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Ulick O'Connor (born 1928[1]) is an Irish writer, historian and critic.

Ulick O'Connor
BornUlick O'Connor
Rathgar, County Dublin, Ireland
OccupationBiographer, Poet
GenreIrish History, Poetry, Drama, Biography, Diary, literary criticism
Notable worksSee 'Published works'


Early lifeEdit

Born in Rathgar, County Dublin in 1928 to Matthew O'Connor, the Dean of the Royal College of Surgeons.[2] O'Connor attended St. Mary's College, Rathmines and later University College Dublin, where he studied law and philosophy, becoming known as a keen sporting participant, especially in boxing, rugby and cricket, as well as a distinguished debater – during his time there he was an active member of the Literary and Historical Society. He subsequently studied at Loyola University, New Orleans. He was called to the bar in 1951.

Career and writingsEdit

After practising at the Irish Bar in Dublin, O'Connor spent time as a critic before turning to writing. His work has spanned areas such as biography, poetry, Irish history, drama, diary, and literary criticism. He was sports correspondent for The Observer, 1955 to 1961.

He is a well-known intellectual figure in contemporary Irish affairs and has expressed strong opinions against censorship and the war on drugs. He contributes a regular poetry column to Irish daily the Evening Herald, has also written a column for the Sunday Mirror and a sporting column for the Sunday Times, as well as broadcasting on RTÉ.

His best known writing is his biographies of Oliver St. John Gogarty, Brendan Behan, his studies of the early 20th-century Irish troubles and the Irish Literary Revival.

He is also known for the autobiographical "The Ulick O’Connor Diaries 1970-1981: A Cavalier Irishman (2001)", which details his encounters with well-known Irish and international figures, ranging from political (Jack Lynch and Paddy Devlin) to the artistic (Christy Brown and Peter Sellers). It also documents the progress of the Peace Process during the same time, and the progress of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Although he has travelled extensively, O'Connor still lives in his parental home in Dublin's Rathgar. He is a member of Aosdána.[3]

O'Connor's great-grandfather was Matt Harris, Land Leaguer, Fenian, and Irish Parliamentary Party Member of Parliament. He is related to American actor Carroll O'Connor.

Published worksEdit


  • The Dream Box (1972)
  • The Dark Lovers (1975)
  • The Emperor’s Envoy (1976)
  • The Grand Inquisitor; Submarine; and Deirdre (Dublin 1977, New York 1980)
  • Execution (1985)
  • The Oval Machine (1986)
  • A Trinity of Two (1988)
  • Joycity (1989)
  • Deux de la Trinite (translated by Ramond Gerome, 1990).

Poetry collectionsEdit

  • Lifestyles (1973)
  • Three Noh Plays (1980)
  • All Things Counter (1986)
  • One is Animate (1990)
  • Poems of the Damned (translations from Baudelaire's Fleur du Mal, 1991).

Non-fiction and autobiographyEdit

  • "Irish Tales and Sagas" (1981)
  • "A Critic at Large" (1984)
  • "Biographers and the Art of Biography" (1990)
  • "The Ulick O'Connor Diaries, 1970-1981: A Cavalier Irishman (2003)

Biographical writingsEdit

  • The Times I've Seen:Oliver St. John Gogarty:A Biography (1963)
  • Brendan Behan (1970)
  • Celtic Dawn: Biography (1984)
  • All the Olympians: A Biographical Portrait of the Irish Literary Renaissance (1987)
  • Executions (1992)
  • The Troubles: Michael Collins and the Volunteers in the Fight for Irish Freedom 1912-22 (2001)


  1. ^ "Irish Writers Online entry on O'Connor". Retrieved 2008-03-29.
  2. ^ "The O'Connor Family Tree". The Morning Record. Aug 5, 1972.
  3. ^ "Aosdana on O'Connor". Retrieved 2008-03-29.