Brennan, Maeve – writer and journalist

This plaque, at 48 Cherryfield Avenue, Ranelagh, commemorates Maeve Brennan, columnist with the New Yorker magazine and writer of short stories.

Maeve Brennan, once described as ‘the greatest Irish writer you never heard of’, was born in Dublin on 6 January 1917, second of four children of the journalist Bob Brennan, who would go on to found the Irish Press.

The family lived at 48 Cherryfield Avenue, Ranelagh, Dublin, from 1921 until 1934. The house is the setting for many of her stories.

After her father was selected as Ireland’s ambassador to Washington in 1934, Maeve Brennan completed her secondary and third level education in Washington and moved to New York to work in a library. There her literary talent was noticed by the editor of New Yorker magazine. For three decades she contributed to the New Yorker and had two critically acclaimed collections of short stories published in 1969.

While fighting a losing battle against financial and mental health problems, she retreated into obscurity and spent her last years in a home for the elderly in New York, her talent unknown to her carers and, in the end, herself.  It was only after her death in 1993 that her work was anthologised and recognised by a new generation of writers and critics, placing Maeve Brennan among the best Irish short-story writers since Joyce. Her works have been accepted into the canon of twentieth century literature:

The plaque was unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Dublin on 6 January 2024.