The Writers

Writer Marc Brandel (1919 – 1994) was attracted to the artistic community in Ballydehob, where he lived for the latter part of his life. His birth name was Marcus Beresford. He was a prolific writer of novels, plays and articles. His fantasy children’s book Mine of Lost Days was based on the Cappaghglass copper mining area, and was illustrated by his friend John Verling.

Erik Christian Haugaard (1923 – 2009) was born in Denmark but escaped the 1940 Nazi invasion and settled initially in the United States. With his wife, Myrna Seld – also a writer – they joined the Ballydehob community in the mid 1970s, transforming the old Store House on Ballydehob Quay as their home and studio. Haugaard lived there for the rest of his life. He is best known for his children’s books and for his translations of the works of Hans Christian Andersen.

Poet and writer John Montague (1929 – 2016) bought a house on the Durrus Road, Ballydehob in the 1970s – at the zenith of the artistic community there. He retained the house almost until his death 40 years later, and was a frequent presence in the village, notably in the company of his great friend, John Verling: they both loved frequenting ‘Gabes’, a bar owned by Gabe Hannon, a kingpin of the Bohemian days in Ballydehob, and a lifelong supporter of art, music and literature.

Montague was born in Brooklyn, New York City to Irish parents, who sent him back as a child to the family farm on the edge of the Clogher Valley in County Tyrone to experience the realities of life in rural Ireland. Montague settled in Cork as a lecturer in UCC’s English department from 1973 – 1980. In 1998 he became the first occupant of the Ireland Chair of Poetry and, in 2010, was made a Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur, France’s highest civil award.

Malcolm Lyall-Watson, better known as Lyall Watson (1939 – 2008) was a prolific writer, scientist and anthropologist. He was born in Johannesburg, and spent some time in West Cork, living in Castlemehigan and Ballydehob during the heyday of the artistic community. Parts of his most well-known work Supernature (published in 1973) were written here: a best-seller in its day, it is still popular as an exploration of such phenomena as ESP, psychokinesis and telepathy in nature.