Birth of Seán Ó Ríordáin celebrated by UCC

UCC marks anniversary of the birth of one of Ireland’s most important poets of the twentieth century

A programme of events to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of one of Ireland’s most important poets of the twentieth century gets underway in UCC on Thursday.

Seán Ó Riordáin was born in Baile Mhuirne, Co Cork, on December 3rd, 1916.  His first collection, Eireaball Spideoige, was published in 1952 followed by Brosna in 1964 and Línte Liombó in 1971.

A posthumous collection, Tar éis mo bháis (1978), was published the year after his death.

His best-known works include Adhlacadh Mo Mháthar; Oileán agus Oileán Eile; Cnoc Mellerí and Saoirse. He wrote a column for The Irish Times  between 1968 and 1977 and regularly gave lectures at UCC.


Most recently, traditional music band The Gloaming featured some of Ó Ríordáin's works,  A Sheanfhilí, Múinídh Dom Glao and Oilithreacht Fám Anam, on their song The Pilgrim's Song.

To mark the centenary of his birth, the university is holding a series of events from November 10th, which are free of charge and open to the public.

On Thursday, November 10 (Seomra Caidrimh, O'Rahilly Building, 3pm), three poets with strong links to UCC will gather to discuss their work in the light of that of Ó Ríordáin. Dr Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhaigh, IRC Post-Doctoral Fellow with the Department of Modern Irish, will be joined by fellow poets, Áine Uí Fhoghlú and Colm Breathnach, both UCC graduates. Providing a pan-Gaelic perspective on Ó Ríordáin's reputation will be Professor Wilson McLeod of the University of Edinburgh.

Children from Gaelscoil Uí Rordáin, Ballincollig, will visit the president's office for the award of Duais Uí Ríordáin. This will be marked with a lunchtime event in the Seomra Caidrimh on Thursday, November 17th.

Readings of a selection of Ó Ríordáin's work by schoolchildren from the Gaelscoil will blend with readings by undergraduates from the Department of Modern Irish, and music will also be provided by both sets of students.

Timothy O'Neill, Adjunct Professor at the Department of Modern Irish (O'Rahilly Building), and author of the best-selling The Irish Hand, has been commissioned to produce a calligraphic representation of Ó Ríordáin's famous poem, 'Fill Arís'.

In a public lecture entitled 'Letter-forms and literature: wrestling with Scripture, Heaney and Ó Ríordáin', to be delivered in the College of Arts Seminar Room (O'Rahilly Building, G.27) November 22, 4 pm, he will talk about his work on representations of modern poetry and on the challenges posed to the calligrapher by such work.

Celebrations will conclude with a ceremony on November 25th when the Séamus Murphy bust of Seán Ó Ríordáin will be installed in the Department of Modern Irish at 3pm. The occasion will feature an address by Ó Ríordáin biographer Prof Seán Ó Coileáin.