Caitlín Maude (1941–1982) was an Irish poet, activist, teacher, actress and traditional singer.
She was born in Casla, County Galway, and reared in the Irish language. Her mother, Máire Nic an Iomaire, was a school teacher from Casla, and Caitlín received her primary education from her on a small island off the coast of Rosmuc, Connemara. Caitlín's father, John Maude, was from Cill Bhriocáin in Rosmuc.
Caitlín Maude attended University College Galway, where she excelled in French. She became a teacher, working in schools in Counties Kildare, Mayo, and Wicklow. She also worked in other capacities in London and Dublin.
She was widely praised as an actress. She acted at the University, at the Taibhdhearc in Galway and the Damer in Dublin, and was particularly successful in a production of An Triail by Máiréad Ní Ghráda in 1964, in which she played the protagonist of the story, Máire Ní Chathasaigh. She herself was a playwright and co-authored An Lasair Choille with poet Michael Hartnett.
She began writing poetry in Irish in secondary school and developed a lyrical style closely attuned to the rhythms of the voice. Though not conventionally religious, she said in an interview that she had a deep interest in the spiritual and that this would leave its mark on her poetry. She was noted as a highly effective reciter of her own verse. Géibheann is the best-known of her poems, it is studied at Leaving Cert Higher Level Irish in the Republic of Ireland. A posthumous collected edition, Caitlín Maude, Dánta, was published in 1984, Caitlín Maude: file in 1985 in Ireland and Italy, and Coiscéim also in 1985.
As a member of the Dublin Irish-speaking community she was active in many campaigns, including the establishment of the Gaelscoil (Irish-medium primary school) Scoil Santain in Tallaght, County Dublin.
She was a sean-nós singer of distinction. She made one album in this genre, Caitlín (1975), now available as a CD. It contains both traditional songs and a selection of her poetry.
She married Cathal Ó Luain in 1969. They had one child, Caomhán, a son.
She died of complications from cancer in 1982 aged 41, and is buried in Bohernabreena graveyard looking down over the city from the Dublin Mountains.
- ’[T]á tnúthán spioradálta iontach ionam agus sílim go mbeidh sé seo le brath go láidir ar mo chuid filíochta amach anseo’: quoted in Ó Coigligh 1984: see introduction.
Ó Coigligh, Ciarán (ed.) (1984). Caitlín Maude: dánta. Coiscéim.
Caitlín Maude - Caitlín [CD]. Ref: CEFCD042