Anthony Gerard Richard Cronin (23 December 1928 – 27 December 2016) was an Irish poet, novelist, biographer, critic, commentator, barrister and arts activist.

Anthony Cronin
Anthony Cronin, by Patrick Swift, 1950, National Gallery of Ireland
Anthony Cronin, by Patrick Swift, 1950, National Gallery of Ireland
Born(1928-12-23)23 December 1928
Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Irish Free State
Died27 December 2016(2016-12-27) (aged 88)
Dublin, Ireland
EducationUniversity College Dublin


Anthony Cronin was born in Enniscorthy, County Wexford in December 1928.[1] After obtaining a B.A. from the National University of Ireland, he entered the King's Inns and was later called to the Bar.[2] With Flann O’Brien, Patrick Kavanagh and Con Leventhal, Cronin celebrated the first Bloomsday in 1954. He contributed to many television programmes, including Flann O’Brien: Man of Parts (BBC) and Folio (RTÉ).[citation needed] He had honorary doctorates from several institutions, including Dublin University, the National University of Ireland and the University of Poznan.

As an arts activist and adviser on arts and culture to the Taoiseach Charles Haughey (and briefly to Garret FitzGerald), Cronin was the originator of such initiatives as Aosdána, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Heritage Council. He was the inspiration for, and a founding member of, Aosdána, and was elected its first Saoi (a distinction conferred for exceptional artistic achievement) in 2003. Cronin was a member of its governing body, the Toscaireacht, until his death. He was also a member of the governing bodies of the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery of Ireland, of which he was for a time Acting Chairman.

Cronin began his literary career as a contributor to Envoy, A Review of Literature and Art. He was editor of The Bell in the 1950s and literary editor of Time and Tide (London). He wrote a weekly column, "Viewpoint", in the Irish Times from 1974 to 1980. Later he contributed a column on poetry to the Sunday Independent.

His first collection of poems, called simply Poems (Cresset, London), was published in 1958. Several collections followed and his Collected Poems (New Island, Dublin) was published in 2004. The End of the Modern World (New Island, 2016), written over several decades, was his final publication.

Cronin's first novel, The Life of Riley, is a satire on bohemian life in Ireland in the mid-20th century, while his memoir Dead as Doornails addresses the same subject. He also wrote landmark biographies of two Irish writers, No Laughing Matter: The Life and Times of Flann O'Brien (1989) and Samuel Beckett: The Last Modernist (1996).

From 1966 to 1968 Cronin was a visiting lecturer at the University of Montana and from 1968 to 1970 he was poet in residence at Drake University. Anthony Cronin read a selection of his poems for the Irish Poetry Reading Archive in 2015.

Personal lifeEdit

Cronin was married to Thérèse Campbell, from whom he separated in the mid-1980s. She died in 1999. They had two daughters, Iseult and Sarah; Iseult was killed in a road accident in Spain.

Cronin died on 27 December 2016 at the age of 88. He was survived by his second wife, author Anne Haverty and by his daughter Sarah.[3]


Verse: main collections

  • Poems (London: Cresset, 1958)
  • Collected Poems, 1950-73 (Dublin: New Writers Press, 1973)
  • Reductionist Poem (Dublin: Raven Arts Press, 1980)
  • RMS Titanic (Dublin: Raven Arts Press, 1981)
  • 41 Sonnet Poems (Dublin: Raven Arts Press, 1982)
  • New and Selected Poems (Dublin: Raven Arts Press, and Manchester: Carcanet, 1982)
  • Letters to an Englishman (Dublin: Raven Arts Press, 1985)
  • The End of the Modern World (Dublin: Raven Arts Press, 1989 and 1998; reissued in a new expanded edition, Dublin: New Island Books, 2016)
  • Relationships (Dublin: New Island Press, 1992)
  • Minotaur (Dublin: New Island Books, 1999)
  • Collected Poems (Dublin: New Island Press, 2004)
  • The Fall (Dublin: New Island Books, 2010)
  • Body and Soul (Dublin: New Island Books, 2014)


  • The Life of Riley (New York: Alfred A. Knopf 1964; reissued, Dublin: New Island 2012).
  • Identity Papers (Dublin: Co-Op Books, 1980)

Literary Criticism and Commentary

Patrick Kavanagh and Anthony Cronin at the church in Monkstown with the carriage in which they had been proceeding about Dublin in the footsteps of Leopold Bloom, the protagonist in Ulysses, 50 years after Bloom traversed the city in James Joyce's novel.
  • Botteghe oscure : quaderno XII, Roma, (De Luca editore, 1953, contributor)[4]
  • A Question of Modernity, a collection of critical essays (London: Secker & Warburg, 1966)
  • Heritage Now: Irish Literature in the English Language (Dingle: Brandon 1982)
  • An Irish Eye (Dingle: Brandon 1985)
  • Art for the People?: Letters from the "New Island" (Dublin: Raven Arts Press, 1995)
  • Ireland: A Week in the Life of a Nation, text by (Century, 1986)
  • An Illustrated Historical Map of Ireland, text by (London: Cassell, 1980)
  • Personal Anthology: Selections from his Sunday Independent Feature (Dublin: New Island Books, 2000)



  • Dead as Doornails (Dublin: Dolmen Press, 1976; Oxford University Press, 1983; Lilliput 2008)


  • No Laughing Matter: The Life and Times of Flann O'Brien (London: Grafton Books, 1989; New York: Fromm International, 1998; Dublin: New Island Books, 2003)
  • Samuel Beckett: The Last Modernist (London: HarperCollins, 1996)

As Editor

About Cronin

  • Where the Poet Has Been, Michael Kane (Irish Museum of Modern Art, 1995): portraits of Anthony Cronin and paintings inspired by his poems, with an essay by Ulick O'Connor


  1. ^ Writer, poet and novelist Anthony Cronin has passed away
  2. ^ Ferguson, Kenneth (2005). King's Inns Barristers 1868--2004. Dublin: The Honorable Society of King's Inns in association with The Irish Legal History Society. p. 166. ISBN 0-9512443-2-9.
  3. ^ Miriam O Callaghan meets writers Anthony Cronin and Anne Haverty Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  4. ^ "Holdings: Botteghe oscure :". Retrieved 2019-10-17.

External linksEdit