April 16, 1871
On April 16, 1871, celebrated Irish playwright John Millington Synge was born in Rathfarnam, Co. Dublin. Born into an upper class Protestant family, Synge would take his own path, nurturing his fascination with the Catholic peasant class of rural Ireland with frequent trips to Wicklow, theWest of Ireland and the Aran Islands. Recording everything he noticed, Synge became one of the first and most thorough chroniclers of country life and language in Ireland, most notably in his still-famous plays, which include The Playboy of the Western World, Riders to the Sea and Deirdre of the Sorrows. With W.B Yeats and Lady Gregory he founded the Abbey, Ireland’s first national theater. Troubled by health problems for much of his life, Synge died young, in 1909 at age 37, from Hodgkins disease.