Cork poet Liam Ó Muirthile dead at 68

Writer ‘pushed the boundaries of Irish language literature through his dynamic prose’

Liam Ó Muirthile, photographed in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Liam Ó Muirthile, photographed in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

The death has been announced of the poet and writer Liam Ó Muirthile.

Mr Ó Muirthile was born in Cork City in 1950. His first collection of poetry, Tine Chnámh, written in 1984, received the Irish-American Cultural Institute’s literary award and the Oireachtas prize for poetry.

He also received the Butler Award in 1996 for his novel Ar Bhruach na Laoi, and both the Arts Council Prize and Gradam Chló Iar-Chonnacht for his third collection of poems, Walking Time agus Dánta eile.

In a statement on his death, the Arts Council described the Aosdána member and former Irish Times columnist as a writer of “great diversity and breadth”.

Chair Sheila Pratschke said Mr O’Muirthile “pushed the boundaries of Irish language literature through his dynamic prose, poetry and his writing for the stage”.

“Widely read and translated, his work made an enormous impact on our cultural landscape. From the launch of the acclaimed poetry publication Innti through his long and varied career, O’Muirthile was a powerful advocate for the language and literature, and his presence will be badly missed,” she said.

Mr Ó Muirthile, who mastered the Irish language in school and in Irish speaking region of West Kerry, had also written for the stage.

Amharclann de hÍde produced his play Tine Chnámh in the Project Theatre in Dublin in 1993. His play Fear an Tae was produced in the Andrew’s Lane Theatre, Dublin in 1995, and Liodán na hAbhann was staged in the Crypt Theatre in Dublin Castle in 2000.

He wrote a weekly column, An Peann Coitianta, for The Irish Times between 1989 and 2003.

His published works included: Tine Chnámh (1984), An Peann Coitianta (1991), Dialann Bóthair (1992), Ar Bhruach na Laoi (1995), An Peann Coitianta 2 (1997), Liodán na hAbhann (1999), Fear an Tae (1999), Walking Time agus Dánta Eile (2000), Gaothán (2000), An Seileitleán (2004), Sister Elizabeth ag Eitilt (2005), Ar an bPeann (Winter 2005), Dánta Déanta (Winter 2005), ÁÉÍÓÚ (Spring 2006).

Translations of various Ó Muirthile poems are in the following publications: An Tonn Gheal/The Bright Wave, Dermot Bolger (editor), Jumping Off Shadows, Selected Contemporary Irish Poets, Greg Delanty & Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill (editors), Introductions, Modern Poetry in Translation, Series Three, No.1,(Bernard O’Donoghue) and Anthologie de la poésie Irlandaise du xxe siècle, Jean-Yves Masson (editor).

Some of his work was translated and featured among German, French, Italian, Hungarian and Romanian collections.