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1917 - 2008

Conor Cruise O'Brien was born in Dublin in 1917 and educated in Sandford Park and Trinity College. He entered the department of External Affairs in 1944 and served as a counsellor in Paris (1955-56) and as a member of the Irish delegation to the United Nations (1956-60). Famous as a journalist and critic, he worked as editor in chief of the Observer newspaper from 1979 to 1981. His plays include Murderous Angels and Salome and the Wild Man. Apart from his diplomatic and literary achievements, Cruise O'Brien had an extraordinary political career which saw him take office both as TD for the Labour Party (Minister for Post & Telegraphs, 1973-77) and as a member of the United Kingdom Unionist Party (Northern Ireland Forum Member, 1996). He was also a member of Seanad Éireann from 1977 to 1979. Twice married, his second wife was the Irish-language poet Máire Mhac an tSaoi.The novelist Kate Cruise O'Brien (1948-1998) was his daughter from his first marriage. Conor Cruise O'Brien, affectionately known as The Cruiser, died in 2008.