Liam Ó Briain

Life
1888-1974; b. North Wall, Dublin; ed. O’Connell CBS and RUI; NUI travelling schol., 1911; studied Early Irish in Germany, also studied in Paris; French lect. at UCD, 1914; sworn into the IRB by Seán T. Ó Ceallaigh; fought in 1916 (College of Surgeons); imprisoned at Frognoch; Romance Prof. UCG, 1917-59; Sinn Féin candidate for S. Armagh, 1918; Republican court judge, 1920; interned Wandsworth, 1920-21; took Treaty side; unsuccessful Seanad candidate, 1925; books incl. translations of La Bruyère, Henri Ghéon, Molière, Shakespeare, et al., including Anglo-Irish writers (Gregory, Pearse, Synge) trans. into Irish for the Gaelic Theatre Taibhdhearc], Galway, which he founded with Mac Liammóir, 1928; President of Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe, 1931 ; chairman, An Club Leabhar, 18 years; Gaelic League exec.; chevalier Legion d’Honneur, 1951; Chair of Romance languages, UCG, 1917-1959; member of Censorship Appeal Board, 1953-6.; translated and adapted plays in Irish including some by Pearse, Synge, Molière and Shakespeare; issued memoirs Cuimhní Cinn (1951) which gives a vivid account of the 1916 Rising, ending with the East Clare bye-election in 1917; retired in Dublin and d. 11 Aug. 1974. DIW DIB OCIL

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Works
Cuimhní Cinn
(Dublin: Sáirséal agus Dill 1951); trans., Gearmairecht Dhroicid an Diabhail, from Ghéon (1932); Déirdre an Bhróin (1932) [Synge’s Deirdre of the Sorrows]; An t-Amhránaidhe (1936; prod. Abbey 1942) [from Pearse]; Cat na mBróg (1936) [from Ghéon]; Grádh Cásmha (1937) [ from Molière] ; Coriolanus (1938) [after Shakespeare]; Ar an mBóthar Mór(1943) [from Jeane-Jacque Bernard]; also An tUbhall Oir [from Lady Gregory]; An Chúis i haghaidh Iosa [from Diego Fabbri’s Proces a Jesu], et al.

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Commentary
Oliver Snoddy, (‘Notes on Literature in Irish Dealing with the Fight for Freedom’, in Éire-Ireland, 3, 2, Summer 1968 [pp.138-48], writes of Cuimhní Cinn: ‘It is one of the best first-hand accounts of the Rising from the pen of a participant, made all the more attractive by the humanity, humor and honest of the man. O’Briain was one of the couriers used by Eoin MacNéill to convey around the country his order countermanding the arrangements already made by Pearse. However, when the Rising started the next day, Ó Briain, set out to join his company.’ (p.145.)

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