DruidSynge: A Chronology

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A Chronology


16 April, born youngest child of John Hatch and Kathleen (Traill) Synge, at 2 Newtown Villas, Rathfarnham, Dublin; his father dies of smallpox a year later.


After four years of irregular attendance at private schools because of illness, receives tutoring at home.


Enrols in Trinity College Dublin in February and in the Royal Irish Academy of Music in November.


Joins student orchestra at the Academy; plays in first concert; studies German.


Awarded scholarship and medal in counterpoint at the Academy; takes first place in examinations in Hebrew and Irish at Trinity.


After a summer in County Wicklow with his mother, goes to Germany to study violin and piano.


Begins to write his first play (uncompleted) and turns from study of music to literature; spends summer in County Wicklow.


Enrols at the Sorbonne in courses in French language and literature; returns to County Wicklow for the summer.


Spends three months studying art and literature in Italy; after summer in Wicklow returns to Paris to study at the Sorbonne; on 21 December meets WB Yeats.


Summer in Wicklow; operation on swollen gland in December (first indication of Hodgkin’s disease, as yet undiagnosed).


To Paris and the Sorbonne, studying Irish and Homeric civilisations under Henri d’Arbois de Jubainville. From 10 May to 25 June visits Coole before summer in Wicklow; in November he rents the room which will be his permanent address in Paris until 1903 and begins studying Breton; publishes the first of his articles on Aran.


Visits Quimper, Brittany, in April before returning to Dublin, where he attends the Irish Literary Theatre production of Yeat’s The Countess Cathleen before spending a summer in Wicklow; after three-and-a-half weeks on Inis Meáin, returns to Paris in November.


After summer in Wicklow, spends a month on Inis Meáin, returning to Paris in November.


After summer in Wicklow, spends a week at Coole with Lady Gregory and Yeats, then to Aran for a month, returning to Dublin to attend the Irish Literary Theatre production of Yeats and Moore’s Diarmuid and Grania and Hyde’s Casadh an tSúgáin; returns to Paris via London with MS of The Aran Islands.


Studies Old Irish at the Sorbonne and begins writing verse plays; writes Riders to the Sea, The Shadow of the Glen, and the first draft of The Tinker’s Wedding while in Wicklow before spending three weeks in Inisere, his last visit to Aran; in Dublin in December sees W.G. Fay’s company perform for the first time.


Spends January to mid March in London, before crossing to Paris (where he spends time with James Joyce) to give up his room; back in Dublin completes When the Moon Has Set and spends three weeks in September in County Kerry. In October Riders to the Sea is published and In the Shadow of the Glen produced by W.G. Fay’s Irish National Theatre Society.


In February Riders to the Sea is produced by the Irish National Theatre Society and both one-act plays are taken to London in March; in July spends two weeks at Coole helping Lady Gregory with her play Kincora before travelling in County Kerry and North Mayo; The Shadow of the Glen published in December.


The Well of the Saints produced and published in February; in June tours the Congested Districts of the west of Ireland with Jack Yeats, publishing twelve articles for the Manchester Guardian; spends six weeks in West Kerry and the Blasket Islands in August to mid-September; on 22 September is elected one of the directors of the Irish National Theatre Ltd.


Performances of Max Meyerfield’s translation of The Well of the Saints in Berlin in January and Karel Musek’s translation of The Shadow of the Glen in Prague in February; travels with company on tours in Ireland and England; visits County Kerry for three weeks in August and September.


Publication and performance of The Playboy of the Western World in January with unruly audiences for a week; The Aran Islands is published in April; his engagement to Molly Allgood, who played Pegeen Mike, is officially recognised and they holiday in Wicklow in July; operation to remove swollen glands on his neck in September; asthma attack cuts short his last visit to Kerry; The Tinker’s Wedding published in December but considered ‘too dangerous’ for production at the Abbey Theatre.


While making preparations for his marriage he directs Lady Gregory’s translations of Sunderman’s Teja and Molière’s The Rogueries of Scapin before undergoing an abdominal operation on 5 May; is not told of discovery of inoperable tumour; while in Germany convalescing and visiting old friends in October his mother dies.


Dies on 24 March, three weeks before his thirty-eighth birthday; Poems and Translations published in June.


Deirdre of the Sorrows, in a script assembled by Molly, Lady Gregory, and Yeats, produced in January with Molly as Deirdre, and published in July; The Work’s of John M. Synge, in four volumes, published in November.