Cyphers was founded in 1975. Leland Bardwell, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and Macdara Woods had been waiting for the return of Pearse Hutchinson from Leeds University, where he had been Gregory Fellow for three years. Before he left, all four had been concerned in running a weekly poetry reading in a pub, Sinnotts of South King Street. Exhaustion, the financial crisis of the 1970s with the consequent rise in the price of drink, and severe competition from the noisy cash register in the pub, had put an end to that venture.
Other Irish magazines had recently ceased publication, and the time seemed right to start a new one. We decided we would pay contributors, publish poems from all the countries where we had contacts, and try to keep the price down. The Arts Council gave us 50% of what we needed for the first two issues (the balance made up by contributions from John Buckley of Poughkeepsie, Benedict Ryan of Mayo, and Katherine Kavanagh of Dublin who also taught one of us book-keeping). From Issue 3 onwards the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon has enabled us to keep going.