Stephen Rynne

Life
1901-1980; b. Hampshire, of well-off Irish parents; brought to Ireland in 1907; ed. Clongowes and Reading Univ.; became a farmer, freelance journalist and broadcaster; studied as a post-graduate at UCC; settled at “Cloonmore”, nr. Prosperous, Co. Kildare; m. Alice Curtayne, 1935; acted as art reviewer for The Leader, and covered the first Living Art exhib. in 1943; issued an autobiog as Green Fields (1938); also All Ireland (1956), a travel work, and a biography of Canon John Hayes (1960) [fnd. Muintir na Tír]; d. Dublin. DIW

[ top ]

Works
‘Faoi’n Dtuaith Rural Organizations’, in Éire-Ireland, 5, 2 (Summer 1970), pp.102-06.

[ top ]

Commentary
Michael Viney, The Irish Times (1.7.95), ‘it is a book one falls deeply in love with, as I did years ago’; calls Rynne a strongly motivated Chestertonian Catholic and passionate nationalist; bought Cloonmore House near Prosperous, Co. Kildare; as the disgruntled Devons had left it, with 100 acres; bachelor to his 30s.

Sean McMahon, review of Green Fields, in Books Ireland (Nov. 1995), p.287, shows Rynne to be an admirer of ‘beloved’ Cobbett, and Thoreau; also adamantly Catholic; ranks Green Fields with Kilvert, Walden, and The Natural History of Selborne.

[ top ]

Quotations
Green Fields: A Journal of Irish Country Life (Brandon rep. 1995): ‘Big schemes which keep me awake half-nights must be launched, cattle must be sold, and cattle must be purchased, orchard extensions planned, the tillage programme for next season must be settled. I must fret and worry. I must retrench and save and go abut barking at all and sundry. / But after all, only in the discontents of farming do I find content.’ (Brandon Cat. 1994/5.)

Arts review [The first “Irish Exhibition of Living Art”], in The Leader (25 Sept. 1943), after discussion of Ralph Cusack, Eugene Judge, Evie Hone, Cecil Galbally [‘beautifully executed’], Dermod O’Brien, [Seán] Keating, Margaret Clarke, Moyra Barry [‘extremely fresh’]: ‘[...] Standing around the gaudy products of Doreen Vanston and Nick Nicholls on the opening day were a group of nudging, grinning spectators, and very probably there will be grinners and nudgers hanging about those eccentric paintings until closing day. What does all this crazy stuff mean? Where is the old woman in “Old Woman” and where is the cat in “Cat and Mouse” Well, Doreen Varlston’s stuff may look like boiled sweets or sugar sticks, but there is this to be said: she is doing her best to be herself, as much as any painter may! While down that wall that ends at the entrance door, here is a gentleman painting variations of Utrillo themes and, across the room, are bad imitations of Rouault, while here, there and everywhere, the painters are taking in each other’s washing, one man trying to emulate Jack B. Yeats and another being more like Rákóczi than Rákóczi himself. / As for Nick Nicholls, he gives the close-at-hand effect of a kitten mixing up the contents, of a work-basket, but get away to a distance -a considerable distance - and vou will see differently. I was standing talking to a friend opposite the group of Yeats’[s] pictures, when when suddenly a something began to wink and blink at me from the away off: it was one of Nicholls’s queer pictures. I turned and looked at it: it was all Neon lights and flashes; meaningless as it is at close quarters, it is not purposeless, for to make paint work like coloured electric bulbs is to make decoration of a sort. / The sculpture is quite the best exhibition we have had for many a year. Apart from the memorial exhiibition of Jerome O’Connor’s work (which is first-rate, course), there are good pieces shown by Laurence Campbell, Donal Murphy and Melanie Le Broequy. Of the last-named, the worn, Byzantine-like little statuette of the Madonna and Child is very appealing and why on earth does not someone buy and erect on a gigantic scale her terrific “St Patrick”? / On the second round of the walls, I saw the corpse-like figure in the Bret Harte picture stir, so I hastened away for a cup of tea.’ [End.]

[ top ]