Seán O’Donoghue (1958-2019)
– author, poet, deep-sea diver –
Seán O’Donoghue passed away three years ago this weekend, not long after the publication of his second book, Native Freeborn Irishman. The first print run had almost sold out within just a few short weeks.
Native Freeborn Irishman is a volume consisting of poetry, prose, family and other photographs. It describes a life inspired by tales told around his father’s fireside, about the actions of General Michael Collins, Cumann na mBan, Éamon de Valera, Tom Barry, Terence McSweeney, the Flying Columns and many, many, many more.
“The bravery of these men and women, inspired Seán to become a deep-sea saturation diver – one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, after that of a frontline soldier or a spy. In all his work with divers, over many years, he never met a diver who was not brave.”– from the Preface to Native Freeborn Irishman
Seán O’Donoghue was born in Dublin, in 1958. The eldest of four boys and one girl, Seán studied at St. Aidan’s Christian Brothers school, Whitehall; at Fort Bovisand Underwater Training Centre in Plymouth, England and at Fort William Underwater Training Centre in Scotland. Later, Seán studied English for one year at All Hallows, DCU and then, for one year at DCU proper, for Creative Writing.
His job as a deep-sea diver took him to Malaysia (to Sarawak), to work for Shell and, to Eygpt and the North Sea. When the Piper Alpha oil rig went on fire in July 1988, Seán was part of the recovery mission and the toppling operation. He suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after that job. When Seán finished diving, he became a financial consultant, working mostly with divers and oil company personnel.
He also volunteered to work as a Public Relations Officer for Grampian Irish Social Club and, in that capacity, after listening to a group of boys playing in a Mandolin orchestra, he was invited to visit a Romanian orphanage. He went for a week but stayed for six.
Seán won first place with a piece called Ripples, in a competition for the north-east of Scotland organised by the Grampian Speakers Club. Ripples is the story of Seán’s near death experience under the Piper Alpha oil rig, four years before the fire.
Seán O’Donoghue passed away on 8 October 2019. He is sadly missed by family, friends, all who knew him. May he rest in peace.
Native Freeborn Irishman by Seán O’Donoghue is published under the imprint of The Manuscript Publisher (ISBN: 978-1-911442-18-9) and available to buy online.