Augustine Martin

Thomas Augustine "Gus" Martin (13 November 1935 – 16 October 1995) was an Irish academic, Anglo-Irish scholar, teacher, writer, broadcaster and literary critic. During his career he was Professor of Anglo-Irish Literature at University College Dublin,[1] Ireland; chairman of the Board of the Abbey theater Abbey Theatre (Dublin);[2] and an elected member of the Seanad Éireann[3] from 1973 to 1981.


Augustine Martin was born in Ballinamore, County Leitrim in 1935. He was a childhood contemporary of author John McGahern. Initially educated at the local national school, he completed his secondary education at Cistercian College, Roscrea (CCR, Mount St. Joseph's College), a boarding school in County Tipperary where he captained the rugby team, was elected House Captain by the students and in his Leaving Certificate examination, scored an A in English, coming first in the country that year.

In 1953 he entered University College Dublin (UCD) where he took a B.A. in 1957. He married Claire Kennedy (a radiologist) in 1959 and thereafter he taught English and Irish at his old school (CCR) while he completed his M.A.

In 1964 he joined the English department of UCD as a lecturer specialising in Anglo-Irish literature and was subsequently involved with the redrawing of the schools' English literature curriculum as a founder member of the Association for Teachers of English (ATE). During this period he edited the text books Exploring English (1 and 3) and Soundings. In 1973, he competed his doctoral thesis on James Stephens.

He won a Jacobs Award in 1968 for presenting Telefís Scoile programmes about English literature for Raidió Teilifís Éireann.

He succeeded Roger McHugh as Chair of Anglo-Irish Literature, at UCD in 1979.

In 1973 he was elected to the Irish Senate under the "universities panel" National University of Ireland (constituency)#Seanad Éireann i.e. he was elected by the graduates of the National University of Ireland, and reelected in 1977 to serve until 1981. As a senator he spoke for the arts and culture, and was notably active in the opposition to the development of Wood Quay, a 900-year-old Viking settlement in Dublin.

In 1983, he was appointed to the Board of the Abbey Theatre (the Irish national theatre), and in 1985 was appointed chairman. He was Chairman of the Yeats International Summer School from 1978 to 1981 and subsequently founded the Yeats Winter School and the Joyce Summer School at Newman House.

Gus Martin died on 16 October 1995, aged 59. At the time of his death he was working on a biography of the Irish poet, Patrick Kavanagh. He is survived by his wife, Claire and by his four children, Breffni, Grainne, Niamh and Aengus.

Published works

His literary works include:

  • An Anthology of short stories for Intermediate Certificate (1967), editor;
  • Introducing English: An Anthology of Prose and Poems (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1970), editor;
  • Winter's Tales from Ireland (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1970), editor;
  • James Stephens, The Charwoman's Daughter (1972), introduction;
  • James Stephens: A Critical Study, (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan 1977);
  • ‘Eusebius McGreal’, Third Degree, 1, 2 (Dublin 1977);
  • Anglo-Irish literature (Department of Foreign Affairs, 1980);
  • Mary Lavin The House in Clewe Street, (London: Virgao Press 1987), afterword;
  • W. B. Yeats, Collected poems, (London: Arena 1983, 1990) editor and introduction;
  • The Genius of Irish prose [RTÉ Thomas Davis Lects.] (Mercier/RTÉ 1985);
  • James Joyce : the artist and the labyrinth (1990), editor;
  • Friendship (Dublin: Ryan 1990);
  • The Collected Prose of James Clarence Mangan: Prose, 1832–1839 by James Clarence Mangan, Martin Van De Kamp, Jacques Chuto, and Augustine Martin (published post-humously in May 1997).

An anthology of his essays was published posthumously: Bearing witness: essays on Anglo-Irish edited by Anthony Roche (1996)[4]


  1. University College Dublin
  2. Abbey Theatre
  3. "Irish Senate". Archived from the original on 23 April 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  4. Bearing Witness .
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