Sign of the Three Candles – Irish Life & Culture Booklets

January 11, 2010

Drámaíocht in Éirinn, Theatre in Ireland, Micheál MacLiammóir with illustrations by Norah McGuinness 1950


The Ossianic Lore and Romantic Tales of Medieval Ireland, Gerard Murphy 1955

Saga and Myth in Ancient Ireland, Gerard Murphy 1955 (front)


Saga and Myth in Ancient Ireland, Gerard Murphy 1955 (back)

Above are the covers of three booklets in the Irish Life & Culture series published by Colm Ó Lochlainn’s Sign of the Three Candles. Norah McGuinness illustrated the first example while the other two are uncredited. Ó Lochlainn (1892–1972) was a printer, publisher, typographer, uilleann piper, Gaelic scholar, ballad collector, choir director and Professor of Language and Literature in UCD. Along with giving the designer Karl Uhlemann his first job at the Three Candles press, he also employed Seamus Ennis there for many years and introduced him to Professor Seamus Ó Duilearge of the Irish Folklore Commission. Ó Lochlainn’s son Ruan inherited his father’s interest in design and music. He designed the cover of Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance while also playing keyboards and saxophone on the album.

I love the typography on these covers. While the designs appear effortless there is real craft at work here. The back cover which I’ve included shows the logo of the Cultural Relations Committee of Ireland which no doubt financed the publication of the series.


4 Responses to “Sign of the Three Candles – Irish Life & Culture Booklets”

  1. Hugh Seery Says:

    If you need images of other bookcovers in this series I also have nos. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12 and 13

  2. Gerard Studdert Says:

    Looking for a copy of the book “The Studdert Family” by Robert Hallam Studdert

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