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Dillon, Eilís

Page history last edited by Les Blatt 15 years ago


Eilís Dillon (1920-1994) was an Irish writer mainly of fiction both for adults and juveniles. She was born in Galway in 1920. Her father was professor of chemistry and her mother, Geraldine Plunkett, was the sister of the poet Joseph Mary Plunkett. Eilís was educated at the Ursuline Convent in Sligo and married 1940 Cormac Ó Cuilleanáin, who became Professor of Irish at University College Cork. In the 1960s, her husband's poor health prompted early retirement and a move to Rome, where he died in 1970. In 1974 Eilís  married Vivian Mercier, Professor of English in the University of Colorado at Boulder. They moved to California when Vivian was appointed to a chair in the University of California, Santa Barbara. She died in 1994.


At first Eilís Dillon  wrote children's books in Irish and English, then started to write novels. Her large historical novel about the road to Irish independence in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Across the Bitter Sea, was published in 1973 and  became an instant bestseller. Her work was translated into fourteen languages.


Early in her career she wrote three detective novels. They are among the first of their kind to be set in Ireland. In two of them detection is done by Prof. Daly and Insp. Mike Kenny.


More information on her life and work can be found here.



Death at Crane’s Court (1953)

Sent to His Account (1954)

Death in the Quadrangle (1956)


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