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Title: The Glories of Ireland

Author: Edited by Joseph Dunn and P.J. Lennox

Release Date: April 22, 2004 [EBook #12111]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


Produced by GF Untermeyer, Brendan Lane, and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team.



P.J. LENNOX. Litt.D.,





      "All thy life has been a symbol; we can only read a part:
      God will flood thee yet with sunshine for the woes that
            drench thy heart."



We had at first intended that this should be a book without a
preface, and indeed it needs none, for it speaks in no uncertain
tones for itself; but on reconsideration we decided that it would be
more seemly to give a short explanation of our aim, our motives, and
our methods.

As a result of innumerable inquiries which have come to us during our
experience as educators, we have been forced to the conclusion that
the performances of the Irish race in many fields of endeavor are
entirely unknown to most people, and that even to the elect they are
not nearly so well known as they deserve to be. Hence there came to
us the thought of placing on record, in an accessible, comprehensive,
and permanent form, an outline of the whole range of Irish
achievement during the last two thousand years.

In undertaking this task we had a twofold motive. In the first place,
we wished to give to people of Irish birth or descent substantial
reason for that pride of race which we know is in them, by placing in
their hands an authoritative and unassailable array of facts as
telling as any nation in the world can show. Our second motive was
that henceforward he who seeks to ignore or belittle the part taken
by men and women of Irish birth or blood in promoting the spread of
religion, civilization, education, culture, and freedom should sin,
not in ignorance, but against the light, and that from a thousand
quarters at once champions armed with the panoply of knowledge should
be able to spring to his confutation.

To carry out in a satisfactory manner over a field so immense our
lawfully ambitious aim was, as we realized at the outset, not
possible to any two men who are primarily engaged, as we are, in
other work of an exacting nature. Therefore, to render feasible the
execution of our undertaking, we decided to invite the collaboration
of many scholars and specialists, each of whom could, out of the
fullness of information, speak with authority on some particular
phase of the general subject. We are glad to say that the eminent
writers to whom we addressed ourselves answered with promptitude and
alacrity to our call, and have supplied us with such a body of
material as to enable us to bring out a book that is absolutely

From each contributor we asked nothing but a plain verifiable
statement of facts, and that, we think, is exactly what they have
given us, for, while we do not make ourselves personally responsible
for everything set down in the following pages, we believe that what
stands written therein bears every mark of careful research and of
absolute reliability.

Although on many of our subjects little more remains to be said than
what appears in the text, yet the treatment on the whole does not
claim to be exhaustive, and therefore each writer has, at our
request, appended to his contribution a short and carefully selected
bibliography, so that those who are interested may have a guide for
further reading. For our part, we consider these lists of works of
reference to be a highly useful feature.

It is a glorious thing for us, who are proud, one of us of his Irish
descent and the other of his Irish birth, to think that the sons and
daughters of mother Erin have so conspicuously distinguished
themselves in such varied spheres of activity in every age and in so
many lands, and that we were privileged to make public the record of
their achievements in a form never before attempted.

We have other works in contemplation, and some actually in
preparation, which will go far to strengthen the claims put forward
in this book. In the meantime, we trust that the reception accorded
to it will be such as to encourage us to persevere in making still
better known the Glories of Ireland.

                                                JOSEPH DUNN
                                                P.J. LENNOX

      _Catholic University of America_,
          _Washington, D.C._

      November, 1914


   Sir Roger Casement, C.M.G.

   Very Rev. Canon D'Alton, M.R.I.A., LL.D.

   Rev. Columba Edmonds, O.S.B.

   William H. Babcock, LL.B.

   Rev. P.S. Dinneen, M.A., R.U.I.

   Sir Bertram C.A. Windle, Sc.D., M.D.

   Laurence Ginnell, B.L., M.P.

   W.H. Grattan Flood, Mus.D.

   Diarmid Coffey

   Louis Ely O'Carroll, B.A., B.L.

   Francis J. Bigger, M.R.I.A.

   D.J. O'Donoghue

   Thomas E. Healy

   Joseph I.C. Clarke

   John Jerome Rooney, A.M., LL.D.

   Shane Leslie

   Alice Milligan

   Lord Ashbourne

   John O'Dea

   Michael J. O'Brien

   James J. Walsh, M.D.

   Marion Mulhall

   Brother Leo, F.S.C., M.A.

   A. Hilliard Atteridge

   Douglas Hyde, LL.D.

   Georges Dottin

   Eleanor Hull

   Sidney Gunn, M.A.

   Edmund C. Quiggin, M.A.

   Alfred Perceval Graves

   Charles L. Graves

   Joseph Holloway

   Michael MacDonagh

   Horatio S. Krans, Ph.D.

   P.J. Lennox, B.A., Litt. D.




The history of Ireland remains to be written, for the purpose of
Irishmen remains yet to be achieved.

The struggle for national realization, begun so many centuries ago,
is not ended; and if the long story offers a so frequent record of
failure, it offers a continuous appeal to the highest motives and a
constant exhibition of a most pathetic patriotism linked with the
sternest courage.

Irish wars, throughout all time, have been only against one enemy,
the invader, and, ending so often in material disaster, they have
conferred always a moral gain. Their memory uplifts the Irish heart;
for no nation, no people, can reproach Ireland with having wronged

When, at the dawn of the Christian era, we first hear of Ireland from
external sources, we learn of it as an island harboring free men,
whose indomitable love of freedom was hateful to the spirit of
imperial exploitation.

Agricola's advice to the empire-builders of his day was that Rome
should "war down and take possession of Ireland, so that freedom
might be put out of sight."

It was to meet this challenge of despotism that the Scotic clans of
Alba turned to their motherland for help, and the sea was "white with
the hurrying oars" of the men of Erin speeding to the call of their
Highland kinsmen, threatened with imperial servitude.

The first external record we possess thus makes it clear that when
the early Irish went forth to carry war abroad, it was not to impose
their yoke on other peoples, or to found an empire, but to battle
against the Empire of the World in the threatened cause they held so
dear at home.

In this early Roman reference to Ireland we get the keynote to all
later Irish history--a warring down on the one hand, so that freedom
might be put out of sight; an eternal resistance, on the other, so
that it might be upheld.

It was this struggle that Ireland sought to maintain against every
form of attack, down through Danish, Norman, Tudor, Stuart, and
Cromwellian assault, to the larger imperialism of the nineteenth
century, when, as Thierry, the historian of the Norman Conquest,
tells us, it still remained the one "lost cause" of history that
refused to admit defeat. "This indomitable persistency, this faculty
of preserving through centuries of misery the remembrance of lost
liberty and of never despairing of a cause always defeated, always
fatal to those who dared to defend it, is perhaps the strangest and
noblest example ever given by any nation."

The resources Ireland opposed to her invaders have been unequal to
the founding of a great state, but have preserved a great tradition.
The weakness of Ireland lay in the absence of a central organization,
a state machine that could mobilize the national resources to defend
the national life. That life had to depend for its existence, under
the stress of prolonged invasion, on the spontaneous patriotism and
courage of individuals. At times one clan alone, or two clans,
maintained the struggle. Arrayed against them were all the resources
of a mighty realm--shipping, arms, munitions of war, gold,
statecraft, a widespread and calculating diplomacy, the prestige of a
great Sovereign and a famous Court--and the Irish clan and its
chieftain, by the sheer courage of its members, by their bodily
strength and hardihood and feats of daring, for years kept the issue
in doubt.

When Hugh O'Neill, leagued with Red Hugh O'Donnell, challenged the
might of Elizabeth, he had nothing to rely upon but the stout hearts
and arms of the men of Tir-owen and Tir-Conail. Arms and armaments
were far from Ulster. They could be procured only in Spain or
elsewhere on the continent. English shipping held the sea; the
English mint the coinage. The purse of England, compared to that of
the Ulster princes, was inexhaustible. Yet for nine years the
courage, the chivalry, the daring and skill of these northern
clansmen, perhaps 20,000 men in all, held all the might of England at
bay. Had the Spanish king at any time during the contest made good
his promise to lend effective aid to the Irish princes, O'Neill would
have driven Elizabeth from Ireland, and a sovereign State would today
be the guardian of the freedom of the western seas for Europe and the
world. It took "the best army in Europe" and a vast treasure, as Sir
John Davies asserted, to conquer two Ulster clans three hundred years
ago. The naked valor of the Irishman excelled the armed might of
Tudor England; and the struggle that gave the empire of the seas to
Britain was won not in the essay of battle, but in the assay of the

It is this aspect of the Irish fight for freedom that dignifies an
otherwise lost cause. Ever defeated, yet undefeated, a
long-remembering race believes that these native qualities must in
the end prevail. The battle has been from the first one of manhood
against might. The State Papers, the official record of English rule
in Ireland, leave us rarely in doubt. We read in that record that,
where the appeal was to the strength or courage of the opposing men,
the Irish had nothing to fear from English arms.

Thus the Earl of Essex, in a despatch to Elizabeth, explained the
failure of his great expedition in 1599 against O'Neill and
O'Donnell. "These rebels ... have (though I do unwillingly confess
it) better bodies and perfecter use of their arms than those men whom
your Majesty sends over." The flight of the Earls in 1607 left
Ireland leaderless, with nothing but the bodies and hearts of the
people to depend on. In 1613 we read, in the same records, a candid
admission that, although the clan system had been destroyed and the
great chiefs expropriated, converted, or driven to flight, the people
still trusted to their own stout arms and fearless hearts:

"The next rebellion, whenever it shall happen, doth threaten more
danger to the State than any heretofore, when the cities and walled
towns were always faithful; (1) because they have the same bodies
they ever had and therein they had and have advantage of us; (2) from
infancy they have been and are exercised in the use of arms; (3) the
realm by reason of the long peace was never so full of youths; (4)
that they are better soldiers than heretofore their continental
employment in wars abroad assures us, and they do conceive that their
men are better than ours."

And when that "next rebellion" came, the great uprising of the
outraged race in 1641, what do we find? Back from the continent sails
the nephew of the great O'Neill, who had left Ireland a little boy in
the flight of the Earls, and the dispossessed clansmen, robbed of all
but their strength of body and heart, gathered to the summons of Owen

Again it was the same issue: the courage and hardihood of the
Irishman to set against the superior arms, equipment, and wealth of a
united Britain. Irish valor won the battle; a great state
organization won the campaign. England and Scotland combined to lay
low a resurgent Ireland; and again the victory was not to the brave
and skilled, but to the longer purse and the implacable mind. Perhaps
the most vivid testimony to these innate qualities of the Irishman is
to be found in a typically Irish challenge issued in the course of
this ten years' war from 1641 to 1651. The document has a lasting
interest, for it displays not only the "better body" of the Irishman,
but something of his better heart and chivalry of soul.

One Parsons, an English settler in Ireland, had written to a friend
to say, among other things, that the head of a colonel of an Irish
regiment then in the field against the English would not be allowed
to stick long on its shoulders. The letter was intercepted by the
very regiment itself, and a captain in it, Felim O'Molloy, wrote back
to Parsons:

"I will doe this, if you please. I will pick out 60 men and fight
against 100 of your choise men, if you do but pitch your campe one
mile out of your towne, and then, if you have the victory, you may
threaten my colonel; otherwise do not reckon your chickens before
they be hatched."

It was this same spirit of daring, this innate belief in his own
manhood, that for three hundred years made every Irishman the
custodian of his country's honor.

An Irish state had not been born; that battle had still to be fought;
but the romantic effort to achieve it reveals ever an unstained
record of personal courage. Freedom has not come to Ireland; it has
been "warred down and kept out of sight"; but it has been kept in the
Irish heart, from Brian Boru to Robert Emmet, by a long tale of blood
shed always in the same cause. Freedom is kept alive in man's blood
only by the shedding of that blood. It was this they were seeking,
those splendid "scorners of death", the lads and young men of Mayo,
who awaited with a fearless joy the advance of the English army fresh
from the defeat of Humbert in 1798. Then, if ever, Irishmen might
have run from a victorious and pitiless enemy, who having captured
the French general and murdered, in cold blood, the hundreds of
Killala peasants who were with his colors, were now come to Killala
itself to wreak vengeance on the last stronghold of Irish rebellion.

The ill-led and half-armed peasants, the last Irishmen in Ireland to
stand in open, pitched fight for their country's freedom, went to
meet the army of General Lake, as the Protestant bishop who saw them
says, "running upon death with as little appearance of reflection or
concern as if they were hastening to a show."

The influences that begot this reverence for freedom lie in the
island itself no less than in the remote ancestry of the people.
Whoever looks upon Ireland cannot conceive it as the parent of any
but freemen. Climate and soil here unite to tell man that
brotherhood, and not domination, constitutes the only nobility for
those who call this fair shore their motherland. The Irish struggle
for liberty owes as much, perhaps, to the continuing influence of the
same lakes and rivers and the same mountains as to the survival of
any political fragments of the past. Irish history is inseparably the
history of the land, rather than of a race; and in this it offers us
a spectacle of a continuing national unity that long-continuing
disaster has not been able wholly to efface or wholly to disrupt.

To discover the Europe that existed before Rome we must turn to the
East, Greece, and to the West, Ireland.

Ireland alone among western lands preserves the recorded tradition,
the native history, the continuity of mind, and, until yesterday, of
speech and song, that connect the half of Europe with its ancestral
past. For early Europe was very largely Celtic Europe, and nowhere
can we trace the continuous influence of Celtic culture and idealism,
coming down to us from a remote past, save in Ireland only.

To understand the intellect of pre-Roman Gaul, of Spain, of Portugal,
and largely of Germany, and even of Italy, we must go to Ireland.
Whoever visits Spain or Portugal, to investigate the past of those
countries, will find that the record stops where Rome began. Take
England in further illustration. The first record the inhabitants of
England have of the past of their island comes from Roman invasion.
They know of Boadicea, of Cassivelaunus, the earliest figures in
their history, from what a foreign destroyer tells them in an alien

All the early life of Celtiberians and Lusitanians has passed away
from the record of human endeavor, save only where we find it
recorded by the Italian invaders in their own speech, and in such
terms as imperial exploitation ever prescribes for its own
advancement and the belittlement of those it assails. Ireland alone
among all western nations knows her own past, from the very dawn of
history and before the romance of Romulus began, down to the present
day, in the tongue of her own island people and in the light of her
own native mind. Early Irish history is not the record of the
clan-strivings of a petty and remote population, far from the centre
of civilization. It is the authentic story of all western
civilization before the warm solvent of Mediterranean blood and iron
melted and moulded it into another and rigid shape.

The Irishman called O'Neill, O'Brien, O'Donnell, steps out of a past
well-nigh co-eval with the heroisms and tragedies that uplifted
Greece and laid Troy in ashes, and swept the Mediterranean with an
Odyssey of romance that still gives its name to each chief island,
cape, and promontory of the mother sea of Europe. Ireland, too, steps
out of a story just as old. Well nigh every hill or mountain, every
lake or river, bears the name today it bore a thousand, two thousand,
years ago, and one recording some dramatic human or semi-divine

The songs of the Munster and Connacht poets of the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries gave to every cottage in the land the ownership
as well as the tale of an heroic ancestry. They linked the Ireland of
yesterday with the Ireland of Finn and Oscar, of Diarmid and Grainne,
of Deirdre and the Sons of Usnech, of Cuchulainn the Hound of Ulster.
A people bred on such soul-stirring tales as these, linked by a
language "the most expressive of any spoken on earth" in thought and
verse and song with the very dawn of their history, wherein there
moved, as familiar figures, men with the attributes of gods--great in
battle, grand in danger, strong in loving, vehement in death--such a
people could never be vulgar, could never be mean, but must repeat,
in their own time and in their own manhood, actions and efforts thus
ascribed as a vital part of their very origin. Hence the inspiration
that gave the name of Fenian, in the late nineteenth century, to a
band of men who sought to achieve by arms the freedom of Ireland. The
law of the Fenian of the days of Marcus Aurelius was the law of the
Fenian in the reign of Victoria--to give all--mind, body, and
strength of purpose--to the defense of his country, "to speak truth
and harbor no greed in his heart."

Some there are who may deny to Finn and his Fenians of the second and
third centuries corporeal existence; yet nothing is surer than that
Ireland claims these ancestral embodiments of an heroic tradition by
a far surer title of native record than gives to the Germans
Arminius, to the Gauls, Ariovistus, to the British, Caractacus. This
conception of a national life, one with the land itself, was very
clear to the ancient Irish, just as it has been and is the foundation
of all later national effort.

"If ever the idea of nationality becomes the subject of a thorough
and honest study, it will be seen that among all the peoples of
antiquity, not excluding the Hellenes and the Hebrews, the Irish held
the clearest and most conscious and constant grasp of that idea; and
that their political divisions, instead of disproving the existence
of the idea, in their case intensely strengthen the proof of its
existence and emphasize its power.

In the same way the remarkable absence of insular exclusiveness,
notwithstanding their geographical position, serves to bring their
sense of nationality into higher relief.

Though pride of race is evident in the dominant Gaelic stock, their
national sentiment centres not in the race, but altogether in the
country, which is constantly personified and made the object of a
sort of cult.

It is worth noting that just as the Brehon Laws are the laws of
Ireland without distinction of province or district; as the language
of Irish literature is the language of Ireland without distinction of
dialects; as the Dindshenchus contains the topographical legends of
all parts of Ireland, and the Festilogies commemorate the saints of
all Ireland; so the Irish chronicles from first to last are histories
of the Irish nation. The true view of the Book of Invasions is that
it is the epic of Irish Nationality." (Professor Eoin MacNeill, in a
letter to Mrs. A.S. Green, January, 1914.)

The "Book of Invasions", which Professor MacNeill here speaks of, was
compiled a thousand years ago. To write the history of later Ireland
is merely to prolong the "Book of Invasions", and thus bring the epic
of Irish resistance down to our own day. All Irish valor and
chivalry, whether of soul or of body, have been directed for a
thousand years to this same end. It was for this that Sarsfield died
at Landen no less than Brian at Clontarf. The monarch of Ireland at
the head of a great Irish army driving back the leagued invaders from
the shores of Dublin Bay in 1014, and the exiled leader in 1693,
heading the charge that routed King William's cause in the
Netherlands, fell on one and the same battlefield. They fought
against the invader of Ireland.

We are proudly told that the sun never sets on the British Empire.
Wherever an Irishman has fought in the name of Ireland it has not
been to acquire fortune, land, or fame, but to give all, even life
itself, not to found an empire, but to strike a blow for an ancient
land and assert the cause of a swordless people. Wherever Irishmen
have gone, in exile or in fight, they have carried this image of
Ireland with them. The cause of Ireland has found a hundred fields of
foreign fame, where the dying Irishman might murmur with Sarsfield,
"Would that this blood were shed for Ireland", and history records
the sacrifice as made in no other cause.

Ireland, too, owns an empire on which the sun never sets.


Sigerson: Bards of the Gael and Gall; O'Callaghan: History of the
Irish Brigades; Mitchel: Life of Hugh O'Neill; Green: The Making of
Ireland and its Undoing, Irish Nationality, The Old Irish World;
Taylor: Life of Owen Roe O'Neill; Todhunter: Life of Patrick
Sarsfield; Hyde: Love Songs of Connacht, Religious Songs of Connacht;
O'Grady: Bog of Stars, Flight of the Eagle; Ferguson: Hibernian
Nights' Entertainment; Mitchel: History of Ireland, in continuation
of MacGeoghegan's History.



Unlike the natives of Britain and Scotland, the Irish in
pre-Christian times were not brought into contact with Roman
institutions or Roman culture. In consequence they created and
developed a civilization of their own that was in some respects
without equal. They were far advanced in the knowledge of metal-work
and shipbuilding; they engaged in commerce; they loved music and had
an acquaintance with letters; and when disputes arose among them,
these were settled in duly constituted courts of justice, presided
over by a trained lawyer, called a brehon, instead of being settled
by the stern arbitrament of force. Druidism was their pagan creed.
They believed in the immortality and in the transmigration of souls;
they worshipped the sun and moon, and they venerated mountains,
rivers, and wells; and it would be difficult to find any ministers of
religion who were held in greater awe than the Druids.

Commerce and war brought the Irish into contact with Britain and the
continent, and thus was Christianity gradually introduced into the
island. Though its progress at first was not rapid, there were, by
431, several Christian churches in existence, and in that year
Palladius, a Briton and a bishop, was sent by Pope Celestine to the
Irish who already believed in Christ. Discouraged and a failure,
Palladius returned to Britain after a brief stay on his mission, and
then, in 432, the same Pope sent St. Patrick, who became the Apostle
of Ireland.

Because of the great work he did, St. Patrick is one of the prominent
figures of history; and yet, to such an extent has the dust of time
settled down on his life and acts that the place and year of his
birth, the schools in which he was educated, and the year of his
death, are all matters of dispute. There is, however, no good reason
to depart from the traditional account, which is, that the Apostle
was born at Dumbarton in Scotland, in the year 372; that in 388 he
was captured by the Irish king Niall, who had gone on a plundering
raid into Scotland; that he was brought to Ireland and sold as a
slave, and that as such he served a pagan chief named Milcho who
lived in what is now the county of Antrim; that from Antrim he
escaped and went back to his own country; that he had many visions
urging him to return to Ireland and preach the Gospel there; that,
believing these were from God, he went to France, and there was
educated and ordained priest, and later consecrated bishop; and then,
accompanied by several ecclesiastics, he was sent to Ireland.

From Wicklow, where he landed, he proceeded north and endeavored, but
in vain, to convert his old pagan master Milcho; thence he proceeded
south by Downpatrick and Dundalk to Slane in Meath, where, in sight
of Tara, the high-king's seat, he lighted the paschal fire. At Tara
he confounded the Druids in argument, baptized the high-king and the
chief poet; and then, turning north and west, he crossed the Shannon
into Connacht, where he spent seven years. From Connacht he passed
into Donegal, and thence through Tyrone and Antrim, after which he
entered Munster, and remained there seven years. Finally, he returned
to Armagh, which he made his episcopal see, and died at Saul, near
Downpatrick, in 493.

St. Patrick wrote two short works, both of which have survived, his
_Confession_ and his _Epistle to Coroticus_. In neither are there any
graces of style, and the Latin is certainly not that of Cicero or
Livy. But in the _Confession_ the character of the author himself is
completely revealed--his piety, his zeal, his self-sacrifice, his
courage in face of every danger and every trial. Not less remarkable
was the skill with which he handled men and used pagan institutions
for the purposes of Christianity; and equally so was the success with
which his bloodless apostolate was crowned.

One great difficulty which St. Patrick had was to provide the people
with a native ministry. At first he selected the chief men--princes,
brehons, bards--and these, with little training and little education,
he ordained. Thus, slenderly equipped with knowledge, the priest,
with his ritual, missal, and a catechism, and the bishop, with his
crozier and bell, went forth to do battle for the Lord. This
condition of things was soon ended. In 450 a college was founded at
Armagh, which in a short time grew to be a famous school, and
attracted students from afar. Other schools were founded in the fifth
century, at Noendrum, Louth, and Kildare. In the sixth century arose
the famous monastic schools of Clonfert, Clonard, Clonmacnois, Arran,
and Bangor; while the seventh century saw the rise of Glendalough and

St. Patrick was educated in Gaul, at the monasteries of Marmoutier
and Lerins; and, perhaps as a result, the monastic character of the
early Irish church was one of its outstanding features; moreover it
was to the prevalence of the monastic spirit, the desire for solitude
and meditation, that so many of the great monastic establishments
owed their existence. Fleeing from society and its attractions, and
wishing only for solitude and austerity, some holy man sought out a
lonely retreat, and there lived a life of mortification and prayer.
Others came to share his poverty and vigils; a grant of land was then
obtained from the ruling chief, the holy man became abbot and his
followers his monks; and a religious community was formed destined
soon to acquire fame. It was thus that St. Finnian established
Clonard on the banks of the Boyne, and St. Kieran, Clonmacnois by the
waters of the Shannon; and thus did St. Enda make the wind-swept
Isles of Arran the home and the resting place of so many saints.
Before the close of the sixth century, 3,000 monks followed the rule
of St. Corngall at Bangor; and in the seventh century, St. Carthage
made Lismore famous and St. Kevin attracted pious men from afar to
his lonely retreat in the picturesque valley of Glendalough.

And there were holy women as well as holy men in Ireland. St. Brigid
was held in such honor that she is often called the Mary of the Gael.
Even in St. Patrick's day, she had founded a convent at Kildare,
beside which was a monastery of which St. Conleth was superior; and
she founded many other convents in addition to that at Kildare. Her
example was followed by St. Ita, St. Fanchea, and many others; and if
at the close of the sixth century there were few districts which had
not monasteries and monks, there were few also which had not convents
and nuns.

Nor was this all. Fired with missionary zeal, many men left Ireland
to plant the faith in distant lands. Thus did St. Columcille settle
in Iona, whence he converted the Picts. Under his successors, St.
Aidan and his friends went south to Lindisfarne to convert
Northumbria in England; and the ninth abbot of Iona was the saintly
Adamnan, whose biography of St. Columcille has been declared by
competent authority to be the best of its kind of which the whole
Middle Ages can boast. Nor must it be forgotten that the monasteries
of Luxeuil and Bobbio owed their origin to St. Columbanus; that St.
Gall gave his name to a town and canton in Switzerland; that St.
Fridolin labored on the Rhine and St. Fursey on the Marne; and that
St. Cathaldus was Bishop of Tarentum, and is still venerated as the
patron of that Italian see.

And if we would know what was the character of the schools in which
these men were trained, we have only to remember that Colgu, who had
been educated at Clonmacnois, was the master of Alcuin; that Dicuil
the Geographer came from the same school; that Cummian, Abbot and
Bishop of Clonfert, combated the errors about the paschal computation
with an extent of learning and a wealth of knowledge amazing in a
monk of the seventh century; and that at the close of the eighth
century two Irishmen went to the court of Charlemagne and were
described by a monk of St. Gall as "men incomparably skilled in human
learning". The once pagan Ireland had by that time become a citadel
of Christianity, and was rightfully called the School of the West,
the Island of Saints and Scholars.

With this state of progress and prosperity the Danes played sad
havoc. Animated with the fiercest pagan fanaticism, they turned with
fury against Christianity, and especially against monks and religious
foundations. Armagh, Clonmacnois, Bangor, Kildare, and many other
great monastic establishments thus fell before their fury. Ignorance,
neglect of religion, and corruption of manners followed, and from the
eighth to the twelfth century there was a noted falling off in the
number of Irish scholars. At home indeed were Cormac and Maelmurra,
O'Hartigan and O'Flynn, and abroad was John Scotus Erigena, whose
learning was so great that it excited astonishment even at Rome. The
love of learning and zeal for religion lived on through this long
period of accumulated disasters. After the triumph of Brian Boru at
Clontarf, there was a distinct revival of piety and learning; and,
when a century of turmoil followed Brian's fall and religion again
suffered, nothing was wanted to bring the people back to a sense of
their duty but the energy and reforming zeal of St. Malachy.

Gerald Barry, the notorious Anglo-Norman, who visited Ireland towards
the close of the twelfth century, has been convicted out of his own
mouth when he states that Ireland was a barbarous nation when his
people came there. He forgot that a people who could illuminate the
Book of Kells and build Cormac's Chapel could not be called savages,
nor could a church be lost to a sense of decency and dignity that
numbered among its children such a man as St. Laurence O'Toole.
Abuses there were, it is true, consequent on long continued war,
though these abuses were increased rather than lessened by the coming
of the Anglo-Normans, and to such an extent that for more than two
centuries there is not a single great name among Irish scholars
except Duns Scotus.

The fame of Duns Scotus was European, and the Subtle Doctor, as he
was called, became the great glory of the Franciscan, as his rival
St. Thomas was the great glory of the Dominican, order. But he left
no successor, and from his death, at the opening of the fourteenth
century, till the seventeenth century the number of Irish scholars or
recognized Irish saints was small. Yet, in the midst of disorders
within, and despite oppression from without, at no time did the love
of learning disappear in Ireland; nor was there ever in the Irish
church either heresy or schism.

The attempted reformation by Henry VIII and his daughter Elizabeth
produced martyrs like O'Hurley and O'Hely; and there were many more
martyrs in the time of the Stuarts, and especially under the short
but sanguinary rule of Cromwell.

Those were the days of the penal laws, when they who clung to the old
religion suffered much. But nothing could shake their faith; neither
the proclamations of Elizabeth and James, the massacres of Cromwell,
nor the ferocious proscriptions of the eighteenth century. The priest
said Mass, though his crime was punishable by death, and the people
heard Mass, though theirs also was a criminal offence; and the
schoolmaster, driven from the school, taught under a sheltering
hedge. The clerical student, denied education at home, crossed the
sea, to be educated at Louvain or Salamanca or Seville, and then,
perhaps loaded with academic honors, he returned home to face poverty
and persecution and even death. The Catholic masses, socially
ostracised, degraded, and impoverished, shut out from every avenue to
ambition or enterprise, deprived of every civil right, knowing
nothing of law except when it oppressed them and nothing of
government except when it struck them down, yet clung to the religion
in which they were born. And when, in the latter half of the
eighteenth century, the tide turned and the first dawn of toleration
appeared on the horizon, it was found that the vast majority of the
people were unchanged, and that, after two centuries of the most
relentless persecution since the days of Diocletian, Ireland was, in
faith and practice, a strongly Catholic nation still.

On a soil constantly wet with the blood and tears of its children, it
would be vain to expect that scholarship could flourish. And yet the
period had its distinguished Irish scholars both at home and abroad.
At Louvain, in the sixteenth century, were Lombard and Creagh, who
both became Archbishops of Armagh, and O'Hurley who became Archbishop
of Cashel. An even greater scholar than these was Luke Wadding, the
eminent Franciscan who founded the convent of St. Isidore at Rome. At
Louvain was John Colgan, a Franciscan like Wadding, a man who did
much for Irish ecclesiastical history. And at home in Ireland, as
parish priest of Tybrid in Tipperary, was the celebrated Dr. Geoffrey
Keating the historian, once a student at Salamanca. John Lynch, the
renowned opponent of Gerald Barry the Welshman, was Archdeacon of
Tuam. And in the ruined Franciscan monastery of Donegal, the Four
Masters, aided and encouraged by the Friars, labored long and
patiently, and finally completed the work which we all know as the
_Annals of the Four Masters_. This work, originally written in Irish,
remained in manuscript in Louvain till the middle of the nineteenth
century, when it was edited and translated into English by John
O'Donovan, one of Ireland's greatest Irish scholars, with an ability
and completeness quite worthy of the original.

On the Anglo-Irish side there were also some great names, and
especially in the domain of history, notably Stanyhurst and Hammer,
Moryson and Campion and Davies, and, above all, Ussher and Ware.
James Ware died in 1666, and though a Protestant and an official of
the Protestant government, and living in Ireland in an intolerant age
and in an atmosphere charged with religious rancor, he was, to his
credit be it said, to a large extent free from bigotry. He dealt with
history and antiquities, and wrote in no party spirit, wishing only
to be fair and impartial, and to set out the truth as he found it.
James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh, was a much abler man and a much
greater scholar than Ware. His capacity for research, his profound
scholarship, the variety and extent of his learning raised him far
above his co-religionists, and he has been rightly called the Great
Luminary by the Irish Protestant church. It is regrettable that his
fine intellect was darkened by bigotry and intolerance.

Far different was the character of another Protestant bishop, the
great Berkeley, of Cloyne, a patriot, a philosopher, and a scholar,
who afterwards left money and books for a scholarship, which is still
in existence, at the then infant Yale College in New England. He
lived in the first half of the eighteenth century, when the whole
machinery of government was ruthlessly used to crush the Catholics.
But Berkeley had little sympathy with the penal laws; he had words of
kindness for the Catholics, and undoubtedly wished them well. Nor
must Swift be forgotten, for though he took little pride in being an
Irishman, he hated and despised those who oppressed Ireland, and is
rightly regarded as one of the greatest of her sons.

The short period during which Grattan's parliament existed was one of
great prosperity. It was then that Maynooth College was established
for the education of the Irish priesthood. But Catholics, though free
to set up schools, were still shut out from the honors and emoluments
of Trinity College, the one university at that time in Ireland.
Still, Charles O'Connor, MacGeoghegan, and O'Flaherty were great
Catholic scholars in the latter part of the eighteenth century.

In the following century, while Protestant ascendancy was still
maintained, the Catholics had greater scope. Away back in the days of
Queen Elizabeth, Campion found Latin widely spoken among the
peasantry, and Father Mooney met country lads familiar with Virgil
and Homer. In 1670, Petty had a similar story to tell, in spite of
all the savageries of Cromwell and the ruin which necessarily
followed. And in the eighteenth century the schoolmaster, though a
price was set on his head, was still active. With an inherited love
of learning, the Irish in the nineteenth century would have made
rapid progress had they been rich. But their impoverishment by the
penal laws made it impossible for them to set up an effective system
of primary education, and until the national school system came into
existence in 1831, they had to rely on the hedge-schools. Secondary
education fared better, for the bishops, relying with confidence on
the generosity of their flocks, were soon able to establish diocesan
colleges. And in higher education, equally determined efforts were
made by the establishment of the Catholic University under Cardinal
Newman. But in this field of intellectual effort, in spite of the
energy and zeal of the bishops, in spite of the great generosity of
the people, so many of whom were poor, and in spite of the fame of
Newman, it is failure rather than success which the historian has to

Nor has the love of the Irish for religion, any more than their love
of learning, been lessened or enfeebled by time. The mountain side as
the place for Mass in the penal days gradually gave way to the rude
stone church without steeple or bell; and when steeple and bell
ceased to be proscribed, and the people were left free to erect
suitable houses of sacrifice and prayer, the fine churches of the
nineteenth century began gradually to appear. The unfettered exercise
of freedom of religious worship, the untiring efforts of a zealous
clergy and episcopate, the unstinted support of a people, who out of
their poverty grudged nothing to God or to God's house, formed an
irresistible combination, and all over the country beautiful churches
are now to be found.

In every diocese in Ireland, with scarcely an exception, there is now
a stately cathedral to perpetuate the renown of the patron saint of
that diocese, and even parish churches have been built not unworthy
to be the churches of an ancient see. At Armagh, a cathedral has been
built which does honor to Irish architecture, and worthily
commemorates the life and labors of St. Patrick, the founder of the
primatial see; at Thurles, a cathedral stands, the chief church of
the southern province, statelier far than any which ever stood on the
Rock of Cashel; at Tuam, a noble building, associated with the memory
of John MacHale, the Lion of the Fold of Judah, perpetuates the name
of St. Jarlath; at Queenstown, the traveller, going to America or
returning from it to the old land, has his attention attracted to the
splendid cathedral pile sacred to St. Colman, the patron saint of the
diocese of Cloyne; and if we would see how splendid even a parish
church may be, let us visit the beautiful church in Drogheda,
dedicated to the memory of Oliver Plunkett.

Nor are these things the only evidence we have that zeal for religion
among the Irish has survived centuries of persecution. Columbanus and
Columcille have still their successors, eager and ready as they were
to bring the blessings of the Gospel to distant lands. In recent
years an Irish-born Archbishop of Sydney has been succeeded by an
Irish-born Archbishop; an Irishman rules the metropolitan see of
Adelaide; and an Irish-born Archbishop of Melbourne has as his
coadjutor a former president of the College of Maynooth. In South
Africa, the work of preaching and teaching and ruling the church is
largely the work of Irish-born men. In the great Republic of the West
the three cardinal-archbishops at the head of the Catholic Church
have the distinctively Irish names of Gibbons and Farley and
O'Connell; and in every diocese throughout the United States the
proportion of priests of Irish birth or descent is large.

Nor must the poorer Irish be forgotten. How much does the Catholic
Church, both in Ireland and in America, owe to the generosity of
Irish-American laborers and servant girls! Out of their scanty and
hard-earned pay they have contributed much not only towards the
building of the plain wooden church in the rural parishes, but also
of the stately cathedrals of American cities. And many a church in
old Ireland owes its completion and its adornment to the dollars
given by the poor but generous Irish exiles.

And if the zeal of the Irish for religion has thus survived to the
twentieth century, so also in an equally remarkable degree has their
zeal for learning. We have evidence of this in the numerous primary
schools in every parish, filled with eager pupils and presided over
by hard working teachers; in the colleges where the sciences and the
classics are studied with the same energy as in the ancient monastic
schools; and in Maynooth College, which is the foremost
ecclesiastical college in the world. And if there are now new
universities, the National and the Queen's, sturdy and vigorous in
their youth, this does not imply that Trinity College suffers from
the decreptitude of age. For among those whom she sent forth in
recent times are Dowden and Mahaffy and Lecky, to name but three, and
these would do credit to any university in Europe.

