News and Views

Seán Ó Ríordáin letters donated to UCC

13 Dec 2022
Seán Ó Ríordáin

Letters from the influential Irish poet Seán Ó Ríordáin are being donated to University College Cork (UCC).

It is 70 years since the publication of Seán Ó Ríordáin’s influential poetry collection, Eireaball Spideoige. To mark the occasion, UCC will honour its long association with Ó Ríordáin with an afternoon of talks and poetry on the 13th December in UCC. This event will also feature the donation of a significant collection of letters written by Ó Ríordáin to the Boole Library.

The letters were written between 1967 and 1976, a crucial period in Ó Ríordáin's life as he moved from poetry to prose as his principal medium. Addressed to his close friend Isobel O' Shea, the correspondence is full of wit and mischief that offer a useful corrective to our sense of the poet's life as blighted by solitude and illness. In 1967 Ó Ríordáin was made a part-time lecturer in University College Cork. Between 1969 and 1976 he was UCC's writer in residence. 

Dr Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, Department of Modern Irish, commented “Seán Ó Ríordáin was a major figure in the literary life of twentieth century Ireland, and continues to influence writers today. These letters depict a different aspect of Ó Ríordáin's complex nature than the version we see in his poetry and journals. While he is primarily remembered for his poetry, this collection, which includes letters, postcards and sketches, offers many valuable insights into cultural and political life in Ireland during the 1960s and ’70s.”

“Seán Ó Ríordáin is recognised internationally as being one of the most powerful Irish-language poets of the 20th century.  Ó Ríordáin’s personal library is already preserved in University College Cork, and it is a great honour for us to be able to place this important collection of letters alongside that  library now, and make it accessible to the research community and students.” stated Crónán Ó Doibhlin, Interim University Librarian / Head of Collections. 

Speakers at the event in UCC today will include Prof Louis de Paor, Dr Ríona Ní Churtáin, Prof Patricia Coughlan and Dr Stiofáin Ó Cadhla.

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF