Cathal Ó Sándair

Cathal Ó Sándair was born in Weston-Super-Mare in 1922. The family moved to Ireland when he was very young.

Cathal Ó Sándair was born in Weston-Super-Mare in 1922. The family moved to Ireland when he was very young.

He was educated at the Christian Brothers School, Synge Street , Dublin and at Coláiste Chiaráin, Bray. He wrote around 160 novels. He wrote mostly for young people: detective stories, stories about spacemen, cowboy stories, and school stories. At one stage he was turning out a novel every month. He had a column in the weekly newspaper ‘Inniu’.Besides being a writer, he had a daytime job in the civil service most of his life. He sold over 100,000 books. Unfortunately most of his books are now out of print. If you know Manx, you can get a Manx translation of ‘Réics Carló ar Oileán Mhanann’ (‘Réics Carló on the Isle of Man’). He died in 1996. Professor Philip O’Leary said of him: ‘ He did more to foster love of the language in the hearts of young people in the short time he was writing than all the ministers and all the teachers in the 26 Counties since the foundation of the State’.

There is a shortage of reading material for teenagers at present. The Finnish scholar Panu Petteri Hӧglund wrote of Cathal : ’He was a professional writer, a craftsman of great skill, who could make Irish attractive for young people. If we are serious about the revival of Irish, Cathal Ó Sándair is the kind of writer we will need most in the future.’

A site has been set up to mark the work and life of Cathal Ó Sándair: www.cathalosandair.com. Someone recommended recently that there should be a comic book version of his work and that some of his books should be used for a television series. Young people would find such a project most enjoyable and would benefit greatly from it.