It would be difficult to find in any age of Irish history a greater
pulpit orator than the famous Dominican, Father Tom Burke, or a more
delightful essayist than Father Joseph Farrell; and who has depicted
Irish clerical life more faithfully than the late Canon Sheehan,
whose fame as a novelist has crossed continents and oceans? O'Connell
was a great orator as well as a great political leader, and Dr. Doyle
and Archbishop John MacHale were scholars as well as statesmen and
bishops. We have thus an unbroken chain of great names, a series of
Irishmen whom the succeeding ages have brought forth to enlighten and
instruct lesser men; and Ireland, in the twentieth century, is not
less attached to religion and learning than she was when Clonmacnois
flourished and the saintly Carthage ruled at Lismore.


Joyce: Social History of Ancient Ireland (Dublin, 1903); Lanigan:
Ecclesiastical History of Ireland (Dublin, 1822); Healy: Ireland's
Ancient Schools and Scholars (Dublin, 1896), Life and Writings of St.
Patrick (Dublin, 1905); Bury: St. Patrick and his Place in History
(London, 1905); Ussher's Works (Dublin, 1847); Reeves: Adamnan's Life
of St. Columba (Dublin, 1851); Worsae: The Danes in Ireland (London,
1852); Moran: Essays on the Early Irish Church (Dublin, 1864);
Stokes: Ireland and the Anglo-Norman Church (London, 1897); Mant:
History of the Church of Ireland (London, 1841); Bagwell: Ireland
under the Tudors (London, 1885-90); Moran: Persecutions under the
Puritans (Callan, 1903); Murphy: Our Martyrs (Dublin, 1896); Meehan:
Franciscan Monasteries of the Seventeenth Century (Dublin, 1870);
Lecky: History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century (London, 1902);
O'Connell's Correspondence (London, 1888); Wyse: History of the
Catholic Association (London, 1829); Doyle: Letters on the State of
Ireland (Dublin, 1826); O'Rorke: Irish Famine (Dublin, 1902); Gavan
Duffy: Young Ireland (London, 1880); Plunkett: Ireland in the New
Century (London, 1904); O'Riordan: Catholicity and Progress in
Ireland (London, 1905); MacCaffery: History of the Church in the
Nineteenth Century (Dublin, 1909); Healy: Centenary History of
Maynooth College (Dublin, 1905); D'Alton: History of Ireland (London,


By Rev. Columba Edmonds, O.S.B.

St. Patrick's work in Ireland was chiefly concerned with preaching
the faith and establishing monasteries which served as centres of
education. The great success that attended these efforts earned for
Ireland the double title of Island of Saints and a Second Thebaid.

The monastic institutions organized by St. Patrick were characterized
from their commencement by an apostolic zeal that knew no bounds.
Sufficient scope was not to be found at home, so it was impatient to
diffuse itself abroad.

SCOTLAND: Hence in the year 563 St. Columcille, a Donegal native of
royal descent, accompanied by twelve companions, crossed the sea in
currachs of wickerwork and hides, and sought to land in Caledonia.
They reached the desolate Isle of Iona on the day preceding

Many years before, colonies of Irishmen had settled along the western
parts of the present Scotland. The settlement north of the Clyde
received the name of the Kingdom of Dalriada. These Dalriadan Irish
were Christian at least in name, but their neighbors in the Pictish
Highlands were still pagans. Columcille's apostolate was to be among
both these peoples. Adamnan says that Columcille came to Caledonia
"for the love of Christ's name", and well did his after-life prove
the truth of this statement. He had attained his forty-fourth year
when King Conall, his kinsman, bestowed Iona upon him and his
brethren. The island, situated between the Dalriadans and the Picts
of the Highlands, was conveniently placed for missionary work. A
numerous community recruited from Ireland, with Columcille as its
Abbot, soon caused Iona to become a flourishing centre from which men
could go forth to preach Christianity. Monasteries and hermitages
rapidly sprang up in the adjacent islands and on the mainland. These,
together with the Columban foundations in Ireland, formed one great
religious federation, in which the Celtic apostles of the northern
races were formed under the influence of the holy founder.

St. Columcille recognized the need of securing permanence for his
work by obtaining the conversion of the Pictish rulers, and thus he
did not hesitate to approach King Brude in his castle on the banks of
the River Ness. St. Comgall and St. Canice were Columcille's
companions on his journey through the great glen, now famous for the
Caledonian Canal. The royal convert Brude was baptized, and by
degrees the people followed the example set them. Opposition,
however, was keen and aggressive, and it came from the official
representatives of Pictish paganism--the Druids.

Success, too, attended Columcille's ministrations among the
Dalriadans, and on the death of their king, Aidan Gabhran, who
succeeded to the throne, sought regal consecration from the hands of
Columcille. In 597 the saint died, but not before he had won a whole
kingdom to Christ and covered the land with churches and monasteries.
Today his name is held in honor not by Irishmen alone, but by the
Catholics and non-Catholics of the land of his adoption.

There are other saints who either labored in person with Columcille
or perpetuated the work he accomplished in Caledonia; and their names
add to the glory of Ireland, their birth-land. Thus St. Moluag (592)
converted the people of Lismore, and afterwards died at Rosemarkie;
St. Drostan, St. Columcille's friend and disciple, established the
faith in Aberdeenshire and became abbot of Deer; St. Kieran (548)
evangelized Kintyre; St. Mun (635) labored in Argyleshire; St. Buite
(521) did the same in Pictland; St. Maelrubha (722) preached in
Ross-shire; St. Modan and St. Machar benefited the dwellers on the
western and eastern coasts respectively; and St. Fergus in the eighth
century became apostle of Forfar, Buchan, and Caithness.

DISTANT ISLANDS: But Irish monks were mariners as well as apostles.
Their hide-covered currachs were often launched in the hope of
discovering solitudes in the ocean. Adamnan records that Baitan set
out with others in search of a desert in the sea. St. Cormac sought a
similar retreat and arrived at the Orkneys. St. Molaise's holy isle
guards Lamlash Bay, off Arran. The island retreats of the Bass,
Inchkeith, May, and Inchcolm, in the Firth of Forth, are associated
with the Irish saints Baldred, Adamnan, Adrian, and Columcille. St.
Maccaldus, a native of Down, became bishop of the Isle of Man.

Remarkable, too, is the fact that Irish monks sailed by way of the
Faroe Islands to distant Iceland. These sailor-clerics, who settled
on the southeast of the island, were spoken of by later Norwegians as
"papar." After their departure--they were probably driven away by
Norwegian pagans--these Icelandic apostles "left behind them Irish
books, bells, and croziers, wherefrom one could understand they were

But St. Brendan, the voyager, is the most wonderful of the mariner
monks of Ireland. He accomplished apostolic work in both Wales and
Scotland, but his seafaring instincts urged him to make missionary
voyages to regions hitherto unknown. Some writers, not without
reason, have actually maintained that he and his followers traveled
as far as the American shore. Be this as it may, the tradition of the
discoveries of this Irish monk kept in mind the possibly existing
western land, and issued at last in the discovery of the great
continent of America by Columbus.

NORTHUMBRIA: Turn now to Northumbria. Adamnan writes that St.
Columcille's name was honored not only in Gaul, Spain, and Italy, but
in Rome itself. England, however, owes to it a special veneration,
because of the widespread apostolic work accomplished within her
borders by Columcille's Irish disciples. The facts are as follows:
Northumbrian Christianity was well-nigh exterminated through the
victory of Penda the pagan over Edwin the Christian, A.D. 633. St.
Paulinus, its local Roman apostle, was driven permanently from his
newly founded churches. Meanwhile Oswald and his brother Edwith
sought refuge among the Irish monks of lona, and received baptism at
their hands. Edwith died and Oswald became heir to the throne. A
battle was fought. The day before he met the pagan army, between the
Tyne and the Solway, Oswald beheld St. Columcille in vision saying to
him: "Be strong and of good faith; I will be with thee." The result
of this vision of the abbot of Iona was that a considerable part of
England received the true faith. Oswald was victorious; he united the
kingdoms of Deira and Bernicia, and became overlord of practically
all England, with the exception of Kent. There was evangelization to
be done, and St. Oswald turned to Iona. In response to his appeal,
the Irish bishop, St. Aidan, was sent with several companions. They
were established on the island of Lindisfarne, in sight of the royal
residence at Bamborough. These monks labored in union with, and even
seemed to exceed in zeal, the Roman missionaries in the south under
St. Augustine. However great the enthusiasm they had displayed for
conversions in Iona, they displayed still greater on the desolate
isle of Lindisfarne. In the first instance St. Aidan and his monks
evangelized Northumbria. Want of facility in preaching in the
Anglo-Saxon tongue was at first an obstacle, but it was speedily
overcome, for king Oswald himself, who knew both Gaelic and English,
came forward and acted as interpreter.

When St. Aidan died in 651, Iona sent St. Finan, another Irish
bishop, to succeed him. Finan spread the faith beyond the borders of
Northumbria and succeeded so well that he himself baptized Penda,
king of the Mid-Angles, and Sigebert, king of the East Saxons. Diuma
and Cellach, Irish monks, assisted by three Anglo-Saxon disciples of
St. Aidan, consolidated the mission to the Mercians.

ANGLIA: While Christianity was thus being restored in Northumbria,
other Irish apostles were teaching it in East Anglia. St. Fursey,
accompanied by his brother St. Foillan and St. Ultan and the priests
Gobham and Dicuil, landed in England in 633, and began to labor in
the eastern portions of Anglia. In his monastery at Burghcastle, in
Suffolk, the convert king Sigebert made his monastic profession, and
in the same house many heavenly visions were vouchsafed to its

The South Saxons had in Dicuil an apostle who founded the monastery
of Bosham in Sussex, whence originated the episcopal see of
Chichester. Another Irish monk named Maeldubh settled among the West
Saxons and became the founder of Malmesbury Abbey and the instructor
of the well-known St. Aldhelm.

Thus did Irish monks contribute to the conversion of Great Britain
and its many distant islands. They built up the faith by their holy
lives, their preaching, and their enthusiasm, and wisely provided for
its perpetuation by educating a native clergy and by the founding of
monastic institutions.

They were not yet satisfied, so they turned towards other lands to
bring to other peoples the glad tidings of salvation.

GAUL: In 590 St. Columbanus, a monk of Bangor in Ireland, accompanied
by twelve brethren, arrived in France, having passed through Britain.
After the example of St. Columcille in Caledonia, they traveled to
the court of Gontram, king of Burgundy, in order to secure his help
and protection. During the course of the journey they preached to the
people, and all were impressed with their modesty, patience, and
devotion. At that epoch Gaul was sadly in need of such missionaries,
for, owing partly to the invasion of barbarians and partly to
remissness on the part of the clergy, vice and impiety everywhere
prevailed. Columbanus, because of his zeal, sanctity, and learning,
was well fitted for the task that lay before him. One of his early
works in Burgundy was the founding of the monastery of Luxeuil, which
became the parent of many other monasteries founded either by himself
or by his disciples. Many holy men came from Ireland to join the
community, and so numerous did the monks of Luxeuil become that
separate choirs were formed to keep up perpetual praise--the "laus
perennis". But Columbanus did not remain at Luxeuil. In his strict
uncompromising preaching he spared not even kings, and he preferred
to leave his flourishing monastery rather than pass over in silence
the vices of the Merovingians. He escaped from the malice of
Brunehaut, and, being banished from Burgundy, made his way to
Neustria, and thence to Metz. Full of zeal, he resolved to preach the
faith to the pagans along the Rhine, and with this purpose set out
with a few of his followers. They proceeded as far as the Lake of
Zurich, and finally established themselves at Bregentz, on the Lake
of Constance.

By this time his disciple St. Gall had learned the Alemannian
dialect, which enabled him to push forward the work of
evangelization. But Columbanus felt that he was called to labor in
other lands while vigor remained to him, so, bidding his favorite
follower farewell, he crossed the Alps and arrived at Milan in
northern Italy. King Agilulph and his queen, Theodelinda, gave the
Irish abbot a reverent and kind welcome. His zeal was still unspent,
and he worked much for the conversion of the Lombard Arians. Here he
founded, between Milan and Genoa, the monastery of Bobbio, which as a
centre of knowledge and piety was long the light of northern Italy.
In this monastery he died in the year 615, but not before the arrival
of messengers from King Clothaire, inviting him to return to Luxeuil,
as his enemies were now no more. But he could not go; all he asked
was protection for his dear monks at Luxeuil.

It has been said most truly that Ireland never sent a greater son to
do God's work in foreign lands than Columbanus. The fruit of his
labors remained; and for centuries after his death his influence was
widely felt throughout Europe, especially in France and Italy. His
zeal for the interests of God was unbounded, and this was the secret
of his immense power. Some of his writings have come down to us, and
comprise his Rule for Monks, his Penitential, sixteen short sermons,
six letters, and several poems, all in Latin. His letters are of much
value as evidence of Ireland's ancient belief in papal supremacy.

SWITZERLAND: Gall, Columbanus's disciple, remained in Switzerland. In
a fertile valley, lying between two rivers and surrounded by hills,
he laid the beginnings of the great abbey which afterwards bore his
name and became one of the most famous monasteries in Christendom.
St. Gall spent thirty years of his life in Helvetia, occupying
himself in teaching, preaching, and prayer. He succeeded where others
had failed, and that which was denied to Columbanus was reserved for
Gall, his disciple, and the latter is entitled the Apostle of

Other districts had their Irish missionaries and apostles. Not far
from St. Gall, at Seckingen, near Basle, St. Fridolin was a pioneer
in the work of evangelization.

Towards the close of the seventh century St. Kilian, an Irishman,
with his companions, Totnan and Colman, arrived in Franconia. He was
martyred in Wuertzburg, where he is honored as patron and apostle.

Sigisbert, another Irish follower of St. Columbanus, spread the faith
among the half-pagan people of eastern Helvetia, and founded the
monastery of Dissentis in Rhaetia.

St. Ursanne, a little town on the boundaries of Switzerland, took its
origin from another disciple of St. Columbanus.

OTHER APOSTLES AND FOUNDERS: Desire for solitary life drew St. Fiacre
to a hermitage near Meaux, where he transformed wooded glades into
gardens to provide vegetables for poor people. This charity has
earned for Fiacre the title of patron saint of gardeners.

St. Fursey, the illustrious apostle of East Anglia, crossed over to
France, where he travelled and preached continuously. He built a
monastery at Lagny-sur-Marne, and was about to return to East Anglia
when he died at Mezerolles, near Doullens. St. Gobham followed his
master's example, and like him evangelized and founded monasteries.
St. Etto (Ze) acted in like manner. St. Foillan and St. Ultan,
brothers of St. Fursey, became apostles in southern Brabant.

The monastery of Honau, on an island near Strasburg, and that of
Altomuenster, in Bavaria, owe their foundation to the Irish monks
Tuban and Alto, respectively.

Not far from Luxeuil was the Abbey of Lure, another great Irish
foundation, due to Deicolus (Desle, Dichuill), a brother of St. Gall
and a disciple of St. Columbanus. So important was this house
considered in later times that its abbot was numbered among the
princes of the Holy Roman Empire.

Rouen, in Normandy, felt the influence of the Irish monks through the
instrumentality of St. Ouen; and the monasteries of Jouarre, Rebais,
Jumieges, Leuconaus, and St. Vandrille were due at least indirectly
to Columbanus or his disciples.

Turning to Belgium, it is recorded that St. Romold preached the faith
in Mechlin, and St. Livinus in Ghent. Both came from Ireland.

St. Virgilius, a voluntary exile from Erin, "for the love of Christ",
established his monastery at Salzburg, in Austria. He became bishop
there, and died in 781.

Moreover, the Celtic Rule of Columbanus was carried into Picardy by
St. Valery, St. Omer, St. Bertin, St. Mummolin, and St. Valdelenus;
but the Irish Caidoc and Fricor had already preceded them, their work
resulting in the foundation of the Abbey of St. Riquier.

ITALY: Something yet remains to be said of the monks of Ireland in
Italy. Anterior to St. Columbanus's migration, his fellow countryman,
St. Frigidian (or Fridian), had taken up his abode in Italy at Monte
Pisana, not far from the city of Lucca, where he became famed for
sanctity and wisdom. On the death of the bishop of Lucca, Frigidian
was compelled to occupy the vacant see. St. Gregory the Great wrote
of him that "he was a man of rare virtue". His teachings and holy
life not only influenced the lives of his own flock, but brought to
the faith many heretics and pagans. In Lucca this Celtic apostle is
still honored under the name of St. Frediano.

St. Pellegrinus is another Irish saint who sought solitude at
Garfanana in the Apennines; and Cathaldus, a Waterford saint, in 680,
became Bishop of Taranto, which he governed for many years with zeal
and great wisdom. His co-worker was Donatus, his brother, who founded
the church at Lecce in the Kingdom of Naples.

Of the two learned Irishmen, Clemens and Albinus, who resided in
France in the eighth century, Albinus was sent into Italy, where at
Pavia he was placed at the head of the school attached to St.
Augustine's monastery. Dungal, his compatriot, was a famous teacher
in the same city. Lothair thus ordained concerning him: "We desire
that at Pavia, and under the superintendence of Dungal, all students
should assemble from Milan, Brescia, Lodi, Bergamo, Novara, Vercelli,
Tortona, Acqui, Genoa, Asti, Como."

It was this same Dungal who presented the Bangor psalter to Bobbio;
therefore it may be reasonably conjectured that he came from the very
monastery that produced Columbanus, Gall, and Comgall.

Fiesole, in Tuscany, venerates two Irish eighth-century saints,
Donatus and Andrew. The former was educated at Iniscaltra, and Andrew
was his friend and disciple. After visiting Rome, they lingered at
Fiesole. Donatus was received with great honor by clergy and people
and was requested to fill their vacant bishopric. With much
hesitation he took upon himself ihe burden, which he bore for many
years. His biographer says of him that "he was liberal in almsgiving,
sedulous in watching, devout in prayer, excellent in doctrine, ready
in speech, holy in life." Andrew, who was his deacon, founded the
church and monastery of St. Martin in Mensola, and is known in
Fiesole as St. Andrew of Ireland, or St. Andrew the Scot, that is,
the Irishman.

HOSPITALIA: Thus Irish monks were to be found in France, Belgium,
Switzerland, Germany, and Italy, and even in Bulgaria. So numerous
were they and so frequent their travels through the different
countries of Europe that hospices were founded to befriend them.
These institutions were known as "Hospitalia Scottorum" ("Hospices
for the Irish"), and their benefactors were not only pious laymen but
the highest ecclesiastical authorities. Sometimes the hospices were
diverted to purposes other than those originally intended, and then
Church Councils would intervene in favor of the lawful inheritors.
Thus in 845 we read that the Council of Meaux ordered the hospices in
France to be restored to the dispossessed Irishmen. In the twelfth
century Ireland still continued to send forth a constant succession
of monk-pilgrims, renowned for faith, austerity, and piety.

RATISBON: Special monasteries were erected to be peopled by the
Irish. The most renowned of these dates from 1067, when Marianus
Scotus ("Marianus the Irishman"), with his companions, John and
Candidus, left his native land and arrived in Bavaria. These holy men
were welcomed at Ratisbon by the Bishop Otto; and on the advice of
Murcherat, an Irish recluse, took up their residence near St. Peter's
church at the outskirts of the city. Novices flocked from Ireland to
join them and a monastery was erected to receive the community. In a
short time this had to be replaced by a still larger one, which was
known to future ages as the Abbey of St. James's of the Scots (that
is, Irish) at Ratisbon. How prolific was this parent foundation is
evidenced from its many offshoots, the only surviving monasteries on
the continent for many centuries intended for Irish brethren. These,
besides St. James's at Erfurt and St. Peter's at Ratisbon, comprised
St. James's at Wuertzburg, St. Giles's at Nuremberg, St. Mary's at
Vienna, St. James's at Constance, St. Nicholas's at Memmingen, Holy
Cross at Eichstatt, a Priory at Kelheim and another at Oels in
Silesia, all of which were founded during the twelfth or thirteenth
century, and formed a Benedictine congregation approved of by Pope
Innocent III., and presided over by the Abbot of Ratisbon. These
Irish houses, with their long lines of Celtic abbots, in the days of
their prosperity did much work that was excellent and civilizing, and
rightly deserve a remembrance in the achievements of Ireland's
ancient missionaries.

Ratisbon and its dependent abbeys, as is set forth in the papal
briefs of 1218, possessed priories in Ireland, and, from these,
novices were usually obtained.

But evil days came for the Congregation of St. James, and now it is
extinct. The subjugation of Ireland to England, says Wattenbach,
contributed no doubt to the rapid decline of the Scotic (that is,
Irish) monasteries. For from Ireland they had up till then been
continually receiving fresh supplies of strength. In this their
fatherland the root of their vitality was to be found. Loss of
independence involved loss of enterprise.

SCHOLARSHIP AND INFLUENCE: Irish monks were not only apostles of
souls, but also masters of intellectual life. Thus in the seventh
century the Celtic monastery of Luxeuil became the most celebrated
school in Christendom. Monks from other houses and sons of the
nobility crowded to it. The latter were clearly not intended for the
cloister, but destined for callings in the world.

There were outstanding men among these missionaries from Ireland. St.
Virgilius of Salzburg in the eighth century taught the sphericity of
the earth and the existence of the Antipodes. It was this same
teaching that Copernicus and later astronomers formulated into the
system now in vogue.

St. Columcille himself was a composer of Latin hymns and a penman of
no mean order, as the Book of Kells, if written by him, sufficiently
proves. In all the monasteries which he founded, provision was made
for the pursuit of sacred learning and the multiplication of books by
transcription. The students of his schools were taught classics,
mechanical arts, law, history, and physics. They improved the methods
of husbandry and gardening; supplied the people, whom they helped to
civilize, with implements of labor; and taught them the use of the
forge, an accomplishment belonging to almost every Irish monk.

The writings of Adamnan, who spent most of his life outside his
native land, show that he was familiar with the best Latin authors,
and had a knowledge of Greek as well. His "Vita S. Columbae" ("Life
of St. Columcille") has made his name immortal as a Latin writer. His
book "De Locis Sanctis" ("On the Holy Places") contains information
he received from the pilgrim bishop Arculfus, who had been driven by
a tempest to take refuge with the monks of Iona. On account of the
importance of the writings of Adamnan and because of his influence in
secular and ecclesiastical affairs of importance, few will question
his right to a distinguished place among the saintly scholars of the

Irish monks, abroad as well as at home, were pre-eminently students
and exponents of Holy Scripture. Sedulius wrote a commentary on the
Epistles of St. Paul; John Scotus Erigena composed a work, "De
Praedestinatione" ("Concerning Predestination"); Dungal was not only
an astronomer, but also an excellent theologian, as is clear from his
defence of Catholic teaching on the invocation of saints and the
veneration of their relics. His knowledge of Sacred Scripture and of
the Fathers is exceedingly remarkable.

St. Columbanus, besides other works, is said to have composed an
exposition of the Psalms, which is mentioned in the catalogue of St.
Gall's library, but which cannot now be identified with certainty.
The writings of this abbot are said to have brought about a more
frequent use of confession both in the world and in monasteries; and
his legislation regarding the Blessed Sacrament fostered eucharistic

Marianus Scotus is the author of a commentary on the Psalms, so
precious that rarely was it allowed to pass beyond the walls of the
monastic library. His commentary on St. Paul's Epistles is regarded
as his most famous production. Herein he shows acquaintance with
Saints Jerome, Augustine, Gregory, and Leo, with Cassiodorus, Origen,
Alcuin, Cassian, and Peter the Deacon. He completed the work on the
17th May, 1079, and ends the volume by asking the reader to pray for
the salvation of his soul.

TRANSCRIPTION: In all the monasteries a vast number of scribes were
continually employed in multiplying copies of the Sacred Scriptures.
These masterpieces of calligraphy, written by Irish hands, have been
scattered throughout the libraries of Europe, and many fragments
remain to the present day. The beauty of these manuscripts is praised
by all, and the names of the best transcribers often find mention in
monastic annals. The work was irksome, but it was looked upon as a
privilege and meritorious.

It remains to speak of that glorious monument of the Irish monks, the
abbey of St. Gall, in Switzerland. It was here that Celtic influence
was most felt and endured the longest. Within its walls for centuries
the sacred sciences were taught and classic authors studied. Many of
its monks excelled as musicians and poets, while others were noted
for their skill in calligraphy and the fine arts. The library was
only in its infancy in the eighth century, but gradually it grew, and
eventually became one of the largest and richest in the world. The
brethren were in correspondence with all the learned houses of France
and Italy, and there was constant mutual interchange of books, sacred
and scientific, between them.

They manufactured their own parchment from the hides of the wild
beasts that roamed in the forests around them, and bound their books
in boards of wood clamped with iron or ivory.

Such was the monastery of St. Gall, which owes its inception to the
journey through Europe of the great Columbanus and his
monk-companions--men whose lives, according to Bede, procured for the
religious habit great veneration, so that wherever they appeared they
were received with joy, as God's own servants. "And what will be the
reward," asks the biographer of Marianus Scotus, "of these
pilgrim-monks who left the sweet soil of their native land, its
mountains and hills, its valleys and its groves, its rivers and pure
fountains, and went like the children of Abraham without hesitation
into the land which God had pointed out to them?" He answers thus:
"They will dwell in the house of the Lord with the angels and
archangels of God forever; they will behold the God of gods in Sion,
to whom be honor and glory for ever and ever."


Lanigan: Ecclesiastical History of Ireland (Dublin, 1829);
Montalembert: Monks of the West (Edinburgh, 1861); Moran: Irish
Saints in Great Britain (Dublin, 1903); Dalgairns: Apostles of Europe
(London, 1876); Healy: Ireland's Ancient Schools and Scholars
(Dublin, 1890); Barrett: A Calendar of Scottish Saints (Fort
Augustus, 1904); Stokes: Six Months in the Apennines (London, 1892),
Three Months in the Forests of France (London, 1895); Fowler: Vita S.
Columbae (Oxford, 1894); Wattenbach: Articles in Ulster Journal of
Archaeology, vol. 7 (Belfast, 1859); Gougaud: Les Chretientes
celtiques (Paris, 1911); Hogan: Articles in Irish Ecclesiastical
Record, 1894, 1895; Drane: Christian Schools and Scholars (London,



The beginning of Irish navigation, like the beginning of everything
else, is hidden in the mist of antiquity. Vessels of some kind
obviously must have borne the successive waves of immigrants or
invaders to the island. Naturally they would remain in use afterwards
for trade, travel, exploration, and war. Irish ships may have been
among those of the Breton fleet that Caesar dispersed at Vannes after
an obstinate struggle. Two or three centuries later we find Niall of
the Nine Hostages making nautical descents on the neighboring shores,
especially Britain: and there is every probability that ships of the
island conveyed some at least of the "Scots" (Irish) whom Gildas in
the sixth century describes as joining the Picts in furiously
storming the Roman wall.

The equally adventurous but more pacific work of exploration went on
also, if we may judge by that extraordinary series of Irish
sea-sagas, the _Imrama_, comprising the Voyages of Bran, Maelduin,
the Hui Corra, and St. Brendan--the last-mentioned deservedly the
most famous. These vary in their literary merits and in the merits of
their several parts, for they have been successively rewritten at
different periods, receiving always something of the color, belief,
and adornment which belonged to the writer's time; but under all may
be dimly traced, as in a palimpsest, the remote pagan original. At
their best they embody a lofty and touching poetry very subtle and
significant, as when we read of Bran's summoning by a visitant of
supernatural beauty to the isles of undying delight, where a thousand
years are but as a day; his return with a companion who had been
overcome by longing for Ireland and home; the man's falling to ashes
at the first touch of the native soil, as though he had been long
dead; and the flight of Bran and his crew from the real living world
to the islands of the blessed. At least equally fine and stirring is
St. Brendan's interview with the exiled spirit of Heaven, whose "sin
was but little", so that he and his fellows were given only the
pleasing penance of singing delightfully, in the guise of beautiful
birds, the praises of the God who showed them mercy and grace, amid
the charms of an earthly paradise. "Then all the birds sang evensong,
so that it was an heavenly noise to hear."

It is not very surprising that St. Brendan's legend, with such
qualities in prose and verse, made itself at home in many lands and
languages, and became for centuries a widespread popular favorite and
matter of general belief, also influencing the most permanent
literature of a high contemplative cast, which we might suppose to be
out of touch with it altogether. Certain of its more unusual
incidents are found even in Arab writings of romance founded on fact,
as in Edrisi's narrative of the Magrurin explorers of Lisbon and the
adventures of Sinbad related in the Arabian Nights; but perhaps here
we have a case of reciprocal borrowing such as may well occur when
ships' companies of different nations meet.

The most conspicuous, insistent, and repeated feature of all these
_Imrama_ is a belief in Atlantic islands fair enough or wonderful
enough to tempt the shore dwellers of Ireland far away and hold them
spell-bound for years. It is easy to ascribe these pictures to sunset
on the ocean, or the wonders of mirage; but all the time, within long
sailing distance, there actually were islands of delightful climate
and exceeding beauty. These had been occasionally reached from the
Mediterranean ever since early Carthaginian times, as classical
authors seem to tell us; why not also from Ireland, perhaps not quite
so distant? It is undoubted that the Canary Islands were never really
altogether forgotten, and the same is probably true of the Madeiras
and all three groups of Azores, though the knowledge that lingered in
Ireland was a distorted glimmering tradition of old voyages,
occasionally inciting to new ventures in the same field.

Some have supposed, though without sufficient evidence, that Saint
Brendan even made his way to America, and parts of that shore line in
several different latitudes have been selected as the scene of the
exploit. His first entry into serious geography is in the fine maps
of Dulcert, 1339, and the Pizigani, 1367, both of which plainly label
Madeira, Porto Santo, and Las Desertas--"The Fortunate Islands of St.
Brandan." That there may be no possibility of misunderstanding, the
Pizigani brothers present a full-length portrait of the holy
navigator himself bending over these islands with hands of
benediction. The inscription, though not the picture, was common,
thus applied, on the maps of the next century or two, and no other
interpretation of his voyage found any place until a later time.

Of course the fourteenth century was a long way from the sixth, when
the voyage was supposed to have been made, and we cannot take so late
a verdict as convincing proof of any fact. But it at least exhibits
the current interpretation of the written narrative among geographers
and mariners, the people best able to judge; and here the interval
was much less. The story itself seems to corroborate them in a
general way, if read naturally. One would say that it tells of a
voyage to the Canaries, of which one is unmistakably "the island
under Mount Atlas", and that this was undertaken by way of the Azores
and Madeira, with inevitable experience of great beauty in some
islands and volcanic terrors in others. Madeira may well have been
pitched upon by the interpreters as the suitable scene of a
particularly long tarrying by the way. Of course magic filled out all
gaps of real knowledge, and wonders grew with each new rewriting.

Whatever Brendan did, there is no doubt that Irish mariner-monks,
incited by the great awakening which followed St. Patrick's mission,
covered many seas in their frail vessels during the next three or
four centuries. They set up a flourishing religious establishment in
Orkney, made stepping stones of the intervening islands, and reached
Iceland some time in the eighth century, if not earlier. The
Norsemen, following in their tracks as always, found them there, and
the earliest Icelandic writings record their departure, leaving
behind them books, bells, and other souvenirs on an islet off shore
which still bears their name.

Did they keep before the Norsemen to America too? At least the
Norsemen thought so. For centuries the name Great Ireland or
Whitemen's Land was accepted in Norse geography as meaning a region
far west of Ireland, a parallel to Great Sweden (Russia), which lay
far east of Sweden. The saga of Thorfinn Karlsefni, first to attempt
colonizing America, makes it plain that his followers believed Great
Ireland to be somewhere in that region, and it is explicitly located
near Wineland by the twelfth century Landnamabok. Also there were
specific tales afloat of a distinguished Icelander lost at sea, who
was afterward found in a western region by an Irish vessel long
driven before the storm. The version most relied on came through one
Rafn, who had dwelt in Limerick; also through Thorfinn, earl of the

Brazil, the old Irish _Breasail_, was another name for land west of
Ireland--where there is none short of America--on very many medieval
maps, of which perhaps a dozen are older than the year 1400, the
earliest yet found being that of Dalorto, 1325. Usually it appears as
a nearly circular disc of land opposite Munster, at first altogether
too near the Irish coast, as indeed the perfectly well-known Corvo
was drawn much too near the coast of Spain, or as even in the
sixteenth century, when Newfoundland had been repeatedly visited,
that island was shifted by divers mapmakers eastward towards Ireland,
almost to the conventional station of Brazil. Also, not long
afterwards, the maps of Nicolay and Zaltieri adopted the reverse
treatment of transferring Brazil to Newfoundland waters, as if
recognizing past error and restoring its proper place.

The name Brazil appears not to have been adopted by the Norsemen, but
there is one fifteenth century map, perhaps of 1480, preserved in
Milan, which shows this large disc-form "Brazil" just below Greenland
("Illa Verde"), in such relation that the mapmaker really must have
known of Labrador under the former name and believed that it could be
readily reached from that Norse colony.

It seems altogether likely that "Brazil" was applied to the entire
outjutting region of America surrounding the Gulf of St.
Lawrence--that part of this continent which is by far the nearest
Ireland. Besides the facts above stated, certain coincidences of real
geography and of these old maps favor that belief, and they are quite
unlikely to have been guessed or invented. Thus certain maps,
beginning with 1375, while keeping the circular external outline of
Ireland, reduce the land area to a mere ring, enclosing an expanse of
water dotted with islands; and certain other maps show it still
nearly circular externally, and solid, but divided into two parts by
a curved channel nearly from north to south. The former exposition is
possible enough to one more concerned with the nearly enclosed Gulf
of St. Lawrence and its islands than with its two comparatively
narrow outlets; the second was afterward repeated approximately by
Gastoldi's map illustrating Ramusio when he was somehow moved to
minimize the width of the Gulf, though well remembering the straits
of Belle Isle and Cabot. There are some other coincidences, but it is
unnecessary to dwell on them. Land west of Ireland must be either
pure fancy or the very region in question, and it is hardly
believable that fancy could guess so accurately as to two different
interpretations of real though unusual geography and give them right
latitude, with such an old Irish name (Brazil) as might naturally
have been conferred in the early voyaging times. That an extensive
region, chiefly mainland, should be represented as an island is no
objection, as anyone will see by examining the maps which break up
everything north of South America in the years next following the
achievements of Columbus and Cabot. There was a natural tendency to
expect nothing but islands short of Asia.

It seems likely, therefore, that America was actually reached by the
Irish even before the Norsemen and certainly long before all other


Babcock: Early Norse Visits to North America, Smithsonian Publication
2138 (1913); Baring-Gould: Curious Myths of the Middle Ages;
Beauvois: The Discovery of the New World by the Irish; Cantwell:
Pre-Columbian Discoveries of America; Daly: The Legend of St.
Brandan, Celtic Review, vol. I, A Sequel to the Voyage of St.
Brandan, Celtic Review, Jan. 13, 1909; Hardiman: The History of
Galway; Hull: Irish Episodes of Icelandic History; Joyce: The Voyage
of Maelduin; Nutt: The Voyage of Bran; Stokes: The Voyage of Maelduin
(_Revue Celtique_, vol. 9), Voyage of Snedgus (_Revue Celtique_, vol.
9), Voyage of the Hui Corra (_Revue Celtigue_, vol. 14); Moran:



"The distinguishing property of man," says Cicero, "is to search for
and follow after truth. Therefore, when disengaged from our necessary
cares and concerns, we desire to see, to hear, and to learn, and we
esteem knowledge of things obscure or wonderful as indispensable to
our happiness." (_De Officiis_ I., 4).

I claim for the Irish race that throughout their history they have
cut down their bodily necessities to the quick, in order to devote
time and energy to the pursuit of knowledge; that they have engaged
in intellectual pursuits, not infrequently of a high order, on a low
basis of material comfort; that they have persevered in the quest of
learning under unparalleled hardships and difficulties, even in the
dark night of "a nation's eclipse", when a school was an unlawful
assembly and school-teaching a crime. I claim, moreover, that, when
circumstances were favorable, no people have shown a more adventurous
spirit or a more chivalrous devotion in the advancement and spread of

Love of learning implies more than a natural aptitude for acquiring
information. It connotes a zest for knowledge that is recondite and
attainable only at the expense of ease, of leisure, of the comforts
and luxuries of life, and a zeal for the cultivation of the mental
faculties. It is of the soul and not of the body; it refines,
elevates, adorns. It is allied to sensibility, to keenness of vision,
to the close observation of mental phenomena. Its possessor becomes a
citizen of the known world. His mind broadens; he compares,
contrasts, conciliates; he brings together the new and the old, the
near and the distant, the permanent and the transitory, and weaves
from them all the web of systematized human thought.

