Brian Oswald Donn-Byrne Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Donn Byrne, who was christened Brian Oswald Donn-Byrne, was born in New York City, where his parents were staying while his father, an Irish engineer, was inspecting an American bridge-building project. Within a few months, the Donn-Byrnes returned to their home in Armagh. His father died several years later, leaving the family in somewhat straitened circumstances. As a boy, Donn Byrne, as he eventually signed himself in his writing, became interested in the Irish national movement. Known in those days as Brian O’Beirne, he appeared frequently at the Glens Feiseanna (Irish festivals) and in spite of his youth formed friendships with a number of organizers of the Sinn Féin. The influences of his boyhood account for the deep interest in Irish life and folkways evident in his books.{$S[A]Donn-Byrne, Brian Oswald[Donn Byrne, Brian Oswald];Byrne, Donn}

Educated at University College, Dublin, where he studied under Douglas Hyde, the famous Gaelic scholar and later the first president of Eire, he also did work at the Sorbonne and in Leipzig, Germany. Apparently, he gave up plans for a diplomatic career quite suddenly and went to Central or South America to become a cowboy poet. From there, he went to New York, where he worked at a variety of jobs, wrote and published a few romantic poems, and in 1911 married Dorothea Cadogan, who soon after became known as the coauthor of the successful play Enter Madame. For a time, Byrne supported his family by...

(The entire section is 571 words.)