An File Mícheál Ó Gaoithín – The Blasket Painter – Selected and Introduced by Maria Simonds-Gooding
Mícheál Ó Gaoithín (1904–74), poet and writer, was born 3 January 1904 on the Great Blasket island, one of the six surviving children of renowned storyteller Peig Sayers and her husband, Pádraig ‘Flint’ Ó Guithín, a small farmer and fisherman.
Mícheál Ó Gaoithín became a fisherman after finishing primary school and worked on the family farm until around 1930 when he decided to follow his other siblings to Springfield, Mass., in the USA, in search of work. Lacking a job and being in poor health, he soon returned to the Blasket Islands. His interest in literature and folklore began at an early age and like his mother, Peig, he was a renowned storyteller.
Approximately six years before he died he took an interest in painting and drawing with the encouragement of the artist Maria Simonds-Gooding. A number of his paintings appeared in an exhibition on the Dingle peninsula entitled ‘An ghaeltacht bheo’ which opened in Dunquin National School on Easter Sunday, 1974. He entrusted his paintings to Simonds-Gooding and they are now held at the Muckross House Folk Museum outside Killarney.
This selection of 55 out of Ó Gaoithín’s paintings and drawings from his collection of 200 is accompanied by written responses to the work by novelist Éilís Ní Dhuibhne and art historian Catherine Marshall. This book will be published to coincide with a special exhibition of Peig Sayers at the Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) in 2022.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mícheál Ó Gaoithín (1904–74), poet and writer in Irish, was the son of renowned storyteller Peig Sayers and her husband, Pádraig ‘Flint’ Ó Guithín. He was a storyteller and painter in his own right.
ABOUT THE EDITOR
Maria Simonds-Gooding is one of Ireland’s foremost painters and printmakers to have emerged since the Sixties.
Her work, which has been exhibited internationally, is represented in many public and private collections, including those of the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
Born in India in 1939, Maria Simonds-Gooding studied at the National College of Art, Dublin, Le Centre de Peinture, Bruxelles, Bath Academy of Art, Corsham, UK from 1962–68 and has lived and worked in Kerry since 1947. She was elected a member of Aosdána in 1981 and was elected full membership of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 2012.