Pádraig Ó Broin (1908–1967): in search of his Gaelic heritage in Canada

Pádraig Ó Siadhail


J. Patrick Byrne was a child when his family emigrated from Dublin to Toronto c. 1913. By the 1930s, Byrne was an emerging English-language poet in Canada when he encountered the Irish language and set about learning the language and reclaiming his lost Irish heritage. This transformation resulted in a handful of Irish-language poems that Byrne, using the Irish-language form of his name, Pádraig Ó Broin, published in Ireland and Canada in the 1940s. Both poet and poems deserve attention on account of Ó Broin’s choice to embrace Irish. But Ó Broin’s recognition that his command of Irish would be limited at best likely caused him to stop writing poetry in Irish. He continued to publish in English but his interest in Irish and its literature remained undimmed. And in the 1950s, Ó Broin launched and edited two literary journals in Toronto, Irisleabhar Ceilteach (1952–1954) and Teangadóir (1953–1960), journals that provided a forum for writing in the Celtic languages and about those languages and their cultures in English.

Pádraig Ó Broin, his Irish-language poetry, and his Celtic journals are little known. This essay surveys Ó Broin’s life, his poems in Irish, and the two journals, including their range of material and main contributors. A comprehensive index of both journals is provided as an appendix to this article.

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COMHARTaighde is an open access, peer-reviewed scholarly journal in the field of Irish language and literature studies. The full text of the article described on this page is available in the Irish language only. English-language translations of article titles, abstracts and certain metadata are provided in order to enable international scholars to discover research published in COMHARTaighde and to facilitate the indexing of articles in certain academic databases.

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© Comhar Teoranta, 2016.
ISSN: 2009-8626