Richard Murphy was born in 1927 at Milford, near Kilmaine, County Mayo, and spent part of his childhood in Ceylon, where his father was the last British Mayor of Colombo. From the age of eight, he attended boarding schools in Ireland and England, winning a scholarship to Oxford at seventeen. After years of displacement, marriage and divorce, he returned to Inishbofin in 1959 and settled for twenty years at Cleggan, writing there, on Omey and alone on High Island. He moved to Dublin in 1980, detaching himself from the beloved country of his past the better to reach it in poetry. He has lived near Kandy in Sri Lanka since 2007.