Seamus O’Dea grew up in Templemore. His mother was a schoolteacher and his father a hackney driver. While Seamus was attending school in 1937 and 1938, the schoolmaster gave him the job of transcribing the local folklore, collected for the Folklore Commission. He later went on to qualify as a teacher and taught with the Christian Brothers in Monkstown from 1949. In 1955 he came to Tullamore and in 1972 was appointed vice-Principal of the secondary school there, where he spent the remainder of his teaching career.