Joseph Ardle McArdle

1934-2010; b. 29 Sept., son of country surgeon; grew up in Monaghan town; ed. Monaghan and Limerick; worked briefly at Shakespeare & Co. in Paris before university; grad. UCD and King’s Inns; also took English bar; taught in School of Arabic Studies in Kano (Nigeria); issued How the Law Works (1963) for African students; legal officer at DHSS in London, 1966-70; moved to Kisumu in Western Kenya before returning to London; posted as Snr. Officer with EEC, Brussels, in 1973-79;

iss.  Closing Time (1982) a novel, and fnd.-member of Irish Writers’ Co-op; also Sin Embargo (1987), a spiritual quest, and Vive Modigliani, an unfinished novel based on African experiences; contrib. poetry to Cyphers and num. reviews to Books Ireland; worked as legal adviser to many countries incl. Romania, Lithuania, Georgia, Armenia, Cyprus; scripted and presented Secret Languages (RTE); lived in Monasterevin; d. 13 Feb.; bur. Shanganagh Cem.; Ewa, sons Jack and Bob, and his second wife Aideen. DIL


Fiction, Closing Time (Dublin: Irish Writers’ Co-op 1982); Sin Embargo ([Dublin]: Odell & Adair 1987). Miscellaneous, How the Law Works (London: Allen Unwin 1963); Irish Legal Anecdotes (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1995), 240pp.; Dublin: Portrait of a City, with photos by Peter Zoller (Dubln: Gill & Macmillan 1997), 96pp.; Irish Rogues and Rascals (Dubin: Gill & Macmillan 2007), 215pp.

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Obituary (Irish Times, 24 April 2010): In Irish Legal Anecdotes (1995): "Joe McArdle, who has died aged 75, was a barrister, judge, legal consultant, and a polymath broadcaster, publisher, writer and translator. His facility in several fields was prodigious.he assembled hundreds of amusing legal yarns. [...] In Dublin: Portrait of a City (1997) his subtle and humorous text complements Peter Zoller's fine photographs. Irish Rogues and Rascals (2007) recounts the nefarious exploits of his chosen rogues gallery, including Myler McGrath, a 16th century villain who was simultaneously Catholic bishop of Down and Connor and Protestant archbishop of Cashel, and, closer to our own day, Ray Burke, Charles Haughey and Liam Lawlor. (Available online; accessed 04.11.2023.)


Closing Time (1982) is the story of an alcoholic headmaster in a seedy London school has been called a ‘worthy successor to Under the Volcano [Malcolm Lowry]’ by Leland Bardwell, an assessment which Hogan describes as ‘a considerable overstatement’, though he concedes that the novel is ‘tightly written and effective’. [?DIL]

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