Padraic Colum was one of Ireland’s most popular writers of the early 20th century.
He was a talented playwright and poet, and was friends with fellow literary giants such as James Joyce and WB Yeats. Colum is best remembered for his work to preserve the Irish language and tradition with his work.
He got his name, Patrick Collumb, from Collumbkille but changed it to Padraic Colum after joining the Gaelic League and the Irish Republican Army in 1901.
He was born in a workhouse in Collumbkille, Co Longford – his father worked there as the workhouse master. There he saw the poverty of the people. He also heard tales of the lives of people who had lived through the famine in the mid-19th century.
Colum also travelled Ireland’s fairs and markets with his uncle, who was a poultry dealer. He met ballad singers and storytellers from whom he gained much of his inspiration.
He collected many songs which had been passed through generations orally, and wrote them down keeping them for the future generations, such as She Moved Through the Fair.
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He played a large part in the Irish Literary Revival, and was founder member of Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, and a leading figure in the Irish Literary Revival. He wrote 61 books, including children’s books.
After studying at University College, Dublin, he went to America 1914, and was made a US citizen in 1945.