Siobhán McKenna

1923-1986; b. West Belfast; dg. Prof. of Mathematics, UCG from 1928; ed. Dominican Convent, Galway; St. Louis Conv., Monaghan, and UCG; acted at An Taibhdhearc, and then Abbey, 1944; m. Denis O’Dea, 1946; successful parts included Shaw’s St Joan, in Irish-language version created by herself, and Pegeen Mike (in the Playboy); also appeared in Dr Zhivago as Anna, and in seven other films; Evening Standard Actress of the Year, 1958; successful touring one woman show, Here Are Ladies, includes Joyce’s Molly; Gold Medal of Eire Society, Boston, 1971; also playwright in Irish; Productions Director at Radio Eireann, 1951-1968; Chairman of Abbey Board of Directors, 1968-1982; DLitt (TCD) 1971; life membership of RDS, 1983; appointed to Council of State by Cearbhall Ó Dalaigh [President of Ireland], 1975; played Mommo successfully for Druid in Tom Murphy’s play Bailegangaire (1985); d. 16 Nov. DIB


Siobhán McKenna: ‘I modelled Joan on my mother’, in Des Hickey and Gus Smith, eds., A Paler Shade of Green (London: Leslie Frewin 1972), pp.43-59.


Mícheál Ó hAodha, Siobhán, A Memoir of An Actress (Dingle: Brandon 1994), 190pp., ill.


Portrait: photographed in an attitude of grief at the return of W. B. Yeats’s body from the S. of France for burial in Sligo, 1949 [photos in Sligo Public Museum].

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