Mary Holland (1935-2004)

Notes

Life
b. 19 June 1935, in Dover, the dg. of an English engineer in Malaysia; ed. Loreto Convent, Co. Cork, and later at Farnborough; started law at King's College (ULondon); won Vogue competition and became journalist, before joining the Observer in 1964; m. Ronald Higgins, a diplomat; reported from Indonesia for Observer; also contrib. to Sunday Press, Magill, and New Statesman; sent to Northern Ireland by David Astor (The Observer ed.), 1968; she was present at Burntollet and Bloody Sunday; named UK Journalist of the Year, 1970; sep. and divorce from Higgins; presented Weekend World for LTW from 1972; conducted an interview with David Connell, IRA chief-of-staff, causing questions in the House of Commons, 1974;
 
came into conflict with Conor Cruise O’Brien (then Observer ed.) over her sympathetic reading of nationalist violence in Northern Ireland and her criticism of his policy on Republican broadcasting time, 1979; dir. Creggan (ITV 1980), a tele-documentary on an Ulster town, winner of the Prix Italia; named herself publicly as having had an abortion at Liberty Hall meeting, 1981; strenuously supported abortion liberalisation in Ireland and served as long-run columnist for The Irish Times; shared Christopher Ewart-Biggs memorial award with David McKittrick, 1989; received Special Judges' Award of Irish Journalist of the Year Awards, October 2003; d. 8 June 2004, of scleroderma; Mary Robinson gave the first annual commemorative address at the Mansion House, Dublin, on 7 July 2005 (sponsored by the Irish Times); there was a Mary Holland Tribute at the Ranelagh Festival, 23-28 Sept. 2008.

[ According to Seamus Heaney, she ‘shaped the very history she reported.’ ]

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Works
How Far We Have Travelled: The Voice of Mary Holland, ed. by Mary Maher (Townhouse 2004), 266pp., pieces from 1985 to 2002.

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Criticism
Anne McHardy, obituary, The Guardian (Wednesday, 9 June 2004) [see under Conor Cruise O’Brien, infra].

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Notes
Tribute: A Mary Holland Tribute at the Ranelagh Festival, 23-28 Sept. 2008, was held at Ranelagh Multi-denominational School, and chaired by Andy Pollock, with Evelyn Conlon, Eamonn McCann, Danny Morrison, and Fintan Vallely participating.

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