Born in Khoni, Georgia (then part of the Russian Empire), he graduated from Tbilisi State University in 1931 and attended the 1st Congress of the USSR Union of Writers, 1934, when socialist realism was laid down as the cultural orthodoxy. From 1953 to 1967, he chaired the Union of Georgian Writers.
In 1970, he also became a vice-president of the Georgian Academy of Sciences. In 1960 he organized an expedition to the Georgian-built Monastery of the Cross at Jerusalem where his team rediscovered a fresco of Shota Rustaveli, a medieval Georgian poet. He chaired the special academic commission for the Rustaveli studies since 1963 and became the founder and an editor-in-chief of The Georgian Soviet Encyclopedia in 1967.
His poems are viewed as classical works of Georgian literature. His poetry was mostly patriotic based on Georgian cultural and religious values, but normally loyal to Soviet ideogy. He welcomed Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika and supported the Soviet-era dissident Zviad Gamsakhurdia when he came to power and led Georgia to the declaration of independence in 1991. Abashidze died in Tbilisi in 1992 and was afforded a state funeral. He was 82.
- Mikaberidze, Alexander (ed., 2007), Abashidze, Irakli. Dictionary of Georgian National Biography. Accessed on September 5, 2007.
- Martin MacCauley (1997), Who's Who in Russia Since 1900, p. 2. Routledge, ISBN 0-415-13898-1.