Eilís Dillon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Eilís Dillon
Born 7 March 1920
Galway, Ireland
Died July 19, 1994(1994-07-19) (aged 74)
Resting place Clara, County Offaly
Language Irish, English
Nationality Irish
Genre Children's books
Teenage novels
Notable awards Bisto Book of the Year Award (1991)
Spouse Cormac Ó Cuilleanáin
Vivian Mercier
Children Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin
Cormac Ó Cuilleanáin
Relatives Joseph Mary Plunkett (uncle)

Eilís Dillon (7 March 1920 – 19 July 1994) was an Irish author of 50 books. Her work has been translated into 14 languages.[1]

Dillon's family was involved in Irish revolutionary politics; her uncle Joseph Mary Plunkett was a signatory of the 1916 Proclamation and was executed after the Easter Rising.[1]

Educated by the Ursuline nuns in Sligo, she worked briefly in the hotel and catering trade. In 1940 she married Cormac Ó Cuilleanáin, an academic from University College Cork and 17 years her senior.[1] They had at least 3 children, including the Irish poet and Trinity College Dublin professor Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and her brother, Cormac Ó Cuilleanáin, also a Trinity professor, who writes novels as Cormac Millar.[2]

She started to produce children's books, in Irish, and later in English in the 1940s, including a string of successful teenage novels, some of which (The Lost Island, The Island of Horses) were still in print 50 years later.

In the 1960s she moved to Rome. Following her husband's death in 1970 she published her most successful historical novel, Across the Bitter Sea (1973), and in 1974 married the American-based critic and professor Vivian Mercier.

Eilís Dillon died in 1994 and is buried beside her second husband in Clara, County Offaly; a prize in her memory is given annually as part of the Bisto Book of the Year Awards.


  1. ^ a b c Eilís Dillon: a biographical note, retrieved May 7, 2011.[dead link]
  2. ^ Cormac Millar biography, retrieved May 7, 2011.

External links[edit]