Peadar O'Donnell was born into an Irish-speaking community in North Donegal. He worked as a trade union organiser throughout Ulster. He was elected to the Dail in 1923, while in prison. Following his escape in 1924 he became editor of 'An Phoblacht', but later moved away from the Republican movement who were too conservative for him. He was involved in organising an Irish Brigade on the anti-fascist side in the Spanish Civil War. He was editor of 'The Bell', the most significant literary magazine in Ireland from 1946 to 1954.