O'Leary, Con (1888–1958), journalist and author, was born in Cork city. Having studied at Rochestown monastery, he entered QCC in 1906 and became a leading figure within student circles. He helped to revive the Literary and Philosophical Society and founded a student's magazine, Q.C.C. A friend of Daniel Corkery (qv) (1878–1964), he wrote plays for the Gaelic League's dramatic movement in Cork. He became so smitten by journalism that he abandoned his studies and moved to Dublin, where he worked as a freelance journalist. On a return visit to Cork several years later he was persuaded to return to his studies and graduated BA (1913). Professor W. F. P. Stockley (qv) emerged as his mentor through this second term in Cork, and it was Stockley who gave him an introduction to the publisher Charles Diamond in Manchester. Diamond gave him a position on the Catholic Herald and he also began to contribute literary articles to the Manchester Guardian. He worked on the literary staff of that paper for a number of years and was also a leader writer for it, contributing a number of the articles that took a stance sympathetic to the Irish cause in the war of independence. He later assumed the editorship of the Manchester Guardian Weekly, which he retained until 1924 when he departed for Fleet St., London.
In Fleet St. he found work as editor of the weekly publication of political gossip, T.P's Weekly, which was published by T. P. O'Connor (qv), the nationalist MP for Liverpool. When that newspaper reached its end, he was forced into a precarious financial existence as a freelancer, even though he was described by Sean O'Faolain (qv) as the finest Irish journalist of his generation in Fleet St. He found more regular employment with the Sunday Express, but his most sustained period of employment thereafter was as London correspondent of the Irish Press. Throughout these years he wrote a series of well received books on travel and history, as well as publishing novels and collections of short stories including An exile's bundle (1923), Break o' day (1926), This delicate creature (1928), A hillside man (1933), A wayfarer in Ireland (1935), Passage west (1945), and Grand National (1945).
An accomplished after-dinner speaker, he was very prominent in Irish circles in London. In the 1920s he was a founder-member of the National University of Ireland Club in London. He returned to Ireland infrequently, although he remained in contact with many of his old friends. He did not marry and died at a nursing home in London on 10 November 1958.