I am not here concerned with the extent of Ireland's contribution to
the sum of human learning, nor with the career of her greatest
scholars; I am merely describing the love of learning which is
characteristic of the race, and which it seems best to present in a
brief study of distinct types drawn from various periods of Irish

In the pre-Christian period the Druid was the chief representative of
the learning of the race. He was the adviser of kings and princes,
and the instructor of their children. His knowledge was of the
recondite order and beyond the reach of ordinary persons. The esteem
in which he was held by all classes of the people proves their love
for the learning for which he stood.

Patrick came: and with him came a wider horizon of learning and
greater facilities for the acquisition and diffusion of knowledge.
Monastic schools sprang up in all directions--at Clonard, Armagh,
Clonmacnois, Bangor, Lismore, Kildare, Innisfallen. These schools
were celebrated throughout Europe in the earlier middle ages, and
from the fifth to the ninth century Ireland led the nations of Europe
in learning and deserved the title of the "Island of Saints and
Scholars." Our type is the student in one of these monastic schools.
He goes out from his parents and settles down to study in the
environs of the monastery. He is not rich; he resides in a hut; his
time is divided between study, prayer, and manual labor. He becomes a
monk, only to increase in devotion to learning and to accentuate his
privations. He copies and illuminates manuscripts. He memorizes the
Psalms. He glosses the Vulgate Scriptures with vernacular notes. He
receives ordination, and, realizing that there are benighted
countries ten times as large as his native land beyond the seas, and,
burning with zeal for the spread of the Gospel and the advancement of
learning, sails for Britain, or passes into Gaul, or reaches the
slopes of the Apennines, or the outskirts of the Black Forest. The
rest of his life is devoted to the foundation of monasteries to which
schools are attached, to the building of churches, and to the
diffusion around him of every known branch of knowledge. He may have
taken books from Ireland over seas, and, of these, relics are now to
be found among the treasures of the ancient libraries of Europe.
Columcille, Columbanus, Adamnan, Gall, Virgilius occur to the mind in
dwelling on this type.

The hereditary _seanchaidhe_, who treasured up the traditional lore
of the clan and its chief, was held in high honor and enjoyed
extraordinary privileges. He held a freehold. He was high in the
graces of the chief, and officiated at his inauguration.

An important type is the Irish ecclesiastical student abroad in the
penal days. School teaching, unless at the sacrifice of Faith, was a
crime in Ireland, and the training required for the priesthood had to
be obtained on the continent. The Irish out of their poverty
established colleges in Rome (1628), Salamanca (1593), Seville
(1612), Alcala (1590), Lisbon (1593), Louvain (1634), Antwerp (1629),
Douai (1577), Lille (1610), Bordeaux (1603), Toulouse (1659), Paris
(1605), and elsewhere. As late as 1795 these colleges contained 478
students, and some of them are still in existence. The young student
in going abroad risked everything. He often returned watched by
spies, with his life in danger. Yet the supply never failed; the
colleges flourished; and those who returned diffused around them not
only learning but the urbanity and refinement which were a striking
fruit and mark of their studies abroad.

Another type is the Irish scribe. In the days of Ireland's fame and
prosperity and of the flood-tide of her native language, he was a
skilled craftsman, and the extant specimens of his work are
unsurpassed of their kind. But I prefer to look at him at a later
period, when he became our sole substitute for the printer and when
his diligence preserved for us all that remains of a fading
literature. He was miserably poor. He toiled through the day at the
spade or the plough, or guided the shuttle through the loom. At
night, by the flare of the turf-fire or the fitful light of a
splinter of bogwood, he made his copy of poem or tract or tale, which
but for him would have perished. The copies are often ill-spelt and
ill-written, but with all their faults they are as noble a monument
to national love of learning as any nation can boast of.

In our gallery of types we must not forget the character whom English
writers contemptuously called the "hedge-schoolmaster." The
hedge-school in its most elemental state was an open-air daily
assemblage of youths in pursuit of knowledge. Inasmuch as the law had
refused learning a fitting temple in which to abide and be honored,
she was led by her votaries into the open, and there, beside the
fragrant hedge, if you will, with the green sward for benches, and
the canopy of heaven for dome, she was honored in Ireland, even as
she had been honored ages before in Greece, in Palestine, and by our
primordial Celtic ancestors themselves. The hedge-schoolmaster
conducted the rites, and the air resounded with the sonorous
hexameters of Virgil and the musical odes of Horace.

In the Irish-speaking portions of the country the hedge-schoolmaster
was often also a poet who wrote mellifluous songs in Irish, which
were sung throughout the entire district and sometimes earned him
enduring fame. Eoghan Ruadh O'Sullivan and Andrew MacGrath, called
_An Mangaire Sugach_ or "the Jolly Pedlar," are well-known instances
of this type.

The poor scholar is another type that under varying forms and under
various circumstances has ever trod the stage of Irish history. From
an ancient Irish manuscript (See O'Curry, _Manners and Customs_, II,
79, 80) we learn that Adamnan, the biographer of St. Columcille, and
some other youths studied at Clonard and were supported by the
neighborhood. The poor scholar more than any other type embodies the
love of learning of the Irish race. In the schools which preceded the
National, he appeared in a most interesting stage of development. He
came from a distance, attracted by the reputation of a good teacher
and the regularity of a well-conducted school. He came, avowedly
poor. His only claim on the generosity of his teacher and of the
public was a marked aptitude for learning and an ardent desire for
study and cultivation of mind. He did not look for luxuries. He was
satisfied, if his bodily wants were reasonably supplied, even with
the inconveniences of frequent change of abode. A welcome was
extended to him on all sides. His hosts and patrons honored his
thirst for knowledge and tenacity of purpose. He was expected to help
the students in the house where he found entertainment, and it may
not have been unpleasing to him on occasion to display his talents
before his host. When school was over, it was not unusual to find him
surrounded by a group of school-companions, each pressing his claim
to entertain him for the night.

Despite the hospitality of his patrons, the poor scholar often felt
the bitterness of his dependent state, but he bore it with
equanimity, his hand ever eagerly stretched out for the prize of
learning. What did learning bring him? Why was he so eager to bear
for its sake

                         "all the thousand aches
      That patient merit of the unworthy takes"?

Sometimes he became a priest; sometimes his life was purposeless and
void. But he was ever urged onward by the fascination of learning and
of the cultivation of the nobler part of his nature.

As might have been expected, the Irish who have emigrated to the
American and Australian continents have given touching proof of their
devotion to the cause of learning. I have space only for a few
pathetic examples.

An Irish workman in the United States, seeing my name in connection
with an Irish Dictionary, wrote to me a few years ago to ask how he
might procure one, as, he said, an Italian in the works had asked him
the meaning of _Erin go bragh_, and he felt ashamed to be unable to
explain it.

A man who, at the age of three, had emigrated from Clare in the
famine time, wrote to me recently from Australia in the Irish
language and character.

An old man named John O'Regan of New Zealand, who had been twelve
years in exile in the United States and forty-eight on the Australian
continent, with failing eyesight, in a letter that took him from
January to June of the year 1906 to write, endeavored to set down
scraps of Irish lore which he had carried with him from the old
country and which had clung to his memory to the last.

"In my digging life in the quarries," he says, "books were not a part
of our swag (prayerbook excepted). In 1871, when I had a long seat of
work before me, I sent for McCurtin's Dictionary to Melbourne. It is
old and wanting in the introductory part, but for all was splendid
and I loved it as my life." (See _Gaelic Journal_, Dec., 1906.)


Joyce: A Social History of Ancient Ireland (2 vols., 2d ed., Dublin,
1913); Healy: Ireland's Ancient Schools and Scholars (Dublin, 1890),
Maynooth College Centenary History (Dublin, 1895); O'Curry: Manners
and Customs of the Ancient Irish, (3 vols., Dublin and London, 1873),
Manuscript Materials of Irish History, reissue (Dublin, 1873);
Carleton: Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry, especially vol.
3, The Poor Scholar; Montalembert: The Monks of the West, authorized
translation, (7 vols., London, 1861); Meyer: Learning in Ireland in
the Fifth Century (Dublin, 1913); Dinneen: Poems of Eoghan Ruadh
O'Sullivan, Introduction (Dublin, 1902), The Maigue Poets,
Introduction (Dublin, 1906); Boyle: The Irish College in Paris
1578-1901, with a brief sketch of the other Irish Colleges in France
(Dublin, 1901); Irish Ecclesiastical Record, new series, vol. VIII,
307, 465; 3rd series, vol. VII, 350, 437, 641.



_President, University College, Cork_.

We may divide our survey of the debt owed to Ireland by science into
three periods: the earliest, the intermediate, and the latest.

In the earliest period the names which come before us are chiefly
those of compilers such as Augustin, a monk and an Irishman who wrote
at Carthage, in Africa, in the seventh century, a Latin treatise on
_The Wonderful Things of the Sacred Scripture_, still extant, in
which, in connection with Joshua's miracle, a very full account of
the astronomical knowledge of the period, Ptolemaic, but in many ways
remarkably accurate, is given. There are, however, three
distinguished names. Virgil the Geometer, _i.e._, Fergil (O'Farrell),
was Abbot of Aghaboe, went to the continent in 741, and was
afterwards Bishop of Salzburg. He died in 785. He is remembered by
his controversies with St. Boniface, one of which is concerned with
the question of the Antipodes. Virgil is supposed to have been the
first to teach that the earth is spherical. So celebrated was he that
it has been thought that a part of the favor in which the author of
the _Aeneid_ was held by medieval churchmen was due to a confusion
between his name and that of the geometer, sometimes spoken of as St.

Dicuil, also an Irish monk, was the author of a remarkable work on
geography, _De Mensura Provinciarum Orbis Terrae_, which was written
in 825, and contains interesting references to Iceland and especially
to the navigable canal which once connected the Nile with the Red
Sea. He wrote between 814 and 816 a work on astronomy which has never
been published. It is probable, but not certain, that he belonged to

Dungal, like the two others named above, was an astronomer. He
probably belonged to Bangor, and left his native land early in the
ninth century. In 811 he wrote a remarkable work, _Dungali Reclusi
Epistola de duplici solis eclipsi anno 810 ad Carolum Magnum_. This
letter, which is still extant, was written at the request of
Charlemagne, who considered its author to be the most learned
astronomer in existence and most likely to clear up the problem
submitted to him.

Before passing to the next period, a word should be said as to the
medieval physicians, often if not usually belonging to families of
medical men, such as the Leahys and O'Hickeys, and attached
hereditarily to the greater clans. These men were chiefly compilers,
but such works of theirs as we have throw light upon the state of
medical knowledge in their day. Thus there is extant a treatise on
_Materia Medica_ (1459); written by Cormac MacDuinntsleibhe
(Dunleavy), hereditary physician to the clan of O'Donnell in Ulster.
A more interesting work is the _Cursus Medicus_, consisting of six
books on Physiology, three on Pathology, and four on Semeiotica,
written in the reign of Charles I. of England by Nial O'Glacan, born
in Donegal, and at one time physician to the king of France.

O'Glacan's name introduces us to the middle period, if indeed it does
not belong there. _Inter arma silent leges_, and it may be added,
scientific work. The troublous state of Ireland for many long years
fully explains the absence of men of science in any abundance until
the end of the eighteenth century. Still there are three names which
can never be forgotten, belonging to the period in question. Sir Hans
Sloane was born at Killileagh, in Ulster, in 1660. He studied
medicine abroad, went to London where he settled, and was made a
Fellow of the Royal Society. He published a work on the West Indies,
but his claim to undying memory is the fact that it was the bequest
of his most valuable and extensive collections to the nation which
was the beginning and foundation of the British Museum, perhaps the
most celebrated institution of its kind in the world. Sloane's
collection, it should be added, contained an immense number of
valuable books and manuscripts, as well as of objects more usually
associated with the idea of a museum. He died in 1753.

The Hon. Robert Boyle was born at Lismore, in the county Waterford,
in 1627, being the fourteenth child of the first Earl of Cork. On his
tombstone he is described as "The Father of Chemistry and the Uncle
of the Earl of Cork", and, indeed, in his _Skyptical Chimist_ (1661),
he assailed, and for the time overthrew, the idea of the alchemists
that there was a _materia prima_, asserting as he did that theory of
chemical "elements" which held good until the discoveries in
connection with radium led to a modification in chemical teaching.
This may be said of Boyle, that his writings profoundly modified
scientific opinion, and his name will always stand in the forefront
amongst those of chemists. He made important improvements in the
air-pump, was one of the earliest Fellows of the Royal Society, and
founded the "Boyle Lectures." He died in 1691.

Sir Thomas Molyneux was born in Dublin, in 1661, of a family which
had settled in Ireland about 1560-70. He practised as a physician in
his native city, was the first person to describe the Irish Elk and
to demonstrate the fact that the Giant's Causeway was a natural and
not, as had been previously supposed, an artificial production. He
was the author of many other scientific observations. He died in

We may now turn to more recent times, and it will be convenient to
divide our subjects according to the branch of science in which they
were distinguished, and to commence with


of whom Ireland may boast of a most distinguished galaxy.

Sir William Rowan Hamilton (b. in Dublin 1805, d. 1865), belonged to
a family, long settled in Ireland, but of Scottish extraction. He was
a most precocious child. He read Hebrew at the age of seven, and at
twelve, had studied Latin, Greek, and four leading continental
languages, as well as Persian, Syriac, Arabic, Sanscrit, and other
tongues. In 1819 he wrote a letter to the Persian ambassador in that
magnate's own language. After these linguistic contests, he early
turned to mathematics, in which he was apparently self-taught; yet,
in his seventeenth year he discovered an error in Laplace's
_Mecanique Celeste_. He entered Trinity College where he won all
kinds of distinctions, being famous not merely as a mathematician,
but as a poet, a scholar, and a metaphysician. He was appointed
Professor of Astronomy and Astronomer Royal whilst still an
undergraduate. He predicted "conical refraction," afterwards
experimentally proved by another Irishman, Humphrey Lloyd. He twice
received the Gold Medal of the Royal Society: (i) for optical
discoveries; (ii) for his theory of a general method of dynamics,
which resolves an extremely, abstruse problem relative to a system of
bodies in motion. He was the discoverer of a new calculus, that of
Quaternions, which attracted the attention of Professor Tait of
Edinburgh, and was by him made comprehensible to lesser
mathematicians. It is far too abstruse for description here.

Sir George Gabriel Stokes (born in Sligo 1819, d. 1903) was, if not
the greatest mathematician, at least among the greatest, of the last
hundred years. He was educated in Cambridge, where he spent the rest
of his life, being appointed Lucasian Professor of Mathematics in
1849, and celebrating the jubilee of that appointment in 1899. He was
member of parliament for his University, and for a time occupied the
presidential chair of the Royal Society. He devoted himself, _inter
alia_, to optical work, and is perhaps best known by those researches
which deal with the undulatory theory of light. It was on this
subject that he delivered the Burnett lectures in Aberdeen

James McCullagh, the son of a poor farmer, was born in Tyrone in
1809, d. 1847. His early death, due to his own hand in a fit of
insanity, cut short his work, but enough remains to permit him to
rank amongst the great mathematicians of all time, his most important
work being his memoir on surfaces of the second order.

Humphrey Lloyd (b. in Dublin 1800, d. 1881), F.R.S. His father was
Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, a position subsequently occupied
also by the son. Lloyd's work was chiefly concerned with optics and
magnetism, and it was in connection with the former that he carried
out what was probably the most important single piece of work of his
life, namely, the experimental proof of the phenomenon of conical
refraction which had been predicted by Sir William Hamilton. He was
responsible for the erection of the Magnetic Observatory in Dublin,
and the instruments used in it were constructed under his observation
and sometimes from his designs or modifications. He was also a
meteorologist of distinction.

George Salmon (b. in Dublin 1819, d. 1904), like the last mentioned
subject, was, at the time of his death, Provost of Trinity College,
Dublin. Besides theological writings, he contributed much to
mathematical science, especially in the directions of conic sections,
analytic geometry, higher plane curves, and the geometry of three
dimensions. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society, and received the
Copley and Royal medals, as well as distinctions from many
universities and learned societies.

John Casey (b. Kilkenny 1820, d. 1891), F.R.S., was educated at a
National School and became a teacher in one in later years. Entirely
self-taught as a mathematician, he raised himself from the humble
position which he occupied to be a university professor (in the
Catholic University of Ireland, and afterwards in the Royal
University), and earned the highest reputation as one of the greatest
authorities on plane geometry. He was a correspondent of eminent
mathematicians all over the world.

Henry Hennessey (b. in Cork 1826, d. 1901), F.R.S., was also a
professor in the Catholic University of Ireland and afterwards in the
Royal College of Science in Dublin. He was a writer on mathematics,
terrestrial physics, and climatology.

Benjamin Williamson (b. in Cork 1827), F.R.S., is a Senior Fellow of
Trinity College, Dublin, and a distinguished writer on mathematical
subjects, especially on the differential, integral, and infinitesimal

Sir Joseph Larmor (b. in Antrim 1857), F.R.S., was educated at
Queen's College, Belfast, and in Cambridge, in which last place he
has spent his life as a professor. He now represents the University
in parliament and is secretary to the Royal Society. He is well-known
for his writings on the ether and on other physical as well as
mathematical subjects.


William Parsons, Earl of Rosse (b. in York 1800, d. 1867), F.R.S.,
was a very distinguished astronomer who experimented in fluid lenses
and made great improvements in casting specula for reflecting
telescopes. From 1842-45 he was engaged upon the construction, in his
park at Parsonstown, of his great reflecting telescope 58 feet long.
This instrument, which cost L30,000, long remained the largest in the
world. He was president of the Royal Society from 1848 to 1854.

Sir Howard Grubb (b. 1844), F.R.S., is known all over the world for
his telescopes and for the remarkable advances which he has made in
the construction of lenses for instruments of the largest size.

Sir Robert Ball (b. in Dublin 1840, d. 1913), F.R.S. Originally Lord
Rosse's astronomer at Parsonstown, he migrated as professor to
Trinity College, Dublin, and subsequently became Lowndean Professor
of Astronomy at Cambridge. He was a great authority on the
mathematical theory of screws, and his popular works on astronomy
have made him known to a far wider circle of readers than those who
can grapple with his purely scientific treatises.

William Edward Wilson (b. Co. Westmeath 1851, d. 1908), F.R.S. A man
of independent means, he erected, with the help of his father, an
astronomical observatory at his residence. In this well-equipped
building he made many photographic researches, especially into the
nature of nebulae. He also devoted himself to solar physics, and
wrote some remarkable papers on the sudden appearance in 1903 of the
star Nova Persei. He was the first to call attention to the
probability that radium plays a part in the maintenance of solar
heat. In fact, the science of radio-activity was engaging his keenest
interest at the time of his early death.

A.A. Rambaut (b. Waterford 1859), F.R.S., formerly Astronomer Royal
for Ireland and now Radcliffe Observer at Oxford, is one of the
leading astronomers of the day.


Lord Kelvin, better known as Sir William Thompson (b. Belfast 1824,
d. 1907), F.R.S. Amongst the greatest physicists who have ever lived,
his name comes second only to that of Newton. He was educated at
Cambridge, became professor of natural philosophy in Glasgow
University in 1846, and celebrated the jubilee of his appointment in
1896. To the public his greatest achievement was the electric cabling
of the Atlantic Ocean, for which he was knighted in 1866. His
electrometers and electric meters, his sounding apparatus, and his
mariners' compass are all well-known and highly valued instruments.
To his scientific fellows, however, his greatest achievements were in
the field of pure science, especially in connection with his
thermodynamic researches, including the doctrine of the dissipation
or degradation of energy. To this brief statement may be added
mention of his work in connection with hydrodynamics and his magnetic
and electric discoveries. His papers in connection with wave and
vortex movements are also most remarkable. He was awarded the Royal
and Copley medals and was an original member of the Order of Merit.
He received distinctions from many universities and learned

George Francis Fitzgerald (b. Dublin 1851, d. 1901), F.R.S., was
fellow and professor of natural philosophy in Trinity College,
Dublin, where he was educated. He was the first person to call the
attention of the world to the importance of Hertz's experiment.
Perhaps his most important work, interrupted by his labors in
connection with education and terminated by his early death, was that
in connection with the nature of the ether.

George Johnston Stoney (b. King's Co. 1826, d. 1911), F.R.S., after
being astronomer at Parsonstown and professor of natural philosophy
at Galway, became secretary to the Queen's University and occupied
that position until the dissolution of the university in 1882. He
wrote many papers on geometrical optics and on molecular physics, but
his great claim to remembrance is that he first suggested, "on the
basis of Faraday's law of Electrolysis, that an absolute unit of
quantity of electricity exists in that amount of it which attends
each chemical bond or valency and gave the name, now generally
adopted, of electron to this small quantity." He proposed the
electronic theory of the origin of the complex ether vibrations which
proceed from a molecule emitting light.

John Tyndall (b. Leighlin Bridge, Co. Carlow, 1820, d. 1893), F.R.S.,
professor at the Royal Institution and a fellow-worker in many ways
with Huxley, especially on the subject of glaciers. He wrote also on
heat as a mode of motion and was the author of many scientific
papers, but will, perhaps, be best remembered as the author of a
Presidential Address to the British Association in Belfast (1874),
which was the highwater mark of the mid-Victorian materialism at its
most triumphant moment.


Richard Kirwan (b. Galway 1733, d. 1812), F.R.S. A man of independent
means, he devoted himself to the study of chemistry and mineralogy
and was awarded the Copley medal of the Royal Society. He published
works on mineralogy and on the analysis of mineral waters, and was
the first in Ireland to publish analyses of soils for agricultural
purposes, a research which laid the foundation of scientific
agriculture in Great Britain and Ireland.

Maxwell Simpson (b. Armagh 1815, d. 1902), F.R.S., held the chair of
chemistry in Queen's College, Cork, for twenty years and published a
number of papers in connection with his subject and especially with
the behavior of cyanides, with the study of which compounds his name
is most associated.

Cornelius O'Sullivan (b. Brandon, 1841, d. 1897), F.R.S., was for
many years chemist to the great firm of Bass & Co., brewers at
Burton-on-Trent, and in that capacity became one of the leading
exponents of the chemistry of fermentation in the world.

James Emerson Reynolds (b. Dublin 1844), F.R.S., professor of
chemistry, Trinity College, Dublin, for many years, discovered the
primary thiocarbamide and a number of other chemical substances,
including a new class of colloids and several groups of organic and
other compounds of the element silicon.

Among others only the names of the following can be mentioned:--Sir
Robert Kane (b. Dublin 1809, d. 1890), professor of chemistry in
Dublin and founder and first director of the Museum of Industry, now
the National Museum. He was president of Queen's College, Cork, as
was William K. Sullivan (b. Cork 1822, d. 1890), formerly professor
of chemistry in the Catholic University. Sir William O'Shaughnessy
Brooke, F.R.S. (b. Limerick 1809, d. 1889), professor of chemistry
and assay master in Calcutta, is better known as the introducer of
the telegraphic system into India and its first superintendent.


William Henry Harvey (b. Limerick 1814, d. 1866), F.R.S., was a
botanist of very great distinction. During a lengthy residence in
South Africa, he made a careful study of the flora of the Cape of
Good Hope and published _The Genera of South African Plants_. After
this he was made keeper of the Herbarium, Trinity College, Dublin,
but, obtaining leave of absence, travelled in North and South
America, exploring the coast from Halifax to the Keys of Florida, in
order to collect materials for his great work, _Nereis
Boreali-Americana_, published by the Smithsonian Institution.
Subsequently he visited Ceylon, Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, and
the Friendly and Fiji Islands, collecting algae. The results were
published in his _Phycologia Australis_. At the time of his death he
was engaged on his _Flora Capensis_, and was generally considered the
first authority on algae in the world.

William Archer (b. Co. Down 1837, d. 1897), F.R.S., devoted his life
to the microscopic examination of freshwater organisms, especially
desmids and diatoms. He attained a very prominent place in this
branch of work among men of science. Perhaps his most remarkable
discovery was that of Chlamydomyxa labyrinthuloides (in 1868), "one
of the most remarkable and enigmatical of all known microscopic

George James Allman (b. Cork 1812, d. 1898), F.R.S., professor of
botany in Trinity College, Dublin, and afterwarls Regius Professor of
natural history in the University of Edinburgh, published many papers
on botanical and zoological subjects, but his great work was that on
the gymnoblastic Hydrozoa, "without doubt the most important
systematic work dealing with the group of Coelenterata that has ever
been produced."

Amongst eminent living members of the class under consideration may
be mentioned Alexander Macalister (b. Dublin 1844), F.R.S., professor
of anatomy, first in Dublin and now in Cambridge, an eminent
morphologist and anthropologist, and Henry Horatio Dixon (b. Dublin),
F.R.S., professor of botany in Trinity College, an authority on
vegetable physiology, especially problems dealing with the sap.


Samuel Haughton (b. Carlow 1821, d. 1897), F.R.S., after earning a
considerable reputation as a mathematician and a geologist, and
taking Anglican orders, determined to study medicine and entered the
school of that subject in Trinity College. After graduating he became
the reformer, it might even be said the re-founder, of that school.
He devoted ten years to the study of the mechanical principles of
muscular action, and published his _Animal Mechanism_, probably his
greatest work. He will long be remembered as the introducer of the
"long drop" as a method of capital execution. He might have been
placed in several of the categories which have been dealt with, but
that of geologist has been selected, since in the later part of his
most versatile career he was professor of geology in Trinity College,

Valentine Ball (b. Dublin 1843, d. 1894), F.R.S., a brother of Sir
Robert, joined the Geological Survey of India, and in that capacity
became an authority not only on geology but also on ornithology and
anthropology. His best known work is _Jungle-Life in India_. In later
life he was director of the National Museum, Dublin.


Very brief note can be taken of the many shining lights in Irish
medical science. Robert James Graves (1796-1853), F.R.S., after whom
is named "Graves's Disease", was one of the greatest of clinical
physicians. His _System of Clinical Medicine_ was a standard work and
was extolled by Trousseau, the greatest physician that France has
ever had, in the highest terms of appreciation.

William Stokes (1804-1878), Regius Professor of Medicine in Trinity
College, and the author of a _Theory and Practice of Medicine_, known
all over the civilized world, was equally celebrated.

To these must be added Sir Dominic Corrigan (1802-1880), the first
Catholic to occupy the position of President of the College of
Physicians in Dublin, an authority on heart disease, and the first
adequate describer of aortic patency, a form of ailment long called
"Corrigan's Disease". "Colles's Fracture" is a familiar term in the
mouths of surgeons. It derives its name from Abraham Colles
(1773-1843), the first surgeon in the world to tie the innominate
artery, as "Butcher's Saw", a well-known implement, does from another
eminent surgeon; Richard Butcher, Regius Professor in Trinity College
in the seventies of the last century.

Sir Rupert Boyce (1863-1911), F.R.S., though born in London, had an
Irish father and mother. Entering the medical profession, he was
assistant professor of pathology at University College, London, and
subsequently professor of pathology in University College, Liverpool,
which he was largely instrumental in turning into the University of
Liverpool. He was foremost in launching and directing the Liverpool
School of Tropical Medicine, which has had such widespread results
all over the world in elucidating the problems and checking the
ravages of the diseases peculiar to hot countries. It was for his
services in this direction that he was knighted in 1906.

Sir Richard Quain (b. Mallow 1816, d. 1898), F.R.S., spent most of
his life in London, where he was for years the most prominent
physician. He wrote on many subjects, but the _Dictionary of
Medicine_, which he edited and which bears his name, has made itself
and its editor known all over the world.

Sir Almroth Wright (b. 1861), F.R.S., is the greatest living
authority on the important subject of vaccino-therapy, which, indeed,
may be said to owe its origin to his researches, as do the methods
for measuring the protective substances in the human blood. He was
the discoverer of the anti-typhoid injection which has done so much
to stay the ravages of that disease.


Bindon Blood Stoney (1828-1909), F.R.S., made his reputation first as
an astronomer by discovering the spiral character of the great nebula
in Andromeda. Turning to engineering, he was responsible for the
construction of many important works, especially in connection with
the port of Dublin. He was brother of G. J. Stoney.

Sir Charles Parsons (b. 1854), F.R.S., fourth son of the third Earl
of Rosse, is the engineer who developed the steam turbine system and
made it suitable for the generation of electricity, and for the
propulsion of war and mercantile vessels. If he has revolutionized
traffic on the water, so on the land has John Boyd Dunlop (still
living), who discovered the pneumatic tire with such wide-spread
results for motorcars, bicycles, and such means of locomotion.


Admiral Sir Leopold McClintock (b. Dundalk 1819, d. 1907), F.R.S.,
was one of the great Arctic explorers, having spent eleven navigable
seasons and six winters in those regions. He was the chief leader and
organizer of the Franklin searches. From the scientific point of view
he made a valuable collection of miocene fossils from Greenland, and
enabled Haughton to prepare the geological map and memoir of the
Parry Archipelago.

John Ball (b. Dublin 1818, d. 1889), F.R.S., educated at Oscott,
passed the examination for a high degree at Cambridge, but, being a
Catholic, was excluded from the degree itself and any other honors
which a Protestant might have attained to. He travelled widely and
published many works on the natural history of Europe and South
America from Panama to Tierra del Fuego. He was the first to suggest
the utilization of the electric telegraph for meteorological purposes
connected with storm warnings.

Space ought to be found for a cursory mention of that strange person,
Dionysius Lardner (1793-1859), who by his _Lardner's Cyclopaedia_ in
132 vols., his _Cabinet Library_, and his _Museum of Science and
Art_, did much to popularize science in an unscientific day.


The principal sources of information are the National Dictionary of
Biography; the Obituary Notices of the Royal Society (passages in
inverted commas are from these); "Who's Who" (for living persons);
Healy: Ireland's Ancient Schools and Scholars; Hyde: Literary History
of Ireland; Joyce: Social History of Ancient Ireland; Moore: Medicine
in the British Isles.



A DISTINCTION. Ireland having been a self-ruled country for a stretch
of some two thousand years, then violently brought under subjection
to foreign rule, regaining legislative independence for a brief
period toward the close of the eighteenth century, then by violence
and corruption deprived of that independence and again brought under
the same foreign rule, to which it is still subject, the expression
"Law in Ireland" comprises the native and the foreign, the laws
devised by the Irish Nation for its own governance and the laws
imposed upon it from without: two sets, codes, or systems proper to
two entirely distinct social structures having no relation and but
little resemblance to each other. Whatever may be thought of either
as law, the former is Irish in every sense, and vastly the more
interesting historically, archaeologically, philologically, and in
many other ways; the latter being English law in Ireland, and not
truly Irish in any sense.

ORIGIN AND CHARACTER OF IRISH LAW. _Seanchus agus Feineachus na
hEireann_ == _Hiberniae Antiquitates et Sanctiones Legales_--The
Ancient Laws and Decisions of the _Feini_, of Ireland. _Sen_ or
_sean_ (pronounced shan) == "old," differs from most Gaelic
adjectives in preceding the noun it qualifies. It also tends to
coalesce and become a prefix. _Seanchus_ (shanech-us) == "ancient
law." _Feineachus_ (fainech-us) == the law of the _Feini_, who were
the Milesian farmers, free members of the clans, the most important
class in the ancient Irish community. Their laws were composed in
their contemporary language, the _Bearla Feini_, a distinct form of
Gaelic. Several nations of the Aryan race are known to have cast into
metre or rhythmical prose their laws and such other knowledge as they
desired to communicate, preserve, and transmit, before writing came
into use. The Irish went further and, for greater facility in
committing to memory and retaining there, put their laws into a kind
of rhymed verse, of which they may have been the inventors. By this
device, aided by the isolated geographical position of Ireland, the
sanctity of age, and the apprehension that any change of word or
phrase might change the law itself, these archaic laws, when
subsequently committed to writing, were largely preserved from the
progressive changes to which all spoken languages are subject, with
the result that we have today, embedded in the Gaelic text and
commentaries of the _Senchus Mor_, the _Book of Aicill_, and other
law works, available in English translations made under a Royal
Commission appointed by Government in 1852, and published, at
intervals extending over forty years, in six volumes of "Ancient Laws
and Institutions of Ireland," a mass of archaic words, phrases, law,
literature, and information on the habits and manners of the people,
not equalled in antiquity, quantity, or authenticity in any other
Celtic source. In English they are commonly called Brehon Laws, from
the genitive case singular of _Brethem_ = "judge", genitive
_Brethemain_ (pronounced brehun), as Erin is an oblique case of Eire,
and as Latin words are sometimes adopted in the genitive in modern
languages which themselves have no case distinctions. It is not to be
inferred from this name that the laws are judge-made. They are rather
case law, in parts possibly enacted by some of the various assemblies
at which the laws were promulgated or rehearsed, but for the most
part simple declarations of law originating in custom and moral
justice, and records of judgments based upon "the precedents and
commentaries", in the sort of cases common to agricultural
communities of the time, many of the provisions being as inapplicable
to modern life as modern laws would be to ancient life. A reader is
impressed by the extraordinary number and variety of cases with their
still more numerous details and circumstances accumulated in the
course of long ages, the manner in which the laws are inextricably
interwoven with the interlocking clan system, and the absence of
scientific arrangement or guiding principle except those of moral
justice, clemency, and the good of the community. This defect in
arrangement is natural in writings intended, as these were, for the
use of judges and professors, experts in the subjects with which they
deal, but makes the task of presenting a concise statement of them
difficult and uncertain.

SOCIETY LAW. The law and the social system were inseparable parts of
a complicated whole, mutually cause and consequence of each other.
_Tuath, clann, cinel, cine_, and _fine_ (pronounced thooah, clong,
kinnel, kineh, and fin-yeh) were terms used to denote a tribe or set
of relatives, in reality or by adoption, claiming descent from a
common ancestor, forming a community occupying and owning a given
territory. _Tuath_ in course of time came to be applied indifferently
to the people and to their territory. _Fine_, sometimes designating a
whole tribe, more frequently meant a part of it, occupying a distinct
portion of the territory, a potential microcosm or nucleus of a clan,
having limited autonomy in the conduct of its own immediate affairs.
The constitution of this organism, whether as contemplated by the law
or in the less perfect actual practice, is alike elusive, and
underwent changes. For the purpose of illustration, the _fine_ may be
said to consist, theoretically, of the "seventeen men" frequently
mentioned throughout the laws, namely, the _flaithfine_ = chief of
the _fine_; the _geilfine_ = his four fullgrown sons or other nearest
male relatives; the _deirbhfine, tarfine_, and _innfine_, each
consisting of four heads of families in wider concentric circles of
kinship, say first, second, and third cousins of the _flaithfine_.
The _fine_ was liable, in measure determined by those circles, for
contracts, fines, and damages incurred by any of its members so far
as his own property was insufficient, and was in the same degree
entitled to share advantages of a like kind accruing. Intermarriage
within this _fine_ was prohibited. The modern term "sept" is applied
sometimes to this group and sometimes to a wider group united under a
_flaith_ (flah) = "chief", elected by the _flaithfines_ and provided,
for his public services, with free land proportionate to the area of
the district and the number of clansmen in it. _Clann_ might mean the
whole Irish nation, or an intermediate homogeneous group of _fines_
having for wider purposes a _flaith_ or _ri-tuatha_ = king of one
_tuath_, elected by the _flaiths_ and _flaithfines_, subject to
elaborate qualifications as to person, character, and training, which
limited their choice, and provided with a larger portion of free
land. This was the lowest chief to whom the title _ri, righ_ (both
pr. ree) = _rex_, or "king", was applied. A group of these kinglets
connected by blood or territory or policy, and their _flaiths_,
elected, from a still narrower circle of specially trained men within
their own rank, the _ri-mor-tuatha_--king of the territory so
composed, to whose office a still larger area of free land was
attached. In turn, kings of this class, with their respective
sub-kings and _flaiths_, elected from among the _riogh-dhamhna_
(ree-uch-dhowna) = _materia principum_ or "king-timber", a royal
_fine_ specially educated and trained, a _ri-cuighidh_ (ree
coo-ee-hee) supreme over five _ri-mor-tuathas_--roughly, a fourth of
Ireland. These, with their respective principal supporters, elected
the _ard-ri_--"supreme king", of Ireland, who for ages held his court
and national assemblies at Tara and enjoyed the kingdom of Meath for
his mensal land. Usually the election was not direct to the kingship,
but to the position of _tanaiste_--"second" (in authority),
heir-apparent to the kingship. This was also the rule in the learned
professions and "noble" arts, which were similarly endowed with free
land. The most competent among those specially trained, whether son
or outsider, should succeed to the position and land. All such land
was legally indivisible and inalienable and descended in its entirety
to the successor, who might, or might not, be a relative of the
occupant. The beneficiaries were, however, free to retain any land
that belonged to them as private individuals.

