Miller, Liam (1924–87), publisher, was born William Miller 24 April 1924 in Mountrath, Co. Laois, son of James Miller, victualler, and Elizabeth Miller (née Carbery). He studied architecture at UCD and travelled to London after 1945 to work on postwar reconstruction projects. He returned to Dublin to found the Dolmen Press with his wife Josephine (née Browne) in 1951. Originally an imprint for Irish poets, Dolmen first published Travelling tinkers (1951) by Sigerson Clifford (qv). Encouraged because Clifford's pamphlet sold out, Miller published a series of minor productions that included Thomas Kinsella's Starlit eyes (1952). With no formal training in printing he learned the due proportions of type, margins, and illustration as the press developed. Moving his family to more spacious homes from which to work in Glenageary and then Baggot St., he operated a printing works in Mount St., Dublin, from 1958. Productions of this period included the first collections of Richard Murphy, The archaeology of love (1955), and John Montague, Forms of exile (1959), as well as Later poems (1961) by Austin Clarke (qv). A personal obsession with W. B. Yeats (qv) inspired him to commission a series of articles on the poet in 1965, later collected as Yeats centenary papers (1968).
He was a popular figure of 1960s Dublin bohemia and was a host to the likes of John Berryman and Patrick Kavanagh (qv) in rowdy evenings at Ryan's of Baggot St. His glory was Thomas Kinsella's version of The Tain (1969), a text on which Kinsella had worked since 1954. In a folio of 300 pages and set in 14 pt type with Perpetua and Felix titling characters, Kinsella's translation was accompanied by 130 brush drawings by Louis le Brocquy. Miller's press always encouraged art contributions to its works, with notable commissions from Tate Adams and Leonard Baskin, but The Tain is unsurpassed. It was further published as a popular paperback by Oxford University Press with reduced illustrations and adapted by Miller for a 1970 BBC production. A man of endless invention, he designed the sets for the Abbey Theatre's productions of ‘The plough and the stars’ (1966) and ‘The countess Kathleen’ (1969). A director of the Lantern Theatre, he was also founding president of CLÉ, the Irish Book Publishers' Association, in 1970. He wrote The Dun Emer Press (1973), a descriptive bibliography and history of two presses, Dun Emer and Cuala, that might well be regarded as the true antecedents of the high-quality productions that Dolmen developed as the business moved to North Richmond St., Dublin, in 1973. The exquisite Illustrated bibliography of the Dolmen Press 1951–1976 (1976) exemplifies his eye for beauty. Of the Irish book-design awards for 1977, there were eight Dolmen commendations in a field of thirteen entries. Keenly interested in Irish stamps, he was a member of the philately advisory committee.
Thomas Kinsella dedicated his Peppercanister poems 1972–1978 (1979) to Miller for his generosity, and his death in Dublin on 17 May 1987 deprived Irish publishing of one of its most imaginative craftsmen. He was buried at Clonenagh, Mountrath, and the Dolmen Press was dissolved, with its stock bought by the company of Colin Smythe.