Gregory O’Donoghue was born in Cork in 1951, son of the poet and playwright Robert O’Donoghue. He studied English literature in UCC under Sean Lucy and John Montague and was part of what Thomas Dillon Redshaw has described as “that remarkable generation” which also included Theo Dorgan, Maurice Riordan, Gerry Murphy, Thomas McCarthy and Séan Dunne.
After completing an M.A. he studied for a doctorate at Queen’s College Ontario, Canada where he taught and was married for the first time.
O’Donoghue published his first book Kicking (1975) with the Gallery Press when he was just 24 and became the youngest poet to be included in the Faber Book of Irish Verse. Later he crossed the Atlantic to settle in Lincolnshire in the United Kingdom where he worked freight trains between South Derbyshire and King’s Cross, Nottingham and Skegness. His book Making Tracks (Dedalus 2001) contains many of the poems recounting such experiences.
In the early 1990s he returned to Cork where he started to write again after many years of silence. He published an interim collection The Permanent Way with the local Three Spires Press and subsequently became workshop leader at the Munster Literature Centre and poetry editor of the journal Southword. In 2005 he published A Visit to the Clockmaker, his translations of a selection of work by the Bulgarian poet Kristin Dimitrova. Seven months later he died unexpectedly and his final collection Ghost Dance (Dedalus) was published posthumously in 2006.
Kicking, The Gallery Press, Dublin 1975
The Permanent Way, Three Spires Press, Cork 1996
Making Tracks, Dedalus, Dublin 2001
Ghost Dance, Dedalus, Dublin 2006
A Visit to the Clockmaker by Kristin Dimotrova (in collaboration with Dimitrova) Southword Editions, Cork 2005
The Belling by Lazlo Lator (in collaboration with divers hands) Southword Editions, Cork 2005
O’Donoghue’s page at his publisher Dedalus.
O’Donoghue’s page at the Munster Literature Centre