Membership of the clan was an essential qualification for every
position; but occasionally two clans amalgamated, or a small _fine_,
or desirable individual, was co-opted into the clan--in other words,
naturalized. The rules of kinship determined _eineachlann_
(ain-yach-long)--"honor value", the assessed value of status, with
its correlative rights, obligations, and liabilities in connection
with all matters civil and criminal; largely supplied the place of
contract; endowed members of the clan with birthrights; and bound
them into a compact social, political, and mutual insurance
copartnership, self-controlled and self-reliant. _Eineachlann_ rested
on the two-fold basis of kinship and property, expanding as a
clansman by acquisition of property and effluxion of time progressed
upward from one grade to another; diminishing if he sank; vanishing
if for crime he was expelled from the clan.

FOSTERAGE. To our minds, one of the most curious customs prevalent
among the ancient Irish was that of _iarrad_, called also _altar_ =
"fosterage"--curious in itself and in the fact that in all the
abundance of law and literature relating to it no logically valid
reason is given why wealthy parents normally put out their children,
from one year old to fifteen in the case of a daughter and to
seventeen in the case of a son, to be reared in another family, while
perhaps receiving and rearing children of other parents sent to them.
As modern life does not comprise either the custom or a reason for
it, we may assume that fosterage was a consequence of the clan
system, and that its practice strengthened the ties of kinship and
sympathy. This conjecture is corroborated by the numerous instances
in history and in story of fosterage affection proving, when tested,
stronger than the natural affection of relatives by birth. What is
more, long after the dissolution of the clans, fosterage has
continued stealthily in certain districts in which the old race of
chiefs and clansmen contrived to cling together to the old sod; and
the affection generated by it has been demonstrated, down to the
middle of the nineteenth century. The present writer has heard it
spoken of lovingly, in half-Irish, by simple old people, whom to
question would be cruel and irreverent.

LAND LAW. The entire territory was originally, and always continued
to be, the absolute property of the entire clan. Not even the private
residence of a clansman, with its _maighin digona_ = little lawn or
precinct of sanctuary, within which himself and his family and
property were inviolable, could be sold to an outsider. Private
ownership, though rather favored in the administration of the law,
was prevented from becoming general by the fundamental ownership of
the clan and the birthright of every free-born clansman to a
sufficiency of the land of his native territory for his subsistence.
The land officially held as described was not, until the population
became numerous, a serious encroachment upon this right. What
remained outside this and the residential patches of private land was
classified as cultivable and uncultivable. The former was the common
property of the clansmen, but was held and used in severalty for the
time being, subject to _gabhail-cine_ (gowal-kinneh)--clan-resumption
and redistribution by authority of an assembly of the clan or _fine_
at intervals of from one to three years, according to local customs
and circumstances, for the purpose of satisfying the rights of young
clansmen and dealing with any land left derelict by death or
forfeiture, compensation being paid for any unexhausted improvements.
The clansmen, being owners in this limited sense, and the only
owners, had no rent to pay. They paid tribute for public purposes,
such as the making of roads, to the _flaith_ as a public officer, as
they were bound to render, or had the privilege of
rendering--according to how they regarded it--military service when
required, not to the _flaith_ as a feudal lord, which he was not, but
to the clan, of which the _flaith_ was head and representative.

The uncultivable, unreclaimed forest, mountain, and bog-land was
common property in the wider sense that there was no several
appropriation of it even temporarily by individuals. It was used
promiscuously by the clansmen for grazing stock, procuring fuel,
pursuing game, or any other advantage yielded by it in its natural

Kings and _flaiths_ were great stock-owners, and were allowed to let
for short terms portions of their official lands. What they more
usually let to clansmen was cattle to graze either on private land or
on a specified part of the official land, not measured, but
calculated according to the number of beasts it was able to support.
A _flaith_ whose stock for letting ran short hired some from a king
and sublet them to his own people. A _feine, aithech_, or _ceile_
(kailyeh), as a farmer was generally called, might hire stock in one
of two distinct ways: _saer_-"free", which was regulated by the law,
left his status unimpaired, could not be terminated arbitrarily or
unjustly, under which he paid one-third of the value of the stock
yearly for seven years, at the end of which time what remained of the
stock became his property, and in any dispute relating to which he
was competent to sue or defend even though the _flaith_ gave
evidence; or _daer_--"bond", which was matter of bargain and not of
law, was subject to onerous conditions and contingencies, including
maintenance of kings, _flaiths_, or brehons, with their retinues, on
visitations, of disbanded soldiers, etc., under which the stock
always remained the property of the _flaith_, regarding which the
_ceile_ could not give evidence against that of the _flaith_, which
degraded the _ceile_ and his _fine_ and impaired their status; a
bargain therefore which could not be entered into without the
sanction of the _fine_. This prohibition was rendered operative by
the legal provision that in case of default the _flaith_ could not
recover from the _fine_ unless their consent had been obtained. The
letting of stock, especially of _daer_-stock, increased the
_flaith's_ power as a lender over borrowers, subject, however, to the
check that his rank and _eineachlann_ depended on the number of
independent clansmen in his district.

Though workers in precious metals, as their ornaments show, the
ancient Irish did not coin or use money. Sales were by barter. All
payments, tribute, rent, fulfilment of contract, fine, damages,
wages, or however else arising, were made in kind--horses, cows,
store cattle, sheep, pigs, corn, meal, malt, bacon, salt beef, geese,
butter, honey, wool, flax, yarn, cloth, dye-plants, leather,
manufactured articles of use or ornament, gold, and silver--whatever
one party could spare and the other find a use for.

Tributes and rent, being alike paid in kind and to the same person,
were easily confused. This tempted the _flaith_, as the system
relaxed, to extend his official power in the direction of ownership;
but never to the extent of enabling him to evict a clansman. For a
crime a clansman might be expelled from clan and territory; but,
apart from crime, the idea of eviction from one's homestead was
inconceivable. Not even when a _daer-ceile_, or "unfree peasant",
failed to make the stipulated payments could the _flaith_ do more
than sue as for any other debt; and, if successful, he was bound, in
seizing, to leave the family food-material and implements necessary
for living and recovering.

LAW OF DISTRAINING. _Athgabail_ ([)a]h-gowil) = "distress", was the
universal legal mode of obtaining anything due, or justice or redress
in any matter, whether civil or criminal, contract or tort. Every
command or prohibition of the law, if not obeyed, was enforced by
_athgabail_. The brehons reduced all liabilities of whatsoever origin
to material value to be recovered by this means. Hence its great
importance, the vast amount of space devoted to it in the laws, and
the fact that the law of distress deals incidentally with every other
branch of law and reveals best the customs, habits, and character of
the people. A claimant in a civil case might either summon his debtor
before a brehon, get a judgment, and seize the amount adjudged, or,
by distraining first at his own risk, force the defendant either to
pay or stop the seizure by submitting the matter in dispute to trial
before a brehon, whom he then could choose. There was no officer
corresponding to a sheriff to distrain and realize the amount
adjudged; the person entitled had to do it himself, accompanied by a
law-agent and witnesses, after, in "distress with time", elaborate
notices at intervals of time sufficient to allow the defendant to
consider his position and find means of satisfying the claim if he
could. In a proper case his hands were strengthened by very explicit
provisions of the law. "If a man who is sued evades justice, knowing
the debt to be due of him, double the debt is payable by him." In
urgent cases "immediate distress" was allowed. In either case the
property seized--usually cattle--was not taken to the plaintiff's
home, but put into a pound, and by similar easy stages became his
property to the amount of the debt. The costs were paid out of what
remained, and any ultimate remainder was returned. On a _fuidir_
(foodyir) = serf or other unfree person resident in the territory
incurring liability to a clansman, the latter might proceed against
the _flaith_ on whose land the defendant lived, or might seize
immediately any property the defendant owned, and if he owned none,
might seize him and make him work off the debt in slavery.

Seizure of property of a person of higher rank than the plaintiff had
to be preceded by _troscead_ (truscah) = fasting upon him. This
consisted in waiting at the door of the defendant's residence without
food until the debt was paid or a pledge given. The laws contained no
process more strongly enforced than this. A defendant who allowed a
plaintiff properly fasting to die of hunger was held by law and by
public opinion guilty of murder, and completely lost his
_eineachlann_. Both text and commentary declare that whoever refuses
to cede a just demand when fasted upon shall pay double that amount.
If the faster, having accepted a pledge, did not in due course
receive satisfaction of his claim, he forthwith distrained, taking
and keeping double the amount of the debt. The law did not allow
those whom it at first respected to trifle with justice.

_Troscead_ is believed to have been of druidical origin, and it
retained throughout, even in Christian times, a sort of supernatural
significance. Whoever disregarded it became an outcast and incurred
risks and dangers too grave to be lightly faced. Besides being a
legal process, it was resorted to as a species of elaborate prayer,
or curse,--a kind of magic for achieving some difficult purpose. This
mysterious character enhanced its value in a legal system deficient
in executive power.

NON-CITIZENS. From what precedes it will be understood that there
were in ancient Ireland from prehistoric times people not comprised
in the clan organization, and therefore not enjoying its rights and
advantages or entitled to any of its land, some of whom were
otherwise free within certain areas, while some were serfs and some
slaves. Those outsiders are conjectured to have originated in the
earlier colonists subdued by the Milesians and reduced to an inferior
condition. But the distinction did not wholly follow racial lines.
Persons of pre-Milesian race are known to have risen to eminence,
while Milesians are known to have sunk, from crime or other causes,
to the lowest rank of the unfree. Here and there a _daer-tuath_ =
"bond community", of an earlier race held together down to the Middle
Ages in districts in which conquest had left them and to which they
were restricted. Beyond that restriction, exclusion from the clan and
its power, some peculiarities of dialect, dress, and manners, and a
tradition of inferiority such as still exists in certain parishes,
they were not molested, provided they paid tribute, which may have
been heavy.

There were also _bothachs_ = cottiers, and _sen-cleithes_ = old
adherents of a _flaith_, accustomed to serve him and obtain benefits
from him. If they had resided in the territory for three generations,
and been industrious, thrifty, and orderly, on a few of them joining
their property together to the number of one hundred head of cattle,
they could emancipate themselves by appointing a _flaithfine_ and
getting admitted to the clan. Till this was done, they could neither
sue nor defend nor inherit, and the _flaith_ was answerable for their

There being no prisons or convict settlements, any person of whatever
race convicted of grave crime, or of cowardice on the field of
battle, and unable to pay the fines imposed, captives taken in
foreign wars, fugitives from other clans, and tramps, fell into the
lowest ranks of the _fuidre_--"serfs." It was as a captive that Saint
Patrick was brought in his youth to Ireland. The law allowed, rather
than entitled, a _flaith_ to keep unfree people for servile
occupations and the performance of unskilled labor for the public
benefit. In reality they worked for his personal profit, oftentimes
at the expense of the clan. They lived on his land, and he was
responsible for their conduct. By analogy, the distinctions _saer_
and _daer_ were recognized among them, according to origin,
character, and means. Where these elements continued to be favorable
for three generations, progress upward was made; and ultimately a
number of them could club together, appoint a _flaithfine_, and apply
to be admitted to the clan.

A _mog_ was a slave in the strict sense, usually purchased as such
from abroad, and legally and socially lower than the lowest _fuidir_.
Giraldus Cambrensis, writing towards the close of the twelfth
century, tells us that English parents then frequently sold their
surplus children and other persons to the Irish as slaves. The Church
repeatedly intervened for the release of captives and mitigation of
their condition. The whole institution of slavery was strongly
condemned as un-Christian by the Synod held in Armagh in 1171.

CRIMINAL LAW. Though there are numerous laws relating to crime, to be
found chiefly in the _Book of Aicill_, criminal law in the sense of a
code of punishment there was none. The law took cognizance of crime
and wrong of every description against person, character, and
property; and its function was to prevent and restrict crime, and
when committed to determine, according to the facts of the case and
the respective ranks of the parties, the value of the compensation or
reparation that should be made. It treated crime as a mode of
incurring liability; entitled the sufferer, or, if he was murdered,
his _fine_, to bring the matter before a brehon, who, on hearing the
case, made the complicated calculations and adjustments rendered
necessary by the facts proved and by the grades to which the
respective parties belonged, arrived at and gave judgment for the
amount of the compensation, armed with which judgment, the plaintiff
could immediately distrain for that amount the property of the
criminal, and, in his default, that of his _fine_. The _fine_ could
escape part of its liability by arresting and giving up the convict,
or by expelling him and giving substantial security against his
future misdeeds.

From the number of elements that entered into the calculation of a
fine, it necessarily resulted that like fines by no means followed
like crimes. Fines, like all other payments, were adjudged and paid
in kind, being, in some cases of the destruction of property,
generic--a quantity of that kind of property. Large fines were
usually adjudged to be paid in three species, one-third in each, the
plaintiff taking care to inform correctly the brehon of the kinds of
property the defendant possessed, because he could seize only that
named, and if the defendant did not possess it, the judgment was "a
blind nut." Crime against the State or community, such as wilful
disturbance of an assembly, was punished severely. These were the
only cases to which the law attached a sentence of death or other
corporal punishment. For nothing whatsoever between parties did the
law recognize any duty of revenge, retaliation, or the infliction of
personal punishment, but only the payment of compensation. Personal
punishment was regarded as the commission of a second crime on
account of a first. There was no duty to do this; but the right to do
it was tacitly recognized if a criminal resisted or evaded payment of
an adjudged compensation. Criminal were distinguished from civil
cases only by the moral element, the sufferer's right in all cases to
choose a brehon, the loss of _eineachlann_, partial or whole
according to the magnitude of the crime, the elements used in
calculating the amount of fine, and the technical terms employed.
_Dire_ (djeereh) was a general name for a fine, and there were
specific names for classes of fines. _Eric_ = reparation, redemption,
was the fine for killing a human being, the amount being affected by
the distinction between murder and manslaughter and by other
circumstances; but in no case was a violent death, however innocent,
allowed to pass without reparation being made. A fine was awarded out
of the property of the convict or of his _fine_ to the _fine_ of the
person slain, in the proportions in which they were entitled to
inherit his property, that being also according to their degrees of
kinship and the degrees in which they were really sufferers. This
gave every clan and every clansman, in addition to their moral
interest, a direct monetary interest in the prevention and
suppression of crime. Hence the whole public feeling of the country
was entirely in support of the law, the honor and interest of
community and individual being involved in its maintenance. The
injured person or _fine_, if unable to recover the fine, might, in
capital cases, seize and enslave, or even kill, the convict. Probably
restrained by the fact that, there being no officers of criminal law,
they had to inflict punishment themselves, they sometimes imprisoned
a convict in a small island, or sent him adrift on the sea in a
_currach_ or boat of hide. Law supported by public opinion, powerful
because so inspired, powerful because unanimous, was difficult to
evade or resist. It so strongly armed an injured person, and so
utterly paralyzed a criminal, that escape from justice was hardly
possible. The only way in which it was possible was by flight,
leaving all one's property behind, and sinking into slavery in a
strange place; and this in effect was a severe punishment rather than
an escape.

FOREIGN LAW. The Danes and other Norsemen were the buccaneers of
northwestern Europe from the eighth to the eleventh century. They
conquered and settled permanently in Neustria, from them called
Normandy, and conquered and ruled for a considerable time England and
part of Scotland and the Isles. In Ireland they were little more than
marauders, having permanent colonies only round the coast; always
subject, nominally at least, to the _ard-ri_ or to the local chief;
paying him tribute when he was strong, raiding his territory when he
was weak, and fomenting recurrent disorder highly prejudicial to law,
religion, and civilization. They never made any pretence of extending
their laws to Ireland, and their attempt to conquer the country was
finally frustrated at Clontarf in 1014.

The Anglo-Norman invaders also seized the seaports. The earlier of
them who went inland partially adopted in the second generation the
Gaelic language, laws, and customs; as many non-Celtic Lowlanders of
Scotland about the same period adopted the Gaelic language, laws, and
customs of the Highlanders. Hence they did not make much impression
on the Gaelic system, beyond the disintegrating effect of their
imperfect adoption of it.

Into the eastern parts of Ireland, however, a fresh stream of English
adventurers continued to flow, as aggressive and covetous as their
means and prudence permitted; calling so much of the country as they
were able to wrench from the Irish "the English Pale", which
fluctuated in extent with their fortunes; and, when compelled to pay
tribute to Irish chiefs, calling it "black rent", to indicate how
they regarded it. Their greatest difficulty was to counteract the
tendency of the earlier colonists to become Hibernicized--a most
unwilling tribute to the superiority of the Irish race. They, and
still more those in England who supported them, knew nothing of the
Irish language, laws, and institutions but that they should all be
impartially hated, uprooted, and supplanted by English people and
everything English as soon as means enabled this to be done. This was
the amiable purpose of the pompously-named "Statute of Kilkenny",
passed by about a score of these colonists in 1367. Presuming to
speak in the name of Ireland, the statute prohibited the English
colonists from becoming Irish in the numerous ways they were
accustomed to do, and excluded all Irish priests from preferment in
the Church, partly because their superior virtue would by contrast
amount to a censure. The purpose was not completely successful even
within the Pale. Outside that precinct, the mass of the Irish were
wholly unconscious of the existence of the "Statute of Kilkenny." But
expressing, as the statute did correctly, the views of fresh
adventurers, it became, in arrogance and in the pretension to speak
for the whole of Ireland, a model for their future legislation and

Under King Henry VI. of England, Richard, Duke of York, being Lord
Deputy, the Parliament of the Pale, assembled in Dublin, repudiated
the authority of the English Parliament in Ireland, established a
mint, and assumed an attitude of almost complete independence. On the
other hand, in 1494, under Henry VII., the Parliament of the Pale,
assembled at Drogheda, passed Poyning's Act, extending all English
laws to Ireland and subjecting all laws passed in Ireland to revision
by the English Council. This, extended to the whole of Ireland as
English power extended, remained in force until 1782. Henry VIII. was
the first English sovereign to take practical measures for the
pacific and diplomatic conquest of the whole of Ireland and the
substitution of English for Irish institutions and methods. His
daughter, Queen Elizabeth, continued and completed the conquest; but
it was by drenching the country in blood, by more than decimating the
Irish people, and by reducing the remnant to something like the
condition of the ancient _fuidre_. Her policy prepared the ground for
her successor, James I., to exterminate the Irish from large tracts,
in which he planted Englishmen and Scotchmen, and to extend all
English laws to Ireland and abolish all other laws. James's English
attorney-general in Ireland, Sir John Davies, in his work, _A
Discoverie of the True Causes, etc._, says:

"For there is no nation of people under the sunne that doth love
equall and indifferent [= impartial] justice better than the Irish;
or will rest better satisfied with the execution thereof, although it
bee against themselves; so as they may have the protection and
benefit of the law, when uppon just cause they do desire it."

The ancient Irish loved their laws and took pride in obeying and
enforcing them. The different attitude of the modern Irish towards
foreign laws and administration is amply explained by the morally
indefensible character of those laws and that administration, to be
read in English statutes and ordinances and in the history of English
rule in Ireland--a subject too vast and harrowing, and in every sense
foreign to what has gone before, to be entered upon here. Though the
Parliament of 1782-1800 was little more than a Pale Parliament, in
which the mass of the Irish people had no representation whatever,
one of its Acts, to its credit be it said, was an attempt to mitigate
the Penal Laws and emancipate the oppressed Gaelic and Catholic
population of Ireland. With the partial exception of that brief
interval, law in Ireland has, during the last 360 years, meant
English laws specially enacted for the destruction of any Irish trade
or industry that entered into competition with a corresponding
English trade or industry. In later times those crude barbarities
have been gradually superseded by the more defensible laws now in
force in Ireland, all of which can be studied in statutes passed by
the Parliament, since the Union with Scotland, called British.


Pending the desirable work of a more competent Brehon Law Commission
and translators, the subject must be studied in the six volumes of
_Ancient Laws of Ireland_, produced by the first Commission, from
1865 to 1901, ignoring the long introductions and many of the notes.
Whitley Stokes: Criticism of Atkinson's Glossary (London, 1903); R.
Dareste: Etudes d'histoire de droit (Paris, 1889); d'Arbois de
Jubainville and Paul Collinet: Etudes sur le droit celtique, 2 vols.
(Paris, 1895); Joyce: Social History of Ancient Ireland, 2 vols.
(London, 1913); Laurence Ginnell: The Brehon Laws (London, 1894).


By W.H. GRATTAN FLOOD, Mus. D., M.R.I.A., K.S.G.

Perhaps nothing so strikingly brings home the association of Ireland
with music as the fact that the harp is emblazoned on the national
arms. Ireland, "the mother of sweet singers", as Pope writes;
Ireland, "where", according to St. Columcille, "the clerics sing like
the birds"; Ireland can proudly point to a musical history of over
2,000 years. The Milesians, the De Dananns, and other pre-Christian
colonists were musical. Hecataeus (B.C. 540-475) describes the Celts
of Ireland as singing songs to the harp in praise of Apollo, and
Aethicus of Istria, a Christian philosopher of the early fourth
century, describes the culture of the Irish. Certain it is that, even
before the coming of St. Patrick, the Irish were a highly cultured
nation, and the national Apostle utilized music and song in his work
of conversion. In the early Lives of the Irish Saints musical
references abound, and the Irish school of music attracted foreign
scholars from the sixth to the ninth century.

Hymnologists are familiar with the hymns written by early Irish
saints and laics, _e.g._, St. Sechnall, St. Columcille, St. Molaise,
St. Cuchuimne, St. Columbanus, St. Ultan, St. Colman, St. Cummain,
St. Aengus, Dungal, Sedulius, Moengal, and others. Who has not heard
of the great music school of San Gallen, founded by St. Gall, "the
wonder and delight of Europe," whither flocked German students? One
of the Irish monks, Tuathal (Tutilo), composed numerous sacred
pieces, including the famous farced Kyrie, "Fons bonitatis", included
in the Vatican edition of the _Kyriale_ (1906). Not alone did Irish
monks propagate sacred and secular music throughout France, Italy,
Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and the far North, but they made their
influence felt In Lindisfarne, Malmesbury, Glastonbury, and other
cities in England, as also in Scotland. St. Aldhelm, one of the
pupils of St. Maeldubh, tells us that at the close of the seventh
century, "Ireland, synonymous with learning, literally blazed like
the stars of the firmament with the glory of her scholars."

During the ninth century we meet with twelve different forms of
instruments in use by the Irish, namely:--the _Cruit_ and
_Clairseach_ (small and large harp); _Timpan_ (_Rotta_ or bowed
_cruit_); _Buinne_ (oboe or bassoon); _Bennbuabhal_ and _Corn_
(horn); _Cuisleanna_ and _Piob_ (bagpipes); _Feadan_ (flute or fife);
_Guthbuinne_ (bass horn); _Stoc_ and _Sturgan_ (trumpet); _Pipai_
(single and double pipes); _Craoibh cuil_ and _Crann cuil_
(cymbalum); _Cnamha_ (castanet); and _Fidil_ (fiddle). The so-called
"Brian Boru's Harp" really dates from the thirteenth century, and is
now in Trinity College, Dublin, but there are numerous sculptured
harps of the ninth and tenth centuries on the crosses at Graig,
Ullard, Clonmacnois, Durrow, and Monasterboice.

Donnchadh, an Irish bishop of the ninth century, who died as abbot of
St. Remigius, wrote a commentary on Martianus Capella, a well-known
musical text book. Towering above all his fellows, John Scotus
Erigena, in 867, wrote a tract _De Divisione Naturae_, in which he
expounds _organum_ or discant, nearly a hundred years before the
appearance of the _Scholia Enchiriadis_ and the _Musica Enchiriadis_.
He also wrote a commentary on Martianus Capella, now in a Paris MS.
of the ninth century.

The eulogy of Giraldus Cambrensis, or Gerald Barry, who came to
Ireland in 1183, on Irish harpers and minstrels is too well known to
be repeated, but Brompton and John of Salisbury are equally
enthusiastic. Ground bass, or pedal point, and singing in parts, as
well as bands of harpers and pipers, were in vogue in Ireland before
the coming of the English. Dante, quoted by Galilei, testifies to the
fact that Italy received the harp from Ireland; and, it may be added,
the Irish harp suggested the pianoforte. In the Anglo-Norman ballad,
"The Entrenchment of New Ross"--in 1265--allusion is made to pipes
and flutes, and carols and dancing. Another poem, dating from about
1320, refers to Irish dances in a flattering manner.

John Garland (1190-1264) wrote a treatise on _Organum_, and outlined
a scheme of dividing the interval, which developed into
ornamentation, passing notes, and grace notes. The Dublin _Troper_ of
the thirteenth century has a number of farced Kyries and Glorias,
also a collection of Sequences. A Dublin _Processionale_ of the
fourteenth century contains the most elaborate form of the _Officium
Sepulchri_, with musical notation on a four-line stave--the
foundation of the Miracle Play of the Resurrection. Another Dublin
_Troper_ dates from 1360 and was used in St. Patrick's Cathedral. It
contains the hymn, "Angelus ad Virginem", alluded to by Chaucer. The
Christ Church Psaltery, about 1370, has musical notation and is
exquisitely illuminated. Lionel Power, an Anglo-Irishman, wrote the
first English treatise on music in 1395. Exactly a century later, in
1495, a music school was founded in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.

The Irish Annals of the thirteenth to the fifteenth century have
numerous references to distinguished harpers and singers, and there
are still sung many beautiful airs of this period, including "The
Coulin" and "Eibhlin a ruin." John Lawless was a famous Irish
organ-builder of the second half of the fifteenth century, and his
successor, James Dempsey, built many fine organs between the years
1530 and 1565.

Notwithstanding the many penal enactments against Irish minstrels,
all the great Anglo-Irish nobles of the Pale retained an Irish harper
and piper in their service. Under date of 1480, we find Chief Justice
Bermingham having an Irish harper to teach his family, as also "to
harp and to dance." A century later "Blind Cruise, the
harper"--Richard Cruise--composed a lamentation song on the fall of
the Baron of Slane, the air of which is still popular. It is to the
credit of the Irishman, William Bathe (who subsequently became a
Jesuit), that he wrote the first printed English treatise on music,
published in 1584--thus ante-dating by thirteen years Morley's work.
Bathe wrote a second musical treatise in 1587, and he was the first
to call measures by the name of bars. He also formulated methods of
transposition and sight reading that may still be studied with

Thomas Campion, the poet and composer, was born in Dublin in 1567,
but spent nearly all his life in England. Other Irish composers, to
mention only the most distinguished, were William Costello
(madrigalist), Richard Gillie, Edward Shergold, and Walter Kennedy.
Strange as it may seem, Queen Elizabeth retained in her service an
Irish harper, Cormac MacDermot, from 1591 to 1603, and on the death
of the queen he was given an annual pension of L46 10s. 10d.--nearly
L500 a year of our present money.

Shakespeare refers to eleven Irish tunes, of which the famous
"Callino Casturame" (_Cailin og a stuir me_) is still fresh. Irish
dances were extremely popular at the English court from 1600 to 1603
and were introduced into the Masks. Shakespeare's "intrinsic friend,"
John Dowland of Dublin, was one of the greatest lutenists in Europe
from 1590 to 1626. In the dedication of a song "to my loving
countryman, Mr. John Foster the Younger, merchant of Dublin in
Ireland," Dowland sufficiently indicates his nationality, and his
compositions betray all the charm and grace of Irish melody. It is of
interest to add that the earliest printed "Irish Dance" is in
_Parthenia Inviolata_, of which work, published in 1613-4, there is
only one copy known--now in the New York Public Library. From
1600-1602, Charles O'Reilly was harpist to the court of Denmark at
200 thalers a year. His successor was Donal _Dubh_ ("the black")
O'Cahill (1602-1610), who followed Anne of Denmark to the English
court. Walter Quin of Dublin was music master to King James's eldest
son, Prince Henry, from 1608 to 1611. Other noted harpers of the
first half of the seventeenth century are: Rory _dall_ ("the blind")
O'Cahan; Nicholas _dall_ Pierce; Tadhg MacRory; John, Rory, and Henry
Scott; Owen MacKeenan; Owen MacDermot; Tadhg O'Coffey; and Father
Robert Nugent, S.J. Darby Scott was harper to the Danish Court from
1621 till his death, at Copenhagen, on December 19, 1634. Pierce
Ferriter, a "gentleman harper", was executed at Killarney in 1652.
Myles O'Reilly and the two Connellans were famous harpers between the
years 1660-1680. Evelyn, the English diarist, in 1668, praises the
excellent performance on the harp of Sir Edward Sutton, who, in the
following year, was granted by King Charles II. the lands of Confey,
Co. Kildare. Two beautiful harps of this period are still
preserved--the Fitzgerald Harp and the Fogarty Harp.

There are many exquisite airs of the seventeenth century, some of
which have been incorporated in Moore's _Irish Melodies_. The titles
of several airs of this epoch are of historical interest, _e.g._,
"Sarsfield's Lament," "Lament for Owen Roe O'Neill," "MacAlistrum's
March," "Ned of the Hill," "The Breach of Aughrim," "Limerick's
Lamentation," "Lilliburlero," "Ballinamona," "The Boyne Water," and
"The Wild Geese." Irish tunes abound in the various editions of
Playford's _Country Dances_ from 1651 to 1720.

Turlogh O'Carolan (1670-1738), who has been styled "the last of the
Irish bards", wrote and composed innumerable songs, also Planxties,
Plearacas, and Lamentations. It is here merely necessary to note that
twenty-six of O'Carolan's airs are included in Moore's _Irish
Melodies_, although his claim to them has only recently been proved
by the present writer. Goldsmith's eulogy of O'Carolan is well known.

The Jacobite period from 1710 to 1750 considerably influenced Irish
minstrelsy, and some of the most delightful airs were adapted to
Jacobite lyrics. "Seaghan buidhe," "An Sean duine," "Lament for
Kilcash," "Ormonde's Lament," "Morin ni Chullenain," "All the Way to
Galway" (the air of "Yankee Doodle"), "Caitlin ni Houlihan," "Balance
a straw" ("The Wearing of the Green"), "St. Patrick's Day," "Plancam
Peirbhig," are amongst the tunes in vogue at this period.

As early as 1685 the Hibernian Catch Club was established and still
flourishes. Cecilian celebrations were held from 1727 to 1732, and a
Dublin Academy of Music was founded in 1728. The Charitable and
Musical Society (founded in 1723) built the Fishamble Street Music
Hall in 1741, and assisted at the first performance of _The Messiah_,
conducted by Handel himself, on 13th April, 1742. Kitty Clive, Peg
Woffington, and Daniel Sullivan were noted Irish singers of this
epoch, while John Clegg, Dr. Murphy, and Burke Thumoth were famous
instrumentalists. In 1741 Richard Pockrich invented the Musical
Glasses, for which Gluck wrote some pieces: it was afterwards
improved by Benjamin Franklin. On the continent, Henry Madden was
music director of the Chapel Royal at Versailles in 1744 (in
succession to Campra), and was also canon of St. Quentin.

In 1764 the Earl of Mornington, Mus. D., was appointed first
professor of music in Dublin University. A few years later Charles
Clagget invented the valve-horn. Michael Kelly of Dublin was
specially selected by Mozart to create the parts of Basilio and Don
Curzio at the first performance of the opera of _Figaro_, on May 1st,
1786. Kane O'Hara, Samuel Lee, Owenson, Neale, Baron Dillon, Dr.
Doyle, T.A. Geary, Mahon, and the Earl of Westmeath were
distinguished musicians--while the fame of Carter, Mountain,
Moorehead, and Dr. Cogan was not confined to Ireland.

Among native minstrels, Jerome Duigenan, Dominic Mongan, Denis
Hempson, Charles Byrne, James Duncan, Arthur Victory, and Arthur
O'Neill were celebrated as harpers. The Belfast meeting of 1792
revived the vogue of the national instrument. Nor was the bagpipe
neglected. Even in America, in 1778, Lord Rawdon had a band of
pipers, with Barney Thomson as Pipe Major. At home, Sterling,
Jackson, MacDonnell, Moorehead, Kennedy, and Macklin sustained the
reputation of this ancient instrument.

Ere the close of the eighteenth century John Field of Dublin was a
distinguished pianist. He subsequently (1814) invented the nocturne,
developed by Chopin. Sir John Stevenson (the arranger of the _Irish
Melodies_), Tom Cooke, William Southwell (inventor of the damper
action for pianofortes), Henry Mountain, Andrew Ashe (flautist),
Barton, Rooke, and Bunting were world-famed.

Among the Irish musicians of the last century the following names are
typical: Thomas Moore, J. A. Wade, Balle (_Bohemian Girl_), Wallace
(_Maritana_), Osborne, Sir Frederick Ouseley, Scotson Clarke, Howard
Glover, Horncastle, J. W. Glover, Sir Robert Stewart, Augusta Holmes,
R. M. Levey, Joseph Robinson, Forde, Lover, Kearns, Allen, Barker,
Torrance, Molloy, Guernsey, Gilmore, Thunder, Harvey, Goodman, Sir
Arthur Sullivan (_Pinafore, Mikado_), Miss Davis, Halliday (inventor
of the Kent bugle), Latham, Duggan, Gaskin, Lacy, Pontet
(Piccolomini), Hudson, Pigot, Horan, Marks, and W. C. Levey. Famous
vocalists like Catherine Hayes, Mrs. Scott Fennell, Signer Foli
(Foley), Barton McGuckin, Denis O'Sullivan, and William Ludwig
deserve inclusion.

In our own day, it is only necessary to mention composers like Sir
Charles Villiers Stanford, Dr. C. Woods, Victor Herbert, Mrs.
Needham, Dr. Sinclair, Norman O'Neill, and Arthur O'Leary; singers
like Egan, Burke, Plunket Greene, John MacCormack, P. O'Shea, Charles
Manners, and Joseph O'Mara; violinists like Maud McCarthy, Emily
Keady, Arthur Darley, and Patrick Delaney; organists like Dr. Charles
Marchant, Brendan Rogers, Dr. Joze, and Professor Buck; writers like
Mrs. Curwen, Dr. Annie Patterson, Mrs. Milligan Fox, Professor
Mahaffy, A.P. Graves, Dr. Collison, and G.B. Shaw; and conductors
like Hamilton Harty and James Glover.


Walker: Irish Bards (1786); O'Curry: Lectures (1870); Hardiman: Irish
Mistrelsy (2 vols., 1834); The Complete Petrie Collection (3 vols.,
1902-1904); Grattan Flood: History of Irish Music (3rd ed., 1913),
Story of the Harp (1906), Story of the Bagpipe (1911); Mrs. Milligan
Fox: Annals of the Irish Harpers (1911); Mason: Song Lore of Ireland
(1910); Armstrong: Musical Instruments (2 vols., 1904-1908); O'Neill:
Irish Folk Music (1911), Irish Minstrels and Musicians (1913).



From the earliest times in the history of western Europe Ireland has
been renowned for her work in metal. The first metal used was copper,
and copper weapons are found in Ireland dating from 2,000 B.C., or
even earlier, the beautiful designs of which show that the early
inhabitants of the country were skilled workers in metal. Fields of
copper exist all along the southern seaboard of Ireland. Numbers of
flat copper celts, or axes, have been found modelled on the still
earlier stone implements. By degrees the influence of the early stone
axe disappears and axes of a true metal type are developed. Primitive
copper knives and awls are also abundant. The fineness of the early
Irish copper work is seen at its best in the numerous copper halberd
blades found in Ireland. These blades, varying from nine to sixteen
inches in length, were fastened at right angles by rivets into wooden
shafts. The blades show a slight sickle-like curve and are of the
highest workmanship. Halberds somewhat similar in type have been
found in Spain, North Germany, and Scandinavia.

