Seán Dunne (poet)

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Seán Dunne (1956–1995) was a poet born in Waterford, Ireland.


Dunne edited several anthologies, beginning with The Poets of Munster (1985) and finishing with the Ireland Anthology which was completed posthumously by George O'Brien and Dunne's partner Trish Edelstein. He released 3 collections of poems. Dunne's collections of poems were all well received, and in order of release are: Against the Storm (1985), The Sheltered Nest (1992) and Time and the Island. The account of his childhood In My Father's House, published in 1991, was a bestseller.[1]


Dunne's father was Richard Dunne. His mother died in 1960 when Dunne was four.[2] Sean attended Scoil Lorcain primary school in St Johns Park, just moments from where he lived, and later Mount Sion secondary school in Waterford city where he wrote for the school magazine and participated in organising poetry and music evenings. He attended University College Cork (UCC) where he was taught by Sean Lucy and John Montague and was part of a stream of talent issuing from the university in that period, which included Maurice Riordan, Gregory O'Donoghue, Theo Dorgan, Thomas McCarthy, William Wall, Gerry Murphy, Greg Delanty and others. He was active in student politics, as detailed in his memoir The Road to Silence.

After college Dunne settled in Cork where he worked in the city library and continued to write and publish poems. Around this time he began to make a living from freelance journalism. Soon he joined the Cork Examiner daily newspaper where he was a columnist.

Dunne died on 3 August 1995 of a heart problem.[1][3]

He was father to three children. His son, Gavin Dunne, is a successful independent musician based in Cork.[4][5]

Sean Dunne Writers Festival[edit]

In 1996 Waterford City Council inaugurated the Sean Dunne Writers Festival in his honour. The 2009 Festival took place in Waterford City from Thursday 19 March to Saturday 21 March. It featured poets such as Tom Paulin, Conor O'Callaghan and MacDara Woods, with performance poets Eamon Carr and Raven. It also featured writers A. L. Kennedy, Paul Carson, Declan Lynch and more.[6] The winner of the competition was Luke Byrne from St John's Park, Waterford, for his poem "Winter".


  1. ^ a b Time And The Island The Gallery Press, 1996
  2. ^ In My Father's House Anna Livia Press Ltd, 1991
  3. ^ "Striken Blackbird" article - The Irish Times Weekend Review, Saturday January 28, 2006
  4. ^ Gav [@miracleofsound] (8 May 2015). "At the 20th Anniversary of the Sean Dunne writers festival, celebrating my father's poetry & work. Lovely night :)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Archived 2009-09-12 at the Wayback Machine