Michael Hartnett was born in County Limerick in 1941 and died in Dublin in 1999. ‘Eigse Michael Hartnett’, an annual commemorative festival takes place in Newcastle West, County Limerick.
He wrote in both English and Irish, and also did a great deal of translation. Like many others he emigrated from rural Ireland to England in the 1960s. He returned to West Limerick in the mid-’70s and moved to Dublin about 10 years later.
The Gallery Press has published his major collections — A Farewell to English and A Necklace of Wrens (poems in Irish with translations into English), as well as The Killing of Dreams (1992), Selected Poems (1994) and his acclaimed trilogy of translations of the 17th century poets O Bruadair, Haicéad and O Rathaille. Collected Poems appeared in 2001, A Book of Strays in 2002 and Translations in 2003.
Michael Hartnett was poetry editor of The Irish Times for a period. He received an honorary licentiate from Trinity College and was a recipient of the Irish-American Cultural Institute award (1980); the Arts Council/an Chomhairle Ealaíon award for best book in Irish (1986); the Irish American Cultural Institute award (1988), and the American Fund Literary Award (1990).