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Seán Bán Mac Grianna 1905 – 1979

This storyteller and community poet was the brother of Séamus Ó Grianna , Domhnall Ó Grianna and Seosamh Mac Grianna (15 January 1901–11 June 1990). His father was Féilimí Dhónaill Phroinsiais and his mother was Máire Séamuisín Ní Dhomhnaill, sister of the famous storyteller Seán Ó Domhnaill (Johnny Séamuisín). He was born February 9, 1905. There were eleven children but two of them died in infancy. John was the youngest of us. The other five were: Hugh, Bidí, Sally, Anne, and Bell. Áine also had a reputation for storytelling. His cousin is the storyteller Neidí Frainc Mac Grianna .

It doesn’t seem like he got so much schooling. But people remembered Séamus Ó Grianna as the smartest member of the family. From 1926 to 1974 he taught at Coláiste Bhríde , Rann na Feirste (1942) . He was employed by Father Lorcán Ó Muireadhaigh . He spent 1952 working in Scotland and had to spend some time in hospital when he returned home. For a number of years he worked full-time for Gael Linn, collecting for them, judging their Gaeltacht scholarships, and caring for those who spent terms on scholarships in Donegal.

He published folk tales in Ulster , as well as poems. Iosef Ó Searcaigh edited some of his poetry in Ceolta agus seanchas , 1976. Much of it has never been published. He won first prize for storytelling at the 1956 Oireachtas and he and Áine were selected to take part in the Gael Linn Storytelling Nights in the late 1950s. He recited poetry on a record released by that organization. They also released a cassette in which Aodh Ó Duibheannaigh (1914–84) plays some of his songs. He also had a reputation for oratory and was a member of the Cape Fast Actors.

He was active in Sinn Féin in the 1950s and on his death on 16 March 1979 was given a republican funeral. He is buried in Anagaire . He is said to have enjoyed the company of women but never married. His friend Pádraig Ó Baoighill wrote a report on him in Today 23 March 1979. As you would guess from his albino name he was a pensioner of the blind.

Diarmuid Breathnach

Máire Ní Mhurchú

Full information above taken from the site

You can hear Seán Bán say ‘Laoidh an Amadán Mhóir’ at the following link:

The work of Seán Bháin Mhic Grianna :

Seaghán Bán Mac Grianna (1976) Ceoltaí agus Seanchas edited by Ióseph Ó Searcaigh. Illustrations by Charles McGinley. Published by St. Brigid’s College Committee.

A note of thanks here from Ióseph Ó Searcaigh at the beginning of the book.

Some years ago I thought it would be nice to hear the voice of the White Man when nostalgic talents struck me here in the east of the country. I think it would take me a long time. Seaghán did that close to me. He talked to me and sang to me on tapes. that is what this book is about now and I am very grateful to him for giving permission to publish to the Coláiste Bhríde Committee, Rann na Feirste, as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations.

I am very grateful to Aodh P. Ó Duibheannaigh, who wrote down all that was on the tapes, for Br. Beausang described the music, Charles McGinley did the production, Henry McGillivray who introduced me to printing and Aodh Mag Eoin read the proofs.

Ióseph Ó Searcaigh


 What. Lú,

May 24, 1976


Other books about Seán Bhán:

Mac Corraidh, Seán. (2010) Seán Bán Mac Grianna, Stories and Songs. I walk ISBN 6-660012-100194

Describe here his childhood, his life and the songs, stories and poetry he composed. This book is accompanied by two discs. This collection consists mainly of funny short stories with a gospel and contains one long Fenian story, The Quest of Diarmaid and Grace. Old songs to read and hear include, Bean an Fhir Ruaidh and Seachrán Carn tSiadhail.