The Life and Work of Frances Browne: The Blind Poetess of Ulster
Date: 23 November 2023
Venue: Tower Museum, Union Hall Pl, Derry, BT48 6LU
Frances Browne (1816-1879) a native of Stranorlar, County Donegal, despite being struck blind by smallpox at a very young age, managed to carve out a literary career for herself that took her to both Edinburgh an London and led her to be known in her own lifetime as the ‘blind poetess of Ulster’. In addition to poetry, she also composed many short stories and essays and is best remembered for her frequently reprinted book of fantasy stories for children titled, ‘Granny’s Wonderful Chair and its Tales of Fairy Times’.
About the speaker:
Raymond Blair was born in Cavan Upper, Killygordon, in 1960, and received his primary education in the nearby Cooladawson National School. He developed a keen interest in history from an early age and his secondary education was obtained at the Royal and Prior Comprehensive School in Raphoe. He went on to study History at Trinity College Dublin which deepened his fascination with Irish history and, in particular, the interaction between landlords and tenants in 19th century Ireland. He subsequently went on to study Theology at the Reformed Theological College in Belfast and served as Pastor in Galway for over 20 years. Raymond is the author of ‘The Best of Frances Browne: Poems, Stories and Essays by the Blind Genius of Stranorlar’.