Mairéad Ní Ghráda (1896–1971)

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, Issue 1(Jan/Feb 2012), News, Volume 20

Mairéad Ní Ghráda (1896–1971)

Mairéad Ní Ghráda (1896–1971)

Playwright from Knockadangan, Co. Clare. She won a university scholarship and was awarded a BA (in Irish, French and English) and an MA in Irish in UCD. While there she was a member of Cumann na mBan and Conradh na Gaeilge. She was jailed at one point for selling republican flags on Grafton Street. She later worked as a teacher, as timire (Conradh na Gaeilge organiser) and as secretary to Ernest Blythe in the Dáil and during the Civil War. From 1926 onwards she spent nine years working for 2RN (Radio Éireann), compiling programmes for women and children. She was the first female announcer in Ireland and Britain, and perhaps in Europe. She later returned to teaching and her first play, An Uacht, was written for the students to whom she was teaching Irish at the time but ended up being produced by Micheál Mac Liammóir in the Gate Theatre. The following are some of her plays: Giolla an tSolais (1945), Lá buí Bealtaine (1953), Úil glas Oíche Shamhna (1955), Súgán sneachta (1959), Stailc Ocrais (1960), Mac Uí Rudaí (1961), An Triail (1964) and Breithiúnas (1968). An Triail brought her most fame; it was first performed in An Damer on 22 September 1964 and was later broadcast on television on 21 October 1964. Tomás Mac Anna, the producer, described An Triail as an achievement comparable to Brendan Behan’s The Hostage.

 

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