Death of former Evening Press journalist Seán McCann

Hailed by Con Houlihan as ‘a brilliant features editor’

Journalist, author and rose lover Seán McCann has died suddenly but peacefully at his home in Dublin's Deansgrange. He was believed to be in his late 80s. A former features editor of the Evening Press newspaper, he also wrote 28 books on subjects as varied as literary wit, history, sport, gardening, and roses.

His titles included Irish Wit - From Behan and Wilde to Yer Man in the Pub, The Wee Book of Irish Wit and Malarkey, and The Wit of Oscar Wilde. He also wrote a series of children's books about fictional child soccer star and underdog hero Georgie Goode.

His daily routine involved coming home at four in the afternoon to write in a garden shed behind the house at Deansgrange. He was also forever telling his son about the power of literature. That son, on whom Seán had a major influence, is the well-known New York-based writer Colum McCann whose talent Seán spotted early on.

He advised his son against a career in journalism. “I think maybe he told me not to be a journalist because he wanted me to become a fiction writer, and he was afraid that the world of journalism would swallow me asunder,” the younger McCann later said.


Seán McCann made periodic trips to America,where he lectured on cultivating roses,and brought back books to the teenage Colum, who through themgained an interest in the 1950s Beat writers such as Richard Brautigan, William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac.

Where the day job was concerned, according to the late Con Houlihan, “Seán McCann was a brilliant features editor.”

Survived by his wife Sally, children Siobhán, Seán, Oonagh, Colum, Ronan, and brother Brian, Seán McCann’s remains will repose at the family home on Clonkeen Road on Thursday evening, February 26th, from 5pm to 8pm. His funeral Mass will be on Friday, February 27th, at 10am in St Brigid’s Church Cabinteely, followed by burial in Dean’s Grange cemetery.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times