Born in Listowel, he was educated at St. Michael's College, Listowel, and St. Patrick's Training College, Dublin. He worked as a teacher for 45 years, and was one of the founders of Listowel Drama Group and of Listowel Writers' Week. He is best remembered for his short stories and also his autobiography, The Master, published in 1992. He wrote novels, pageants, radio features, plays and television scripts. His collections of short stories are The Lion Tamer; Red Petticoat and The Sound of Hooves (1985). His plays include The Bugle in the Blood; The Song of the Anvil; The Honey Spike (all produced at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin); Jack Furey; The Death of Biddy Early; The Time at Whitethorn; and The Gap of Life. His novels include Children of the Rainbow and The Tallystick (1994). He received an LL.D. (hon. causa) from the National University of Ireland in 1972. He was President of Irish P.E.N., the society of playwrights, from 1972-73, an ex-committee member of the Academy of Irish Letters, and a member of various Government commissions.
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