Remembering Máirtín Ó Cadhain – Irish Revolutionaries
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Remembering Máirtín Ó Cadhain

Remembering Máirtín Ó Cadhain

Máirtín Ó Cadhain was born in Cois Fharraige in the Connemara Gaeltacht, County Galway in 1906.

In his early life, Ó Cadhain was a school teacher but was sacked because of his involvement in the IRA, which he served as a recruiting officer in the 1930s, Ó Cadhain recruited the famous Brendan Behan into the IRA.

With the outbreak of WW2, Eamon de Valera's administration brought in emergency legislation which led to the use of internment without trial for Irish Republicans, Ó Cadhain was interned in the Curragh Camp, County Kildare.

As a writer, Ó Cadhain is acknowledged to be a pioneer of Irish-language modernism.

He was a prolific writer of short stories. His collections of short stories include Cois Caoláire, An Braon Broghach, Idir Shúgradh agus Dháiríre, An tSraith Dhá Tógáil, An tSraith Tógtha and An tSraith ar Lár. He also wrote three novels, of which only Cré na Cille was published during his lifetime.

The other two, Athnuachan and Barbed Wire, appeared in print only recently. He translated Charles Kickham's novel Sally Kavanagh into Irish as Saile Chaomhánach, nó na hUaigheanna Folmha. He also wrote several political or linguo-political pamphlets.

His political views can most easily be discerned in a small book about the development of Irish nationalism and radicalism since Theobald Wolfe Tone, Tone Inné agus Inniu; and at the beginning of the sixties, he wrote – partly in Irish, partly in English – a comprehensive survey of the social status and actual use of the language in the west of Ireland, published as An Ghaeilge Bheo – Destined to Pass.

In August 1969 he delivered a speech (published as Gluaiseacht na Gaeilge: Gluaiseacht ar Strae) in which he spoke of the role Irish speakers should take in 'Athghabháil na hÉireann', or the Re-Conquest of Ireland as James Connolly first coined the term.

Máirtín Ó Cadhain died on 18 October 1970 in Dublin and was buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery, he is regarded as one of the most prominent Irish language writers of the twentieth century.

A lecture hall in Trinity College Dublin is named after Ó Cadhain who was a professor of Irish. A bronze bust is also located in the Irish department.


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