Eilís Dillon: Other Works

Author In a profile of Eilís Dillon in The Irish Times, Kevin Myers pointed out that "the range of fiction which she began to create is quite simply beyond compare with in Irish letters". Besides publishing four contemporary novels, four historical novels, three detective stories and thirty-eight children's books, Eilís Dillon wrote a number of other works including plays, poems, stories, translations, reviews, articles and autobiographical pieces. She edited several works, including academic and children's books. A selective list appears below.

Manna (radio play)
Produced 1960

A Page of History (stage play)
Produced 1964 (Abbey Theatre, Dublin)
(and never revived, but there has been talk recently of giving more prominence to Irish women playwrights...)

Plays like this can "rebuild" the Abbey

"The Abbey's best and most imaginative new play for years ... What a remarkably able first stage play it is that Eilís Dillon has written, taking as her theme the fortunes, or misfortunes, of a great house on the Co. Cork coast and peopling it with a number of highly interesting characters. The mansion had belonged to a doctor, long since dead, and is now occupied by his two ageing spinster daughters and their brother who hasn't exchanged a word with them for a quarter of a century. When we first meet the sisters and the brother the rates cannot be paid and a formerly despised sister-in-law from Mallow has been invited to see the family through. Her plan is to turn the place into a seaside hotel; it lives as such but for a single day ... It is a tale splendidly told, in dialogue that hasn't a superfluous word and that is always advancing the action. I was reminded more than once of Chekhov and his picture of a feckless rural aristocracy in catastrophic decline. In Eilís Dillon the Irish theatre in general and the Abbey in particular has found a new and important playwright." (Evening Herald.

"If we had more examples at the Abbey Theatre of the good writing in Eilís Dillon's 'A Page of History', the prestige of the theatre as a showplace for new Irish writers - as well as for the best of previous years - would soon be restored ... the best piece of new Irish writing to emerge at the Abbey for a considerable time. It is shrewd, observant and extremely coherent." (Irish Press)
"Like Brendan Behan, she is a first class reporter and analyser of her characters." (Evening Press)

Inside Ireland
London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1982;
New York, Beaufort, 1984

Inside Ireland (cover)

"EilísDillon's highly individual and absorbing account of the Nation's past ... Tom Kennedy's superb photographs ..." (The Irish Press)
"... quite delightful ... There are many kindly and loveable ghosts in this book, beginning with an affectionate and perfect portrait of the author's grandfather, George Noble Count Plunkett ...
[Tom Kennedy's photographs] would make a fine book even on their own." (Ben Kiely, The Irish Times)
"She reflects with great charm and perception the emergent Ireland of her time." (William Trevor, The Guardian)

More about this book on a separate page

Editor: The Hamish Hamilton Book of Wise Animals
London, Hamish Hamilton, 1975

The Hamish Hamilton Book of Wise Animals, edited by Eilís Dillon

Translator: The Lament for Arthur O'Leary
from the 18th-century Irish of Eibhlín Dhubh Ní Chonaill

The Lamentation of the Dead
Partial translation published in the University Review, Summer 1968
Full translation published in the Irish University Review, Spring 1971
partially reprinted in The Faber Book of Irish Verse,
partially reprinted in The Penguin Book of Women Poets (1978),
and reproduced in full in The Lamentation of the Dead,
the inaugural lecture by Peter Levi, Oxford Professor of Poetry,
published by Anvil Press Poetry.

Editor (with Pat Donlon, Peter Fallon and Pat Egan): The Lucky Bag: Classic Irish Children's Stories
Dublin, O'Brien Press, 1985

The Lucky Bag: Classic Irish Choildren's Stories

Editor: Modern Irish Literature: Sources and Founders, by Vivian Mercier
Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1994

"Knowledgeable, informative, and a great pleasure to read." (Choice)
"This book, edited by his widow, Eilís Dillon, is the first of what was to have been a two-volume work ... It is a fine monument to a splendid man, and the only pity is that we shall not have that final volume." (John Banville, The Sunday Times)
More about this book on a separate page

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