Seumas MacManus

Seumas MacManus.

Seumas MacManus (1868–1960) was an Irish author, dramatist, and poet known for his ability to reinterpret Irish folktales for modern audiences.[1]


Born into a poor farming family in Mountcharles, County Donegal, he became a teacher, and in the 1890s began contributing articles and stories to newspapers in the US.

In 1901 he married the Antrim poet, balladeer and publisher Ethna Carbery, daughter of a Fenian and one of the founders of feminist nationalist organisation Inghinidhe na hÉireann, and they moved in together in Revlin House in Donegal. Carbery died the following year of gastritis, aged 35. MacManus published her hugely successful work for many years after her death. In 1911 in Manhattan, New York, he married Catalina Violante Paez (granddaughter of General Jose Antonio Paez, President of Venezuela).

Seamus MacManus is considered by many to be the last great seanchaí, or storyteller of the ancient oral tradition. He wrote down and interpreted traditional stories so that they would not be lost to future generations. In one book he encourages the reader to read the stories aloud and to others. "These tales were made not for reading, but for telling. They were made and told for the passing of long nights, for the shortening of weary journeys, for entertaining of traveler-guests, for brightening of cabin hearths. Be not content with reading them… And grateful be to the shanachies who passed these tales to me, for you - Sean O'Hegarty, Mairghid Burns, Eoghain O'Cuinn, and the Bacach Ruadh. May God grant their souls rest." Archived recordings of MacManus reading his stories exist in Notre Dame and Seton Hall, and some of his books are available for download on the Internet Archive.



Short Stories


  1. Jack Zipes. "Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales: Seumas MacManus". Answers Corporation. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
  2. Seumas MacManus, Sinn Fein, on jstor

External links

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