Diarmaid Ó Súilleabháin

Diarmaid Ó Súilleabháin (1932 – 1985) was an Irish language writer whose chosen theme was contemporary urban life. He is acknowledged as an important Irish language modernist.[1][2] He was also active in the Irish republican movement and a member of Sinn Féin.

Personal lifeEdit

Ó Súilleabháin was born at the Beara Peninsula in County Cork. His mother was a primary school teacher and his father a small farmer.[1] He married Úna Ní Chléirigh in 1954, and they had two sons and three daughters.[1] He died on 5 June 1985.[1]


He settled in Gorey and worked there as a primary teacher for the Christian Brothers school.[2]

He is best known now for his literary work. He wrote ten novels, two of them for teenagers.[1] Maeldún was a pioneering Irish novel that explored sexuality.[3] He wrote seven unpublished plays.[1] Three plays that he wrote include Bior, Ontos, and Macalla and he wrote a collection of short stories, Muintir.[2]

Like Eoghan Ó Tuairisc, he "challenged the critical orthodoxy by openly proclaiming that their standards could not be those of the Gaeltacht and by demanding a creative freedom that would acknowledge hybridity and reject the strictures of the linguistic purists."[4] He and Máirtín Ó Cadhain were considered the two most innovative Irish language authors to emerge in the 1960s.[2][3] He often wrote in a stream of consciousness, and his style influenced younger writers. His writing "explores the problem of recovering idealism and cultural wholeness in an increasingly shallow and materialistic Irish society."[3] Ó Súilleabháin was elected as a member of the Irish Academy of Letters and won more literary prizes than any other living Irish author.[1][2]

He wrote a collection of poetry, Cosa Gréine, which was published and launched in Dublin in 2013, 28 years after his death.[2]

Irish republicanismEdit

Ó Súilleabháin was an active Irish republican, particularly in publicizing the republican struggle, and was a member of Sinn Féin's ruling body beginning in 1971.[1][2] He spent short periods in prison because of activities related to his political beliefs.[1]


  • Súil le Muir, Cló Mórainn, 1959 (for teenagers)
  • Trá agus tuileadh, Sáirséal agus Dill, 1967 (for teenagers)
  • Caoin tú féin, Sáirseál agus Dill, 1967
  • An Uain Bheo, Sáirséal agus Dill, 1968
  • Muintir, Sáirséal agus Dill, 1970 (short stories)
  • Maeldún, Sáirséal agus Dill, 1972
  • Dianmhuilte Dé, Sáirseál agus Dill, 1964
  • Ciontach, Coiscéim 1983
  • Aistear, Coiscéim, 1983
  • Bealach Bó Finne, Coiscéim, 1988
  • Lá Breá Gréine Buí and Oighear Geimhridh, Coiscéim 1994


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Ó Súilleabháin, Diarmaid (1932 – 1985)". An Bunachar Náisiúnta Beathaisnéisní Gaeilge. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Poetry collection published 28 years after author died". Gorey Guardian. August 13, 2013. Retrieved February 16, 2017 – via Independent, Ireland.
  3. ^ a b c The Celts: History, Life, and Culture. ABC-CLIO. 2012. p. 476. ISBN 978-1-59884-964-6.
  4. ^ Field Day Review 4, 2008. Field Day Publications. 2005. p. 224. ISBN 978-0-946755-38-7.

Further readingEdit