Pádraic Ó Conaire

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Pádraic Ó Conaire
Born 20 February 1882
Galway, Ireland
Died 6 October 1928(1928-10-06) (aged 46)
Dublin, Ireland
Pen name None
Occupation Novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist, school teacher
Nationality Irish
Genre Fiction, satire, folklore
Notable works Deoraíocht, Scothscéalta
Spouse Molly Ní Mhanais

Pádraic Ó Conaire (28 February 1882 – 6 October 1928) was an Irish writer and journalist whose production was primarily in the Irish language. In his lifetime he wrote 26 books, 473 stories, 237 essays and 6 plays.[1] His acclaimed novel Deoraíocht has been described by Angela Bourke as 'the earliest example of modernist fiction in Irish'.[2]


Ó Conaire was born in Galway in 1882. His father was a publican, who owned two premises in the town. His mother was Kate McDonagh. He was orphaned by the age of eleven. He spent a period living with his uncle in Garaffin, Ros Muc, Connemara. The area is in the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking area) and Ó Conaire learned to speak Irish fluently.

He emigrated to London in 1899 where he got a job with the Board of Education. He became involved in the work of the Gaelic League. A pioneer in the Gaelic revival in the last century, Ó Conaire and Patrick Pearse are regarded as being the two most important Irish language short story writers during the first decades of the 20th century.

He was married to Molly Ní Mhanais, with whom he had four children: Eileen (born 22 February 1905), Patrick (born 3 November 1906), Kathleen (born 24 February 1909, and Mary Josephine (28 July 1911 – 1922) who died of diphtheria.

Ó Conaire returned to Ireland in 1914, leaving his family in London. Living mostly in Galway, he earned a meagre living through writing, teaching at Gaeltacht summer schools, and as an occasional organiser for the Gaelic League.

He died on a visit to Dublin in 1928 after complaining of internal pains while at the head office of the Gaelic League. He was 46.

His fellow poet Frederick Robert Higgins wrote a celebrated Lament for Pádraic Ó Conaire.

Rumour has it he saved children from a burning house but didn't want to be deemed as a hero in his family.

He has family still living to this day in England as well as in Galway and Canada. The Ó Conaire surname is still strong in the Ros Muc area.

Statue and vandalism[edit]

A statue to his memory was erected at an unveiling by Éamon de Valera in 1935 in the heart of Galway City in Eyre Square.

Throughout its years on the Square the statue attracted the attention of tourists.

It was vandalised by four County Armagh men in 1999 (Mr Garret Leahy of The Hermitage; Gavin McNaney of Ashley Avenue; Joe McNair of Rock Road and Garry O'Connor of Drumbeola Avenue) upon which the statue was decapitated estimated £50,000 with a great deal of public outrage being expressed.[3]

The statue was repaired at a cost of £50,000 and was subsequently moved to Galway City museum.

List of writings[edit]

  • An tÁdh
  • An Scoláire Bocht, agus scéalta eile, 1904
  • Nora Mharcais Bhig, 1906
  • Deoraidheacht, 1910
  • An Chéad Chloch, 1914
  • Seacht mBua an Éirí Amach, 1918
  • An Crann Géagach, 1919
  • Tír na n Íontais, 1919
  • Béal an Uaignis, 1921
  • Siol Éabha, 1921
  • An Chinniúint, 1924
  • Eachtraí Móra ón ár Stair, 1924
  • Trí Truaighe na Scealaíochta, 1924
  • Mór thimpeall na hÉireann, ar muir, 1925
  • Fearfeasa Mac Feasa, 1930
  • Brian Óg
  • Beagnach Fíor
  • Cubhair na dTonn
  • Scéalta an tSáirsint Rua
  • Seoigheach an Ghleanna
  • An Crann Géagach
  • M'asal Beag Dubh

See also[edit]

List of people on stamps of Ireland


  1. ^ Angela Bourke, ‘Legless in London: Pádraic Ó Conaire and Éamon A Búrc’, Éire-Ireland, Vol. 38 (2003), No.3/4, p. 55.
  2. ^ Angela Bourke, ‘Legless in London: Pádraic Ó Conaire and Éamon A Búrc’, Éire-Ireland, Vol. 38 (2003), No.3/4, p. 54.
  3. ^ Bhreathnach-Lynch, Síghle (4 April 1999). "Four men granted bail in statue damage case". The Irish Times (Dublin). Retrieved 20 May 2012. 

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