Authors & Poets

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TC Murray - Novelist & Playwright Of Immense Talent In 20th Century

Born in the Muskerry barony of Macroom, Co. Cork, Tom Murray came from an era when storytelling and great folklore stories were prominent in households all over Ireland. Locals gathered at neighbours homes and often exchanged tales as a leisurely activity until after the fall of midnight and young Tom Murray relished such events.

 

One of a family of eleven children, his parents were from the gaeltacht speaking district of Kilanamartra and spoke Irish. They moved to Macroom to open a shop, flour and meal store and they also owned a town pub.

Tom acquired a deep passion for drama and a great Irish cultural tradition and went into the teaching profession as a young man.

 

Teaching in Cork schools at Carrignavar, Carrigtwohill and Rathduff and as Principle of the Model School, Inchicore, Dublin, he strived to bring to his pupils his own love of poetry and writing. It was within his own talents as a writer and playwright, that Tom Murray came to national prominence.

 

In Cork city he co-founded the Cork Little Theatre Company with other authors such as the famed Daniel Corkery and Con O’Leary and the heroic Lord Mayor of Cork, Terence McSweeney, who died on hunger strike at Brixton Prison, England in 1920.  The group became known as The Cork Realists.

 

The new theatre soon blossomed and many who threaded its boards became household names in the 20 th century.

Murray won a bronze medal for Literature at the 1924 Paris Olympics for ‘Birthright’ a play central to hurling.

 

Amongst the many famous published worksof Tom Murray, the following best sellers contributed

to his eminence as a writer of renown.

‘Autumn Fire’ ;

‘The Briary Gap’ ;

‘Spring’

‘Birthright’ ; and

‘Maurice Harte’.

 

Tom wrote over fourteen plays, novels and poems and many were translated into German, French, Japanese, Welsh and Breton.

 

As a novelist and playwright, Tom Murray was honoured by the National University Of Ireland with a Doctorate In Literature in 1949.

 

He was Director Of The Authors Guild Of Ireland and a member of the Irish Academy Of Letters and also President of the Irish Playwrights Association.

 

He continued writing for many years as an alternative to retirement and he spoke of the great joy he encountered as people of many countries found great wisdom and wit in his books.

 

Tom Murray died in 1959, aged eighty six years and left a legacy of literature to be appreciated by present and future generations around the universe.

Famous Son Of Ireland:  Author/Storyteller Category:

 

John B. Keane - One Of Ireland's Most Jovial Authors

A great Irish Literary legend of the 20th century. John B.Keane brought immense joy into peoples lives through his unrivalled capacity to embrace humour and Irish traditions into his writing over many decades.

 

Born in Listowel, Co. Kerry, in 1932, John B was a rare class of writer from the land of saints and scholars and composed millions of words of wit and humour that captured the imagination of his readers in many countries throughout the world.

His love of writing was only matched by his passion for Gaelic football, a sport from which he found great inspiration and ideas for writing. The eccentrics who followed the game put football before all else and unwittingly gave John B immense verse and poetry.

 

A famous composer of over twenty full length plays, his admirers will identify with many of his illustrious productions. All became best selling novels.

 

The Field, written by J.B. became an international film, with Richard Harris, playing the lead role. His international acclaim through ‘Sive’ courted many audiences to repeat shows worldwide and truly established the great Kerryman as a literary giant.

 

Other famous J.B. Productions such as: ‘Big Maggie’ ;  ‘The Change in Mame Fadden’; ‘The Buds Of Ballybunion’; ‘Many Young Men Of Twenty’; ‘The Year Of The Hiker’; ‘The Man From Clare’; ‘The Letters Of A Love Hungry Farmer’; and ‘ The Letters Of A Matchmaker’ all became best selling novels.

 

JB’s storytelling also told real life anecdotes encountered by JB behind the counter of his bar in Listowel.

Many innocent unsuspecting customers explained to John B the ups and downs of their daily life and in doing so created many humorous lines for the author.

 

His numerous TV appearances were always awaited with great anticipation of great stories told in the manner accustomed only to John B.

 

He kept his audience spellbound in the psalm of his hand and they listened to him far more attentively than their local cleric preaching from the pulpit. His ability to thrill by the written word was a joy to behold and this famous literary son of Ireland left a rich legacy for many future generations.

Famous Daughter Of Ireland: Author Category:

 

Lady Augusta Gregory - Privileged Background But Greatly Admired By Irish People

Lady Augusta Gregory had an Anglo-Irish landlord ancestry with a family estate consisting of 6,000 acres of land at Roxborough, Co. Galway. She was accustomed to life among the Galway gentry and when she married Sir William Gregory, a widower some thirty five years her senior, as the wife of a knight, she became entitled to be identified as ‘Lady Gregory’.

Her new husband possessed a huge estate at Coole, Gort, Co. Galway and Lady Gregory’s memory is perpetuated in Gort and also throughout the county of Galway.

 

Following the death of her husband in 1892 she began to take a greater interest in the land of her birth and read Irish history extensively. She also found a zest for the Irish language and became fluent in her native tongue and also gave Irish lessons to school children in the Gort surrounding areas.

 

Lady Gregory was now endearing herself to the local population and with great wealth from her inheritances, she had the means to invest great time in literature and the arts.

She was born Isabella Augusta Persse in 1852 and was educated at her home by private tutors. She was greatly influenced by the house nurse, a native Irish speaker who bestowed great stories of local history and legends.

 

During the Irish Civil War the family holding was destroyed by fire and young Isabelle was well aware of the plight of her neighbours from the many stories she heard from her nurse. The fame of Lady Gregory in modern Ireland can be attributed to her literature works.

Amongst her famous collections can found: ‘Spreading The News’; ‘Kincora’; ‘The Workhouse Ward’; and her gem ‘The Rising Of The Moon’.