Between the years 2000 and 1800 B.C. the primitive metalworkers
discovered that bronze, a mixture of tin and copper, was a more
suitable metal than pure copper for the manufacture of weapons; and
the first period of the bronze age may be dated from 1800 to 1500
B.C. The bronze celts at first differed little from those made of
copper, but gradually the type developed from the plain wedge-shaped
celt to the beautiful socketed celt, which appears on the scene in
the last, or fifth, division of the bronze age (900-350 B.C.). It was
during the age of bronze that spears came into general use, as did
the sword and rapier. The early spear-heads were simply knife-shaped
bronze weapons riveted to the ends of shafts, but by degrees the
graceful socketed spear-heads of the late bronze age were developed.

Stone moulds for casting the early forms of weapons have been found,
but, as the art of metalworking became perfected, the use of sand
moulds was discovered, with the result that there are no extant
examples of moulds for casting the more developed forms of weapons.
The bronze weapons--celts, swords, and spear-heads--are often highly
decorated. In these decorations can be traced the connection between
the early Irish civilization and that of the eastern Mediterranean.
The bronze age civilization in Europe spread westward from the
eastern Mediterranean either by the southern route of Italy, Spain,
France, and thence to Ireland, or, as seems more probable, up the
river Danube, then down the Elbe, and so to Scandinavia, whence
traders by the north of Scotland introduced the motives and patterns
of the Aegean into Ireland. Whichever way the eastern civilization
penetrated into Ireland, it left England practically untouched in her
primitive barbarity.

Of gold work, for which Ireland is especially famous, the principal
feature in the bronze age was the lunula, a crescent-shaped flat gold
ornament generally decorated at the ends of the crescent. These
lunulae are found in profusion all over Ireland. A few have been
found in Cornwall and Brittany, and a few in Scotland and Denmark.
One has been found in Luxemburg and one in Hanover.

Gold collars are numerous in Ireland and also date from the bronze
age. The earliest form of collar is the "torc" of twisted gold.
Another type, later in date than the torc, is the gold ring-shaped
collar. Two splendid examples of this latter type were found at
Clonmacnois, the decoration of which, in _La Tene_, or trumpet,
pattern, shows the connection between the Irish and continental

A find of prehistoric gold ornaments in county Clare should be
mentioned. An immense number was there discovered in 1854 hidden
together in a cist, the value of the whole being estimated at over

After the bronze age comes the iron age. The introduction of iron
wrought a great change in metalworking, but, as iron is a metal very
subject to oxidization, comparatively few early iron remains are
found. There are some swords of an early pattern in the National
Museum at Dublin.

It has been shown that the pre-Christian metalwork of Ireland is well
worthy of attention, but it is to the early Christian metalworkers
that Ireland owes her pre-eminent fame in this field. In early
Christian Ireland metalworking was brought to a pitch rarely equalled
and never excelled. The remains found, such as the Tara Brooch, the
Cross of Cong, and the Ardagh Chalice, are among the most beautiful
metalwork in the world. The wonderful interlaced patterns, which are
typically Celtic, bewildering in their intricacy, and fascinating in
the freedom and boldness of their execution, lend themselves readily
to metal work.

The connecting link between the metalwork of the late pagan period
and that of early Christian times is chiefly exemplified by the
penannular brooches, of which great numbers have been found in
Ireland. Examples of this characteristically Celtic ornament may be
seen in all Celtic countries.

In its earliest form this brooch is simply a ring, with a gap in it,
to which a pin is loosely attached by a smaller ring. Gradually the
open ends of the ring, which need some enlargement in order to
prevent the pin slipping off, became larger and ornamented. In time
these became regular trumpet-shaped ends, generally ornamented with
characteristic "trumpet" patterns. The next stage was to close the
gap, leaving a ring with a crescent-shaped disc at one side. Space
does not permit of the description of the numerous brooches found. It
will be sufficient to describe the Tara Brooch, which is the crowning
glory not only of the Irish but of any metalworker's art.

The Tara Brooch, whose only connection with Tara is its name, was
found near Drogheda; it is about seven inches in diameter and the pin
about fifteen inches long. It is made of bronze covered with the most
elaborate interlaced ornament in gold. The fineness of the interlaced
work may be compared with, and is quite equal to, that of the best
illuminated manuscripts; the freedom of its execution is amazing.
Besides panels of ribbon ornament, which include spirals, plaited
work, human heads, and animal forms, the front of the brooch is
decorated with enamel and settings of amber and colored glass. The
back of the brooch is, as is often the case in Irish work, decorated
in a bolder manner than the front, and the "trumpet" pattern is there
very marked. The head of the pin is also elaborately decorated. The
minute and intricate style of the work is strikingly shown by the
fact that, even after prolonged study, some patterns escaped notice
and have only lately been discovered. Further, each of the gold lines
is made of tiny gold balls, so small as only to be seen by means of a
magnifying glass.

With the introduction of Christianity, the attention of artificers
was turned to the manufacture of church vessels and shrines. Of these
perhaps the most beautiful are the Ardagh Chalice, the Cross of Cong,
and the Shrine of St. Patrick's Bell, though great numbers of other
sacred ornaments, such as the Shrine of St. Lactan's Arm and the
numerous bell shrines, are also fine examples of the work of an
unsurpassed school of metalworkers.

The date of the Tara Brooch is not easy to determine, but it may
probably be placed in the eighth century of our era. The Ardagh
Chalice belongs probably to about the same date. It was found in a
rath at Ardagh, county Limerick, in 1868. It measures 7 inches in
height and 9-1/2 in diameter. Around the cup is a band of fine
filigree interlaced ornament in the form of panels divided by half
beads of enamel. Below this are the names of the twelve Apostles in
faint Celtic lettering. The two handles are beautifully decorated
with panels of interwoven ornament, and on the sides are two circular
discs divided into ornamented panels. The under side of the foot of
the Chalice is also very beautifully decorated.

The shrines of the bells of the Irish saints are interesting examples
of Irish metal work. As is fitting, the finest of these is the Shrine
of St. Patrick's Bell. This was made by order of King Domnall
O'Lachlainn between the years 1091 and 1105 to contain St. Patrick's
Bell, a square iron bell made of two plates of sheet iron riveted
together. The shrine is made of bronze plates, to which gold filigree
work and stones are riveted. The top of the shrine, curved to receive
the handle of the bell, is of silver elaborately decorated. The back
is overlaid with a plate of silver cut in cruciform pattern. Around
the margin of the back is engraved the following inscription in
Irish: "A prayer for Domnall Ua Lachlainn, by whom this bell [shrine]
was made, and for Domnall, successor of Patrick, by whom it was made,
and for Cathalan Ua Maelchallann, the keeper of the bell, and for
Cudulig Ua Inmainen with his sons, who fashioned it." The whole is
executed in a very fine manner and is the most beautiful object of
its kind in existence. Another beautiful shrine, known as the Cross
of Cong, made to enshrine a piece of the true cross presented by the
pope in 1123, was made for King Turlogh O'Conor at about that date.
It is 2 feet 6 inches high and 1 foot 6-3/4 inches wide. It is made
of oak cased with copper and enriched with ornaments of gilded
bronze. The ornamentation is of the typical Irish type, as on the
Ardagh Chalice and the Shrine of St. Patrick's Bell. A quartz crystal
set in the centre of the front of the cross probably held the relic.

It is clear from the succession of beautiful work executed from the
eighth to the twelfth century, that there must have existed in
Ireland during that period a school of workers in metal such as has
seldom been equalled by any individual worker or guild before or
since, and never excelled. The examples described are only the more
famous of the remains of early Irish Christian art in metal, but they
are surrounded by numerous examples of pins, brooches, and shrines,
each worthy to rank with the finest productions of the metalworker.
The Shrine of St. Moedoc (date uncertain) ought perhaps to be
mentioned. On it are found several figures, including three nuns, men
with books, sceptres, and swords, and a lifelike figure of a harper.

Besides articles of ornament, articles of use, such as bits for
horses and household utensils, have been found, which show that the
Irish smiths were as well able to produce articles for every-day use
as the artificers were to create works of art in metal.

With the landing of the English in 1169 the arts and sciences in
Ireland declined. Indeed, from that time on and for long afterwards,
almost the only metalworkers needed were makers of arms and weapons
of offense and defense.


British Museum, Bronze Age Guide; Coffey: Bronze Age in Ireland;
Allen: Celtic Art; Abercrombie: Bronze Age Pottery; Wilde: Catalogue
of the Royal Irish Academy's Collection; Allen: Christian Symbolism;
Stokes: Christian Art in Ireland; Petrie: Ecclesiastical Architecture
in Ireland; Coffey: Guide to the Celtic Antiquities of the Christian
Period perserved in the National Museum, Dublin; Kane: Industrial
Resources of Ireland; O'Curry: Manners and Customs of the Ancient
Irish; Coffey: New Grange and other incised Tumuli in Ireland;
Dechelette: Manuel d'Archeologie pre-historique; Ridgeway: Origin of
Currency and Weight Standards.



In the dark ages of Europe, whilst new civilizations were in the
making and all was unrest, art and religion, like the lamp of the
sanctuary, burned brightly and steadily in Ireland, and their rays
penetrated the outer gloom. Scattered through the libraries of Europe
are the priceless manuscripts limned by Irish scribes. The earliest
missionaries to the continent, disciples of St. Columbanus and St.
Gall, doubtless brought with them into exile beautiful books which
they or their brothers of the parent monastery had wrought in a labor
of love; or mayhap many a monk crossed the seas bearing the treasured
volumes into hiding from the spoiling hands of the Dane. Yet,
fortunately, in the island home where their beauty was born the most
superb volumes still remain.

From almost prehistoric times the Irish were skilled artificers in
gold and bronze, and, at the advent of Christianity, had already
evolved and perfected that unique system of geometrical ornament
which is known as Celtic design. The original and essential features
of this system consisted in the use of spirals and interlacing
strapwork, but later on this type was developed by transforming the
geometrical fret into a scheme of imaginary or nondescript animals,
portions of which, such as the tails and ears, were prolonged and
woven in exquisite fancy through the border. The artistic features of
Celtic book decoration consist chiefly of initial letters of this
nature embellished with color. Amongst the ancient Irish there was a
keen knowledge of color and an exceptional appreciation of color
values. Thus it was that in the early centuries of Christian Ireland
the learned monks, transcribing the Gospels and longing to make the
book beautiful, were able to bring to their task an artistic skill
which was hereditary and almost instinctive. The colors which they
used were mostly derived from mineral substances and the black was
carbon, made, it is conjectured, from charred fish-bones; but with
them was combined some gummy material which made them cling softly to
the vellum and has held for us their lustre for more than a thousand
years. It is noteworthy that neither gold nor silver was used for
book decoration, and this would appear to be a deliberate avoidance
of the glitter and glare which distinguish eastern art.

_The Book of Durrow _(in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin) is
the oldest specimen of Celtic illumination and, if not the work of
St. Columcille, is certainly of as early a date. Each of the Gospels
opens with a beautiful initial succeeded by letters of gradually
diminishing size, and there are full page decorations embodying such
subjects as the symbols of the Evangelists. The colors are rich and
vivid and all the designs are of the purest and most Celtic

_The Gospels of MacRegol _(now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford) is
the work of an Abbot of Birr who died A.D. 820. It is a volume of
unusually large size, copiously ornamented with masterly designs and
containing illuminated portraits of Saints Mark, Luke, and John. The
first part of the book with the portrait of St. Matthew is missing.
_The Book of Kells _(in the Library of T.C.D.) is the all-surpassing
masterpiece of Celtic illuminative art and is acknowledged to be the
most beautiful book in the world. This copy of the four Gospels was
long deemed to have been made by the saintly hands of Columcille,
though it probably belongs to the eighth century. Into its pages are
woven such a wealth of ornament, such an ecstasy of art, and such a
miracle of design that the book is today not only one of Ireland's
greatest glories but one of the world's wonders. After twelve
centuries the ink is as black and lustrous and the colors are as
fresh and soft as though but the work of yesterday. The whole range
of colors is there--green, blue, crimson, scarlet, yellow, purple,
violet--and the same color is at times varied in tone and depth and
shade, thereby achieving a more exquisite combination and effect. In
addition to the numerous decorative pages and marvellous initials,
there are portraits of the Evangelists and full-page miniatures of
the Temptation of Christ, His Seizure by the Jews, and the Madonna
and Child surrounded by Angels with censers. Exceptionally beautiful
are these angels and other angelic figures throughout the book, their
wings shining with glowing colors amid woven patterns of graceful
design. The portraits and miniatures and the numerous faces centred
in initial letters are not to be adjudged by the standard of
anatomical drawing and delineation of the human figure, but rather by
their effect as part of a scheme of ornamentation; for the Celtic
illuminator was imaginative rather than realistic, and aimed
altogether at achieving beauty by means of color and design. The Book
of Kells is the Mecca of the illuminative artist, but it is the
despair of the copyist. The patience and skill of the olden scribe
have baffled the imitator; for, on an examination with a magnifying
glass, it has been found that, in a space of a quarter of an inch,
there are no fewer than a hundred and fifty-eight interlacements of a
ribbon pattern of white lines edged by black ones on a black ground.
Surely this is the manuscript which was shown to Giraldus Cambrensis
towards the close of the twelfth century and of whose illuminations
he speaks with glowing enthusiasm; "they were," he says, "supposed to
have been produced by the direction of an angel at the prayer of St.

_The Gospels of MacDurnan _(now in the Archbishop's Library at
Lambeth) is a small and beautiful volume which was executed by an
abbot of Armagh who died in the year 891. A full-page picture of the
Evangelist precedes each Gospel, and a composite border frames each
miniature in a bewildering pattern of intertwining strapwork and
wonderful designs of imaginary beasts. Ornamental capitals and rich
borders give a special beauty to the initial pages of the Gospels.

_The Book of Armagh _(in the Library of T.C.D.) was carefully guarded
and specially venerated through the ages in the erroneous belief that
it was in part the handiwork of St. Patrick. It was written about the
year 800, and would appear to have been copied from documents
actually written by the patron saint of Ireland. The book is
exceptionally interesting by reason of the fact that it contains St.
Patrick's Confession, that beautiful story of how he found his
mission, how the captive grew to love his captors, and how, after his
escape, he came back to them bearing the lamp of Holy Faith. Although
the ornamentation of the manuscript is infrequent, there are
occasional beautiful examples which compare in richness with those in
the Book of Kells.

_The Liber Hymnorum _(in the Franciscan Monastery, Dublin) contains a
number of hymns associated with the names of Irish saints. The
ornamentation consists of colored initials, designed with a striking
use of fanciful animal figures interlaced and twined with delightful
freedom around the main structural body.

The _Garland of Howth_ and the _Stowe Missal_ (both in Trinity
College Library) belong to the eighth century and are beautiful
examples of early illuminative art. The former, which is very
incomplete, has only two ornamental pages left, each containing
figure-representations inserted in the decorative work.

The _Gospels of St. Chad_ (in the Cathedral Library at Lichfield) and
the _Gospels of Lindisfarne_, which are "the glory of the British
Museum", form striking examples of the influence of Celtic art. St.
Chad was educated in Ireland in the school of St. Finian, where he
acquired his training in book decoration. The Gospels of Lindisfarne
were produced by the monks of Iona, where St. Columcille founded his
great school of religion, art, and learning. This latter manuscript
is second only to the Book of Kells in its glory of illuminative
design, and, from its distinctive scheme of colors, the tones of
which are light and bright and gay, it forms a contrast to the
quieter shades and the solemn dignity of the more famous volume.

_The Book of the Dun Cow, The Book of Leinster_, and the other great
manuscripts of the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries are
interesting as literature rather than as art, for they tell the
history of ancient Erin and have garnered her olden legends and
romantic tales. It is only the Gospels and other manuscripts of
religious subjects that are illuminated. In the apparel of the
ancient Irish, the number of colors marked the social rank: the king
might wear seven colors, poets and learned men six; five colors were
permitted in the clothes of chieftains, and thus grading down to the
servant, who might wear but one. All this the scribe knew well. We
can picture the humble servant of God, clad in a coarse robe of a
single color, deep in his chosen labor of recording the life and
teachings of his Master, and striving to endow this record with the
glory of the seven colors which were rightly due to a King alone. As
we gaze on his work today its beauty is instinct with life, and the
patient love that gave it birth seems to cling to it still. The white
magic of the artist's holy hands has bridged the span of a thousand


O'Curry: Lectures on the Manuscript Materials of Ancient Irish
History (Dublin, 1861); Brunn: An Enquiry into the Art of the
Illuminated Manuscripts of the Middle Ages, Part I, Celtic
Illuminated Manuscripts (Edinburgh, 1897); Robinson: Celtic
Illuminative Art in the Gospels of Durrow, Lindisfarne, and Kells
(Dublin, 1908); Westwood: The Book of Kells, a lecture given in
Oxford, November, 1886 (Dublin, 1887); Gougaud: Repertoire des
fac-similes des manuscripts irlandais (Paris, 1913).



The ruins of Ireland are her proudest monuments. They stand as a
lasting revelation to all mankind--a distinct and definite
proclamation that the Irish people, century after century, were able
to raise and adorn some of the finest buildings in stone that western
civilization has seen or known. It is recognized the world over that
Irish art has a beauty and distinction all its own, in its own Irish
setting unrivalled, throned in its own land, in its own natural
surroundings. The shrines and gospels, the reliquaries and missals,
the crosses and bells that are still existent, many in Ireland,
others in every country in the world, attest beyond any dispute that
Irish art-workers held a preeminent place in the early middle ages,
and that works of Irish art are still treasured as unique in their
day and time. No country has been plundered and desolated as Ireland
has been. Dane, Norman, English--each in turn swept across the fair
face of Ireland, carrying destruction in their train, yet withal
Ireland has her art treasures and her ruins that bear favorable
comparison with those of other civilizations.

In Dublin and in many private Irish collections can be found
hand-written books of parchment, illuminated with glowing colors that
time has scarce affected or the years caused to fade. On one page
alone of the Book of Kells, ornament and writing can be seen penned
and painted in lines too numerous even to count. They are there by
the thousand: a magnifying glass is required to reveal even a
fragment of them. Ireland produced these in endless number--every
great library or collection in Europe possesses one or more examples.

As with books, so with reliquaries, crosses, and bells. When the
Island of Saints and Scholars could produce books, it could make
shrines and everything necessary to stimulate and hand down the piety
and the patient skill of a people steeped in art-craft and religious
feeling. What they could do on parchment--like the Books of Kells and
Durrow--what they could produce in bronze and precious metals--like
the Cross of Cong, the Shrine of Saint Patrick's Bell, the Tara
Brooch, and the Chalice of Ardagh--not to write of the numberless
bronze and gold articles of an age centuries long preceding their
production--they could certainly vie with in stone.

Of this earlier work a word must go down. In Ireland still at the
present day, after all the years of plunder she has undergone, more
ancient gold art-treasures remain than in any other country, museum,
or collection, most of them pre-Christian, and what the other
countries do possess are largely Irish or of Celtic origin. We must
have this borne into the minds of every one of Irish birth or origin,
that this great treasure was battered into shape by Irish hands on
Irish anvils, designed in Irish studios, ornamented with Irish skill
for Irish use.

With such workmen, having such instincts and training, what of the
housing and surroundings to contain them and give them a fit and
suitable setting? The earliest stone structures in Ireland still
remaining are the great stone cashels or circular walls enclosing
large spaces--walls of great thickness, unmortared, in which there
are vast quantities of masonry. Around their summits a chariot might
be driven, inside their spaces horse races might be run. As a few
examples, there are Staigue, in Kerry; Dun Angus, in Aran, off
Galway; Aileach, above the walls of Derry. Of the earliest churches,
cyclopean in construction and primitive in character, built of stone,
with thick sloping walls from foundation to ridge, Gallerus still
remains, and the Skelligs, those wondrous sea-girt rocks, preserve
both church and cell almost perfect. There are many other examples,
some of a later date, such as Temple Cronan and Maghera and Banagher
in Derry, St. Finan's oratory in county Cork, St. Fechin's at Fore,
and St. Molaise's at Devenish.

From the seventh, eighth, and ninth centuries, there are innumerable
examples of oratories, some with stone roofs, others with roofs not
so permanent, but all having the common features of an altar window
facing the east, through which the sun fell at the beginning of the
day to tell the early missioner that his hour of devotion had
arrived, and a west door, through which the rays of the declining sun
fell across the altar steps, speaking of a day that was closing. A
south window was added close to the east end, and it, too, was a
sun-dial; it told the hour of angelus, the mid-day, when the bell was
rung and a calm reverence fell on all within its hearing. Such
churches can still be seen at Aran and Inismurray, on the islands of
Lough Derg, Lough Ri, and in many other places.

A few years later these oratories were too small for the growing
faith, and larger churches were built, some using the older structure
as chancels. Where the west door was built a circular arch was made
and the new and old united. This can well be seen at Inis-na-ghoill
in Lough Corrib, on the Aran Islands off Galway, at Glendalough, at
Inis-cleraun in Lough Ri, at Clonmacnois, at Iniscaltra, and on many
another island and promontory of the south and west.

During this time, and after, we find the most elaborate carvings on
door and arch and window, equal in skill to what is found in book or
metal work.

It must have been at this time that the Galls, or strangers, first
invaded Ireland, bearing havoc in their train, for then it was that
the _cloicteach_, or Round Towers, were built. It is now admitted by
all Irish authorities of any repute, and that beyond dispute, that
the Round Towers, the glory of Ireland, were built by Irish people as
Christian monuments from which the bells might be rung, and as places
of strength for the preservation of the valued articles used in
Christian worship; here they might be safely stored. They were also
used for the preservation of life in case of sudden attack and
onslaught by unexpected enemies. All the towers are on ecclesiastical
sites, many are incorporated in church buildings, such as those of
Glendalough in Wicklow and Clonmacnois on the Shannon, The records of
the construction of some of them in the tenth and eleventh centuries
are still extant, and this is conclusive. There are today about
seventy Round Towers in Ireland, and many have been destroyed.

      The pillar towers of Ireland, how wondrously they stand
      By the lakes and rushing rivers through the valleys of our land;
      In mystic file, through the isle, they lift their heads sublime,
      These gray old pillar temples--these conquerors of time.

      Here was placed the holy chalice that held the sacred wine,
      And the gold cross from the altar, and the relics from the shrine,
      And the mitre shining brighter with its diamonds than the east,
      And the crozier of the pontiff, and the vestments of the priest.

                                                _D.F. MacCarthy_.

This was the time when the High Crosses of Ireland were carved and
set up. They vie with the Round Towers in interest and in the display
of skill. What the towers have in perfection, masonry and
construction, the crosses have in artistic carving and symbolic
design. No two crosses are alike; they are as varied as the clouds in
an Irish sky or the pebbles on the beach or the flowers in a garden.
They were carved in reverence by those who knew and esteemed their
art, and lavished all their skill and knowledge on what they most
valued and treasured. They were not set up as grave-marks
merely--theirs was a higher and loftier mission. They were raised in
places where some great event or period was to be commemorated--they
were erected where some early disciple of the Cross could stand
beside one of them and from any panel could tell the foundation of
the Faith, for there in stone was story after story, from the Old
Testament and the New, that gave him his text, and so, as at the
Cross of the Scriptures at Clonmacnois, a missioner could preach on
every recurring holy day from Christmas to Christmas, with ever his
text in stone before him. Many a broken and mutilated cross has been
set up in Ireland in recent years, proving that the heart of the
Gael, no matter how rent and broken, is still inclined to bind up the
broken wounds of her past glories.

With the religious orders there came to Ireland a widespread desire
to add something to the older sanctuaries of the Gael, to widen their
borders and strengthen their cords, and so the abbeys were founded.
Here and there we find them still--by winding rivers, on rich
meadows, in glens and glades, by the sea margin, or on the slopes of
the rugged mountain. Their crumbling walls and broken windows can
still be traced, their towers are still to be seen over tree tops and
in the centre of many a slumbering town. By the shores of Donegal Bay
the old Franciscan house, where the Four Masters compiled what is
perhaps the most remarkable record possessed by any nation, is still
clothed in ivy. At Kilconnell, in Galway, their old place is almost
as they left it, but roofless, with the tears of the friars upon the
altar steps. Clare Galway has a tower worth travelling half a
continent to see. By the Boniet River, at Drumahaire, on the banks of
Lough Gill, are the mason marks of the cloister builders, and the
figure of St. Francis talking to the birds is still there. The abbey
is roofless and empty, and so the birds of the air are his constant

Space forbids, or endless abbeys might be described. The Black Abbey
at Kilkenny, with its long row of Butler effigies, or the Cathedral
of Saint Canice, still perfect, with its soaring round tower beside
it, or the mystical seven light window of the Franciscan friary by
the Nore, with the old mill-weirs running free to this day. How long
could we ponder by the east window of Kilcooley, with tracery like a
spider's web, and listen to the mystical bells, or gaze at the
beautiful oriel at Feenagh, or stand at Jerpoint, with its spacious
cloisters and stone-groined choir, with Saint Christopher in Irish
marble beside us.

Cashel, one of the wonders of the world, grows up suddenly into sight
on a high rock rising from level land crowned with buildings. A great
abbey dominates; beside it clings that carved gem of a stone-roofed
church, Cormac's Chapel. Round Tower and Cross are there, and many a
sculptured tomb.

Not far from Cashel is the Abbey of Holy Cross, with its lovely
mitred windows, shadowed in the river passing at its feet. The
circular pillars and arches of Boyle Abbey are splendidly
proportioned, whilst the cloisters of Sligo display in their long,
shadowy recesses and ornamented pillars great dignity and beauty. The
windows and monuments of Ennis Friary, founded by the O'Briens, are
of unusual interest, the carving of figure-subjects being equal to
the best of their age.

We have Thomastown and Callan, Dunbrody and Tintern, all having an
individual charm and interest that not only dim the eye and make the
blood course freely in every one of Irish stock when he looks upon
what is and thinks of what was, but even in the coldest light give
food for thought to every one desirous of knowing something of the
growth and civilization of a great people.

Of the many castles and stout Irish strongholds it is hard to write
in such a short paper as this. Those on the Boyne, such as Trim, for
strong building and extent, excel in many ways. Carlingford,
Carrickfergus, and Dunluce have by their size and picturesque
situations ever appealed to visitors. They are each built on rocks
jutting into the sea, Dunluce on a great perpendicular height, the
Atlantic dashing below. Dunamace, near Maryborough, in the O'More
country, appears like Cashel, but is entirely military. The famed
walled cities of Kells, in Kilkenny, and Fore, in Westmeath, are
remarkable. Each has an abbey, many towers, gates, and stout
bastions. The great keeps of the midland lords, the towers of
Granuaile on the west coast, and the traders' towers on the east
coast, especially those of Down, afford ample material for a study of
the early colonizing efforts of different invaders, as well as
providing incidents of heroism and romance. These square battlemented
towers can be seen here and there in every district.

Every portion of Ireland has its ruins. Earthworks, stone forts,
prehistoric monuments, circular stone huts, early churches, abbeys,
crosses, round towers, castles of every size and shape are to be
found in every county, some one in every parish, all over Ireland. It
is almost invidious to name any in particular where the number is so


Proceedings of Royal Irish Academy (Dublin); Proceedings of Society
of Antiquaries (Dublin); Ulster Journal of Archaeology, Old Series
and New Series, edited by F.J. Bigger, Belfast; Wakeman: Handbook of
Irish Antiquities (Dublin, 1891); Stokes: Early Christian Art in
Ireland (Dublin, 1887); Petrie: Round Towers and Ancient Architecture
of Ireland (Dublin, 1845).



_Librarian, University College, Dublin_.

It would be difficult to dispute, in view of her innumerable and
excellent artists, that there has always been in modern times an art
consciousness in Ireland, but it is impossible to assert that there
has been any artistic unity in her people. She has produced no
school, but merely a great number of brilliant painters, sculptors,
and engravers, chiefly for export. With all our acknowledged artistic
capacity, we have not, except in one notable instance, produced a
cumulative art effect. The history of Irish art is almost uniformly a
depressing narrative. During a comparatively brief period in the
eighteenth century--significantly enough, it was while the country
enjoyed a short spell of national life--there was something like a
national patronage of the artist, and the result is visible in the
noble public buildings and beautiful houses of the Irish capital,
with their universally admired mantelpieces, doors, ceilings,
fanlights, ironwork, and carvings. In short, while Ireland had even a
partly unfettered control of her own concerns, the arts were
generously encouraged by her government and by the wealthy
individual. When other European capitals were mere congeries of
rookeries, Dublin, the centre of Irish political life, possessed
splendid streets, grandly planned. But there was little solidarity
among the artistic fraternity. Various associations of artists were
formed, which held together fairly well until the flight of the
resident town gentry after the Union, and many admirable artists were
trained in the schools of the Royal Dublin Society, but, since the
opening of the nineteenth century, there has been almost no visible
art effort in Dublin. True, there have been many fine artists, who
have made a struggle to fix themselves in Dublin, but, as with the
Royal Hibernian Academy, of which the best of them were members, the
struggle has been a painful agony. Usually the artist migrated to
London to join the large group of Irishmen working there; a few
others went to America and obtained an honored place in her art
annals. Those who went to England secured in many cases the highest
rewards of the profession. Several, like Barry, Hone, Barrett, and
Cotes, were founders or early members of the Royal Academy; one, Sir
Martin Shee, became its President. Nevertheless, many distinguished
artists remained in Dublin, where the arts of portrait-painting and
engraving were carried to a high pitch of excellence.

This record must necessarily be of a chronological character, and can
only take note of those whose works have actual value and interest,
historical or other. Edward Luttrell (1650-1710) did some excellent
work in crayon or pastel, while Garrett Murphy (fl. 1650-1716),
Stephen Slaughter (d. 1765), Francis Bindon (d. 1765), and James
Latham (1696-1747), have each left us notable portraits of the great
Irish personages of their day. To fellow countrymen in London,
Charles Jervas (1675?-1739), Thomas Hickey (d. 1816?), and Francis
Cotes, R.A. (1725-1770), we owe presentments of other famous people.
George Barrett, R.A. (1728-1784), one of the greatest landscapists of
his time; Nathaniel Hone, R.A. (1718-1784), an eccentric but gifted
painter, with an individuality displayed in all his portraits; James
Barry, R.A. (1741-1806), still more eccentric, with grand conceptions
imperfectly carried out in his great historical and allegorical
pictures:--these, with Henry Tresham, R.A. (1749?-1814), and Matthew
Peters, R.A. (1742-1814), historical painters of considerable merit,
upheld the Irish claim to a high place in English eighteenth century
art. A little later, miniaturists such as Horace Hone, A.R.A.
(1756-1825), George Chinnery (1774-1852), and Adam Buck (1759-1844),
also worked with remarkable success in London. Among resident Irish
artists, the highest praise can be given to the miniature painters,
John Comerford (1770?-1832) and Charles Robertson (1760-1821), and to
the portrait-painters, Robert Hunter (fl. 1750-1803) and (especially)
Hugh Douglas Hamilton (1739-1808), of whose work Ireland possesses
many distinguished examples. Some day Hamilton's pictures will appeal
to a far wider public than his countrymen can provide. One must omit
the names of many clever Irish artists like the Wests, Francis and
Robert, who were the most successful teachers of perhaps any time in
Ireland, and come at once to that branch of art in which Ireland
stands second to none--mezzotint-engraving.

One of the earliest engravers in this style was Edward Luttrell,
already named as a painter, but it was John Brooks (fl. 1730-1756)
who is justly considered the real founder of that remarkable group of
Irish engravers whose work may be more correctly described as
belonging to a school than any other of the period. For many years in
Dublin, and afterwards in London, a succession of first-rate artists
of Irish birth produced work which remains and always must remain one
of the glories of Ireland. Limits of space allow only the bare
mention of the names of James McArdell (1728?-1765), Charles Spooner
(d. 1767), Thomas Beard (fl. 1728), Thomas Frye (1710-1762), Edward
Fisher (1722-1785?), Michael Ford (d. 1765), John Dixon (1740?-1811),
Richard Purcell (fl. 1746-1766), Richard Houston (1721?-1775), John
Murphy (1748?-1820), Thomas Burke (1749-1815), Charles Exshaw (fl.
1747-1771), and Luke Sullivan (1705-1771)--artists of whom any
country might be proud, and whose works have in most cases outlasted
the remembrance of the persons whose likenesses they sought to
reproduce. Separate monographs might be justifiably written on most
of the gifted artists here enumerated, and one can only regret not
being able in short space to compare and estimate their various
qualities. Thomas Chambers, A.R.A. (1724?-1784), William Nelson
Gardiner (1766-1814), James Egan (1799-1842), and William Humphreys
(1794-1865) are other Irish engravers who cannot be overlooked in a
survey of the art of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth

Contemporaneously with the remarkable development of the art of
engraving arose a group of Irish architects. Rather earlier in point
of time was Sir Edward Lovat Pearce (d. 1733), who was one of the
chief architects of the Irish Parliament House, and Thomas Burgh (d.
1730), to whom we owe the Library of Trinity College, Dublin; but
Thomas Cooley (1740-1784), designer of the handsome Royal Exchange of
that city; Richard Castle (d. 1751), a foreigner who settled in
Ireland and built a number of beautiful Irish residences; Francis
Johnston (1761-1829), an excellent architect whose chief claim to
remembrance, however, is as founder of the Royal Hibernian Academy;
and, above all, James Gandon (1743-1823), whose superb Custom House,
Four Courts, and part of the Irish Parliament House will perpetuate
his name in Dublin while that city lasts--each helped to make the
capital, even in its decay, one of the most interesting in Europe.
Nor should we forget Thomas Ivory (d. 1786), whose Foundling Hospital
is another of Dublin's many graceful edifices; nor Sir Richard
Morrison (1767-1849) and his son William (1794-1838), much of whose
work remains to testify to their skill and ingenuity.

Ecclesiastical architecture in Ireland is indebted to Patrick Byrne
(fl. 1840), James J. McCarthy (d. 1882), J.B. Keane (d. 1859), and
James Murray (1831-1863), for many well designed churches and chapels
throughout Ireland; but the great names in modern Irish architecture
are those of Benjamin Woodward (1815-1861), whose premature death was
a serious loss to Irish art; Sir Thomas Deane (1792-1871); and his
son, Sir Thomas Newenham Deane (1828-1899). The elder Deane was, with
Woodward, the architect of the Oxford Museum and of the splendid
Engineering Hall of Trinity College, Dublin, buildings which have
elicited enthusiastic praise from John Ruskin and other eminent
critics. Deserving of respectful mention, too, to come down to our
own days, are Sir Thomas Drew (1838-1910) and William H. Lynn, who is
still living.

In sculpture, again, Ireland has done memorable work. In the
eighteenth century she gave us admirable craftsmen like Edward Smyth
(1749-1812), John Hickey (1756-1795), and Christopher Hewitson (fl.
1772-1794), whose dignified monument of Bishop Baldwin is one of the
most distinguished pieces of sculpture in Trinity College, Dublin.
But it was not till the appearance of a later group of sculptors,
including John Hogan (1800-1858), John Edward Carew (1785-1868), John
Henry Foley, R.A. (1818-1874), and Patrick MacDowell, R.A.
(1799-1870), that Irish sculpture obtained more than local renown.
Fortunately, most of the best work of Hogan and Foley remains in
Ireland; that of Carew and MacDowell is chiefly to be found in the
Houses of Parliament and other institutions in London. The
incomparable "Goldsmith," "Burke," "Grattan," and other statues by
Foley, together with an almost complete collection of casts of his
other works, are in his native country. Hogan is represented in
Dublin by his "Thomas Davis" and his "Dead Christ," to name but two
of his principal works. The names at least of James Heffernan
(1785-1847), of John Edward Jones (1806-1872), of Terence Farrell
(1798-1876), of Samuel F. Lynn (1834-1876), and perhaps of
Christopher Moore (1790-1863), an excellent sculptor of busts, may be
set down here. Sir Thomas Farrell (1827-1900) and the living
sculptors, John Hughes, Oliver Sheppard, and Albert Bruce Joy, are
responsible for some of the more admirable of the public monuments of
Dublin. It is much to be deplored that of the work of one of the
greatest of Dublin-born artists, Augustus Saint Gaudens, we have only
one example--the statue of Parnell. Ireland may surely claim him as
one of her most gifted sons. And perhaps a word might be said in this
place of some of the other Irishmen who made their home in America:
of Hoban the architect who designed the White House at Washington,
modelling it after Leinster House in Dublin; of painters like Charles
Ingham, W.G. Wall, William Magrath, the Morans, James Hamilton, and
Thomas Hovenden; and of sculptors like John Donoghue, John Flanagan,
Andrew O'Connor, John F. Kelly, Jerome Connor, John J. Boyle, and
Martin Milmore. But they belong rather to the history of American art
than to that of Ireland.

