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Peadar O'Donnell (1893 - 1986):
Writer and editor


Peadar O'Donnell was born in Meenmore, near Dungloe, County Donegal, and educated at St Patrick's Training College, Dublin. He went to Arranmore and Inisfree islands as a teacher, but having witnessed the hardships of Irish migrant labourers in Scotland, in 1918 he became a full-time organiser for the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union. He opposed conscription, and in 1920 he became a member of the Irish Republican Army and was imprisoned for his opposition to the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921. He escaped in 1924, but was imprisoned again in 1927. The Way It Was With Them was written on his release, when he went to the south of France. In 1930 he was President of the European Peasant Congress in Berlin. For a period he was editor of An Phoblacht, but left the Irish Republican Army to work for the Republican Congress, which was intended to establish a workers' republic. He recruited volunteers to fight in the Spanish Civil War on the republican side. Among his publications are Storm (begun in prison); Islanders; The Knife; On the Edge of the Stream; The Big Windows and Proud Island. The Gates Flew Open; Salud!: An Irishman in Spain and There Will Be Another Day are autobiographical works. From 1946 until 1954 he was editor of the literary monthly journal The Bell. He was a member of the Irish Academy of Letters and served as its President. His play, Wrack was performed in the Abbey Theatre in 1932. He was a campaigner all his life, and in his later years was in favour of nuclear disarmament. He died in Dublin.

Born: 22 February 1893
Died: 13 May 1986
Kate Newmann