In his lifetime Donagh MacDonagh produced four books of poetry (one shared with Niall Sheridan), four produced plays, the libretto to an opera, an operetta, a major collection of Irish folk songs and a hodgepodge of short stories, songs and other stuff. Here you will find links to almost all of it. Missing is his opera Patrick which was produced by RTE and Let Freedom Ring, a masque commissioned by the Dublin Congress of Trade Unions to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1913 lockout. If I can ever find scripts for these I will add them.

These are mainly PDF documents which can be downloaded or read on line.


Twenty Poems. This was self published in 1934 with Niall Sheridan. It was limited to three hundred copies and is almost impossible to find today. I have no idea who Beatrice, to whom this copy was inscribed, was. I had theorized Beatrice Behan, nee Salkheld but she would have been just 12 at the time.

Twenty Poems

Veterans and Other Poems. This was published in 1941 by the Cuala Press, also in a very limited edition. However it was reprinted in the 70s and can be found fairly readily. The title poem was produced by Radio Eireann (now RTE) as a radio play.

Veterans and Other Poems

The Hungry Grass This was published in 1947 by Faber and Faber. The title poem may be his best.

The Hungry Grass

A Warning to Conquerors This was published posthumously in 1968. It is a grab bag of many styles,which represented the breadth of his interests. However it was not well received.

A Warning to Conquerors


All of Donagh MacDonagh's plays were written in verse.

Happy as Larry This play was first produced in Dublin in 1947 and was very successful. From there it went to London where it was even more successful. My older sister recalls that year as the year we were rich. My Dad was offered $100,000 (over a million in today's money)for the film rights but was persuaded to sell them for $1,000 and a share of the profits. The movie was never made. Burgess Meredith bought the American stage rights and turned it in to a musical. It bombed. This play remained my Dad's most successful and was translated into a number of languages including Russian and Arabic.

Happy as Larry

God's Gentry When Happy as Larry bombed in NY my Dad pretty much locked himself in his office for a month or so and when he came out he had written God's Gentry. The plot involves the tinkers (called travellers today of course) calling on Balor of the Evil Eye to return and put them in charge of Ireland. It is a fun play with a number of songs. It did well in Ireland but got very little of the international attention received by Happy as Larry.

God's Gentry

Step in the Hollow I was half tempted to leave this play out as I had never liked it. Middling situation comedy I would call it. It can be found on YouTube in an Arabic translation.

Step in the Hollow

Lady SpiderThe story of Deirdre retold and, in my opinion, my Dad's best writing.

Lady Spider

For a number of years in the 40s and 50s my Dad did a program called Ireland is singing where the listeners sent in the songs, usually with no air, and Arthur Darley would set a traditional tune to them and they would be sung by members of the Radion Eireann choir. The original letters from listeners are mow in bound volumes in the folklore department of UCD where they can be seen by arrangement. This is a typed copy of many of those songs though without tunes. A fair sample of these songs will be ones you have never come across before.

Ballads Collected by Donagh MacDonagh

Ballads Collected by Donagh MacDonagh

Ballads With Music This is a small selection from then same collection but this time with music..

Ballads with Music


Song:The Ballad of Larkin and Connolly sung by Ted McKenna This is from his lost masque Let Freedom Ring. I showed the script to Ted McKenna who liked it and I wrote down the words for him and now the song is sung all over the world.

The Ballad of Larkin and Connolly Sung by Ted McKenna

Song: Come to the Bower sung by Ted McKenna This has totally different words than the popular patriotic song. It comes from his play, God's Gentry.

Come to the Bower sung by Ted McKenna

Short Story: All the Sweet Buttermilk Wherein a gung ho new police sergeant tries to bring order to an Irish village but fails in the end.

All the Sweet Buttermilk

Opera: Down by the Liffyside This was commissioned by Sir Adrian Beecham who composed the music for it. It has had just one production which I did not find out about until years after it happened. I am not sure how much value there is the libretto to an opera without the music but here it is.

Down By The Liffy Side".

Book: Letters of People in Love. This is a tiny paperback of just what it says. I never even knew that he had done this until I ran across a copy for sale. The book is in bad shape and that shows in the scans but it is a beautiful little book.

Letters of People in Love.

Opera. Patrick. This was commissioned by Telefis Eireann with the intention that it would be broadcast on their first night of broadcasting. It was not broadcast until a few years after that.