Before leaving the subject of Irish sculpture, the work of the
medallists, an allied branch of the art in which Irishmen did much
valued work, should not be overlooked. The medals of William Mossop
(1751-1805), of his son, William Stephen Mossop (1788-1827), and of
John Woodhouse (1835-1892), to mention only three of its chief
representatives in Ireland, are greatly prized by collectors.

Most modern Irish art of high importance has been largely produced
out of Ireland, which has been perforce abandoned by those artists
who have learned how little encouragement is to be met with at home.
One can blame neither the artist nor the Irish public for this
unfortunate result; there is sufficient reason in the political and
economic condition of Ireland since the Union to explain the fact.
But for this cause men like Daniel Maclise, R.A. (1806-1870), William
Mulready, R.A. (1786-1863), Francis Danby, A.R.A. (1793-1861), and
Alfred Elmore, R.A. (1815-1881), might have endeavored to emulate the
spirit of James O'Connor (1792-1841), the landscapist, Richard
Rothwell (1800-1868), a charming subject painter, and Sir Frederic W.
Burton (1816-1900), one of the most distinguished artists of his
time, who at least spent some of their active working career in their
native land. The same words apply to artists who succeeded in other
branches of the profession, men like John Doyle (1797-1868), a
caricaturist with all the power, without the coarseness, of his
predecessors; his son, Richard Doyle (1824-1883), a refined and
delicate artist; John Leech (1817-1864), the humorist, a member of an
Irish Catholic family; Paul Gray (1842-1866), who died before his
powers had fully matured; and Matthew James Lawless (1837-1864), who
also died too early. William Collins, R.A. (1788-1847) and Clarkson
Stanfield, R.A. (1793-1867), both eminent representatives of English
art, though of Irish extraction, more properly belong to England than
to Ireland.

Not discouraged by the melancholy history of many gifted Irish
artists, Ireland still produces men who are not unworthy of
association with the best who have gone before. Our most recent
losses have been heavy--notably those of Walter F. Osborne
(1859-1903) and Patrick Vincent Duffy (1832-1909), but we still have
artists of genius in the persons of Nathaniel Hone, a direct
descendant of his famous namesake; John Butler Yeats; John Lavery,
A.R.A.; and William Orpen, A.R.A. Many other names might be given,
but already this attempt at a survey suffers by its enumeration of
artists, who, however, could hardly be neglected in such a record.

Crowded as the list may be, it is a careful selection, and it
demonstrates that, notwithstanding all the disadvantages under which
Ireland suffers, the country has an almost unlimited capacity for
fine achievement, and that, with prosperity and contentment, she may
be expected to rival the most illustrious of art centres. It is only
within living memory that any attempt has been made to direct the
known artistic skill of the Irish people to industrial effort. But
the remarkable success achieved in the modern designs for Irish lace
in the English art competitions is an instance of what might be done
generally in the applied arts. Though they are in their infancy, the
new carpet and stained glass industries in Ireland also hold out
considerable hope for the future. But one can only barely indicate
what has been and might be done in the furtherance of Irish art. If
we only had under one roof a judiciously made collection of all the
best work done by Irish artists of all styles and periods, it would
more eloquently justify our claim than endless columns of praise.


Anthony Pasquin [John Williams]: History of Professors of Painting in
Ireland (1795); T.J. Mulvany: Life of James Gandon; John O'Keeffe:
Reminiscences, vol. I; Taft: American Sculpture; W.G. Strickland:
Dictionary of Irish Artists (2 vols., 1913).



_Editor of "Sport," Dublin_.

On the face of the earth there is no nation in which the love of
clean and wholesome sport is more strongly developed than in the
Irish. Against us it cannot be urged that we take our pleasures
sadly. We enter into them with entire self-abandon, whole-hearted
enthusiasm, and genuine exuberance of spirit. There is nothing
counterfeit about the Irishman in his play. His one keen desire is to
win, be the contest what it may; and towards the achievement of that
end he will strain nerve and muscle even to the point of utter
exhaustion. And how the onlookers applaud at the spectacle of a
desperately contested race, whether between horses, men, motorcars,
bicycles, or boats, or of a match between football, hurling, or
cricket teams! It matters not which horse, man, car, cycle, boat, or
team is successful: the sport is the thing that counts; the
strenuousness of the contest is what stimulates and evokes the
rapturous applause. At such a moment it is good to be alive. Scenes
similar to those hinted at may be witnessed on any sports-field or
racetrack in our dear little Emerald Isle almost any day of the year.
All is good fellowship; all is in the cause of sport.

No one can question that in some departments of horse-racing Ireland
is today supreme. The Irish devotion to the horse is of no recent
growth. Everybody knows how, in the dim and distant days when King
Conor macNessa ruled at Emain, the war-steeds of the Ultonians
neighed loudly in their stalls on the first dramatic appearance of
Cuchulainn of Muirthemne at the northern court. Cuchulainn's own two
steeds, Liath Macha, "the Roan of Macha", and Dub Sainglenn, "Black
Sanglan", are celebrated in story and song:

      Never hoofs like them shall ring,
      Rapid as the winds of spring.

To read of the performances of Cuchulainn and his war-horses and his
charioteer and friend, Laeg macRiangahra, at the famous battle of
Rosnaree, and again at the last fight between the Red Branch Knights
and the forces of Queen Medb of Connacht, does truly, in the words
used by Sir Philip Sidney in another connection, stir the heart like
the sound of a trumpet.

As time went on, the Irish war-horse became more and more famous, and
always carried his rider in gallant style. Stout was the steed that,
bestridden by Godfrey O'Donnell at the battle of Credan-Kille,
withstood the shock of Lord Maurice Fitzgerald's desperate onslaught,
and by his steadiness enabled the Tyrconnell chieftain to strike
senseless and unhorse his fierce Norman foe. More celebrated still
was the high-spirited animal which Art MacMurrogh rode in 1399 to his
ineffectual parley with King Richard the Second's representative, the
Earl of Gloucester. The French chronicler who was a witness of that
historic scene tells us that a horse more exquisitely beautiful, more
marvellously fleet, he had never seen. "In coming down," he says, "it
galloped so hard that, in my opinion, I never saw hare, deer, sheep,
or any other animal, I declare to you for a certainty, run with such
speed as it did." Edmund Spenser, the poet of _The Faerie Queene_,
writing in 1596, bears this striking testimony to the Irish
horse-soldier and inferentially to the Irish horse: "I have hearde
some greate warriours say, that, in all the services which they had
seene abroade in forrayne countreys, they never sawe a more comely
horseman than the Irish man, nor that cometh on more bravely in his
charge." The feats performed at the Battle of the Boyne, in 1690, by
the Irish horse-soldiers under Hamilton and Berwick were really
wonderful, and well-nigh turned disaster into victory on that
memorable day which decided the fate of nations as well as of
dynasties. And surely those were fleet and stout-hearted steeds that,
on August 12, 1690, carried Sarsfield and his chosen five hundred on
their dare-devil midnight ride from the Keeper Hills to Ballyneety,
where in the dim morning twilight they captured and destroyed William
of Orange's wonderful siege-train, and thereby heartened the
defenders of beleaguered Limerick.

Writing in 1809, Lawrence, in his _History and Delineation of the
Horse_, said: "From Ireland alone we import [into England] many
saddle horses, as many perhaps as 1,500 in a year; upwards in some
years. The Irish are the highest and steadiest leapers in the world.
Ireland has bred some good racers, and the generality of Irish horses
are, it appears, warmer tempered than our own; and, to use the
expression, sharper and more frigate-built."

It is not to be wondered at therefore if in such a country there
developed an ardent love of the noble sport of horse-racing. The
Curragh of Kildare, the long-standing headquarters of the Irish Turf
Club, was celebrated far back in the eighteenth century as the venue
of some great equine contests; and to this day, with its five
important fixtures every year, it still holds pride of place. There
are numerous other race-courses all over the country, from
Punchestown, Leopardstown, Phoenix Park, and Baldoyle in the east to
Galway in the west, and from The Maze in the north to rebel Cork in
the south. Horse-racing has not inappropriately been termed the
national pastime of Ireland. The number of people now giving their
attention to it has called for a notable increase in the number of
race-meetings, and stake-money is being put up on a more generous
scale than at any previous time in the history of the sport. For
example, the Irish Derby, run at the Curragh, was in 1914 worth
L2,500; and there are besides several stakes of L1,500 and L1,000.
The result of this forward policy is that increasing numbers come to
our race-meetings and that the turf has never been more popular than
it is today. Men and women of wealth and position find in the
national pastime a pleasant method of employing their leisure, and in
expending their surplus wealth in its pursuit and in the raising of
horses of the highest class they realize that they confer a real
benefit on the country.

It is, of course, now universally known that Ireland has an
international reputation as a country eminently fitted for
horse-breeding. If proof were needed, it would be found in the
extensive purchases effected by English, French, Italian, German,
Russian, and American buyers at the great Dublin Horse Show held in
August every year. Horses bought in Ireland have seldom failed to
realize their promise. The English classic races and many of the
principal handicaps on the flat have been often won by Irish-bred
horses, such as Galtee More, Ard Patrick, Orby, Kilwarlin,
Barcaldine, Umpire, Master Kildare, Kilsallaghan, Bendigo, Philomel,
The Rejected, Comedy, Winkfield's Pride, Bellevin, Royal Flush,
Victor Wild, Bachelor's Button, Irish Ivy, and Hackler's Pride. If
only a few of the star performers are here set down, it is not from
lack of means to continue, but merely from a desire to avoid the
compilation of a mere string of names. In France, too, the Irish
racer has made his mark. It is, however, in the four-and-a-half
miles' Liverpool Grand National Steeplechase, the greatest
cross-country race in the world, the supreme test of the leaper,
galloper, and stayer, that Irish-bred horses have made perhaps the
most wonderful record. The list of winners of that great event
demonstrates in an unmistakable manner that we are second to none in
the art of breeding steeplechase horses. Among many other noted
Irish-bred winners of this race there stand boldly forth the names of
The Lamb, Empress, Woodbrook, Frigate, Come Away, Cloister, Wild Man
from Borneo, and Manifesto. In fact, it is the exception when another
than an Irish-bred horse annexes the blue riband of steeplechasing.

Closely allied to horse-racing is fox-hunting, and fox-hunting, as
well as the hunting of the stag and of the hare, has flourished
exceedingly in Ireland for a long time past. A great deal of needed
employment is one of the results. Dogs are specially bred and trained
for each of these branches of sport. Irish foxhounds, staghounds,
harriers, and beagles have a high reputation. More native to the
soil, and so interwoven with the history of the country that it is
often used as one of its symbols, is the Irish wolfhound. This is
probably the animal to which Aurelius Symmachus, a Roman consul in
Britain, referred when, writing to his brother in Ireland in A.D.
391, he acknowledged the receipt of seven Irish hounds. The wolfhound
played a sinister part in the Irish history of the eighteenth
century, for, as Davis says in his poem, "The Penal Days":

      Their dogs were taught alike to run
      Upon the scent of wolf and friar.

The Irish wolfhound is now very scarce, and a genuine specimen is a
valued and highly coveted possession. The greyhound, too, figures
prominently in present-day sport, and in many parts of the country
are held coursing meetings, which frequently result in several
spirited contests. A famous Irish greyhound was Lord Lurgan's black
and white dog, Master McGrath. Master McGrath achieved the rare
distinction of winning the Waterloo Cup three times, in 1868, 1869,
and 1871. When it is remembered that the Waterloo Cup is to coursing
what the Liverpool Grand National is to steeplechasing, or the Epsom
Derby to flat racing, the merit of this triple performance will at
once be apparent.

Compared with the sports in which horse and hound participate, all
other outdoor pastimes in Ireland take rather a minor place. Still,
the Irishman's love of sport is diversified. Few there are who have
not many inclinations, and as a nation our taste in sport is
catholic. We take part in nearly every pastime; in many we excel. The
prize ring has fallen from its high estate, nor is it the intention
here to try to cast any glamour over it. The subject is introduced,
in a passing way, for the sole purpose of showing that, in what at
least used to be the manly art of self-defense, Ireland in days gone
by as well as at the present time has more than held her own. The
most conspicuous of the representatives of her race in this
department are perhaps Heenan, Ryan, Sullivan, Corbett, Maher,
McAuliffe, McFarland, and McGoorty. There is one other prize-fighter,
Dan Donnelly by name, who became a sort of national hero, of whom all
Irishmen of his day were not a little proud, because he laid the
English champion low, and whose performance, now haloed by the
antiquity of more than a hundred years, we may with equanimity, as
without offense, contemplate, with perhaps a sigh for the good old
times. The famous encounter between Donnelly and Cooper took place on
the Curragh, and after eleven rounds of scientific boxing Donnelly
knocked his opponent over the ropes and won the world's championship
for the Emerald Isle. The spot where the battle came off has ever
since been known as Donnelly's Hollow, and a neat monument there
erected commemorates the Dublin man's pluck and skill. A ballad
recounting the incidents of the fight and, as ballads go, not badly
composed, had a wonderful vogue, and was sung at fair and market and
other meeting place within the memory of men who are not now more
than middle-aged.

A search in other domains of sport will be by no means barren of
results. Take running, for instance. Who has not heard of the
wondrous little Thomas Conneff from the short-grass county of
Kildare? Who does not know of his brilliant performances on the
track? We in Ireland, who had seen him defeat Carter, the great
Canadian, over the four-mile course at Ballsbridge one summer's eve
now nearly twenty golden years ago, knew his worth before he crossed
the broad Atlantic to show to thousands of admiring spectators in
America that Ireland was the breeder of fleet-footed sons, who lacked
neither the courage, nor the thews and sinews, nor the staying power,
to carry them at high speed over any distance of ground. May the
earth lie light on Conneff, for in a small body he had a great heart!
Then there was the mighty runner, James J. Daly, a true hero from
Galway, the idol of the crowd in his native land as well as in the
United States. Daly was the champion long distance cross-country
runner of his day at home, and he showed before various nationalities
in the Greater Ireland beyond the seas that he could successfully
compete with the best from all countries.

In high jumping, Patrick Davin, P. Leahy, and Peter O'Connor were for
long in the foremost rank; Daniel Ahearne was famous for his
hop-step-and-jump performance; Maurice Davin, Matthew McGrath, and
Patrick Ryan have, each in his own day, thrown the 16-pound hammer to
record distance; in shot-putting there are Sheridan, Horgan, John
Flanagan, and others bearing true Irish names, who are right in
front; and before their time we had a redoubted champion in W.J.M.
Barry. All previous performances in the shot-putting line have,
however, been recently eclipsed by Patrick J. McDonald, of the
Irish-American Club, who at Celtic Park, Long Island, on May 30,
1914, made a new world's record by putting the 18-pound shot 46 feet
2-3/4 inches. The climax of achievement was reached when T.F. Kiely
won the all-round championship of the world at New York. The
distinguished part taken by Irishmen or sons of Irishmen in all
departments of the Olympic games is so recent and so well known as to
call for no comment. Ireland is far indeed from being degenerate in
her athletes.

In international strife with England, Scotland, Wales, and France at
Rugby football, Ireland has likewise won her spurs. She has never
been beaten by the representatives of Gaul; and though for long
enough she had invariably to succumb in competition with the other
three countries, such is not the case nowadays, nor has it been for
many years past. The Irish team has ever to be reckoned with. In
Association football, too, Ireland is coming into her own. This
branch of the game has developed enormously within a comparatively
few seasons. The people flock in their thousands to witness matches
for the principal league contests or cup ties. But the greatest
crowds of all go to see Gaelic football, the national game; and to
hurling, also distinctively Irish, they foregather in serried masses.
Since the Gaelic Athletic Association was founded both football and
hurling have prospered exceedingly. They are essentially popular
forms of sport, and the muscular manhood of city and country finds in
them a natural outlet for their characteristic Celtic vigor. The
Gaelic Association has fostered and developed these sports, and has
organized them on so sound a basis that interest in them is not
confined to any particular district but spreads throughout the length
and breadth of Ireland.

When the America Cup was to be challenged for, into the breach
stepped the Earl of Dunraven and flung his gage to the holders of the
trophy. This distinguished Irish nobleman furnished a contender in
his Valkyrie II. in the fall of 1893, and his patriotic spirit in
doing so stirred the sport-loving Irish nation to the greatest
enthusiasm. His lordship was not successful, but he was not
disheartened. He tried again with Valkyrie III., but again he was
only second best, for, though his yacht sailed to victory in home
waters, she proved unequal to the task of lifting the cup. No
Englishman was prepared to tempt fortune, but not so that sterling
Irishman, Sir Thomas Lipton, who, win or lose, would not have it laid
to the charge of Ireland that an attempt should not be made. His
Shamrock, Shamrock II., and Shamrock III.--surely a deep sense of
patriotism prompted nomenclature such as that--each in succession
went down to defeat; but Sir Thomas has not done yet. Like King
Bruce, he is going to try again, and Shamrock IV. is to do battle
with the best that America can range against her. All honor to Lord
Dunraven and to Sir Thomas Lipton for their persistent efforts to
engage in generous rivalry with the yachtsmen across the sea.

Lawn-tennis, cricket, and golf we play, and play well; to rowing many
of us are enthusiastically devoted; and at handball our young
men--and some not so young--are signally expert. The champion
handball player has always been of Irish blood. Baseball we
invented--and called it rounders. It is significant that the great
American ball game is still played according to a code which is
scarcely modified from that which may be seen in force any summer day
on an Irish school field or village green. Perhaps something of
hereditary instinct is to be traced in the fact that many of the best
exponents of American baseball are the bearers of fine old Irish

This brief and cursory review of Ireland at Play must now conclude.
It is scarcely more than a glossary, and not a complete one at that.
It may, however, serve to show that Ireland's record in sport, like
her record in so many other things set forth in this book, is great
and glorious enough to warrant the insertion of this short chapter
among those which tell of old achievements and feats of high emprize.


Racing--Irish Racing Calendar: 1790-1914, 124 vols. (Dublin, Brindley
and Son); The Racing Calendar: 1774-1914 (London, Weatherby and
Sons). Breeding--The General Stud Book: 1908-1913, 22 vols. (London,
Weatherby and Sons). Racing and Breeding Generally--Cox: Notes on the
History of the Irish Horse (Dublin, 1897). Boxing and
Athletics--Files of _Sport_ and _Freeman's Journal_.



_President, American Irish Historical Society_.


"War was the ruling passion of this people," says MacGeoghegan,
meaning the Milesians who were the latest of the peoples that overran
ancient Ireland up to the coming of Christ. How many races had
preceded them remains an enigma of history not profitable to examine
here, but whoever they were, or in what succession they arrived, they
must, like all migrating people, have been prepared to establish
themselves at the point of the spear and the edge of the sword. Two
races certainly were mingled in the ancient Irish, the fair or auburn
haired with blue eyes, and the dark haired with eyes of gray or
brown. The Milesians appear to have reached Ireland through Spain.
They came swiftly to power, more than a thousand years before our
Lord, and divided the country into four provinces or kingdoms, with
an _ard-ri_, or high-king, ruling all in a loose way as to service,
taxes, and allegiance. The economic life was almost entirely
pastoral. Riches were counted in herds of cattle. "Robustness of
frame, vehemence of passion, elevated imagination," Dr. Leland says,
signalized this people. Robust, they became athletic and vigorous and
excelled in the use of deadly weapons; passionate, they easily went
from litigation to blows; imaginative, they leaned toward poetry and
song and were strong for whatever religion they practised. The latter
was a polytheism brought close to the people through the Druids. Some
stone weapons were doubtless still used; they had also brazen or
bronze swords, and spears, axes, and maces of various alloys of
copper and tin. Socially they remained tribal. Heads of tribes were
petty kings, each with his stronghold of a primitive character, each
with his tribal warriors, bards, harpers, and druids, and the whole
male population more or less ready to take part in war.

The great heroes whose names have come down to us, such as Finn, son
of Cumhal, and Cuchulainn, were reared in a school of arms. Bravery
was the sign of true manhood. A law of chivalry moderated the excess
of combat. A trained militia, the Fianna, gave character to an era;
the Knights of the Red Branch were the distinguishing order of
chevaliers. The songs of the bards were songs of battle; the great
Irish epic of antiquity was the_ Tain Bo Cualnge_, or Cooley
Cattle-raid, and it is full of combats and feats of strength and
prowess. High character meant high pride, always ready to give
account of itself and strike for its ideals: "Irritable and bold", as
one historian has it. They were jealous and quick to anger, but
light-hearted laughter came easily to the lips of the ancient Irish.
They worked cheerfully, prayed fervently to their gods, loved their
women and children devotedly, clung passionately to their clan, and
fought at the call with alacrity.

Nothing, it will be seen, could be further from the minds of such a
people than submission to what they deemed injustice. The habit of a
proud freedom was ingrained. Their little island of 32,000 square
miles in the Atlantic Ocean, the outpost of Europe, lay isolated save
for occasional forays to and from the coasts of Scotland and England.
The Roman invasions of western Europe never reached it. England the
Romans overran, but never Scotland or Ireland. Self-contained,
Ireland developed a civilization peculiarly its own, the product of
an intense, imaginative, fighting race. War was not constant among
them by any means, and occupied only small portions of the island at
a time, but, since the bards' best work was war songs and war
histories, with much braggadocio doubtless intermixed, a different
impression might prevail. Half of their kings may have been killed in
broil or battle, and yet great wars were few. If is undoubted that
Scotic, that is, Irish, invasion and immigration peopled the western
shores of Scotland and gave a name to the country. In the first
centuries of the Christian era they were the men who with the Picts
fought the Romans at the wall of Severus. The Britons, it will be
remembered, enervated by Roman dominance, had failed to defend their
"border" when Rome first withdrew her legions.

At this time, too, began the first appearance of Ireland as a power
on the sea. In the fourth century the high-king, Niall of the
Hostages, commanding a large fleet of war galleys, invaded Scotland,
ravaged the English coasts, and conquered Armorica (Brittany),
penetrating as far as the banks of the Loire, where, according to the
legend, he was slain by an arrow shot by one of his own men. One of
the captives he brought from abroad on one of his early expeditions
was a youth named Patrick, afterwards to be the Apostle of Ireland.
Niall's nephew, Dathi, also ard-ri, was a great sea king. He invaded
England, crossed to Gaul, and marched as far as the Alps, where he
was killed by lightning. He was the last pagan king of Ireland. In
perhaps a score of years after the death of Dathi, all Ireland had
been converted to Christianity, and its old religion of a thousand
years buried so deep that scholars find the greatest difficulty in
recovering anything about it. This conservative, obstinate, jealous
people overturned its pagan altars in a night, and, ever since, has
never put into anything else the devotion, soul and body, of its
sacrifices for religion. Christianity profoundly modified Irish life,
softened manners, and stimulated learning. Not that the fighting
propensities were obliterated. There were indeed many long and
peaceful reigns, but the historians record neat little wars,
seductive forays and "hostings", to use the new-old word, to the
heart's content. The Irish character remained fixed in its
essentials, but, under the influence of religious enthusiasm, Ireland
progressed and prospered in the arts of peace. It would undoubtedly
have shared the full progress of western Europe from this time on,
but for its insularity. Hitherto its protection, it was now to be its
downfall. A hostile power was growing of which it knew nothing.

The Norsemen--the hardy vikings of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark--had
become a nation of pirates. Undaunted fighters and able mariners,
they built their shapely long ships and galleys of the northern pine
and oak, and swept hardily down on the coasts of England, Ireland,
France, Spain, and Italy, and the lands of the Levant, surprising,
massacring, plundering. In France (Normandy), in England, and lastly
in Ireland they planted colonies. Their greatest success was in
England, which they conquered, Canute becoming king. Their greatest
battles and final defeat were in Ireland. From the end of the eighth
century to the beginning of the eleventh the four shores of Erin were
attacked in turn, and sometimes all together, by successive fleets of
the Norsemen. The waters that had been Ireland's protection now
became the high roads of the invaders. By the river Shannon they
pushed their conquests into the heart of the country. Dublin Bay,
Waterford Harbor, Belfast Lough, and the Cove of Cork offered shelter
to their vessels. They established themselves in Dublin and raided
the country around. Churches and monasteries were sacked and burned.
To the end these Norsemen were robbers rather than settlers. To these
onslaughts by the myriad wasps of the northern seas, again and again
renewed, the Irish responded manfully. In 812 they drove off the
invaders with great slaughter, only to find fresh hordes descending a
year or two later. In the tenth century, Turgesius, the Danish
leader, called himself monarch of Ireland, but he was driven out by
the Irish king, Malachi. The great effort which really broke the
Danish power forever in Ireland was at the battle of Clontarf, on
Dublin Bay, Good Friday, 1014, when King Brian Boru, at the head of
30,000 men, utterly defeated the Danes of Dublin and the Danes of
oversea. Fragments of the Northmen remained all over Ireland, but
henceforth they gradually merged with the Irish people, adding a
notable element to it's blood. One of the most grievous chapters of
Irish history, the period of Norse invasion, literally shines with
Irish valor and tenacity, undimmed through six fighting generations.
As Plowden says:

"Ireland stands conspicuous among the nations of the universe, a
solitary instance in which neither the destructive hand of time, nor
the devastating arm of oppression, nor the widest variety of changes
in the political system of government could alter or subdue, much
less wholly extinguish, the national genius, spirit, and character of
its inhabitants." This is true not only of the Danish wars which
ended nine hundred years ago, but of many a dreadful century since
and to this very day.

Now followed a troubled period, Ireland weakened by loss of blood and
treasure, its government failing of authority through the defects of
its virtues. It was inevitable, sooner or later, that England, as it
became consolidated after its conquest by William the Norman, should
turn greedy eyes on the fair land across the Irish sea. It was in
1169 that "Strongbow"--Richard, earl of Pembroke--came from England
at the invitation of a discontented Irish chieftain and began the
conquest of Ireland. Three years later came Henry II. with more
troops and a Papal bull. After a campaign in Leinster, he set himself
up as overlord of Ireland, and then returned to London. It was the
beginning only. An English Lord Deputy ruled the "Pale", or portion
of Ireland that England held more or less securely, and from that
vantage ground made spasmodic war upon the rest of Ireland, and was
forever warred on, in large attacks and small, by Irish chieftains.

The Irish were the fighting race now if ever. Without hope of outside
assistance, facing a foe ever reinforced from a stronger, richer,
more fully organized country, nothing but their stubborn character
and their fighting genius kept them in the field. And century out and
century in, they stayed, holding back the foreign foe four hundred
years. It is worthy of note that it was the Norman English, racial
cousins, as it were, of the Norsemen, who first wrought at the
English conquest of Ireland. When some of these were seated in Irish
places of pride, when a Butler was made Earl of Ormond and a
Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare, it was soon seen that they were merging
rapidly in the Irish mass, becoming, as it was said, "more Irish than
the Irish themselves." Many were the individual heroic efforts to
strike down the English power. Here and there small Irish chiefs
accepted the English rule, offsetting the Norman Irish families who
at times were "loyal" and at times "rebel." The state of war became
continuous and internecine, but three-fourths of Ireland remained
unconquered. The idea of a united Ireland against England had,
however, been lost except in a few exalted and a few desperate
breasts. A gleam of hope came in 1316, when, two years after the
great defeat of England by the Scotch under Robert the Bruce at
Bannockburn, Edward, the victor-king's brother, came at the
invitation of the northern Irish to Ireland with 6,000 Scots, landing
near Carrickfergus. He was proclaimed king of Ireland by the Irish
who joined him. Battle after battle was won by the allies. Edward was
a brilliant soldier, lacking, however, the prudence of his great
brother, Robert. The story of his two years of fighting, ravaging,
and slaying, is hard at this distance to reconcile with intelligible
strategy. In the end, in 1318, the gallant Scot fell in battle near
Dundalk, losing at the same time two-thirds of his army. For two
years Scot and Irish had fought victoriously side by side. That is
the fact of moment that comes out of this dark period.

The following century, like that which had gone before, was full of
fighting. In 1399, on Richard II.'s second visit to Ireland, he met
fierce opposition from the Irish septs. MacMorrough, fighting,
harassing the king's army from the shelter of the Wicklow woods,
fairly drove the king to Dublin. The sanguinary "Wars of the
Roses"--that thirty years' struggle for the crown of England between
the royal houses of York and Lancaster, 1455 to 1485--gave Ireland a
long opportunity, which, however, she was too weak to turn to
advantage; but fighting between Irish and English went on just the
same, now in one province, now in another.

In the reign of Henry VIII. a revolt against England started within
the Pale itself, when Lord Thomas Fitzgerald, known as Silken Thomas,
went before the Council in Dublin and publicly renounced his
allegiance. He took the field--a brave, striking figure--in protest
against the king's bad faith in dealing with his father, the Earl of
Kildare. At one time it looked as if the rebellion (it was the first
real Irish rebellion) would prosper. Lord Thomas made combinations
with Irish chieftains in the north and west, and was victor in
several engagements. He finally surrendered with assurances of
pardon, but, as in many similar cases, was treacherously sent a
prisoner to London, where he was executed.

Queen Mary's reign was one of comparative quiet in Ireland. Her
policy towards the Catholics was held to be of good augury for
Ireland. The English garrison was reduced with impunity to 500 foot
and a few horse: but another and darker day came with Elizabeth. Her
coming to the throne, together with her fanatic devotion to the
Reformation and an equal hatred of the old religion and all who clung
to it, ushered in for Ireland two and a half centuries of almost
unbroken misfortune. You cannot make people over. Some may take their
opinions with their interest; others prefer to die rather than
surrender theirs, and glory in the sacrifice. The proclamations of
Elizabeth had no persuasion in them for the Irish. Her proscriptions
were only another English sword at Ireland's throat. The disdain of
the Irish maddened her. During her long reign one campaign after
another was launched against them. Always fresh soldier hordes came
pouring in under able commanders and marched forth from the Pale,
generally to return shattered and worn down by constant harrying,
sometimes utterly defeated with great slaughter. So of Henry Sidney's
campaign, and so of the ill-fated Essex. Ulster, the stronghold of
the O'Neills and the O'Donnells, remained unconquered down to the
last years of Elizabeth's reign, although most of the greater battles
were fought there. In Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, and "Red" Hugh
O'Donnell, prince of Tyrconnell, Ireland had two really great
soldiers on her side. The bravery, generalship, prudence, and
strategy of O'Neill were worthy of all praise, and Red Hugh fell
little short of his great compatriot. In battle after battle for
twenty years they defeated the English with slaughter. Ireland, if
more and more devastated by campaigns and forays, became the grave of
tens of thousands of English soldiers and scores of high reputations.
Writing from Cork, the Earl of Essex, after a disastrous march
through Leinster and Munster, says:

"I am confined in Cork ... but still I have been unsuccessful; my
undertakings have been attended with misfortune.... The Irish are
stronger and handle their arms with more skill than our people; they
differ from us also in point of discipline. They likewise avoid
pitched battles where order must be observed, and prefer skirmishes
and petty warfare ... and are obstinately opposed to the English

They did not like attacking or defending fortified places, he also
believed. It was only his experience. The campaigns of Shane O'Neill,
a bold but ill-balanced warrior, were full of such attacks, but one
potent cause for Irish reluctance to make sieges a strong point of
their strategy was that the strongest fortresses were on the sea. An
inexhaustible, powerful enemy who held the sea was not in the end to
be denied on sea or land, but the Irish in stubborn despair or
supreme indifference to fate fought on. Religious rancor was added to
racial hate. Most of the English settlers, or "garrison," as they
came to be called, had become Protestants at the royal order. Ruin
perched upon Ireland's hills and made a wilderness of her fertile
valleys. The Irish chieftains with their faithful followers moved
from place to place in woods and hollows of the hills. English
colonists were settled on confiscated lands, and were harried by
those who had been driven from their homes. It was war among graves.
At last O'Neill made composition with the government when all was
lost in the field, but the passionate Irish resolve never to submit
still stalked like a ghost, as if it could not perish.

When Elizabeth died it was thought that better things were coming to
Ireland with James I., the son of Mary, Queen of Scots. Nothing of
the kind. That curiously minded creature at once made an ingenuous

"Whereas his Majesty was informed that his subjects of Ireland had
been deceived by _a false report that his Majesty was disposed to
allow them liberty of conscience_ and the free choice of religion,
now, etc." Fresh "transplanting" of English and Scotch settlers on
the lands of the Irish was the gist of his answer to the "false
reports." So again the war of surprise, ambush, raid, and foray went
on in a hundred places at once, but the result was that the English
power was even more firmly seated than before.

In the time of Charles I. there were terrible slaughters both of
Protestants and Catholics. Patriotism and loyalty as moving causes
had disappeared, but religion fiercely took their place. With
Cromwell, the religious persecution took on an apocalyptic note of
massacre, but the Irish were still showing that they were there with
arms in their hands. The names of Owen Roe O'Neill and his splendid
victory, in 1646, at Benburb over the English and Scotch, where he
slew more than 3,000 men, and of another Hugh O'Neill, who made such
a brilliant defense at Clonmel against Cromwell, shine brightly out
of the darkness. But Ireland, parcelled out among the victors, was
always the weaker after every campaign. Waves of war swept over her.
She became mixed up in the rivalries of the English royal families,
religion playing the most important part in the differences. It had
armed Henry and Elizabeth, James and Charles against her. It gave
edge to Cromwell's sword, and it led her into a great effort on
behalf of James II. When William of Orange crossed the Boyne, all
that followed for a century was symbolized. Athlone, Aughrim,
Limerick, all places of great and fierce contests, were decided
against her. French support of a kind had James, but not enough.
Bravery and enthusiasm may win battles, but they do not carry through
great campaigns. Once again God marched with the heaviest, best-fed,
best-armed battalions. The great Tyrone dying in exile at Rome, Red
Hugh O'Donnell perishing in Spain in the early days of the
seventeenth century, were to prefigure the fighting and dying of half
a million Irish warriors on continental soil for a hundred years
after the fall of Limerick as the seventeenth century neared its

During that period the scattered bands of the Rapparees, half
patriots, half robbers, hiding in mountain fastnesses, dispersing,
reassembling, descending on the English estates for rapine or the
killing of "objectionables," represented the only armed resistance of
the Irish. It was generally futile although picturesque.

After the close of the Revolutionary War in America, Ireland received
a new stimulation. The success of the patriots of the Irish
parliament under Grattan, backed as they were by 100,000 volunteers
and 130 pieces of cannon, in freeing Irish industry and commerce from
their trammels, evoked the utmost malignity in England. Ireland
almost at once sprang to prosperity, but it was destined to be short
lived. A great conspiracy, which did not at first show above the
surface, was set on foot to destroy the Irish parliament. This is not
the place to follow the sinister machinations of the English, save to
note that they forced both the Presbyterians and the Catholics of the
north into preparations for revolt. The Society of United Irishmen
was formed, and drew many of the brightest and most cultivated men in
Ireland into its councils. It numbered over 70,000 adherents in
Ulster alone. The government was alarmed, and began a systematic
persecution of the peasantry all over Ireland. English regiments were
put at "free quarters," that is, they forced themselves under order
into the houses and cabins of the people with demands for bed and
board. The hapless people were driven to fury. Brutal murders and
barbarous tortures of men and women by the soldiers, savage revenges
by the peasantry, and every form of violent crime all at once
prevailed in the lately peaceful valleys. Prosecutions of United
Irishmen and executions were many. It was all done deliberately to
provoke revolt. In 1798 the revolt came. In the greater part of
Ulster and Munster the uprising failed, but a great insurrection of
the peasantry of Wexford shocked the country. Poorly armed, utterly
undisciplined, without munitions of war, but 40,000 strong, they
literally flung themselves pike in hand on the English regiments,
sweeping everything before them for a time. Father John Murphy, a
priest and patriot, was one of their leaders, but Beauchamp Bagenal
Harvey was soon their commander-in-chief. At one time the "rebels"
dominated the entire county save for a fort in the harbor and a small
town or two, but it was natural that the commissariat should soon be
in difficulties and their ammunition give out. The British general,
Lake, with an army of 20,000 men and a moving column of 13,000,
attacked the rebels on Vinegar Hill, and although the fight was
heroic and bloody while it lasted, it was soon over and the British
army was victorious. The rest was retreat, dispersal, and widespread
cruelties and burnings and a long succession of murders. The "Boys of
Wexford" funder great difficulties had given a great account of
themselves. Dark as was that page of history, it has been a glowing
lamp to Irish disaffection ever since. It is the soul of the effort
that counts, and the disasters do not discredit '98 in Irish eyes.