 

These historic plays have been revived many times and were widely acclaimed by many generations of theatre audiences.

 

Other notable works of Lady Gregory include ‘Poets and Dreamers’; ‘Gods and Fighting Men’; ‘Kiltartan Poetry Book’; ‘Cuchulain of Muirthemne’; ‘A Book of Saints and Wonders’; ‘Kiltartan History Book’; ‘Our Irish Theater’; ‘A Chapter of Autobiography’; ‘Sir Hugh Lane’s Life and Achievement’; (he was a nephew of Lady Gregory).

Her final publication was ‘Lady Gregory’s Journals’ period 1916 - 1930 and published in 1946.

 

The Galway author had a long and often turbulent association with The Abbey Theatre, Dublin and was very influential in the productions staged at The Abbey. She was also a co-founder of The Irish Litereary Theatre in 1899 that had a short lifespan until 1902 and this was succeeded by the founding of The Irish National Theatre Society.

Most of Ireland’s prominent authors of the period regularly visited her at Coole Park, Gort and some penned great works whilst in residence.

 

Isabella Augusta Gregory, famous Irish author and playwright, died in 1932 from breast cancer and is buried at Bohermore. Co. Galway.

Famous Daughter Of Ireland: Author Category:

 

Edna O'Brien - Clare Author Outlawed By Irish Censors

A novelist and short story writer, the famous Clarewoman has been exiled in England for many decades and often became controversial for her outspoken views of religious Ireland in the mid 20th century. She spoke the truth at a time when Ireland hid all negations on clergy and people in high places.

Her outspoken comments became as famous as her writings and because she was Edna O’Brien, the Irish author, she made headline news in many places.

 

Born at Tuamgraney, Scariff, Co. Clare, Edna was an only child reared in a household with great devotion to prayer and she never forgot the smothering effect such doctrination imposed. A quailified pharmacist at twenty, she married Ernest Gébler, an author, when she was twenty four and the couple headed out for London.

 

In the field of publishing she became a reader and earned modest sums for her labours. Her first book The Country Girls was published in 1960 and led to two more writings - The Lonely Girl (1962) and Girls in Their Married Bliss (1964). These controversial publications brought the wrath of the Irish Censor upon Edna and certain Irish people felt she was going outside the accepted moral codes by writing on sexual matters.

 

Unperturbed the Clare author set about writing a novel based on her Clare childhood and A Pagan Place (1970) really set the tone for the Irish critics. In later years Edna would receive many awards for her works and her great ability over fifty years has altered the tone of Irish fiction for many contemporary writers.

 

A collection of some of Edna’s titles include:

August Is A Wicked Month

Casualties Of Peace

The Love Object  

Night  

On The Bone  

Scandalous Woman And Other Stories  

Mother Ireland  

Johnny I Hardly Knew You  

Some Irish Loving  

Lantern Slides  

Time And Tide  

The High Road

Fanatic Heart

Mrs. Reinhardt And Other Stories

 

Awards have accumulated to include the Kingsley Amis Award (1962); the Yorkshire Post Book Award; the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award and many more accolades.

 

Edna O’Brien, fought against adversity and brought everyday subjects into the homes of ordinary people. Her deep knowledge of forbidden subjects and her capacity to communicate on paper, gave her Irish readers an opportunity to speak out against unsavory practices by persons who hid behind their masks. 

Famous Son Of Ireland:  Author/Artist Category:

 

Christy Brown - Against Great Odds Dublin Author Became World Famous

 

A man of immense determination who fought adversity and became a Famous Son of Ireland, known throughout the world for his literature and paintings.

Christy Brown was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1932 with a condition of Cerebral Palsy and his family of siblings were quite large.

Only a very limited number of people were able to locate the genius hidden talent that lay dormant in his over worked brain. Christy always struggled to express himself and his inability to communicate in ordinary speech, greatly imposed a level of frustration only known to himself and his mother.

 

The achievements of Christy were recognised by his readers who saw in him an extraordinary talent for literature and not because he was disabled. He wrote in a manner that was letter perfect for all readers, even the casual book reader could not resist taking his writings from the shelf.

 

As a painter nobody would venture to suggest that Christy Brown also had an instinct to place his artful imagination on paper or canvas but that was the depth of immense talent that he possessed.

Christy astounded the professionals by launching himself as a writer and painter of great intellect.

He was rewarded with great appreciation and his place in history was assured by the film ‘My Left Foot’ that portrayed his life.

 

His book and autobiography of the same title, was translated into fourteen languages and a prominent newspaper stated the book was ‘The most important Irish novel since Joyces’s 'Ulysses’.

 

Works by Christy Brown include:

 

My Left Foot (1954)  Down All The Days (1970)

Come Softly To My Wake (1971)  Background Music (1973)  A Shadow On Summer

Wild Grow The Lilies (1976)  Of Snails And Skylarks (1978)   A Promising Career

The Collected Poems Of Christy Brown (1991)

 

Christy’s early life in Dublin’s southside suburb of Kimmage had no easy paths or highways to stardom and the family council home was not user friendly for a budding writer and artist.

When fame came calling at Christy’s door, his life exploded and he had no scarcity of new friends who all wanted to share his new found prosperity.

 

Christy went into a relationship with his Co. Kerry born minder and nurse and the final outcome was a marriage ceremony in October 1972 at Sutton, Co. Dublin. The couple dismantled Christy’s Dublin roots and moved to a location in north Co. Kerry and would finally move to Somerset, England.

It was here on 7th September 1981 that a Famous Son of Ireland, Christy Brown, died.

His untimely and tragic death at just forty nine years old, was mourned all around the world and especially so due to his suffocation whilst eating a meal.

 

The Dublin author was brought home to his native city for burial at Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.