Joan McBreen is from Sligo, Ireland, and now divides her time between Tuam and Renvyle, Connemara, Co. Galway.
Her poetry collections are Map and Atlas (Salmon Poetry, 2017), Heather Island (Salmon Poetry, 2009, reprinted 2013), Winter in the Eye—New and Selected Poems (Salmon Poetry, 2003), A Walled Garden in Moylough (Story Line Press, 2020 and Salmon Poetry, 1995), and The Wind Beyond the Wall (Story Line Press, 1990, reprinted 2020). Her two anthologies are The White Page / An Bhileog Bhán – Twentieth-Century Irish Women Poets (Salmon Poetry, 2001) and The Watchful Heart—A New Generation of Irish Poets—Poems and Essays (Salmon Poetry, 2001).
In 2014, she produced a CD, The Mountain Ash in Connemara—Selected Poems by Joan McBreen, with music composed and arranged by Glen Austin and performed by the RTÉ Contempo String Quartet. In 2015, she brought out a limited edition broadside The Mountain Ash in collaboration with printmaker artist, Margaret Irwin West, and printmaker, Mary Plunkett. It was designed and published by Artisan House Connemara.
She has given readings and talks in universities in the USA including Emory, Villanova, De Paul (Chicago), Cleveland, Lenoir Rhynne, NC, and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Since 2010, she has undertaken a number of reading tours in the US and has read in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia, and Massachusetts. She is closely associated with most of the major literary festivals in Ireland.
McBreen was awarded an MA from University College, Dublin in 1997. Some of her papers are in the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, & Rare Book Library at Emory University, Atlanta, GA.