Voltaire, in his _Century of Louis XIV._, made his reflection on the
Irish soldier out of his limited knowledge of the Williamite war in
Ireland. He says, "The Irish, whom we have seen such good soldiers in
France and Spain, have always fought poorly at home"! They had not
fought poorly at home. It took four hundred years of English effort
to complete, merely on its face, the conquest of Ireland, and all of
that long sweep of the sword of Time was a time of battle. The Irish
were fought with every appliance of war, backed by the riches of a
prospering, strongly organized country, and impelled persistently by
the greed of land and love of mastery; but there was not a mountain
pass in Ireland, not a square mile of plain, not a river-ford, scarce
a hill that had not been piled high with English dead in that four
hundred years at the hands of the Irish wielders of sword and spear
and pike.

The Irish had not made their environment or their natures, and no
power on earth could change them. Over greater England had swept the
Romans, the Jutes, the Saxons, the Angles, the Norsemen, and the
Normans. All found lodgment and all went to the making of England.
Well, one might say, it had been for Ireland if she had developed
that assimilating power which made her successive conquerors in
process of time the feeders of her greatness, but the Irish would not
and could not. Instead, they developed the pride of race that no
momentary defeat could down. They became inured to battle and dreamt
of battle when the peace of an hour was given them. When the four
kings of Ireland were feasted in Dublin by King Richard II. of
England, an English chronicler remarked, "Never were men of ruder
manners"; but neither the silken array and golden glitter of
Richard's peripatetic court nor the brave display of his thousand
knights and thirty thousand archers filled them with longing for the
one or fear of the other. They went back to their Irish hills and
plains and fastnesses as obstinately Irish as ever.

They fought well at home, if unfortunately, the wonder being that
they continued to fight. The heavens and the earth seemed combined
against them.


We next see Irish soldiers fighting abroad. The blood they had shed
so freely for the Stuarts at the Boyne, at Athlone, at Aughrim, at
Limerick was in vain. The king of France, if he sent armies to
Ireland, demanded Irish troops in return. The transports that brought
the French regiments over in May, 1690, took back over five thousand
officers and men from Ireland, who formed the first Irish Brigade in
the service of France. This, remember, was before the battle of the
Boyne. The men were formed on their arrival in France into three
regiments, those of Mountcashel, O'Brien, and Dillon, named after
their commanders, and were sent to Savoy. The French aid to James in
Ireland helped best in giving confidence to the raw Irish levies, but
it was more than offset by the German troops brought over by William.
The weakness, indecision, or worse, of James before Derry, his
chicken-hearted failure to overwhelm Schomberg when he lay at his
mercy before the arrival of William, ruined his chances. Remember
that the Irish army, if defeated at the Boyne, was not broken, and
was strong enough, when pursued by William, to repulse him with 500
killed and 1,000 wounded and to compel him to raise the siege of
Limerick. The dash and skill of Patrick Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan,
backed by Irish desperation, won the day. The French troops sailed
home after William's retreat. In the next year's campaign occurred
the crowning disasters of the war, but in any other country or with
any other people than the English the terms of capitulation at
Limerick, which were formulated by Ginkel and showed a soldier's
respect for a brave and still powerful foe, would have ushered in an
era of peace.

The Irish soldiers' distrust of the conquerors was shown in the fact
that, since the stipulations allowed the free departure of the
garrison with honors of war, 19,059 officers and men took service
with France, and sailed in October, 1691, on the French fleet, which
by the irony of fate had arrived in the Shannon too late, on the very
day after the signing of the treaty of Limerick. Never in the whole
course of the history of nations has more hideous treachery been
shown than in the immediate breaking of that treaty; and dearly has
England paid for it ever since, although, for the hundred years that
followed, Ireland sank to the very depths under the penal laws, with
her trade ruined, her lands stolen, her religion persecuted, and all
education and enlightenment forbidden by abominable, drastic laws.

If, as has been computed, 450,000 Irish fought and died in the
service of France between 1690 and 1745, a further 30,000 are to be
added down to 1793. A French writer estimates the whole Irish
contingent at 750,000, but, for a roster of seekers of glory from an
impoverished people, the more reasonable half-million should surely

Long would be the story to follow the fighting fortunes of the Irish
Brigades. Officered by Irish gentlemen and drilled to perfection,
they soon came to hold in the French service the esteem that later
was given to Irish regiments in the service of England. King Louis
welcomed them heartily and paid them a higher wage than his native
soldiers. No duty was too arduous or too dangerous for the Irish
Brigades. Seldom were they left to rust in idleness. Europe was a
caldron of wars of high ambitions.

The Irish regiments fought through the war in Flanders. At Landen,
July 29, 1693, the French under the duke of Luxembourg defeated the
English under William III. with a slaughter of 10,473 men, losing
8,000 men themselves. In the retreat, Ginkel, William's general in
the Irish campaign, was almost drowned in the river Greete. The Irish
Royal Regiment of Footguards, that of Dorrington, was the first corps
to break through the English intrenchments, its gallant leader,
Colonel Barrett, falling as he headed the charge. Here also was
stricken Lieutenant-Colonel Nugent of Sheldon's Irish Regiment. Here
also fell--saddest loss of all--Patrick Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan,
brave, resourceful, a true unfaltering-soldier and lover of his
country. The legend of his life blood flowing before his eyes and his
utterance, "Would it had been shed for Ireland", may and should be
true, although he lived three days after the battle. Would, indeed,
it had been shed for Ireland--after such a day!

It was in 1703 that the celebrated defence of Cremona lifted Irish
renown to great heights throughout Europe. There were but 600 Irish
troopers all told in that long day's work, and from the break of day
till nightfall they held at bay Prince Eugene's army of 10,000 men.
The two battalions of Bourke and Dillon were surprised at early morn
to learn that the Austrians--and there were Irish officers among
them--were in the town. Major O'Mahony and his men ran from their
beds to the gates, and neither the foes without nor the foes within
could make them budge. Terribly they suffered under concentrated
attacks, but a withering fire from the Irish met every assault. It
was nightfall before relief came, and then the sons of Ireland who
had held Cremona for the French were acclaimed by all, but of their
600 they had lost nearly 350. Small wonder that the honor list that
day was long. In Bourke's battalion the specially distinguished were
Captains Wauchop, Plunkett, Donnellan, MacAuliffe, Carrin, Power,
Nugent, and Ivers; in Dillon's, Major O'Mahony, Captains Dillon,
Lynch, MacDonough, and Magee, and Lieutenants Dillon and Gibbon, John
Bourke and Thomas Dillon. Major O'Mahony was sent to Paris to carry
the news of the victory to the king, who presented him with a purse
of 1,000 louis d'or, a pension of 1,000 livres, and the brevet of

So the history proceeds, the Irish regiments lost in the array of the
French forces, but showing here and there a glint of charging
bayonets, captured trenches, and gushes of Irish blood. In 1703 the
brigade regiments fought in Italy and Germany under the Duc de
Vendome. We hear of the regiments of Berwick, Bourke, Dillon, Galmoy,
and Fitzgerald vigorously engaged. In Germany the story is of
Sheldon's Horse and two battalions of the regiments of Dorrington and
Clare. At the first battle of Blenheim, September 20, 1703, the
regiment of Clare lost one of its colors, rallied, charged with the
bayonet and recovered it, taking two colors from the enemy. This was
a French victory. Not so the great battle of Blenheim, August, 1704,
when Marlborough and Prince Eugene severely defeated the French and
Bavarians. Three Irish battalions shared in the disaster. In 1705 at
Cassano in Italy an Irish regiment, finding itself badly galled by
artillery fire from the opposite bank of the Adda, declared they
could stand it no longer, and thereupon jumped in, swam the river,
and captured the battery. In 1705 Colonel O'Mahony of Cremona fame
distinguished himself in Spain. In the next year at the battle of
Ramillies, in which Marlborough with the Dutch defeated the French
under Villeroi, Lord Clare's regiment captured the colors of the
English Churchill regiment and of the Scottish regiment in the Dutch
service. In the same year and the next, the Irish Brigade fought many
battles in Spain. One cannot pursue the details of the engagements.
Regiments ever decimated were ever recruited by the "Wild Geese" from
Ireland--the adventurous Catholic youth of the country who sought
congenial outlet for their love of adventure and glory. Many Irish
also joined the French army after deserting from the English forces
in Flanders.

It was, however, at Fontenoy, May 11, 1745, that the Irish Brigade
rendered their most signal service to France. The English under the
Duke of Cumberland, son of George II., with 55,000 men including a
large German and Dutch auxiliary, met the French under Marshal Saxe,
and in the presence of the French king Louis XV., near Tournai in
Belgium. Saxe had 40,000 men in action and 24,000 around Tournai,
which town was the objective of the English advance. Among the troops
on the field were the six Irish regiments of Clare, Dillon, Bulkeley,
Roth, Berwick, and Lally, all under Charles O'Brien, Viscount Clare,
afterwards Marshal Thomond of France. After fierce cannonading on
both sides and a check to the allies on their right and left, a great
column of English veterans advanced on the French centre, breaking
through with sheer force. They had thus reached high ground when some
cannonading halted them. It was at this moment of gravest peril to
the French that the Irish regiments with unshotted guns charged
headlong up the slope on their ancient enemies, crying, "Remember
Limerick and British Faith!" The great English column, already
roughly handled by the cannon, broke and fled in wild disorder before
that irresistible onslaught, and France had won a priceless victory,
but the six Irish regiments lost one-third of their gallant men by a
single volley as they followed their steel into the English lines.

When Charles Edward, the Stuart Pretender, landed in Scotland in
1745, he was followed by a small French force, including 500 Irishmen
from the Brigade. Colonel John O'Sullivan was much relied on by the
prince in his extraordinary campaign. Sir Thomas Sheridan also
distinguished himself. There were 475 Irish at the battle of
Culloden, that foredoomed defeat of the Stuart cause, and two days
later a score of Irish officers were among those who surrendered at

In Spain at the beginning of the 18th century there were hundreds of
Irish officers in the military service, and eight Irish regiments.
Among the officers were thirteen Kellys, thirteen Burkes, and four
Sheas. It seemed that Ireland had soldiers for the world. Don
Patricio, Don Miguel, Don Carlos, Don Tadeo took the place of
Patrick, Michael, Charles, and Thadeus. O'Hart gives a list of sixty
descendants of the "Wild Geese" in places of honor in Spain. General
Prim was a descendant of the Princes of Inisnage in Kilkenny. An
O'Donnell was Duke of Tetuan and field marshal of Spain. Ambrose
O'Higgins, born in county Meath, Ireland, was the foremost Spanish
soldier in Chile and Peru; Admiral Patricio Lynch was one of its most
distinguished sailors; and James McKenna its greatest military
engineer. The son of O'Higgins was foremost among those who fought
for Chilean independence and gained it, and one of his ablest
lieutenants was Colonel Charles Patrick O'Madden of Maryland.

In Austria the Irish soldiers were particularly welcome. They count
forty-one field-marshals, major-generals, generals of cavalry, and
masters of ordnance of Irish birth in the Austrian service.
O'Callaghan relates that on March 17, 1766, His Excellency Count
Mahony (son of the O'Mahony of Cremona), ambassador from Spain to the
court of Vienna, gave a grand entertainment in honor of St. Patrick,
to which he invited all persons of condition who were of Irish
descent. Among many others, there were present Count Lacy, President
of the Council at War, the generals O'Donnell, McGuire, O'Kelly,
Browne, Plunkett, and MacElligot, four chiefs of the Grand Cross, two
governors, several knights military, six staff officers, and four
privy councillors, with the principal officers of State. All wore
Patrick's crosses in honor of the Irish nation, as did the whole
court that day. Emperor Francis I. said: "The more Irish officers in
the Austrian service the better; bravery will not be wanting; our
troops will always be well disciplined." The Austrian O'Reillys and
Taaffes were famous. It was the dragoon regiment of Count O'Reilly
that by a splendid charge saved the remnant of the Austrian army at

In the American war of the Revolution, General Charles Geoghegan of
the Irish Brigade made the campaigns of Rochambeau and Lafayette. He
received the order of the Cincinnati from Washington and was ever
proud of it. Lieutenant General O'Moran also served in America. He
was afterwards executed in the French Revolution, for the "Brigade"
remained royalist to the end. General Arthur Dillon, who served in
the Brigade, was also guillotined in 1794, crying, "_Vive le roi!_"
At the foot of the scaffold a woman, probably Mme. Hebert, also
condemned, stood beside him. The executioner told her to mount the
steps. "Oh, Monsieur Dillon," she said, "pray go first." "Anything to
oblige a lady," he answered gaily, and so faced his God.

Lord Macaulay, commenting upon these things and deploring the
policies that brought them about, says with great significance:

"There were Irish Catholics of great ability, but they were to be
found everywhere except in Ireland--at Versailles, at St. Ildefonso,
in the armies of Frederic, in the armies of Maria Theresa. One exile
(Lord Clare) became a marshal of France, another (General Wall)
became Prime Minister of Spain.... Scattered all over Europe were to
be found brave Irish generals, dexterous Irish diplomatists, Irish
counts, Irish barons, Irish knights of St. Louis and St. Leopold, of
the White Eagle, and of the Golden Fleece, who if they remained in
the house of bondage, could not have been ensigns of marching
regiments or freemen of petty corporations."

The old Irish brigades ended with the French monarchy. Battalions of
the regiments of Dillon and Walsh were with the French fleet in the
West Indies at Grenada and St. Eustache, also at Savannah, and under
Rochambeau at Yorktown, but, except as to the officers, the surviving
regiments of Berwick, Dillon, and Walsh were largely French. With the
better times under Grattan's Parliament in Ireland, the soldier
emigration to France had all but ceased. The Irish Volunteers of 1782
numbered 100,000 men, of whom an appreciable proportion were
Catholics. Many Irish went into the English army and navy, but there
was another stream of fighting emigrants, that which flocked to the
standard of revolt against England in America, of which much was to
be heard thereafter.

In the American colonies before the Revolution there were thousands
of descendants of the Catholic Irish who had settled in Maryland and
Pennsylvania during the seventeenth century, as well as hardy Irish
Presbyterians from Ulster, who came in great multitudes during the
first half of the eighteenth century. They had suffered persecution
in Ireland for conscience sake from their fellow-Protestants. In
Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and the Carolinas
they constituted entire communities. The emigration of the Catholic
or purely Celtic Irish to America in the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries was often compulsory. At any rate, after the middle of the
eighteenth century it was large and became continuous--a true drift.
Catholics and Presbyterians alike brought hostility to the English
government with them, and their voices fed the storm of discontent.
The Irish schoolmasters, of whom there were hundreds, were especially
efficient in this. They came in every ship to the colonies. They had
no love for England, for they had experienced in Ireland the tyranny
of English law, and they would be more than human if they did not
imbue the minds of the American children under their care with their
own hatred of oppression and wrong and English domination. The log
schoolhouse of the Irish teacher became the nursery of revolution.
They were a very important factor, therefore, in the making of the
Revolution, and many of them took an active part as soldiers in the

The Irish, both Catholics and Protestants, poured into the patriot
ranks once the standard of revolt was raised in 1775. The
Pennsylvania line, which General Lee called "the line of Ireland,"
was almost entirely Irish, and the rosters of several of the Maryland
and Virginia regiments contain a remarkably large proportion of Irish
names, in some cases running as high as 60 per cent. It is computed
that the Irish furnished not less than a third of the whole American
forces. A common cause blotted out all old religious prejudices
between Irishmen in the American service. It was John Sullivan, of
New Hampshire, son of a Limerick schoolmaster, who began the revolt
by seizing the fort of William and Mary and its storehouses filled
with that powder which charged the guns at Bunker Hill in the
following year. It was Captain Jeremiah O'Brien, with his brothers,
who made the first sea attack on the British off Machias, Maine, in
May, 1775, an engagement which Fenimore Cooper calls "the Lexington
of the Seas." There were fifteen Celtic Irish names among the Minute
Men at the Battle of Lexington. Colonel Barrett, who commanded at
Concord, was Irish. There were 258 Celtic Irish names on the rosters
of the American forces at the battle of Bunker Hill. John Sullivan
had been made a major-general, thereafter to be a notable figure in
the war at Princeton, Trenton, Newport, and in his Indian campaign.
The Connecticut line was thick with Irish names. Around Washington
himself was a circle of brilliant Irishmen: Adjutant-General Edward
Hand leading his rifles, Stephen Moylan his dragoons, General Henry
Knox and Colonel Proctor at the head of his artillery, John Dunlop
his body-guard, Andrew Lewis his brigadier-general, Ephraim Elaine
his quartermaster, all of Irish birth or ancestry. Commodore John
Barry, born in Wexford in 1739 and bred to the sea, was a ship
captain in his early twenties, trading from Philadelphia. When the
Continental Congress met, he at once volunteered, and was given
command of the _Lexington_, the first American ship to capture a
British war vessel. Later, after gallant fighting on sea and land, he
was given command of the U.S. frigate _Alliance_, in which he crossed
the Atlantic to France, and fought and captured in a rattling battle
two British warships, the _Atlanta_ and the _Trepasay_. He was the
Father of the American navy, holding captain's certificate No. 1,
signed by Washington himself--the highest rank then issued.

General Richard Montgomery, the brave and able soldier who fell at
Quebec as he charged the heights, was an Irishman. General George
Clinton, son of an Irishman, was a brigadier-general, governor of New
York and twice Vice-President of the United States. Fifty-seven
officers of New York regiments in the Revolution were Irish, and a
large number of the officers in the Southern regiments of the line,
as well as of the militia, were native Irish or of Irish descent. The
rosters of the enlisted Irishmen of the New York regiments run into
the thousands. Hundreds of Irish soldiers suffered in the prison
ships of New York, the horrors of which served so conspicuously to
stimulate American determination to carry the war to the only
rightful conclusion. Washington always recognized America's debt to
the Irish. "St. Patrick" he made the watchword in the patriot lines
the night before the English evacuated Boston forever on the
memorable 17th of March, 1776. After the war he was made, with his
own consent, an honorary member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick.
Major-General Richard Butler and his four brothers, all officers, and
Brigadier-Generals John Armstrong, William Irvine, William Thompson,
James Smith, and Griffith Rutherford all fought with distinction. All
of these officers were Irish-born. It was in truth an Irish war, so
far as Irish sentiment and whole-hearted service could make it. The
record of Irish soldiers' names alone would fill volumes.

The thirst of the Irish race for the glory of war is shown in the
large enlistments in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, and
since, in the English army and navy. Grattan, in pleading for
Ireland, claimed that a large percentage of the British forces were
Irish. Wolfe Tone avers that there were 210 Irishmen out of 220 in
the crew of a British frigate that overhauled his ship on its way to
America. Bonaparte had in his armies an Irish Legion that did good
service in Holland, Spain, Portugal, and Germany. Marshal Clarke,
Duke of Feltre, French Minister of War in 1809, was Irish. Up and
down the Spanish Peninsula, Irish blood was shed in abundance in the
armies of Wellington. Never was more brilliant fighting done than
that which stands to Irish credit from the lines of Torres Vedras to
Badajos and Toulouse. Of the Waterloo campaign volumes have been
written in praise of Irish valor. As Maxwell says in his _Tales of
Waterloo_:--"The victors of Marengo and Austerlitz reeled before the
charge of the Connaught Rangers." Wellington himself was Irish, as in
the later wars of England Lord Gough, Lord Wolseley, Lord Roberts,
Lord Kitchener, and General French came from Ireland. The Irish
soldiers in the English service by a pitiful irony of fate helped
materially to fasten the chains of English domination on the peoples
of India in a long series of wars.

In America, the War of 1812 once more gave opportunity to the
Fighting Race. The commanding figure of the war, which opened so
inauspiciously for the United States, was General Andrew Jackson, the
hero of the battle of New Orleans, and afterwards twice elected
President of the United States. "Old Hickory", as he came to be
lovingly called, was proud of his Irish father, and sympathized with
the national longings of the Irish people. He was a splendid soldier,
and his defeat of the English general, Pakenham, on January 8, 1815,
which meant the control of the mouths of the Mississippi, as well as
safeguarding the city of New Orleans, reflected the highest credit on
his skill and unflagging energy. The English had superior numbers,
between 8,000 and 9,000 men, against a scant 6,000 under Jackson, and
their force was made up of veterans of the European wars. In command
of the left of his line Jackson placed the gallant general William
Carroll, born in Philadelphia, but of Irish blood, who was afterwards
twice governor of Tennessee. The British general made the mistake of
despising the soldier value of his enemy, yet before evening of that
day he saw his artillery silenced and his lines broken, as he died of
a wound on the field. The battle was actually fought after the
signing of the treaty of peace at Ghent; it annihilated British
pretensions in this part of the world, anyway.

After Commodore Perry, the victor in the battle of Lake Erie, and
himself the son of an Irish mother, the northern naval glory of the
War of 1812 falls to Lieutenant Thomas MacDonough, of Irish descent,
whose victory on Lake Champlain over the British squadron was almost
as important as Perry's. Admiral Charles L. Stewart ("Old
Ironsides"), who commanded the frigate _Constitution_ when she
captured the _Cyane_ and the _Levant_, fighting them by moonlight,
was a great and renowned figure. His parents came from Ireland, and
Charles Stewart Parnell's mother was the great sea-fighter's
daughter. Lieutenant Stephen Cassin commanded the _Ticonderoga_ and
fought her well. Captain Johnston Blakely, who was born in Ireland,
captured in the _Wasp_ of 18 guns the much larger British _Reindeer_
of 20 guns and 175 men in a splendid fight, and later sank the
_Avon_, an 18-gun brig. After capturing a great prize, which he sent
to Savannah, he sailed for the Spanish main and was never heard of
more. Captain Boyle, in the privateer _Comet_ of Baltimore, fought
the _Hibernia_, of 18 guns, and later in the _Chasseur_, known as the
phantom ship, so fast she sailed, took eighty prizes on the high
seas. General A.E. Maccomb, who commanded victoriously at Plattsburg,
was of Irish descent, and Colonel Robert Carr, who distinguished
himself in the same campaign, was born in Ireland. Major George
Croghan of Kentucky, the hero of Fort Stephenson, was the son of an
Irish father who had been a soldier in the Revolution. Colonel Hugh
Brady, of the 22nd Infantry, commanded at Niagara. He remained in the
army and fought in Mexico. William McRee, of Irish descent, was
General Browne's chief engineer in laying out the military works of
the American army at Niagara.

Let it not be forgotten that in this memorable company brave Mrs.
Doyle has a place. Her husband, Patrick Doyle, an Irish artilleryman,
had been taken prisoner by the British in the affair at Queenston and
had been refused a parole. Accordingly, when the guns were trained on
the English lines before Fort Niagara, Mary, emulating the example of
her countrywoman, "Molly" Pitcher, at Monmouth, determined to take
her husband's place, and, regardless of flying British balls, tended
a blacksmith's bellows all day, providing red-hot shot for the
American gun battery, and sending a prayer with every shot into the
British lines.

After the Queenston affair, it is well to note, the English doctrine
of perpetual allegiance was abated. Twenty-three Irish-born men were
among the captives of the English in that engagement. They were
manacled to be sent to Ireland to be tried for treason, not as
enemies taken in the field. Winfield Scott, then lieutenant-colonel,
was also a prisoner with them. He protested loudly against this
infamous course. Upon his release he laid aside twenty-three British
prisoners to be treated like the Irishmen, eye for eye and tooth for
tooth. As a result, the Irish prisoners were exchanged.

Colonel John Allen, who fell at the head of the First Regiment of
Kentucky Riflemen at the battle of the river Raisin on January 21,
1813, was one of the Irish Allens of Kentucky. His father and mother
were natives of Ireland.

The Mexican War (1846-48) again showed Irish valor at the front. It
was not a great war, though brilliantly fought and rich in
territorial accessions. The campaigning comprised the work of two
main expeditions and a subsidiary movement in California. One column,
under General Zachary Taylor, penetrated northern Mexico and fought
the battles of Matamoras, Palo Alto, and Resaca de la Palma, in May,
1846, with a force of 2,200 men; forced the evacuation of Monterey in
September, his army swelled to 5,000; and defeated Santa Anna at
Buena Vista in February, 1847. General Winfield Scott, with a naval
expediton, attacked Vera Cruz from the sea in March, 1847, and took
up the march, 13,000 strong, to Mexico City, fighting the battles of
Cerro Gordo, Contreras, Churubusco, Molino del Rey, and Chapultepec,
and entered Mexico City on September 14. General James Shields, born
in Tyrone, Ireland, in 1810, was in command with his brigade under
Scott. A brilliant soldier, he was severely wounded at Cerro Gordo
and again at Chapultepec. He served as United States Senator after
the war and again took the field in the Civil War, his forces
defeating Stonewall Jackson at the first battle of Winchester in
1862. The glamour of chivalry lights the name of Phil Kearney. Here
was a born soldier. He was a volunteer with the French in Algiers in
1839-40. He also commanded under Scott with brilliant bravery, and
was brevetted major on the field for "gallant and meritorious
conduct" at the battles of Contreras and Churubusco. In the French
war with Austria in 1859-60, Kearney fought with the French,
distinguishing himself at the decisive and bloody battle of
Solferino. In the Civil War he was brigadier-general of New Jersey
troops in 1861 and major-general in 1863, taking distinguished part
in the battles of the Peninsula and second Bull Run, and was killed
while reconnoitring at Chantilly. General Stephen W. Kearney, with
the Army of the West, by dint of long marches, secured California
among the fruits of the war. General Bennet Riley, born in Maryland
of Irish ancestry, commanded a brigade at Contreras, making a
wonderful charge, and also fought brilliantly at Cerro Gordo and
Churubusco, and was brevetted brigadier-general. He attained the army
rank in 1858. Major-General William O. Butler, under Zachary Taylor,
was one of the heroes of Monterey. Born in Kentucky, son of Percival
Butler of Kilkenny, who was one of the famous five Butler brothers of
the Revolutionary War whom Washington once toasted as "The Butlers
and their five sons," General Butler succeeded General Scott in
command of the entire American army in Mexico in February, 1848.
Another of clear Irish descent who fought under Zachary Taylor was
Major-General George Croghan, whose father, born in Sligo, Ireland,
had fought in the Revolution. He himself took part, as we have seen,
in the War of 1812, and now was at the front before Monterey. Once,
when a Tennessee regiment wavered under a hot converging fire,
Croghan rushed to the front and, taking off his hat, shouted, "Men of
Tennessee, your fathers conquered with Jackson at New Orleans. Come,
follow me!" and they followed in a successful assault. Major-General
Robert Paterson, who was born at Strabane, Ireland, and was the son
of a '98 man, saw service in 1812, and became major-general of
militia in Pennsylvania, whence he went to the Mexican War. He also
lived to serve in the War of the States.

Among Irish-named officers mentioned honorably in official despatches
are Major Edward H. Fitzgerald, Major Patrick J. O'Brien; Captain
Casey, chosen to lead the first storming party at Chapultepec;
Captains Hogan, Byrne, Kane, McElvin, McGill, Burke, Barny,
O'Sullivan, McCarthy, McGarry, and McKeon. Captain Mayne Reid, the
novelist, a native of Ireland, was in the storming of Chapultepec.
Theodore O'Hara, the poet, served with the Kentucky troops and was
brevetted major for gallantry at Contreras and Churubusco, while on
the staff of General Franklin Pierce (afterwards President of the
United States). O'Hara's magnificent poem, "The Bivouac of the Dead,"
has made his name immortal. It was written on the occasion of the
interment at Frankfort, Ky., of the Kentucky dead of the Mexican War,

      "Glory guards with solemn round
      The bivouac of the dead."

Irwin C. McDowell, who was brevetted captain at Buena Vista,
commanded a corps in the Civil War. George A. McCall, brevetted
lieutenant-colonel at Palo Alto, was a major-general in the Civil
War. Francis T. Bryan was a hero of Buena Vista. Lieutenant-Colonel
Thomas P. Moore and Captain James Hogan both won fame in the 3rd
Dragoons. Lieutenant Thomas Claiborn of the Mounted Rifles became a
colonel in the Confederate Army. Lieutenant-Colonel J.W. Geary fought
brilliantly and was to be heard from later with renown.

Colonel John F. Reynolds of the 3rd Artillery lived to be
major-general in the Civil War, and to fall gloriously at Gettysburg.
Nor must we forget Major Folliot Lally's bravery at Cerro Gordo;
Second Lieutenant Thomas W. Sweeny, a brigadier-general of the Civil
War and the planner of the Fenian invasion of Canada in 1866;
Lieutenant Henry B. Kelly of the 2nd Infantry, afterwards a
Confederate colonel; Captain Martin Burke of the 1st Artillery,
killed at Churubusco; nor Lieutenant William F. Barry of the 2nd
Artillery, a brigadier-general in the Civil War. There were scores of
other Irish named officers. In the whole American force of 30,000
engaged, the Irish born and Irish descended troops of all arms were
numbered by thousands.

It was, however, in the Civil War that the flood of Irish valor and
loyalty to the American Republic was at its height. The 2,800,000
enlistments on the Northern side stood probably for 1,800,000
individual soldiers serving during the four years of the war. Not
less than 40 per cent, of these were Irish born or of Irish descent.
Of the 337,800 men furnished by the State of New York, 51,206 were
natives of Ireland out of the total of 134,178 foreign born, or 38
per cent, of the latter, while not less than 80,000 of Irish descent
figured among the 203,600 native born soldiers. Of the 2,261
engagements in the war, few there were that saw no Irishmen in arms,
and certainly, in every one of the 519 engagements that made Virginia
a great graveyard, the Irish figured largely. Of the 1,000,516
mustered out in 1865, not less than 150,000 were natives of Ireland,
while those of Irish descent numbered hundreds of thousands. They
fought well everywhere, and it would require volumes to give the
names and deeds of those who distinguished themselves more than their

One name, however, shines with a great blaze above them all, the name
of Philip H. Sheridan, one of the three supreme soldiers of the
Union, Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman being the
others. Had Ireland furnished only Sheridan to the Union cause, her
service would be beyond reward. He was born in Albany, N.Y., in
March, 1831, the year after his parents, John and Mary Sheridan,
arrived there from the Co. Cavan, in Ireland. The family moved to
Somerset, Perry Co., Ohio, the following year. There Philip began
village life. How he gained the beginning of an education; worked in
a grocery store; became a bookkeeper; longed for a West Point
nomination and got it; how he worked through the Academy in 1853;
served as lieutenant on the frontier, in Texas, California, and
Oregon, until the outbreak of the Civil War, when he was promoted
captain and ordered east, can be quickly told. His history until the
fall of the Confederacy would need many long chapters. His military
genius included all the requirements of a great captain, and his
opportunties of exhibiting all his qualities in action came in rapid
succession. In every service from quartermaster to army commander his
talents shone. His tremendous vigor, incredible mental alertness, and
genius for detail, added to his skill and outreach, continually set
him forward. He stood 5 feet 5 inches high, but somehow looked
taller, owing to his erect, splendid bearing. There was something in
the full chest, the thick muscular neck, the heavy head, the dark
blazing eyes, and the quick bodily movements that arrested attention.
His name has come down to this generation mainly as a great cavalry
leader, but he was a natural commander of all arms, a great
tactician, a born strategist. His campaign of the Shenandoah Valley
was a whirlwind of success. His great battles around Richmond were
wonderful. General Grant's opinion of Sheridan, given thirteen years
after the war, sums up the man. It is here quoted from J.R. Young's
book, _Around the World with General Grant_. It runs, in part, as

"As a soldier, as a commander of troops, as a man capable of doing
all that is possible with any number of men, there is no man living
greater than Sheridan. He belongs to the very first rank of soldiers,
not only of our country but of the world. I rank Sheridan with
Napoleon and Frederick and the great commanders in history. No man
ever had such a faculty of finding things out as Sheridan, of knowing
all about the enemy. He was always the best informed of his command
as to the enemy. Then he had that magnetic quality of swaying men,
which I wish I had, a rare quality in a general. I don't think anyone
can give Sheridan too high praise."

Praise from U.S. Grant is praise indeed. A peculiar feature of the
Civil War was the growth of the generals: Grant, Sherman, Sheridan,
Thomas, Meade, all conspicuously experienced it. With Sheridan,
however, one point is notable, namely, that He triumphed in every
branch in each successive extension of the field of his duties, and
he went from captain to major-general in three years of the regular
army. His care for his men was constant. His troops were always the
best fed, best clothed, best rested in the armies en either side, but
on no troops was there more constant call for endeavor, and they were
never found to fail him. In action he is described as severe,
peremptory, dominating, but his determinations were mighty things,
not to be interfered with. He wanted things done and done at once.
His men of all grades soon conceded that he knew best what to do, and
set about doing it accordingly. Out of action he was joyous of
spirit, but, in fight or out of it, his alertness and his
lightning-like decisions marked him apart from every other commander.
His career in the Tennessee campaign was meteoric. Of his score and
more of great conflicts, the most picturesque was his wonderful
battle at Cedar Creek, to fight which he rode at breakneck speed
"from Winchester twenty miles away" through the dust and debris of a
broken army to the extreme front, rallying the scattered regiments
and turning a defeat into a crushing victory, which recovered all
that had been lost, taking 25 cannon and 1,200 prisoners, and driving
for miles the lately victorious enemy under Early. Captain P.J.
O'Keefe was one of the two who made the ride beside him. The battles
of Waynesboro, Five Forks, and Sailor's Creek showed the same
brilliant generalship on the part of Sheridan. His hold on the
affection of the army and the admiration of the people continued to
the day of his death, August 5, 1888, when he held the headship of
the United States army as general in succession to the great Sherman.

General Sheridan, towards the end of the war, had a soldier's
difference with Major-General George G. Meade, commander of the Army
of the Potomac, but that did not blind "Little Phil" to the real
merit of the victor in the tremendous three days' battle of
Gettysburg, handling an army new to his hand against Robert E. Lee.
The Meade family is of Irish descent. George Meade, the grandfather,
came from Dublin and was a patriot in the American Revolutionary War.
General Meade commanded a division at Antietam and a corps at
Fredericksburg, and held command of the Army of the Potomac to the
end of the war. He was a fine soldier and gentleman. Of quiet manners
at most times, he was most irascible in the hour of battle, but his
temper did not becloud his judgment. General James Shields and
General Irwin McDowell, both fine Irish soldiers, have already been

It would be hard to compass in a brief article even the names of the
general officers of Irish blood in the Civil War. General John Logan,
who fought with the western armies, is worthy of high and honorable
mention, as is General Thomas Francis Meagher, a patriot in Ireland,
a prisoner in Australia, a soldier of dash in the Civil War.
Meagher's Irish Brigade left a record of valor unsurpassed: their
charge at Fredericksburg up Marye's Heights alone should give them
full meed of fame. General Michael Corcoran, a native of Ireland,
commanded the wholly Irish 69th Regiment when it departed for the war
in 1861, and after his exchange from a Confederate prison raised and
organized the Corcoran Legion. Major-General McDowell McCook
commanded brilliantly in the western campaigns. Who has not heard of
the Fighting McCooks?--a family of splendid men and hardy warriors.
Brigadier-General Thomas C. Devin was a superb cavalry commander, who
led the first division of Sheridan's Shenandoah army through all its
great operations. General James Mulligan of Illinois was of the true
fighting breed. Colonel Timothy O'Meara led his superb Irish Legion
from Illinois up Missionary Ridge. Brigadier-General C.C. Sullivan of
western army fame was one of the five generals, headed by Rosecrans,
who recommended Phil Sheridan for promotion to brigadier-general
after the battle of Booneville as "worth his weight in gold." General
Brannan was a gallant division commander in the Middle Tennessee
campaign. Colonel William P. Carlin made a name at Stone River.
General James T. Boyle, of the Army of the Ohio under Buell, was the
brave man whose promotion to division commander left a vacancy for
"Little Phil", that was to be an immediate stepping stone to higher
opportunity. Brigadier-General McMillan, who commanded the second
brigide at Cedar Creek; Colonel Thomas W. Cahill, 9th Connecticut;
Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Neafie of the 156th New York; Captain
Charles McCarthy of the 175th New York; Lieutenant-Colonel Alex. J.
Kenny of the 8th Indiana; Lieutenant Terrence Reilly of the Horse
Artillery, all won distinction in the Shenandoah Valley. Such
splendid fighters as General James R. O'Beirne, Colonel Guiney,
Colonel Cavanagh, Colonel John P. Byron, Colonel Patrick Gleason,
General Denis F. Burke, wrote their names red over a score of battle
fields, but one cannot hope to cover more than a fraction of the
brilliant men of Irish blood who led and bled in the long, hard, and
strenuous struggle. The 69th New York Regiment was the mother of a
dozen Irish regiments, including the Irish Brigade of Meagher and the
Corcoran Legion. The 9th, 28th, and 29th regiments of Massachusetts
were all Irish. A gallant Irishman, born at Fermoy, was
Brigadier-General Thomas Smyth, who made a name and died in the
battles around Richmond. There was not a regiment from the middle
western and western States that did not hold its quota of Irishmen
and sons of the Irish. After the names of Porter and Farragut in the
Navy stands next highest in honor that of Vice-Admiral Stephen C.
Rowan, born in Dublin, of the famous family that produced Hamilton
Rowan, one of the foremost of the United Irishmen. It was the son of
the vice-admiral, a lieutenant in the army, who carried "the message
to Garcia" from the United States War Department to the Cuban
commander in the eastern jungle of Cuba, before the outbreak of the
war with Spain, and did it so well and bravely through such
difficulties and dangers that his name will stand for "the faithful
messenger" forever.

