Ócáid Chomórtha | A Celebration of Máiréad Ní Ghráda

Wednesday 11 Mar 2015
1pm - 4pm
Project Arts Centre Cube

Máiréad Ní Ghráda. Courtesy of Clare County Library

Máiréad Ní Ghráda - Biography

Born in Co. Clare in 1896, Máiréad Ní Ghráda was a playwright, broadcaster and teacher. She was a tireless promoter of the Irish language and wrote many educational texts, some of which are still widely used today including 'Progress in Irish'.

Máiréad grew up in Kilmaley, a Breac Ghaeltacht, with Irish speaking parents. She won a university scholarship while attending the local Convent of Mercy School and received a BA in English, Irish and French and an MA in Irish from UCD. An active member of the Gaelic League and Cumann na mBán, she was imprisoned in 1920 for selling flags on behalf of Conradh na Ghaeilge on Grafton Street. After a short time teaching in St. Brendan’s private school, Glenageary, Co. Dublin, Máiréad was employed as organiser and later as secretary to Ernest Blythe in the first Dáil and during the Civil War. In 1923, she married Richard Kissane, a civic guard (Garda Síochána). They had two sons and settled in Ranelagh, Dublin. She was the first female announcer with 2RN (now Radió Éireann), engaged as Woman's Organiser with the national radio station for many years, a job which involved programming for women and children.  

VIDEO: Mairéad Ní Ghráda explains her role as a "Woman Organiser" and recalls the early days of drama production at 2RN  ©RTÉ

Máiréad wrote her first play in 1931 while teaching Irish in a domestic science college in Kilmacud. An Udhacht, a one act comedy based on ‘Gianni Schicchi' by Puccini, was produced by Michéal Mac Liammóir at The Gate (1931). Her writing for theatre includes Mícheál, 1933 (adaptation of Michael, a story by Tolstoy), An Grádh agus an Garda (1937), Giolla an tSoluis (1945), Hansel & Gretel (1951), Lá Buí Bealtaine (1953), Úll glas Oíche Shamhna (1955), Ríte (1955), Súgán Sneachta (1959), Mac Uí Rudaí (1961) and Stailc Ocrais (1962). An Triail (1964) & On Trial (1965) and Breithiúnas (1968), although critical of Irish society at the time, were her greatest successes.

Máiréad Ní Ghráda died on 13 June 1971. Her enormous contribution to Irish language theatre includes 11 original plays - more than any other playwright in Irish.



  • Dictionary of Irish Biography - Courtesy of Éamon Ó Ciosáin
  • Ainm.ie – Diarmuid Breathnach, Máire Ní Mhurchú
  • Máiréad Ní Ghráda: Ceannródaí Drámaíochta, Siobhán Ní Bhrádaigh
  • Comóradh Mháiréad Ní Ghráda, Courtesy of Clare County Libraries
  • PLAYOGRAPHYIreland and Playography na Gaeilge 
  • RTÉ Archives