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Sean Dunne

Margaret Aylward Dr Edward Barron Philip Barron Denis Cashman Raymond Chandler Paddy Coad Patrick Comerford Donncha Ruadh Val Doonican Sean Dunne Frank Edwards Alfie Hale John M Hearne William Hobson Dr Thomas Hussey Charles Kean John Keane Edmund Leamy D. P. Moran Gen Dick Mulcahy James Nash Peter O'Connor Jas Louis O'Donnell Pádraig Ó Fainín Gilbert O'Sullivan John Redmond Edmund I Rice James Rice, Mayor Lord Roberts V. C. John Roberts Frank Ryan Thomas Sexton Archbishop Sheehan Susan Smith John Treacy Luke Wadding William V. Wallace Cardinal Wiseman Bullocks Wyse Lucien Bonaparte Wyse




was born in 1956 in Waterford City. He attended Mount Sion primary and secondary schools in the city where he started writing for the school magazine before going to UCC where he studied English under Sean Lucy and John Montague. Sean was active in student politics as detailed in his memoir The Road to Silence. He also served there a literary apprenticeship. After college he settled in Cork where he worked in the city library and continued to write and publish poems. Around this time Sean began to make a living from freelance journalism.
Soon he joined the Cork Examiner daily newspaper where he became a prominent columnist. Sean edited many anthologies in his lifetime, beginning with the Poets of  
Munster (1985) and finishing with the Ireland Anthology which was completed posthumously by George O'Brien and his partner Trish Edelstein. Sean died tragically young on 3rd August 1995 of an unforeseen coronary complaint.

A strong musicality and a strong sense of form are inherent in his poems. The domestic life with its dangers, rewards and fragility, forms his most prevalent subject matter. His later work displayed a dedication to metaphor and an almost Japanese-like sensitivity to the image.

His books include three collections of poems Against the Storm (1985), The Sheltered Nest (1992) and Time And The Island (1996) and a memoir, In My Father's House (2000). The latter is his account of the trials and tests of a childhood in Waterford in the 1960s. Sean Dunne's mother died at the age of thirty-three, when he was four years old. In My Father's House touched a communal heart when it was published first in 1991, and became a bestseller.

This eloquent testimony to one fractured family's capacity to prevail, including the heroic roles enacted by Seán's father, Richie, and their housekeeper, Tessie, unfolds with an understated dignity. Acute loss and vivid recall yield wry and poignant truths. Seán Dunne's disarmingly simple prose scrutinizes social history in an Irish housing-estate, with its stories of tragedy and resilience, through the lens of personal experience. Told with honesty, humour and love, it endures also as the record of a spiritual odyssey and growth. Waterford City Council inaugurated in 1996 the Sean Dunne literary festival in his honour.
This is now Ireland’s largest free festival for writers of all disciplines.

Extracted in part from The Gallery Press, www.munsterlit.ie/Conwriters/ and Waterford City Council.

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