Tarlach Ó hUid was born in London in 1917. He died on the 30th of October 1990. His parents were English, Augustus Walter Hood and Ada Brookwell. They were Protestants and were associated with the Orange Order. Tarlach was a Methodist, but he converted to Catholicism in 1937. He identified Catholicism with Irishness. He joined the Gaelic League. He later joined the IRA and began producing publicity material for the organisation. He was imprisoned from 1940 till 1945.
While he was in Derry Jail he continued reading and writing: he wrote his first novel while he was inside. He gives an account of that period in his two autobiographies,’Ar Thóir Mo Shealbha’(‘They’re Out To Get Me’) and ‘Faoi Ghlas’(‘Locked Up’). You know what he has been up to before you open the books. He rejected violence and became a pacifist.
When he left prison, he spent some time working for the Gaelic League in Belfast. He the began working for the newspaper ’Inniu’, and he was editor from 1972 till it was closed in 1984 when it lost its grant. Does that not seem familiar? ‘Inniu’ was able to attract the best writers in the country and a great gap was left in Irish journalism when it closed.
An Club Leabhar said of Ó hUid’s books, ‘All of them have to be commended for their thoroughness, for their craftsmanship, for clarity and observation. They cover a range of topics and they are written in a clear, simple, enjoyable style’.
Small note: There is a conversation circle in the café in the Central Library every Friday at 1pm Irish speakers and coffee addicts will be made very welcome.