Tassie is a four-act Expressionist play about the First World War, written between 1927 and 1928 by playwright, Seán O’Casey. It was O’Casey’s fourth play and attacks imperialist wars and the suffering that they cause. O’Casey described the play as “A generous handful of stones, aimed indiscriminately, with the aim of breaking a […]

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#OTD in 1964 – Death of dramatist and memoirist, Sean O’Casey, in England. A committed socialist, he was the first Irish playwright of note to write about the Dublin working classes.

Born John Casey, in Dublin, O’Casey had a strong interest in the Irish nationalist cause. He joined the Gaelic League in 1906 and learned the Irish language. At this time, he Gaelicised his name from John Casey to Seán Ó Cathasaigh. He also learned to play the Uilleann pipes and was a founder and secretary […]

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#OTD in 2013 – World-renowned poet and playwright Seamus Heaney died in the Blackrock Clinic in Dublin following a short illness, aged 74.

“History says, Don’t hope On this side of the grave, But then, once in a lifetime The longed-for tidal wave Of justice can rise up, And hope and history rhyme.” ―Seamus Heaney Seamus Heaney was awarded numerous prizes over the years and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. He was born to a farming […]

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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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