Walter Macken

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Walter Macken (3 May 1915 – 22 April 1967;[1] Irish: Uaitéar Ó Maicín), was born in Galway, Ireland. He was a writer of short stories, novels and plays.


1971 Flight of the Doves 1962 The Quare Fellow 1959 Home Is the Hero


Walter Macken was originally an actor, principally with the Taibhdhearc (where he met his wife, Peggy)[2] in Galway, and The Abbey Theatre in Dublin. He also played lead roles on Broadway in M. J. Molloy's The King of Friday's Men[3] and his own play Home Is the Hero. The success of his third book, Rain on the Wind (winner of the Literary Guild award in the USA),[4] enabled him to focus his energies on writing. He also acted in films, notably in Arthur Dreifuss' adaptation of Brendan Behan's The Quare Fellow. He is perhaps best known for his trilogy of Irish historical novels Seek the Fair Land, The Silent People and The Scorching Wind.[5]

In September 1966 he moved to the small Gaeltacht village of Menlo in County Galway. He died suddenly at home on 22 April 1967 and was survived by his wife and two sons.[6] His son Ultan Macken is a well-known journalist in the print and broadcast media of Ireland, and wrote a biography of his father, Walter Macken: Dreams on Paper.[7]

List of works[edit]


  • Mungo's Mansion (Macmillan, 1946)
  • Vacant Possession (Macmillan, 1948)
  • Home is the Hero (Macmillan, 1952)
  • Twilight is the Warrior (Macmillan, 1956)


  • Quench the Moon (Macmillan, 1948)
  • I Am Alone (Macmillan, 1949)
  • Rain on the Wind (London, MacMillan, 1950)
  • The Bogman (MacMillan, 1952)
  • Sunset on the Window Panes (Macmillan, 1954)
  • Sullivan (Macmillan, 1957)
  • Seek the Fair Land (MacMillan, 1959)
  • The Silent People (MacMillan, 1962)
  • The Scorching Wind (MacMillan, 1964)
  • Brown Lord of the Mountain (Macmillan, 1966)

Two further novels, 'And then No More' (1946) and 'Cockles and Mustard' (1947) remain unpublished.

Novels for children[edit]

Macken wrote some 5 collections of short stories for children, and also:

  • Island of the Great Yellow Ox (MacMillan, 1966)
  • Flight of the Doves (MacMillan, 1963), which was adapted for the cinema.

Short story collections[edit]

  • The Green Hills (MacMillan, 1956)
  1. Gaeglers and the Wild Geese
  2. The Currach Race
  3. The Gauger
  4. The Young Turk
  5. The Proud Man
  6. The Green Hills
  7. Barney's Maggie
  8. The Sailor
  9. The Hurling Match
  10. Duck Soup
  11. The Fair Lady
  12. The Lady and the Tom
  13. The Atheist
  14. The Wasteland
  15. Tuesday's Children
  16. Hallmarked
  17. The Eyes of the Cat
  18. Foreign Fish
  19. The Boy and the Brace
  20. The River
  21. The King
  • God Made Sunday and other Stories (Macmillan, 1962)
  1. God Made Sunday
  2. Patter O'Rourke
  3. The Big Fish
  4. Solo and the Nine Irons
  5. The Match Maiden
  6. The Conjugator
  7. Solo and the Simpleton
  8. Light in the Valley
  9. This Was My Day
  10. Solo and the Sinner
  11. No Medal for Matt
  12. The Red Rager
  13. The Lion
  • The Coll Doll and other Stories (Macmillan, 1969)
  1. The Coll Doll
  2. The Currach Race*
  3. Duck Soup*
  4. The Kiss
  5. Characters in Order of Appearance
  6. Gaeglers and the Wild Geese*
  7. The Wasteland*
  8. The Fair Lady*
  9. The Eyes of the Cat*
  10. A Talk in the Dark
  11. My Neighbour
  12. Foreign Fish*
  13. The Hurling Match*
  14. The Green Hills*
  15. Tuesday's Children*
  16. The Lady and the Tom*
  17. Janey is a Girl
  18. Barney's Maggie*
  19. The Dreamer
  20. The River*
  21. Three Witnesses

* Previously published in The Green Hills (MacMillan, 1956)

  • City of the Tribes (Brandon, 1997)
  1. Ambition
  2. Battle
  3. The Passing of the Black Swan
  4. New Clothes for the Giolla
  5. Dad
  6. Deputy Johnny
  7. Tail of a Kid
  8. Saga
  9. Dovetail and the Turkey
  10. Homecoming
  11. Homing Salmon
  12. Spanish Joe
  13. Colm comes to the Citie
  14. The Citie
  15. An Act of Charity
  16. Pugnug
  17. The New Broom
  18. Gaeglers and the Greyhound
  • The Grass of the People (Brandon, 1998)
  1. The Grass of the People
  2. What will we do with the Yanks
  3. Solo and the Sailor
  4. This Was My Day**
  5. The Storm is Still
  6. How to Poach a Salmon
  7. Sukos
  8. The Mare with Foal at Foot
  9. The Green Dream
  10. Challenge the River
  11. The Tangler
  12. The Bachelor
  13. The Coll Doll*
  14. The Kiss*
  15. Characters in Order of Appearance*
  16. A Talk in the Dark*
  17. My Neighbour*
  18. Jane is a Girl*
  19. The Dreamer*
  20. Three Witnesses*

* Previously published in The Coll Doll and other Stories (Macmillan, 1969)
** Previously published in God Made Sunday and other Stories (Macmillan, 1962)


  1. ^ "Walter Macken". IMDb.[unreliable source?]
  2. ^ "Walter Macken Playwright Walter Macken Writer Walter Macken Galway City Ireland".
  3. ^ "The King of Friday's Men: Cast (Playbill)".
  4. ^ Biographic details of Walter Macken at
  5. ^ "Biography of Walter Macken at".
  6. ^ Hourican, Bridget (October 2009). "Macken, Walter". Dictionary of Irish Biography. Retrieved 30 March 2023.
  7. ^ Robert Allen (November 2009). "I Am Alone – [Walter Macken:] Dreams on Paper, by Ultan Macken". (review).

External links[edit]