Máirtín Ó Direáin

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Máirtín Ó Direáin
Born (1910-11-29)29 November 1910
Inis Mór, County Galway, Ireland
Died 11 March 1988(1988-03-11) (aged 77)
Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
Pen name Ruaidhrí Beag
Occupation poet, writer
Notable works Rogha Dánta and Ó Mórna agus Dánta Eile
Spouse Anne Colivet

Máirtín Ó Direáin ([ˈmˠaːɾʲtʲiːnʲ oː ˈdʲɪɾʲaːnʲ]; 29 November 1910 – 19 March 1988), was an Irish poet who is widely held to one of the foremost Irish language poets of the twentieth century. A native of the Aran Islands Gaeltacht, Ó Direáin later spent time working in Galway and Dublin, where he upheld a connection to Gaelic affairs through Conradh na Gaeilge and Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe. A significant theme of his poetic works deals with the tensions between the urban and rural, modernity and tradition, the English-speaking world and Gaeldom.


Ó Direáin was born in Sruthán on Inis Mór in the Aran Islands.[1] He was educated at Onaght national school.[2] The son of a small-farmer, Máirtín Ó Direáin spoke only Irish until his mid-teens.[3] He worked as a civil servant from 1928 until 1975. In 1952 he translated a play by Irish playwright Teresa Deevy for Radio Eireann, the play was called The King of Spain translated as Iníon Rí na Spáinne[4]

His literary awards include the An Chomhairle Ealaíon/The Arts Council Awards (1964 and 1971); the Butler Prize, with Eoghan Ó Tuairisc (1967); the Ossian Prize for Poetry, FVS Foundation, Hamburg (1977). He was a member of Aosdána.

While Ó Direáin was rooted deeply in the Gaelic tradition, his poetry also shows influence from wider European writers. His influences included Nietzsche, Spengler, Yeats, Haicéad, Ó Bruadair, Bedell and Shakespeare.


Carraig agus cathair: Ó Direáin is a recent (2002) biography. Its title ('Rock and City') refers to Ó Direáin's journey from his native rocky island to Dublin, where he lived most of his life.

An Charraig Stoite (The Uprooted Rock) is a 2003 award-nominated TG4/Bord Scannán na hÉireann funded documentary on Máirtín Ó Direáin which was written by Alan Titley and produced and directed by Mac Dara Ó Curraidhín.

On 27 May 2010, An Post (the Republic of Ireland's Post Office) issued a single stamp to commemorate the birth centenary of Máirtín Ó Direáin featuring a portrait of the poet.[5] Six of his poems have been put to music by Colm Ó Snodaigh from the music group Kíla: Faoiseamh a Gheobhadsa, Maith Dhom, Bua na Mara, Dínit an Bhróin, "An tEarrach Thiar" and Bí i do Chrann. The first three have been recorded on Handel's Fantasy, Luna Park (two Kíla albums) and Giving - Colm's solo album from 2007.


His main works include the poetry collections:

  • Rogha Dánta (1949)
  • Ó Mórna agus Dánta Eile (1957)
  • Ar Ré Dhearóil (1962)
  • Cloch Choirnéil (1967)
  • Crainn is Cairde (1970)
  • Dánta 1939-79 (1980)
  • Ceacht an Éin (1984)
  • Béasa an Túir (1984)
  • Tacar Dánta/Selected Poems (1984)
  • Craobhóg: Dán (1986)
  • Fear Lasta Lampaí (1928 - i Gaillimh/in Galway)

His autobiographical essays are collected as Feamainn Bhealtine (1961).

  • Iníon Rí na Spáinne (1952) Translation


  1. ^ "Máirtín O'Direáin". Irish culture and Irish customs. Retrieved 2012-10-25. 
  2. ^ Maher, Helen (1976). Galway Authors. p. 116. 
  3. ^ "Máirtín O'Direáin". Irish culture and Irish customs. Retrieved 2012-10-25. 
  4. ^ "The Teresa Deevy Archive". 
  5. ^ "NEW Irish stamps". World Stamp News. Retrieved 2012-10-25. 


  • Sewell, Frank C (2001). Modern Irish Poetry: A New Alhambra. OUP Oxford. ISBN 0191584355. 

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