Comhar Magazine Celebrates 80 Years

David Prendeville

Comhar magazine celebrated 80 years in print at a celebratory event in The National Print Museum, Dublin, on Thursday the 21st of April.

Founded in 1942, during WWII when paper was scarce and special permission had to be granted by Seán Lemass to the editors. Comhar is an Irish language monthly arts and current affairs magazine that has thrived.

Comhar is enjoyed by readers in over 19 countries around the world. It is read by hundreds of students, Irish language speakers and enthusiasts each month in Ireland and is available in most public libraries, Universities and cultural institutions.

Speaking on the 80th anniversary of Comhar, writer, journalist and lecturer Alan Titley said; “Comhar has been to the fore in the development and support of writing, literature and thought for the last eighty years. It is also a forum for debate, contention, criticism, controversy, wit and wisdom. Ireland is richer because of Comhar.”

RTÉ broadcaster Sinéad Ní Uallacháin hosted the celebrations at the National Print Museum, Beggars Bush on the 21st of April where a selection of the extensive material published in the pages of the magazine over 80 years was brought to life by a group of actors, including Seán T. Ó Meallaigh, (pictured above) Donncha Crowley, Deirdre Learmont and Bríd Ní Ghruagáin. Poetry from Máire Mhac an tSaoi; book reviews by Myles na gCopaleen; articles by Máirtín Ó Cadhain; an interview with Mícheál Mac Liammóir on the state of Irish theatre, all formed part of a dramatic reading aimed at providing an overview to the magazine’s impressive back catalogue.

Reflecting on the success of this 80 year old print magazine still making it into eager readers hands each month, Seán Tadhg Ó Gairbhí, Editor of Comhar magazine writes of the magazine’s enduring value: “Comhar was lucky to see its first birthday as its future was in doubt almost immediately due to a scarcity of paper during the war. That the magazine has survived for eighty years is a testament to the many great writers who have served it so well over the years and to the loyal readers who have sustained it since 1942. Comhar magazine and the wealth of content published within its pages, provide a valuable insight into Irish literature and thought.”

The music of the 1940’s provided the backdrop for the celebrations as DJ Billy Ó hAnluain created a suitably

historical soundtrack. One of
the magazine’s very first letterheads was also printed live at the museum from specially designed plates and attendees went home with a commemorative bookmark to mark this milestone event.

Founded by university students in 1942, Comhar is the last standing Irish language print outlet for writers, reviewers, readers and thinkers and is a valuable forum for political comment on events both in Ireland and around the world. Seán Tadhg Ó Gairbhí is the current Editor and Tristan Rosenstock is the Literary Editor. Both new and established writers are encouraged to provide material for the magazine and recent editions have contained an eclectic mix of political comment, book reviews and new Irish language writing. Regular features such as satirical governmental critiques and the Book of the Year list are eagerly awaited and provoke lively social media debate. Three special edi

tions are published each year: the most recent celebrating 50 years of Raidió na Gaeltachta.

The celebrations continue throughout the year and a conference on the theme COMHAR@80 is planned in NUI, Galway on the last weekend in September.

A monthly column written by Donncha Ó hÉallaithe published in the magazine between now and the end of the year, takes a look back on the most interesting articles published that same month, each decade, over the last 80 years. This article will be available free of charge on

Comhar is available from selected Eason shops around the country; from An Siopa Leabhar and Books Upstairs in Dublin; An Ceathrú Póilí in Belfast; Charlie Byrne’s in Galway; Sheelagh na Gig bookshop in Cloughjordan, and online from and