THE IRISH WRITER Dermot Healy, described as “Ireland’s greatest writer”, has died.
Born in Finea, Co Westmeath, Healy spent his childhood in Cavan Town, an experience he recalled in his memoir The Bend for Home. He wrote a number of novels, plays, poems and short stories.
He lived for a time in London, before settling in Ballyconnell in Sligo.
The late Seamus Heaney called him “the heir to Patrick Kavanagh”.
Eugene McCabe said Healy was “one of the great masters of Irish writing” and Roddy Doyle has described him as “Ireland’s greatest writer”.
In a statement this evening, President Michael D Higgins paid tribute to Healy, and said that his work “received the recognition and tributes which his work long deserved”.
He also paid tribute to the writer’s involvement in the Irish emigrant community in London, highlighted by a theme of displacement in his writing.
His sensibility to the migratory experience, and the world of in-between had made his poetic prose ring with a universal quality.
Sheila Pratschke, Chair of the Arts Council said Healy was “bravely and boldly original”.
“Dermot Healy was a gifted writer of prose, drama and poetry. He demonstrated a commitment to literature in all of its forms, and his work was bravely and boldly original. From his very beginning as an editor with The Drumlin, the writer gave voice to places and people often dark or forgotten.
Pratschke added that Healy “has already inspired and encouraged countless poets, short story writers, novelists, memoirists and playwrights” and that his influence will continue to be felt.
Originally published 7.42am