New exhibition at NUIG offers fresh insight into poet Máirtín Ó Direáin

NUIG President Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh; NUIG researcher and Árainn native, Dr Deirdre Ní Chonghaile; members of Mná Fiontracha and Árainn natives, Áine Uí Fhlaithearta agus Bairbre Uí Chonghaile; and NUIG researcher and exhibition curator, Síobhra Aiken. pictured with items from the Máirtín Ó Direáin exhibition at NUIG’s Hardiman Building.
NUIG President Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh; NUIG researcher and Árainn native, Dr Deirdre Ní Chonghaile; members of Mná Fiontracha and Árainn natives, Áine Uí Fhlaithearta agus Bairbre Uí Chonghaile; and NUIG researcher and exhibition curator, Síobhra Aiken. pictured with items from the Máirtín Ó Direáin exhibition at NUIG’s Hardiman Building.

Iconic Irish language poet Máirtín Ó Direáin is the subject of a new exhibition at NUIG, which marks the 30th anniversary of his death in March 1988. Curated by Síobhra Aiken, a PhD researcher in the Centre for Irish Studies, Máirtín Ó Direáin – Fathach File / Reluctant Modernist, draws on University, State and private archives, with many materials going on public display for the first time.

NUIG President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, launched the exhibition, which is in the Hardiman Building and is a highlight of the university’s celebration of Seachtain na Gaeilge.

“While Ó Direáin is considered to be the ‘father of modern Irish poetry’, his legacy has, arguably, been overlooked and his life story has never been written,” says Síobhra. “I hope the exhibition will provide new biographical information, which enlightens our understanding of his work and will encourage further academic research on his life and his poetry,” she adds.

The show offers new information on aspects of Ó Direáin’s life, such as the respect he earned as a young actor in An Taibhdhearc Theatre, the steps he took to promote the rights of Post Office workers, and his position as President of Cumann na Scríbhneoirí (The Writers’ Association) in Dublin.

Members of the extended Ó Direáin family attended the launch last week and gave  insights into his life and inspirations. Máirtín Ó Direáin’s only daughter, Niamh Sheridan, spoke at the event, and was joined by her partner Don, daughter Gráinne McCann and grandson Shane.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.