April A to Z: Y is for Yeats

By Niall McArdle   Anglo-Irish poet William Butler Yeats died seventy-five years ago in 1939. Born in Dublin in 1865, he was one of the driving forces of the Irish Literary Revival. He co-founded the Abbey Theatre. In 1923 he became the first Irishman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature (the others are Shaw, Beckett and […]

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Diasporational Part Fourteen: Una O’Connor, Lovable Screamer!

She had a nice line in busybodies: spinsters, gossips and maids (often Irish). She was described as having “the stare of a detective, the voice of an air raid siren, and the body of a scarecrow.” In an age when there was an awful lot of stage-Irishness in Hollywood films (Abby’s Irish Rose, Mother Machree), it must have grated on her ears to hear so many Oirish brogues.

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Diasporational Part Seven: The Irish Revolutionary Who Wooed Hollywood Leading Ladies

Big, broad, brawny, with a warm speaking voice, he was popular with his audience and his leading ladies. As an actor he might have been merely adequate, but he gained quite a reputation for his Hollywood conquests. Married five times, he had affairs with Bette Davis and Jane Powell, among others. He was quoted as saying “no woman will ever own me, I own myself.”

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