Three Galway Playwrights.
Irish Travel, Official organ of the Irish Tourist Association Vol. XII. No. 4 January, 1937 p. 85
Galway has given three great figures to the Irish literary revival – Lady Gregory, Seamus O’Kelly and Edward Martyn.
Seamus O’Kelly was born in Loughrea in 1881 and educated at St. Brendan’s College there. Later he was a journalist in Skibbereen and Naas, afterwards coming to Dublin, where he wrote some successful plays which were
produced by the Abbey Theatre Company, then in its infancy. O’Kelly is better known by his stories than by his plays. His two best-known novels are
“Waysiders” and” The Lady of Deer Park.” He was connected with the Sinn Fein movement and for some time edited its official organ, “Nationalist.”
He died in Dublin on the 11th November, 1918, the day the Great War ended.
Edward Martyn was also closely connected with the Abbey Theatre, being one of its founders. Born at Masonbrooke, Galway, in 1859, he was educated in Dublin and Oxford. He wrote much, his best known works being “Maeve,” “The Heatherfield,” etc. He was keenly interested in church music and the revival of the Irish language, and was associated with Arthur Griffith in the early days of Sinn Fein. He was President of that organisation from 1904 to 1908. When Sinn Fein became Republican after 1916 Martyn seems to have faded out of the picture. He died in 1923 and left his body for dissection.
Lady Gregory, another founder of the Abbey theatre, was born at Roxborough, Co. Galway. Her best known works are “Gods and Fighting Men,” “A Book of Saints and Wonders,” “Our Irish Theatre,” “Hugh Lane’s Life and Achievement,” “Some Short Plays,” “New Comedies” and “Some Irish Folk-History Plays.”
Other Galway writers of note are John McNevin, author of the “Irish Volunteers”; Dr. James McNevin, the United Irishman, author of “Pieces of Irish History”;, M.D. Bodkin, the novelist; Miss Violet Martin, novelist; Fances Carey, best of the English translators or Dante; and John William Curran, the noted political writer.