George Otto Simms was born in Dublin in 1910. He took his BA, MA, BD, PhD, and DD degrees at Trinity College, Dublin. Ordained a priest of the Church of Ireland in 1936, he spent his working life in the service of the church and was Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland from 1969 until his retirement in 1980. A noted scholar and historian, he lectured and wrote extensively, particularly on The Book of Kells, on which he was internationally recognised as an expert. For almost 40 years he contributed a weekly religious feature,'Thinking Aloud', to the Irish Times. George Otto Simms died in 1991.
Exploring the Book of Kells was Dr. Simms first book for the younger reader and received wide acclaim. It was a winner of the Reading Association of Ireland Award, and together with his second book for children, Brendan the Navigator, Exploring the Ancient World, was joint winner of the BISTO Book of the Decade Award. His third and last book prior to his death was St. Patrick, The Real Story of Patrick, who became Ireland's Patron Saint.
Peter Sirr lives in Dublin. He is a prize-winning poet as well a critic, essayist and translator. For many years he was Director of the Irish Writers’ Centre and was also editor of the national poetry magazine, Poetry Ireland Review. He has published eight collection of poetry with The Gallery Press, including The Thing Is (2009), winner of The Michael Hartnett Award, and Selected Poems (2004). He is member of Aosdána.
Michael Smith is an authority on polar exploration who has appeared on TV and radio and lectured extensively. His books include: An Unsung Hero: Tom Crean; I Am Just Going Outside, a biography of Captain Oates; Polar Crusader about Sir James Wordie; Tom Crean – An Illustrated Life; Great Endeavour – Ireland’s Antarctic Explorers; and Shackleton: By Endurance We Conquer. Michael is a former award-winning journalist with The Guardian and The Observer.
Ray Stagles was born and brought up in Leyton, east London. He studied at University College London, evacuated to Aberystwyth, and there met his future wife, Joan. They both took Honours degrees in English in 1942. He served as a radar mechanic in the Fleet Air Arm until 1946. After the war he taught in schools in Essex, then became a Head Teacher, first, in 1957, in Shropshire, then, from 1964, in Berkshire.
In 1966 he and Joan first visited the Great Blasket Island, which from then on became their joint passion. His interests included hill walking, books, jazz, classical music, theatre, cryptic crosswords and scrabble. Ray died in 2016.