Máirtín Ó Direáin

Máirtín Ó Direáin ([ˈmˠaːɾʲtʲiːnʲ oː ˈdʲɪɾʲaːnʲ]; 29 November 1910 – 19 March 1988) was an Irish poet. A native of the Aran Islands Gaeltacht, Ó Direáin later spent time working in Galway and Dublin, where he upheld a connection to Gaelic affairs through Conradh na Gaeilge and Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe. A significant theme of his poetic works deals with the tensions between the urban and rural, modernity and tradition, the English-speaking world and Gaeldom.

Máirtín Ó Direáin
Born(1910-11-29)29 November 1910
Inis Mór, County Galway, Ireland
Died19 March 1988(1988-03-19) (aged 77)
Dublin, Ireland
Resting placeMount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin[1]
Pen nameRuaidhrí Beag
Occupationpoet, writer
LanguageIrish (Connacht Irish)
Literary movementModern literature in Irish
Notable worksRogha Dánta and Ó Mórna agus Dánta Eile
Years active1949–1986
SpouseÁine Colivet (m. 1945–1976, her death)[2]


Ó Direáin was born in Sruthán on Inis Mór in the Aran Islands.[3] He was educated at Onaght national school.[4] The son of a small farmer, Máirtín Ó Direáin spoke only Irish until his mid-teens.[3] He worked as a civil servant from 1928 until 1975. In 1952, he translated a play by Irish playwright Teresa Deevy for Radio Eireann; the play was called The King of Spain's Daughter[5] (translated as Iníon Rí na Spáinne).[6]

His literary awards include the An Chomhairle Ealaíon/The Arts Council Awards (1964 and 1971); the Butler Prize, with Eoghan Ó Tuairisc (1967); the Ossian Prize for Poetry, FVS Foundation, Hamburg (1977). He was a member of Aosdána.

While Ó Direáin was rooted deeply in the Gaelic tradition, his poetry also shows influence from wider European writers. His influences included Nietzsche, Spengler, Yeats, Haicéad, Ó Bruadair, Bedell and Shakespeare.


Carraig agus cathair: Ó Direáin is a recent (2002) biography. Its title ('Rock and City') refers to Ó Direáin's journey from his native rocky island to Dublin, where he lived most of his life.

An Charraig Stoite (The Uprooted Rock) is a 2003 award-nominated TG4/Bord Scannán na hÉireann funded documentary on Máirtín Ó Direáin which was written by Alan Titley and produced and directed by Mac Dara Ó Curraidhín.

On 27 May 2010, An Post (the Republic of Ireland's Post Office) issued a single stamp to commemorate the birth centenary of Máirtín Ó Direáin featuring a portrait of the poet.[7] Six of his poems have been put to music by Colm Ó Snodaigh from the music group Kíla: Faoiseamh a Gheobhadsa, Maith Dhom, Bua na Mara, Dínit an Bhróin, "An tEarrach Thiar" and Bí i do Chrann. The first three have been recorded on Handel's Fantasy, Luna Park (two Kíla albums) and Giving - Colm's solo album from 2007.


His main works include the poetry collections:

  • Rogha Dánta (1949)
  • Ó Mórna agus Dánta Eile (1957)
  • Ar Ré Dhearóil (1962)
  • Cloch Choirnéil (1967)
  • Crainn is Cairde (1970)
  • Dánta 1939-79 (1980)
  • Ceacht an Éin (1984)
  • Béasa an Túir (1984)
  • Tacar Dánta/Selected Poems (1984)
  • Craobhóg: Dán (1986)
  • Fear Lásta Lampaí (1928 - i nGaillimh/in Galway)

His autobiographical essays are collected as Feamainn Bhealtaine (1961).

  • Iníon Rí na Spáinne (1952) Translation


  1. ^ "Irish University Review". Irish University Press. 26 October 1988 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ "Ó DIREÁIN, Máirtín (1910–1988)". ainm.ie.
  3. ^ a b "Máirtín O'Direáin". Irish culture and Irish customs. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  4. ^ Maher, Helen (1976). Galway Authors. p. 116.
  5. ^ http://www.irishplayography.com/play.aspx?playid=31992
  6. ^ "The Teresa Deevy Archive". 19 June 1952.
  7. ^ "NEW Irish stamps". World Stamp News. Archived from the original on 8 March 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2012.


  • Sewell, Frank C (2001). Modern Irish Poetry: A New Alhambra. OUP Oxford. ISBN 0191584355.

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