Beginner's pluck: Seán Ó Súilleabháin

This week Sue Leonard sits down with Seán Ó Súilleabháin to discuss his debut onto the literary scene.

Seán has written plays since he was a teenager.

“I was greatly encouraged at my school, and I wrote plays in college too,” he says.

Originally keen to become a journalist, Seán soon realised the job was not for him, so instead of taking up an internship with the Tallaght Echo, he turned to teaching. He adores it, and especially loves teaching drama in schools.

In 2005, Seán met his wife, and settling in Co Wicklow, he began to explore the area.

“I was always keen on the outdoors. I was bought to Glencree as a child. I decided to keep a journal of all the places I had visited. It started as a personal project.”

Realising he had enough for a book, Seán approached a publisher: “Our discussions were about finding the balance between the personal diary, with good writing, and having information for tourists.”

Who is Seán Ó Súilleabháin?

Date/place of birth: February 21,1981/Tallaght.

Education: Coláiste de Híde, Tallaght. University College Dublin. Griffith College; post-grad in journalism. National University of Ireland, Galway; dip ed.

Home: Dubai, until next June.

Family: Wife, Emma

The day job: Secondary school teacher, but currently teaching drama to primary and secondary school children in Dubai.

Interests: The outdoors. Hill climbing, bird watching, and painting.

“I painted illustrations for the book, but the publishers wanted photographs.”

Favourite writers: James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, John McGahern, William Trevor, Emerson, and the poetry of Patrick Kavanagh and Seamus Heaney.

Second novel: “I’m currently writing a play for radio. It came from the research for the book, and is about a German spy landing in Ireland.”

Top tip: “Create a regular working pattern. As a morning person, I get up before 5am, and write for three to four hours.”


The Debut: Wicklow Bound: A seasonal guide; Wordwell, €15.00

This month-to-month guide combines the personal thoughts and anecdotes of the author, with history, nature, myth, and practical details. Illustrated with beautiful photographs, it is a reference book to savour for its lyrical writing.

The useful appendixes give daily itineraries, scenic walks, and places of interest.

The Verdict: Highly original, useful and inspirational. As an inhabitant of Wicklow, I absolutely adore this book.


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