Kerry Writers

George Fitzmaurice


George Fitzmaurice

Brendan Kennelly




George Fitzmaurice was born in 1877 in the family home, Bedford House, just outside Listowel on the Ballylongford road. With his father’s death in 1891, the family was forced to move to a farmhouse in Kilcara, outside the village of Duagh. The circumstances surrounding the family meant none of its members was ever quite considered of the landed class, and neither did they fit in as locals.

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Early Years

1914, World war one

Local stories tell of ‘Master George’ being seen composing his plays in the woods, in the parlour of his home, as well as in a large 15 acre top field on their farm. George was inspired by the colourful characters he met, as well as the people’s stumbling attempts, at the end of the 19th Century, to speak English instead of Irish. He moved to Dublin where he was employed by the Civil Service. His earliest writings were published in Dublin weeklies between 1900 and 1907. George fought in World War One. He spent his later years following monotonous routines in Dublin, with a fear of travelling and people. An unsent letter in his belongings, found after his death, revealed that he had suffered from neurasthenia, which explains his shyness.

The man was a contradiction and so were his plays. They were between reality and fantasy – lurking somewhere in a world of dark comedy.

the Abbey Theatre

The Country Dressmaker, 1907

He first major success came in 1907 with an Abbey Theatre production of his comedy The Country Dressmaker. One of Fitzmaurice’s most notorious characters, Luke Quilter, the man from the mountains, appears in this play that proved hugely popular with audiences, much to the surprise of one W.B. Yeats. His second play, a dramatic fantasy entitled The Pie Dish, was totally rejected by critics and considered blasphemous. It lead to the rejection of what is now understood as one of his best plays, another dramatic fantasy, The Dandy Dolls. Ironically, the Abbey Theatre produced this play in 1969, six years after his death.

Other well-known plays by Fitzmaurice include The Magic Glasses, The Moonlighter, The Enchanted Land and One Evening Gleam. A selection of short stories The Crows of Mephistopheles was published in 1970 by the Dolmen Press.


2002 , Listowel Writers’ Week

He died alone, at 3 Harcourt Street, Dublin, in 1963, at the age of 86. In a 1965 interview of John B. Keane spoke of George Fitzmaurice, from the RTE archives, click here. Listen to the 1972 RTE Radio 1 Documentary entitled ‘Wicked Old Children of George Fitzmaurice’, from the RTE archives, click here.


Discover the stories and immerse yourself in the rich literary history of Kerry and book a tour today.



What people are saying about us
  • Popped in here to escape the rain and get a cup of tea and cake. Very reasonable prices and great service. Then noticed the little hare jumping around on the wall when I used the toilets! Looked very intriguing and prompted us all to buy tickets to the museum. Wow! So worth it as the exhibits and the way it was presented was lovely, really unusual. So informative and so different to other museums. Really good value for money and a real highlight to the town.

    Great Service (Trip Advisor Review)

    – March, 2023

  • Most impressive is how ingrained in both The Creative & local communities The Seanchaí is, from the workshops, coffee mornings & plain old drop ins, To Book launches, poetry recitals, projects & engagements with the local schools. The Seanchaí is a much loved and universally treasured cultural icon. By the inhabitants of Listowel, most of Co. Kerry and West Limerick.

    Mark Ollerhead (Google Review)

    – March, 2023

  • We had requested the 30-minute tour, but happily lingered for an hour longer than we had planned. As we exited, we looked at each other and laughed out loud at our good fortune. We could have so easily missed this experience that left us feeling moved, intrigued and a bit more educated about the Kerry writers. In our delight, we failed to tip our guide but I will be going to your donations page to make a modest pledge in gratitude for our host whose name we did not record to memory.

    Jane Braswell (Google Review)

    – March, 2023

  • Our visit to the Kerry Writers Museum was a very memorable experience from beginning to end. Cara, who was working at the centre that day, was very welcoming and most helpful. The exhibition of the Kerry writers was imaginative and most engaging. The seanchai relating the background stories each writer was magic! A wonderful experience all round.

    Cara (Google Review)

    – May, 2021

  • This museum has been developed with great care and meticulous attention to detail. The audio elements are matched perfectly to the installations which are beautifully presented. The option to activate the audio guides in each room without resorting to the use of handheld devices worked very well. This is a must see/hear for anyone with an interest in Irish writing. There is also a little coffee shop and gifts on sale.

    Beautifully Curated (Trip Advisor Review)

    – July, 2019


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