Arthur Quinlan

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Arthur Quinlan
Native name
Ardúr Ó Cúinnlóin
Born(1921-01-15)15 January 1921
Died22 December 2012(2012-12-22) (aged 91)
Other namesMr. Limerick
Uncle Arthur
EducationB. A. English literature and history
Alma materUniversity College Dublin (UCD)
Years active1945–2000
EmployerThe Irish Times
Spouse(s)Vera Quinlan

Arthur Quinlan (15 January 1921 – 22 December 2012)[1] was an Irish [2][3] raconteur and print journalist with The Irish Times. Known for his interviews with politicians, royalty and film stars in a career spanning more than 50 years, he was widely regarded as a very important figure in his field, and was both the first Irishman to get a jet across the Atlantic Ocean to New York in 1958 and the only western journalist to have interviewed Che Guevara.[2] Considered a "master of executing international scoops", his work was sent across the world.[3]

Early life[edit]

Quinlan came from Dublin but was raised in Quin, County Clare.[4] He attended University College Dublin (UCD), where he studied English literature and history and edited two student publications.[2][4]


Quinlan began working with The Irish Times in 1945.[4] He was formerly based at Shannon Airport. Shannon is the most westerly airport in Europe and an important fuel stop for both eastward and westward traffic. Quinlan would simply start up his 1939 Morris 8 and head for the airport.[2] He interviewed every United States President from Harry Truman to George H. W. Bush and many Soviet leaders, including Andrey Vyshinsky and Andrei Gromyko.[citation needed]

He once said,

"I interviewed many royals including the Duke Of Edinburgh, Princess Margaret, King Michael of Romania and his mother, Queen Maria, King Peter of Yugoslavia, King Zog of Albania, King Ibn Saud, founder of Saudi Arabia, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, Queen Wilhelmina and Queen Juliana of Holland and that lovely couple Prince Rainier and his wife, the former Grace Kelly."[2]

When Captain Charles Lindbergh's son was kidnapped Quinlan interviewed him. A 4 am interview with George H. W. Bush on the Middle East left U.S. journalists perplexed as to why an Irish ‘stringer’ had managed to get hold of such a story.[3]

Quinlan taught Fidel Castro how to make an Irish coffee and was the only western journalist to have interviewed Che Guevara.[5] Guevara talked of his Irish connections through the name Lynch. He told Quinlan of his grandmother's Irish roots in Galway. Later, Che, and some of his Cuban comrades, went to Limerick and adjourned to Hanratty's Hotel on Glentworth Street. According to Quinlan, they returned that evening all wearing sprigs of shamrock, for Shannon and Limerick were preparing for the St. Patrick's Day celebrations.[6]

In his 80s, he retired, declaring he had 'handed in his gun to The Irish Times'.[2]

Awards and honours[edit]

Quinlan was a "member of honour" of the National Union of Journalists.[1] He was recognised in media circles as "Mr. Limerick"[4][7] and "Uncle Arthur".[8] In 1982, he successfully proposed that women be allowed join Shannon Rowing Club, from which they had been banned.[2] The club's main slipway is also named "Arthur" in his honour.[3]


Quinlan died in Limerick in December 2012.[9] He would have been 93 the following January.[2] A son and two daughters survived him.[10] His wife, Vera, died shortly before him.[2] Among those regarding him with fondness were Fergal Keane of the BBC.[2]


  1. ^ a b McNally, Frank (29 December 2012). "Journalist known for interviews with royalty and leaders". The Irish Times. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Sheridan, Anne (23 December 2012). "Tributes paid to legendary reporter Arthur Quinlan". Limerick Leader. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d Woulfe, Jimmy (24 December 2012). "Legendary journalist Arthur Quinlan dies, 92". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d "Journalist Arthur Quinlan dies aged 92". RTÉ News. 23 December 2012. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  5. ^ "Quinlan, Arthur – Interview with Che Guevara Lynch". 13 March 1965. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  6. ^ "The night Che Guevara came to Limerick". The Scotsman. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  7. ^ Carey, Andrew (23 December 2012). "Arthur Quinlan dies aged 92". Limerick Post. Retrieved 23 December 2012.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Hayes, Kathryn (24 December 2012). "Interviewer of famous world figures Arthur Quinlan dies at 92". The Irish Times. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  9. ^ "Journalist Arthur Quinlan dies aged 92". The Irish Times. 23 December 2012. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  10. ^ O'Carroll, Sinead (23 December 2012). "Journalist Arthur Quinlan dies, aged 92". The Journal. Retrieved 23 December 2012.