Louis de Paor was born in 1961 in Cork, and educated at Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh. He is one of Ireland's leading Irish-language poets, and was a key figure in the Irish language literary renaissance of the 1980s and 90s, editing the influential Irish-language journal Innti for a time. He spent time as a lecturer in Irish at University College Cork and Thomond College, Limerick, before moving to Australia in 1987, where he worked in local and ethnic radio in Melbourne and taught evening classes in Irish language and literature at Melbourne University and the Melbourne Council for Adult Education. He was Visiting Professor of Celtic Studies at Sydney University in 1993 and Visiting Fellow in 1992. He returned to Ireland in 1996 and worked as proof editor of the Irish language newspaper Foinse before being appointed Director of the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway in 2000. He was Jefferson Smurfit Distinguished Fellow at the University of St Louis-Missouri in 2002 and received the Charles Fanning medal from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 2009.
His most recent dual language editions of his own poetry are Ag greadadh bas sa reilig / Clapping in the cemetery (Cló Iar-Chonnacht, 2005), agus rud eile de / and another thing (Cló Iar-Chonnacht, 2010), The Brindled Cat and the Nightingale's Tongue (Bloodaxe Books / Cló Iar-Chonnacht, 2014), and Crooked Love / Grá fiar (Bloodaxe Books / Cló Iar-Chonnacht, 2022). De Paor has collaborated with the Cork singer John Spillane under the name Gaelic Hit Factory, and with uilleann piper Ronan Browne. He has worked with Brooklyn-based composer Dana Lyn on a number of poetry and music collaborations, including his sequence 'Lá dá raibh/One day', ﬁrst performed live at the Irish Arts Center in New York in 2014 and then adapted for a dual-language radio feature broadcast on RTÉ lyric fm and Raidió na Gaeltachta in 2021 and repeated in 2022 to coincide with its inclusion in Crooked Love / Grá fiar. The RTÉ feature won Gold in the New York Festivals Radio Awards ‘Culture & The Arts’ category in 2022.
Louis de Paor also published an anthology of 20th-century poetry in Irish, Coiscéim na haoise seo (1991), co-edited with Seán Ó Tuama; a bilingual edition of the selected poems of Máire Mhac an tSaoi, An paróiste míorúilteach / The miraculous parish (2011); and a critical edition of the selected poems of Liam S. Gógan, Míorúilt an chleite chaoin (2012). His bilingual anthology Leabhar na hAthghabhála / Poems of Repossession was published by Bloodaxe Books with Cló Iar-Chonnacht in 2016, continuing the line of Irish-language poetry where Thomas Kinsella's earlier anthology An Duanaire, 1600-1900: Poems of the Dispossessed (1981) left off.
The CD accompanying agus rud eile de / and another thing and the enhanced ebook with audio edition of The Brindled Cat and the Nightingale's Tongue both draw on his collaborations with Ronan Browne:
'Descartes, Isaac Newton, Galileo and Stephen Hawking lurk in the lush undergrowth of this intriguing collaboration. Anchored by the sensual Irish language poetry of Louis de Paor, piper Ronan Browne doesn’t so much paint an aural landscape as stitch it seamlessly around every syllable, swaddling de Paor’s richly spoken words in a tapestry laden with left-field sound samples and quotidian reminders of life’s ordinary magic. The sheer cinematic scope of Browne’s music is revelatory, sundered from any cosy notions of traditional music convention. Armenian duduk, keyboards and the spine-tingling vocals of Zahrah and Naisrín Elsafty dig deeper still beneath the skin of de Paor’s compelling poetry. A revelatory collaboration that glistens in the heat forged by its own spirit of adventure' — Siobhán Long, The Irish Times.
Books by Louis de Paor