Death of Eugene McCabe

Playwright and writer Eugene McCabe has died aged 90. Born in Glasgow in 1930 to parents from Co. Fermanagh, he came to Co. Monaghan with his family in the 1940s. He grew up there and made his home near Clones on the family farm where he lived and worked for the past 65 years. He was educated at Castleknock College in Dublin and later University College Cork, where he studied English and history. He became known first as a playwright through his play, King of the Castle, in 1964. In 1973 he wrote a trilogy of television plays about Northern Ireland, which were broadcast by RTÉ, Cancer, Heritage and Siege. His own experiences of growing up on the Border made him an opponent of violent extremism and sectarianism. He came to prominence again last year when his 1992 novel, Death and Nightingales, was filmed by the BBC. As well as writing a series of critically acclaimed short story collections, most recently Heaven Lies about Us (2005), he also wrote children’s books and the non-fiction work, Shadows from the Pale: Portrait of an Irish Town (1996). McCabe received many awards such as the Irish Life Theatre Award in 1964 for King of the Castle, and a Legum Doctorate from University of Prince Edward Island, Canada, in 1990, as well as the Butler Literary Award for Prose from the Irish American Cultural Institute in 2002. He was also elected as a member of Aosdána. Mr McCabe is survived by his wife Margot, his children, Ruth, Marcus, Patrick and Stephen, and his thirteen grandchildren.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.


Tony Canavan