Margaret Barrington

Margaret Barrington


Margaret Barrington (1896 – 1982) was an Irish writer and journalist.

She went to Trinity College Dublin graduating with a BA in modern literature with a gold medal in 1918. In 1922 she married the historian Edmund Curtis. Following this she taught German and French at a number of Dublin schools.

Barrington’s first published work was an article on the treatment of women students in TCD’s College Miscellany in June 1918. As she continued to publish, she regularly attended George William Russell’s gatherings, meeting such figures as W. B. Yeats and James Stephens. Liam O’Flaherty described her as “the little marvel of the literary circle here” after he was introduced to her in early 1924. It appears that she and O’Flaherty begun an affair soon after, she later moved to London with O’Flaherty. In August 1924, she contributed a short story entitled Colour to Francis Stuart’s journal To-morrow, which tackled sexual and racial taboos.

Barrington divorced Curtis, and she married O’Flaherty in London in March 1926. Their only child, Pegeen, was born there soon after. O’Flaherty actively encouraged her to write during this time, but for the eight years they were married Barrington wrote very little. She blamed this lack of writing on the “difficulties” of married life. In 1932 they separated and Barrington settled in London. The following years were the most productive of her life, when she translated, wrote, organised support of republicans in the Spanish Civil War, and assisted refugees from Nazi Germany. 

She was a supporter of the British Labour Party, taking on the women’s column of the left-wing paper Tribune in November 1938. Upon the outbreak of World War II, Barrington returned to Ireland. From 1941 to 1952 she was a regular contributor to The Bell with letters, reviews, essays and short stories. 

David’s daughter Tamar, a collection of her short stories was published posthumously in 1982. At least three of her novels remain unpublished. Her short story, Village Without Men, from 1982 was included in the anthology The Glass Shore: Short Stories by Women Writers from the North of Ireland.