He became involved with the Gate Theatre at 16 years of age. In Ireland he worked as a costume maker and designer in the Abbey Theatre and Gate Theatre, both in Dublin. He went to London in the 50s and then on to Sweden, where he started writing.
He then moved to America and soon after to Australia, where he settled in Melbourne for some years.
While there he wrote The Countrywoman (1962), The Stubborn Season (1962), and "Stravanga (1963). He returned to Dublin in 1972 where he remained until he died on 11 January 1997.
He was awarded the American Irish Foundation Literary Award in 1978, and was a member of Aosdána, an Irish association of artists.