The life story of Macdara Woods.

Macdara Woods was born in 1942. He was educated at Gonzaga College, Dublin, and University College, Dublin, and spent long periods in Co. Meath when he was growing up. He travelled widely, in North and South America, Europe, Russia and North Africa, and lived in London for a time in the sixties and early seventies. He started to publish poetry as a teenager and his work has appeared ever since in Irish and foreign poetry publications. With his wife Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Leland Bardwell and Pearse Hutchinson, Macdara was a founder editor (1975) of the literary review Cyphers.

He published nineteen books of poems, translated from several languages, collaborated with musicians in performances and recordings in Ireland, Italy and America. He edited The Kilkenny Anthology in 1992 and in 2006 published Present Tense, poems and photographs from Co. Mayo (with Jim Vaughan), a sequence of poems based on the landscape and people of Clare Island. His Collected Poems appeared in 2012. His last book, Music from the Big Tent, shared the Michael Hartnett Prize in 2018; Last Poems and Two Tales from County Meath was published in 2020 by Cyphers.

He married Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin in 1978; they have a son, Niall, and two grandsons, Phoenix and Arthur. In spite of Parkinson ’s disease he continued to travel alone (Russia) or with Eiléan (Italy and Hungary) up to his 76th year.  He died in a Dublin hospital in June 2018.

He lived mostly in Dublin, in Ranelagh for forty-five years, and when he could in the Italian countryside in Umbria. He was a member of Aosdána, the Irish Arts Council’s affiliation recognising outstanding contribution to the arts in Ireland