Irishtown Press

Book cover for Art Imitating Life Imitating Death by Cónal Creedon

Cónal Creedon

Art Imitating Life Imitating Death

An exploration of Guests of the Nation by Frank O'Connor

In 2003, Cónal Creedon was commissioned by RTÉ to adapt Guests of the Nation for radio as part of the Frank O’Connor Centenary Celebrations.

“Seduced by a narrative so deeply rooted in a culture, history and landscape so familiar to me, I was captivated by this wartime parable.”

So began his personal journey to the soul of O’Connor’s story. It was a voyage of discovery that led him on a circuitous route to the death of Major Compton-Smith during the Irish War of Independence.

In 2012, Creedon was invited by descendants of the Donoughmore IRA to visit the safe-house where Major Compton-Smith had been held. It occurred to him that Compton-Smith’s final days may have been the inspiration for O’Connor’s fiction. Creedon’s recollections of that day have been published in several articles.

“It was a day where painful memories of generations past were laid bare and in some cases laid to rest.”

In January 2020, Cónal Creedon presented his lecture, Art Imitating Life Imitating Death – An Exploration of Guests Of The Nation by Frank O’Connor at the Irish Revolutionary Period Symposium organised by the Swiss Centre of Irish Studies at the University of Zurich and the Zurich James Joyce Foundation. The lecture was published by Studi irlandesi. A Journal of Irish Studies, by Firenze University Press (FUP) at the University of Florence, Italy.

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