Seosamh Mac Grianna
Seosamh Mac Grianna was an Irish
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 writer, in his early career under the pen-name Iolann Fionn. He was born into a family of poets and storytellers, which included his brothers Séamus Ó Grianna
Séamus Ó Grianna
Séamus Ó Grianna was an Irish writer, who used the pen name Máire. Born into a family of poets and storytellers in Ranafast, County Donegal, he attended local primary school until the age of 14. He spent several years at home and as a seasonal worker in Scotland. He attended an Irish language...

 and Seán Bán Mac Grianna, in Ranafast
Rann na Feirste is a village and townland in Na Rosa region of northwest County Donegal, Ireland....

, County Donegal
County Donegal
County Donegal is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is also located in the province of Ulster. It is named after the town of Donegal. Donegal County Council is the local authority for the county...

, at a time of linguistic and cultural change.

Education and early activities

He was educated at St. Eunan's College
St. Eunan's College
Saint Eunan's College is an all-male voluntary secondary school. Located in Glencar, Letterkenny , County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland, the building is a three-storey castle with four round towers at each corner of the building. The school is named after the Abbot of Iona St...

, Letterkenny
Letterkenny , with a population of 17,568, is the largest town in County Donegal, part of the Province of Ulster in Ireland. The town is located on the River Swilly...

, and St Columb's College in Derry
Derry or Londonderry is the second-biggest city in Northern Ireland and the fourth-biggest city on the island of Ireland. The name Derry is an anglicisation of the Irish name Doire or Doire Cholmcille meaning "oak-wood of Colmcille"...

. He trained as a teacher in St Patrick's College, Dublin, from which he graduated in 1921. He became involved in the Irish war of independence, and in the civil war was interned as a republican by the pro-treaty government for fifteen months. He began a teaching career but, with his poetic and independent character, soon discovered that his vocation did not lie there.

Creative career

Mac Grianna started writing in the early 1920s, and his creative period lasted some fifteen years . He wrote essays, short stories, travel and historical works, a famous autobiography, Mo Bhealach Féin
Mo Bhealach Féin
Mo Bhealach Féin, is an autobiographical novel by Irish writer Seosamh Mac Grianna. Written in the mid-1930s and prompted by the success of the Blasket autobiographies and O'Flaherty's Two Years, it gives an artistic Gaeltacht writer's personal reaction to an anglicised, urbanised post-revolution...

, and a novel, as well as translating many books. He was imbued with a strong, oral traditional culture from his childhood, and this permeated his writings, particularly in the early years.

Latter career and death

Towards the end of his career, Mac Grianna grew increasingly analytical and critical as he examined the changing face of the Irish
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

-speaking districts and the emergence of an Anglicised Ireland with no loyalty to, or sympathy with, a heroic and cultured past.

He was probably the greatest Gaeltacht
is the Irish language word meaning an Irish-speaking region. In Ireland, the Gaeltacht, or an Ghaeltacht, refers individually to any, or collectively to all, of the districts where the government recognises that the Irish language is the predominant language, that is, the vernacular spoken at home...

writer of his time, whose work had developed considerably before he was stricken by a severe depressive psychosis in 1935. In 1959 his wife committed suicide and his son, Fionn, drowned in Dublin Bay. That same year he admitted himself to St.Conall's psychiatric hospital in Letterkenny, where he stayed for most of the next 31 years. He died in 1990.
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