Máire Mhac an tSaoi
Máire Mhac an tSaoi (born 4 April 1922) is one of the most acclaimed and respected Irish language scholars, poets, writers and academics of modern literature in Irish. Along with Seán Ó Ríordáin and Máirtín Ó Direáin she is, in the words of Louis de Paor, 'one of a trinity of poets who revolutionised Irish language poetry in the 1940s and 50s.'
Mhac an tSaoi was born as Máire MacEntee in Dublin in 1922. Her father, Seán MacEntee, a native of Belfast, was a founding member of Fianna Fáil, a long-serving TD and Tánaiste in the Dáil and a participant in the Easter Rising of 1916. Her mother, County Tipperary-born Margaret Browne (or de Brún), a teacher at Alexandra College, was also an Irish republican. Her uncle, Monsignor Pádraig de Brún, was one of the most respected scholars of the Irish language in the twentieth century. Another uncle was the conservative prelate Michael Cardinal Browne, who was Master of the Dominican Order.
Her late husband was Conor Cruise O'Brien, an Irish politician, writer and historian. The couple were married in 1962 and later adopted two children, Patrick and Margaret.
Mhac an tSaoi has had a lifelong passion for the Irish language and she is today one of the leading authorities on Munster Irish. She is a prolific writer in Irish. As a member of Aosdána she became a key opponent of the Catholic convert and nationalist Francis Stuart, a one-time son-in-law of Maud Gonne, for his perceived anti-Semitism.
Her poem Jack and short story An Bhean Óg both have featured on the Leaving Certificate Irish course, at both Higher and Ordinary Levels, from 2006 to 2010.
List of works
Mhac an tSaoi wrote:
- Margadh na Saoire (Baile Átha Cliath: Sáirséal agus Dill, 1956)
- Codladh an Ghaiscigh (1973)
- An Galar Dubhach (1980)
- An Cion go dtí Seo (1987)
- “Writing In Modern Irish — A Benign Anachronism?”, The Southern Review, 31 Special Issue on Irish Poetry (1995)
- The Same Age as the State, O'Brien Press, Dublin ISBN 0-86278-885-4; ISBN 978-0-86278-885-8
- Cérbh í Meg Russell?, Leabhar Breac, ISBN 978-0-898332-325-2 (2008).
- Scéal Ghearóid Iarla, Leabhar Breac, ISBN 978-0-898332-53-7 (2010).
Mhac an tSaoi and O'Brien together wrote:
- A Concise History of Ireland, Thames and Hudson, London ISBN 0-500-45011-0 (1972)
Mhac an tSaoi translated Rainer Maria Rilke::
- Impala Publications minibio confirming 1922 as year of Mhac an tSaoi's birth
- O'Brien, Máire (2004). The Same Age as the State. The University of Wisconsin Press. p. 340. ISBN 0299210308.
- "Authors profile - Máire Mhac an tSaoi". Cois Life. Archived from the original on 2007-02-24. Retrieved 2007-03-10.
- "Máire Mhac an tSaoi". Irish Writers on line. Retrieved 2007-03-10.
- Louis de Paor, 'Réamhrá/Introduction', Máire Mhac an tSaoi, An Paróiste Míorúilteach (Dublin, 2011)