As a consequence of their stand with the American people in the Civil
War, the position of the whole mass of the Irish and Irish-American
people was vastly uplifted in American eyes. The unlettered poverty
of scores of thousands of Irish immigrants, who came in multitudes
from 1846 on, had made an unfavorable and false impression; their red
blood on the battle field washed it out.

On the southern side as well, Irish valor shone. While the great
flood of the mid-century Irish immigration had spread itself mainly
north, east, and west, the larger cities of the South also received a
share. The slave system precluded the entry of free labor into the
cotton, corn, lumber, and sugar lands of the South, but such cities
as New Orleans, Mobile, Charleston, Savannah, Vicksburg, and Richmond
gave varied employment to many of the Irish who made their homes in
the Southland, and so they came to furnish thousands of recruits to
the local Confederate levies. The "Louisiana Tigers", who fought so
valiantly at Gettysburg on the Southern side, included many Irish.
The Georgia brigade, that held the Confederate line atop of Marye's
Heights at Fredericksburg, up which the Irish brigade so heroically
charged, had whole companies of Irish. There were scores of Irish in
many of the regiments that made Pickett's memorable charge at
Gettysburg. All through the Confederate armies were valiant
descendants of the earlier Irish immigration that settled the uplands
of the Carolinas and Virginia and the blue grass region of Kentucky.
Most famous, most glorious of these was "Stonewall"
Jackson--Lieutenant-General Thomas Jonathan Jackson--next to Robert
E. Lee the greatest soldier on the southern side. No more splendid
soldier-figure rises out of the contest. Educated at West Point,
serving in Mexico, then a professor of philosophy--and
artillery--next a volunteer with his State when Virginia took arms
against the Union, his long and brilliant service included a large
share in the victories at Bull Run, Gaines Mill, Malvern Hill, Cedar
Mountain, Harper's Ferry, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and
Chancellorsville, where he was accidentally wounded by his own men.
He was once defeated by General Shields, as has been noted. The piety
and purity of his life belie the supposed necessity for the coarser
traits that are thought to go with the terrible trade. General
Patrick R. Cleburne was born in 1828, near Cork, Ireland. He was in
the English army three years, and, coming to the United States,
became a lawyer at Helena, Ark. He enlisted in the Confederate army
as a private, rose rapidly to the command of a brigade, and made a
great name at Shiloh. As major-general he led divisions at
Murfreesboro and Chickamauga, and was thanked by the Confederate
Congress. He fell at the battle of Franklin--a soldier of commanding
presence, skill, and daring, beloved by the whole Army of the West.
The gallant colonel Thomas Claiborne was a striking cavalryman. It
was Lieutenant Thomas A. Claiborne of the 1st South Carolina who,
with Corporal B. Brannan, lashed the broken flagstaff on Fort Sumter
in June, 1864, when, under a withering fire, the flag of the
Confederacy had been shot away. The fighting of Major-General Gary of
South Carolina around Richmond was desperate. He was the last to
leave the city when it fell, as told by Captain Sullivan: "He
galloped at night through the burning city, and at the bridge over
the James cried out, 'We are the rear guard. It is all over; blow the
bridge to h--l!' and went on into the night"

The story of the Civil War is a mine of honor to the Irish, and
Irishmen should set it forth at length. Here it can be merely glanced

The war of 1898 with Spain--that great patriotic efflorescence--was
brief in its campaigning. Immediately provoked by the blowing up of
the U.S.S. _Maine_ in Havana harbor on February 15, war was declared
on April 19. Admiral Dewey sank the Spanish fleet in Manila Harbor,
May 1. The first troops landed on Cuban soil June 1. The first--and
last--real land battle before Santiago occurred on July 1-2, with
13,500 troops on the American side against an available Spanish force
somewhat less in number, but holding strongly fortified and
entrenched positions around the town. The advance and charges uphill
necessary to capture El Caney and the steep heights of San Juan
called for desperate courage. It was there, however, and the Irish in
the army exhibited dash and persistence, as duty demanded. In the
second day's fighting the Spanish assaults on the American positions
were repelled, and the land fighting was over. The Americans in the
two days lost over 10 per cent killed and wounded. The destruction of
Cervera's fleet on its attempt to escape from Santiago on July 3
ended the struggle. With the regiment of Rough Riders, under Theodore
Roosevelt--who says he reckons "an O'Brien, a Redmond, and a man from
Ulster" among his for-bears--were many gallant Irishmen--Kellys,
Murphys, Burkes, and Doyles, for instance. His favorite captain,
"Bucky" O'Neill of Arizona, fell at the foot of San Juan. The white
regiments of the regular army had their quota of Irish, as had most
of the volunteers. The 9th Massachusetts was all Irish. The 69th New
York, all Irish, never reached the front in the war, but shared the
fate of the 150,000 troops cantoned through the Southern States,
their only effective enemies being dysentery, typhoid, and malaria.

A little splash of Irish blood came with the Fenian dash into Canada
on June 1, 1866. There had been active preparations for a real
invasion by some 50,000 Irish-born or Irish-fathered soldiers who had
served in the Civil War. The American government, using its army
force, intervened to prevent the bellicose movement, not, however,
before Colonel John O'Neill, who had served in the cavalry with
Sherman on his march to the sea, with Captain Starr, one of
Kilpatrick's cavalry, Captain O'Brien, and about 700 well-armed men,
all Civil War veterans, had slipped across the Niagara River at Fort
Erie. They made short work of all in sight, threw out a couple of
hundred men who burned a bridge and tore up the railroad tracks.
Their scouts fired on a small British detachment, which ran. On the
morning of June 2 news came of a larger Canadian force advancing, and
O'Neill went out to meet them. Deploying his men in a field near the
high road at a place called Ridgway, he sent his pickets forward.
They found heavy ground in front and about three-quarters of a mile
away some 1,400 men of the "Queen's Own" of Toronto and the Hamilton
Volunteers advancing rapidly in line. O'Neill, after a few rounds,
withdrew his pickets, and the Canadians, taking the movement for
flight, came briskly on. As soon as they were clear of cover,
O'Neill, firing a volley, gave orders for a charge. At it they went
with a cheer, and the whole Canadian line gave way. They ran as fast
as their legs could carry them, leaving some fifty killed and
wounded. After chasing them for two miles, O'Neill halted his men and
brought them back to Fort Erie, where they intrenched. The Canadians
did not stop until they reached Colburne, eighteen miles away. The
Fenian loss was twenty-five. In the night O'Neill learned that no
help was coming from the United States' side, while news reached him
that a force of 5,000 Canadian and British regulars was advancing on
Fort Erie. Accordingly, at 2 a.m. on June 3, he surrendered to the
United States forces with 400 of his men, who were detained for a few
days on the U.S.S. _Michigan_ and then let go. The balance of his
force, about 250 men, escaped in groups across the river. There was
another little victorious skirmish with the Canadians lower down
under Captain Spear, who also slipped back over the border unpursued.
What fighting took place was workmanlike and creditable.

There was a flicker of Irish fighting spirit in the Boer War. Many
thousands, no doubt, were in the English army of 250,000 men brought
against the 30,000 Boers, but there was a small "Irish Brigade" that
fought on the Boer side, and was notably engaged at Spion Kop, where
the English were driven so sweepingly from their position by
desperate charges.

In the War of 1870, between France and Prussia, the good wishes of
the Irish went with France, for the sake of the old friendship,
largely helped, no doubt, by the fact that at the summit of army
command was Marshal MacMahon, a descendant of a warrior of the old
Irish Brigade. His service in Algiers; his skill and daring in the
Crimean War before Sebastopol, where he led the division which
stormed the Malakoff; his victories in the Italian War of 1859
against Austria, including the great battle of Magenta, all made him
a striking, romantic figure. He failed in 1870 against the Prussians
at Worth, and was made prisoner with his army at Sedan, but he
suppressed the Commune after the war and was President of France from
1873 to 1879. The device by which 300 Irishmen took part on the
French side in the war with Germany has a grim humor. They went as
aides in an ambulance corps fitted out in Dublin by subscription,
but, once on French soil, enlisted in the army. "Maybe we can kill as
well as we can cure," said one of them. The _Compagnie irlandaise_,
as it was called, did creditable work, and was in the last combat
with the Prussians at Montbellard. Their captain, M.W. Kirwan, was
offered a Cross of the Legion of Honor, but for some reason declined
it. Dr. Constantine J. McGuire, who won the decoration for bravery
before Paris during the siege of the Commune, did, however, accept
it, receiving the cross from the hands of Marshal MacMahon, and, hale
and hearty, wears the red ribbon on occasion in New York today.

Even as this chronicle of daring deeds and daring doers is being
penned, in the ranks and as commanding officers on the side of the
allies in the far-flung battle lines of the great European war, are
men of Irish birth, and, let it not be forgotten, not a few of the
opposing side are the descendants of the Irish military geniuses who,
in days gone by, fought so gallantly across the continent "from
Dunkirk to Belgrade". They are all, every man of them, bearing
bravely, as of yore, their own part amid the dangers and chances of
the fray.

If the inspiring story is of necessity here barely sketched in
outline, it nevertheless clearly indicates that, as it has been for
two thousand years of Irish history, so it will be to the end of the
human chapter--the Irish race is the Fighting Race, and willing, even
eager, to risk life itself for vital issues.


Keating's, MacGeoghegan's, Mitchel's Histories of Ireland; J.C.
O'Callaghan: The Irish Brigades in the Service of France, The Green
Book; Lossing: Field Book of the Revolution, Field Book of the War of
1812; Several Mexican War Histories; Battles and Leaders of the Civil
War; The Irish at Home and Abroad (New York, 1856); Canon O'Hanlon:
Irish-American History of the United States; O'Hart; Irish Pedigrees;
Martin I. Griffin: Life of Commodore Barry; John D. Crimmins: Irish
Miscellany; Joseph Denieffe: Fenian Recollections; Plowden:
Historical Review of the State of Ireland (London, 1803); Hays:
History of the Irish (1798) Rebellion; Macaulay: History of England;
J. R. Young: Around the World with General Grant; several valuable
articles and records of research by Michael J. O'Brien of New York.



"The sorrows of Ireland"! What a vision of woe the words conjure up.
The late Goldwin Smith, himself an Englishman and a Unionist, in his
_Irish History and the Irish Question_, finds that "of all histories,
the history of Ireland is the saddest. For nearly seven centuries it
was a course of strife between races, bloodshed, massacre,
misgovernment, civil war, oppression, and misery."

The first of the great scourges of Erin was the coming of the Danes,
the bloodthirsty and conquest-loving Vikings of the North, the
worshipers of Thor and Odin, the gods of thunder and of strife. These
warriors, in never-ending invasions, had for four hundred years
overrun Britain and finally conquered the northern provinces of Gaul.
Until the end of the eighth century Ireland had been free from the
Scandinavian scourge. About this time the invaders made lodgments
along the caasts, passed inward through the island, burned and looted
religious houses and schools of learning, levied tribute upon the
inhabitants, and at length established themselves firmly at Limerick,
Waterford, Dublin, Wexford, and Carlingford. Fortified towns were
built, trading communications with Britain and the continent were set
up, and the Northman, though not in actual possession of the interior
of the island, was apparently in substantial control of its
destinies. Brian Borumha, or Boru, brother of the king of Munster, of
the Dalcassian race of O'Brien, refused to submit, roused his
brother, fought the Danes of Limerick at Sulchoid (A.D. 968), and
captured Limerick. Brian later succeeded his brother, became
sovereign of all Ireland (A.D. 1001), and, on Good Friday, A.D.
1014, joined battle with the Danes upon the famous field of Clontarf.
Here the power of the Northmen was forever broken, Brian falling at
the moment of victory, while in his tent, by the hand of a fugitive

With the death of Brian the united government dissolved. The
provincial kings, or princes, resumed separate authority and a
struggle arose among them, with varying success, for the national
sovereignty. The central government never had been strong, as the
nation was organized on a tribal or family basis. In this weakened
condition Dermot MacMurrough, king of Leinster, abducted the wife of
O'Rourke, prince of Breffni, while the latter was on a pilgrimage.
MacMurrough was compelled to fly to England. He sought the protection
of the Angevin English king, Henry Plantagenet. As a result of this
appeal, a small expedition, headed by Strongbow (A.D. 1169), was sent
to Ireland, and Waterford, Wexford, and Dublin were taken. Then came
Henry himself, in 1171, with a fleet of 240 ships, 400 knights, and
4,000 men, landing at Waterford. This expedition was the beginning of
the English attempted conquest of Ireland--a proceeding that, through
all the ruin and bloodshed of 800 years, is not yet accomplished.
Henry's first act was to introduce the feudal system into that
southern half of the island which he controlled; he seized great
tracts of land, which he in turn granted to his followers under
feudal customs; he introduced the offices of the English feudal
system and the English laws, and placed his followers in all the
positions of power, holding their lands and authority under the
feudal conditions of rendering him homage and military service.

This was the root of the alien "landlordism" and foreign political
control of future times which became the chief curses of Ireland, the
prolific source of innumerable woes. The succeeding years till the
reign of Henry VIII. witnessed the extension, and at times the
decline, of the Anglo-Norman rule. When Henry VII. became king of
England the Anglo-Norman colony or "Pale" had shrunk to two counties
and a half around Dublin, defended by a ditch. Many of the original
Norman knights had become "more Irish than the Irish themselves."
Such was the great family of the Geraldines or Fitzgerald--the most
powerful, with the O'Neills of the North, in Ireland. A united attack
at this time would most certainly have driven out the invader; for it
must be remembered that Dublin, the "Pale"--"the Castle government"
of later times--was the citadel of the English foreign power, and
before a united nation would most certainly have succumbed.

When Henry VIII. ascended the throne of England, the policy of peace
in Ireland was continued during the early portion of his reign. Then
came Henry's break with the Pope over the royal divorce. The Irish
beyond the Pale, and many within it, were loyal to the Church of
their fathers, to the faith of Patrick, the faith of the Roman See.
To Henry and his daughter Elizabeth, the daughter of Anne Boleyn, who
displaced Henry's lawful wife, this was treason. Henceforth, to the
bitterness of race hatred and the pride of the conqueror were to be
added the blackest of religious feuds, the most cruel of religious
persecutions in the history of the world. Again let Goldwin Smith,
the English Unionist, describe the result: "Of all the wars waged by
a civilized on a barbarous _(sic)_ and despised race these wars waged
by the English on the Irish seem to have been the most hideous. No
quarter was given by the invader to man, woman, or child. The
butchering of women and children is repeatedly and brutally avowed.
Nothing can be more horrible than the cool satisfaction with which
English commanders report their massacres." Famine was deliberately
added to the other horrors. What was called law was more cruel than
war: it was death without the opportunity for defense and with the
hypocrisy of the forms of justice added.

Out of this situation came the infamous Penal Code, which, by the
period of William the Third, about 1692, became a finished system.
This is the "Irish Code" of which Lord Brougham said: "It was so
ingeniously contrived that an Irish Catholic could not lift his hand
without breaking it." And Edmund Burke said: "The wit of man never
devised a machine to disgrace a realm or destroy a kingdom so perfect
as this." Montesquieu, the great French jurist-philosopher, the
author of the epoch-making _Spirit of the Laws_, commented: "It must
have been contrived by devils; it ought to have been written in
blood; and the only place to register it is in hell." Yet for two
hundred years this code of death, national and individual, was the
supreme law of Ireland.

Wendell Phillips, the great American orator, in his lecture on
"Daniel O'Connell," summed up this Penal Code in words that will not
soon be forgotten by the world. His reference to Mr. Froude is to
James Anthony Froude, the English historian. He says:

"You know that, under it, an Irish Catholic could not sit in the
House of Commons; he could not hold any commission from the Crown,
either civil or military; he could be a common soldier--nothing more.
He could neither vote, nor sit on a jury, nor stand on a witness
stand, nor bring a suit, nor be a doctor, nor be a lawyer, nor travel
five miles from his own home without a permit from a justice of the
peace. The nearest approach that ever was made to him was a South
Carolina negro before the war. He had no rights that a Protestant
needed to respect. If he was a land-holder, if all his children were
Catholics, he was obliged to divide the land equally between them.
This was the English plan for eliminating the Catholic tenure of the
land and letting it slip out of their hands. Then, if any of the
children, during their father's life, concluded to become
Protestants, in such case they took the whole estate; or, indeed,
they might compel the father to put his estate in trust for their
benefit. So, if the Catholic wife would not go to an Episcopalian
church once a month--which she deemed it a sin to do--she forfeited
her dower. But if she went regularly, she could have all the estate.
If a Catholic had a lease, and it rose one-quarter in value, any
Protestant could take it from him by bringing that fact to the notice
of a justice of the peace. Three justices of the peace might summon
any Catholic before them, and oblige him to give up his faith, or
quit the realm. Four justices could oblige him to abjure his faith or
sell his estates. If a Protestant paid one dollar tax, the Catholic
paid two. If a Protestant lost a ship, when at war with a Catholic
power--and at the time there was only _one_ Protestant power in
Europe, besides Great Britain; that was Holland: so that the chances
were nine to one that, in case of war, Great Britain would be at war
with a Catholic power--in such a case, if a Protestant lost a ship,
he went home and assessed the value on his Catholic neighbors, and
was reimbursed. So, of education. We fret a great deal on account of
a class of Irishmen who come to our shores and are lacking in
education, in culture, and refinement. But you must remember the bad
laws, you must remember the malignant legislation, that sentenced
them to a life of ignorance, and made education a felony in Catholic
Ireland. If an Irishman sent his child to a Protestant schoolmaster,
all right; but if the parent would not do so, and sent him to a
Catholic school, the father was fined ten pounds a week; and the
schoolmaster was fined five pounds a week; and for the third offense
he was hung! But, if the father determined that his child should be
educated, and sent him across the Channel to France, the boy
forfeited his citizenship and became an alien; and, if discovered,
the father was fined one hundred pounds; and anybody, except the
father, who harbored him, forfeited all civil rights--that is, he
could not sue in a court of law, nor could he vote. Indeed, a
Catholic could not marry! If he married a Protestant, the marriage
was void; the children were illegitimate. And, if one Catholic
married another, it required the presence of a priest, and if a
priest landed in Ireland for twenty minutes, it was death! To this
ferocious 'Code', Sir Robert Peel, in our own day, added the climax,
that no Catholic should quit his dwelling between the hours of sunset
and sunrise, an exaggeration of the 'Curfew Law' of William the
Conqueror. Now, you will hardly believe that this was enacted as a
law. But Mr. Froude alludes to this code. Yes; he was very honest; he
would paint England as black as she deserved. He said of Queen
Elizabeth that she failed in her duty as a magistrate; she failed
towards Ireland in her capability of being a great ruler. And then he
proceeded, after passing sentence, to give us the history of her
reign, and showed that, in very many cases, she could not have done
any different. For instance--oh! it is the saddest, blackest, most
horrible statement of all history; it makes you doubt the very
possibility of human nature--when you read that Spenser, the poet,
who had the most ardent, most perfect ideas in English
poetry--Spenser sat at the council board that ordered the wholesale
butchery of a Spanish regiment captured in Ireland, and, to execute
the order, he chose Sir Walter Raleigh, the scholar, the gentleman,
the poet, the author, and the most splendid Englishman of his age!
And Norris, a captain under Sidney, in whose veins flowed the blood
of Sir Philip, writing home to Elizabeth, begs and persuades her to
believe in O'Neill's crimes, and asks for leave to send a hired man
to poison him! And the Virgin Queen makes no objection! Mr. Froude
quotes a letter from Captain Norris, in which he states that he found
himself in an island where five hundred Irish (all women and
children; not a man among them) had taken refuge from the war; and he
deliberately butchered every living soul! And Queen Elizabeth, in a
letter still extant, answers by saying: 'Tell my good servant that I
will not forget his good services.' He tells us that 'The English
nobility and gentry would take a gun as unhesitatingly as a fowler,
and go out to shoot an Irishman as an Indian would a buffalo.' Then
he tells us, with amazement, that you never could make an Irishman
respect an Englishman! He points to some unhappy Kildare, the sole
relic of a noble house, whose four uncles were slaughtered in cold
blood--that is the only word for this kind of execution,
_slaughtered_--and he, left alone, a boy, grows up characterless and
kills an archbishop. Every impetuous, impatient act is dragged before
the prejudiced mind. But when Mr. Froude is painting Sir Walter and
Spenser, blind no longer, he says: 'I regret--it is very sad to
think--that such things should ever have been!'"

Such was the cup from which Ireland drank even into the days of men
now living. Nor was this all. The rise of English manufactures
brought a new chapter of woes to Ireland. The Irish cattle trade had
been killed by an Act of Charles II. for the benefit of English
farmers. The Irish then took up the raising of wool and woolen
manufactures. A flourishing trade grew up. An English law destroyed
it. In succession the same greed killed the cotton, the glovemaking,
the glassmaking, and the brewing trades. These were reserved for the
English maker and merchant. These crimes upon Irish industry
surpassed a thousand-fold the later English attempts upon the
industries of the American colonies.

Under the Code, and through the extreme poverty produced thereby,
substantially all the land of Ireland passed out of the hands of the
people. They became mere serfs upon the soil. Their tribute was paid
through a rapacious agent to a foreign landlord. The improvement of
the land by the labor of the tenant brought increase of rent. There
was no fixity of tenure of the land. It was held at the will of the
agent, reflecting the rapacity of the non-resident landlord. Upon
these holdings the principal crop was the potato. A failure of this
crop was a failure to pay rent, eviction on the roadside, and
starvation. The results, after the enactment of the Penal Code, and
during the greater part of the eighteenth century, are thus described
by Goldwin Smith: "On such a scene of misery as the abodes of the
Irish cotters the sun has rarely looked down. Their homes were the
most miserable hovels, chimneyless, filthy. Of decent clothing they
were destitute. Their food was the potato; sometimes they bled their
cattle and mixed the blood with sorrel. The old and sick were
everywhere dying by cold and hunger, and rotting amidst filth and
vermin. When the potato failed, as it often did, came famine, with
disease in its train. Want and misery were in every face, the roads
were spread with dead and dying, there was sometimes none to bear the
dead to the grave, and they were buried in the fields and ditches
where they perished. Fluxes and malignant fevers followed, laying
these villages waste. 'I have seen,' says a contemporaneous witness,
'the laborer endeavoring to work at his spade, but fainting for want
of food and forced to quit it. I have seen the helpless orphan
exposed on the dunghill, and none to take him in for fear of
infection. And I have seen the hungry infant sucking at the breast of
the already expired parent.'"

All these are not only the horrors of a hundred or two hundred years
ago; they were repeated in ten thousand forms in the awful famine
days of 1847. In 1841 the population of Ireland was 8,796,545
persons. In 1851, after four years of famine, the population was
6,551,970, leaving 2,244,575 persons to be accounted for, and taking
no account of the natural increase of the population during the ten
years. Not less than a million and a half of these died of starvation
and the fevers brought on by famine. The remainder emigrated to
foreign lands.

In this account of the Sorrows of Ireland nothing has been said of
the vast emigrations, thousands upon thousands of persons in the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries leaving Ireland under forced
deportations, in a practical selling into slavery. The sum total of
this loss to Ireland cannot be less than 5,000,000 souls. The earlier
deportations were carried out under the most atrocious circumstances.
Families were broken up and scattered to distant and separate
colonies, such as Barbados, the New England States, and later to the
South Pacific.

This is but a glance at some of the wrongs to Ireland's religious,
intellectual, and material welfare, wrongs that have plunged her into
an age-long poverty. But one of the greatest of all her sorrows has
been the denial of her national life, the attempt to strangle her
rightful aspirations as a free people. Her autonomy was taken from
her; her smallest legislative act was the act of a stranger; in fine,
every mark of political slavery was put upon her. A foreign soldiery
was, and still is, quartered upon her soil. The control of her
revenues, of the system of taxation, was wrested from her. These
became the function of a hateful resident oligarchy, alien in
everything to the Irish people, and of the English parliament, to
which she was not admitted until the days of Daniel O'Connell. And
then she was admitted only through fear of revolution.

The dawn has come. The dark night is almost past; the heroic struggle
of Ireland is about to close in triumph. Her loyalty to her ideals of
freedom and religion is to meet its reward. The epitaph of Robert
Emmet will soon be written, for at last Ireland is certain of "taking
her place among the nations of the earth."


D'Alton: History of Ireland; J.P. Prendergast: Cromwellian
Settlement; Barrington: Rise and Fall of the Irish Nation; McNevin:
Confiscation of Ulster; R.R. Madden: History of the Penal Laws;
Murphy: Cromwell in Ireland; T.A. Emmet: Ireland under English Rule,
2 vols.; Mrs. J.R. Green: Irish Nationality; Walpole: A Short History
of the Kingdom of Ireland; A.M. Sullivan: Story of Ireland; Thomas
Moore: History of Ireland; Edmund Spenser: View of the State of
Ireland; C. Gavan Duffy: Four Years of Irish History, 1845-49; Isaac
Butt: Land Tenure in Ireland; Justin McCarthy: History of our own
Times; Johnston and Spencer: Ireland's Story; MacGeoghegan's History
of Ireland and its continuation by John Mitchel; William Sampson:
Memoirs of an Irish Exile, 1832; John Curry: A Historical and
Critical Review of the Civil Wars in Ireland (1775); John Boyle: The
Battlefields of Ireland (1879); Speeches of Edmund Burke, Daniel
O'Connell, Henry Grattan; Wendell Phillips's Speech on Daniel
O'Connell; Father Tom Burke: Lectures on Ireland.



Irish leaders have proved far-famed but not long-lived. Their short
and strenuous careers have burnt out in their prime, and their ends
have been such as attend conflagrations. More often they have left a
pall than a light in the heavens, for the most brilliant lives in
Irish history have led to the most tragic deaths. The Destiny which
allotted them impossible tasks has given them immortality on the
scenes of their glorious failure.

They differ from leaders of other countries, who divide the average
pittances of success or ill success on the road to honored
retirement. Few of the heroes among modern nations have left such
vivid and lasting memory as "the strong men of Ireland." During the
nineteenth century their lore and cult have traversed the whole world
in the wake of the great emigrations. Whether they failed or
succeeded in wresting the independence and ideals of Ireland for a
while from the fell clutch of circumstance, they live with their race

Under Plantagenet and Tudor rule, the Irish leaders presented a
sullen but armed resistance. A never completed invasion was met by
sporadic raids and successive risings. A race of military outlaws was
fashioned, which accounts for much in Irish character today.
Previously the Irish, like all Celtic civilization, was founded on
the arts, on speech, and on law, rather than on war and feudalism.

Even Irish militancy was crushed in the Williamite wars, and the
race, deprived of its original subsistence as well as of its acquired
defense, sank into the stupor of penal times. Those who should have
been leaders of Ireland became marshals of Austria and France.

Gradually it was learnt that the pen is mightier than the sword and
the human voice more potent than the sound of cannon--and the
constitutional struggle developed, not without relapse and reverse.
To Dean Swift must be attributed the change in the national weapon
and the initiation of a leadership of resistance within the law,
which has lasted into modern times. Accident made Swift an Irishman,
and a chance attempt to circulate debased coins in Ireland for the
benefit of a debased but royal favorite made him a patriot. Swift
drove out Wood's halfpence at the pen-point. He shamed the
government, he checked the all-powerful Walpole, and he roused the
manhood of Ireland towards independence in legislation. He never
realized what a position history would give him. To himself he seemed
a gloomy failure, to his contemporaries a popular pamphleteer, but to
posterity he is the creator of public conscience in Ireland. He was
the father of patriotic journalism, and the first to defend Ireland's
rights through literature. Though his popularity was quenched in
lunacy, his impress upon Irish politics remains as powerful and
lasting as upon English literature.

Within the so-called Irish parliament sprang forth the first of a
long line of orators, Henry Flood. He was the first to study the
Constitution for purposes of opposition. He attacked vice-regal
government in its own audit-house. Pension and corruption he laid
bare, and upon the people he breathed a spirit of independence.
Unfortunately he was not content with personal prominence. He
accepted office, hoping thereby to benefit Ireland. His voice became
lost to the higher cause, and another man rose in his stead, Henry
Grattan. The American war tested the rival champions of Liberty.
Flood favored sending Irish troops, "armed negotiators" he called
them, to deal with the revolted colonists. Grattan nobly reviled him
for standing--"with a metaphor in his mouth and a bribe in his
pocket, a champion against the rights of America, the only hope of
Ireland and the only refuge of the liberties of mankind." Flood
collapsed under his ignoble honors. He was not restored by returning
to patriotic opposition. Grattan's leadership proved permanent
politically and historically. His name connotes the high water-mark
of Irish statesmanship. The parliament which he created and whose
rights he defined became a standard, and his name a talisman and a
challenge to succeeding generations. The comparative oratory of
Grattan and Flood is still debated. Both after a manner were unique
and unsurpassed. Flood possessed staying power in sheer invective and
sustained reasoning. Grattan was fluent in epigram and most inspiring
when condensed, and he had an immense moral advantage. The parliament
which made him a grant was independent, but it was from one of
subservience that Flood drew his salary. Henceforth Grattan was
haunted by the jealous and discredited herald of himself. A great
genius, Flood lacked the keen judgment and careless magnanimity
without which leadership in Ireland brings misunderstanding and
disaster. In the English House he achieved total failure. Grattan
followed him after the Union, but retained the attention if not the
power of Dublin days. Neither influenced English affairs, and their
eloquence curiously was considered cold and sententious. Their
rhapsody appeared artificial, and their exposition labored. The
failure of these men was no stigma. What is called "Irish oratory"
arose with the inclusion of the Celtic under strata in politics.

Burke's speeches were delivered to an empty house. Though he lived
out of Ireland and never became an Irish leader in Ireland, Burke had
an influence in England greater than that of any Irishman before or
since. The beauty and diction of his speech fostered future
parliamentary speaking. Macaulay, Gladstone, Peel, and Brougham were
suckled on him. His farthest reaching achievement was his treatment
of the French Revolution. His single voice rolled back that storm in
Europe. But no words could retard revolution in Ireland herself.
Venal government made the noblest conservative thinking seem treason
to the highest interests of the country. The temporary success of
Grattan's parliament had been largely won by the Volunteers. They had
been drilled, ostensibly against foreign invasion, but virtually to
secure reforms at home. Their power became one with which England had
to reckon, and which she never forgave. Lord Charlemont, their
president, was an estimable country gentleman, but not a national
leader. A more dashing figure appeared in the singular Earl of
Bristol. Though an Irish bishop and an English peer, he set himself
in the front rank of the movement, assuming with general consent the
demeanor and trappings of royalty. He would not have hesitated to
plunge Ireland into war, had he obtained Charlemont's position. But
it was not so fated.

After forcing parliamentary independence the Volunteers meekly
disbanded, and the United Irishmen took their place. The brilliancy
of Grattan's parliament never fulfilled national aspirations. Bristol
was succeeded by another recruit from the aristocracy--Lord Edward
Fitzgerald. With Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmet he has become legendary.
All three attained popular canonization, for all three sealed their
brief leadership with death.

Lord Edward was a dreamer, an Irish Bayard, too chivalrous to
conspire successfully and too frankly courageous to match a
government of guile. Tone was far more dangerous. He realized that
foreign invasion was necessary to successful rebellion, and he
allowed no scruple or obstacle in his path. He washed his hands of
law and politics entirely. To divert Napoleon to Ireland was his
object and the total separation of Ireland his ambition. The United
Irishmen favored the invasion, which the Volunteers had been formed
to repel. The feud between moral and physical force broke out. The
failure of the sterner policy in 1798 did not daunt Emmet from his
ill-starred attempt in 1803. He combined Lord Edward's chivalry with
some abilities worthy of Tone, but he failed. The failure he redeemed
by a swan-song from the dock and a demeanor on the scaffold which
have become part of Irish tradition.

After the Union, Irish leaders sprang up in the English House, which
Pitt had unwittingly made the cockpit of the racial struggle. Far
from absorbing the Irish element, the Commons found themselves forced
to resist, rally, and finally succumb.

The Irish House cannot be dismissed without mention of Curran. He was
a brilliant enemy of corruption and servility. O'Connell said "there
was never so honest an Irishman," which may account for his greater
success as a lawyer than a politician. To be an Irish leader and a
successful lawyer is given to no man. For the former the sacrifice of
a great career is needed. This sacrifice Daniel O'Connell was
prepared to make. His place in history will never be estimated, for
few have been so loved or hated, or for stronger reasons. Never did a
tribune rising to power lift his people to such sudden hope and
success. Never did a champion leave his followers at his death and
decline to more terrible despair. Friend and foe admit his immensity.
He was the greatest Irishman that ever lived or seemingly could live.
In his own person he contained the whole genius of the Celt. Ireland
could not hold his emotions, which overflowed into the world for
expression. He rose on the crest of a religious agitation, but,
Emancipation won, he had the foresight to associate the Irish cause
with the advent of Reform and Liberalism throughout Europe. He
sounded the notes of free-trade and anti-slavery. What he said in
parliament one day, Ireland re-echoed the next. To her he was all in
all, her hero and her prophet, her Messias and her strong deliverer.
On the continent he roughly personified Christian Democracy.

In public oratory O'Connell introduced a new style. Torrential and
overwhelming as Flood and Grattan had never been, he proved more
successful if less polished. The exaggerations of Gaelic speech found
outburst in his English. Peel's smile was "the silver plate on a
coffin", Wellington "a stunted corporal", and Disraeli "the lineal
descendant of the impenitent thief."

It sounds bombastic, but in those feudal forties it rang more
magnificent than war. Single-voiced he overawed the host of bigots,
dullards, and reactionaries. Unhappily, he let his people abandon
their native tongue, while teaching them how to balance the rival
parties in England, the latter a policy that has proved Ireland's
fortune since. He loosed the spirit of sectarianism in the tithe war,
and he crushed the Young Ireland movement, which bred Fenianism in
its death agony. But he made the Catholic a citizen. Results
stupendous as far-reaching sprang from his steps every way.

The finest pen-sketch of O'Connell is by Mitchel, who says, "besides
superhuman and subterhuman passions, yet withal, a boundless fund of
masterly affectation and consummate histrionism, hating and loving
heartily, outrageous in his merriment and passionate in his
lamentation, he had the power to make other men hate or love, laugh
or weep, at his good pleasure."

Yet during his lifetime there lived others worthy of national
leadership. O'Brien, Duffy, and Davis played their part in England as
well as in Ireland. Father Mathew founded the Temperance, as Feargus
O'Conor the Chartist, movement. And there was an orator who
fascinated Gladstone--Sheil.

Father Mathew succeeded in keeping many millions of men sober during
the forties until the great Famine engulfed his work as it did
O'Connell's. To him is due, as a feature of Irish life, the brass
band with banners, which he originally organized as a

Feargus O'Conor founded Radical Socialism in England. As the Lion of
Freedom, he enjoyed a popularity with English workmen approaching
that of O'Connell in Ireland. He ended in lunacy, but he had the
credit of forwarding peasant proprietorship far in advance of his

Sheil was a tragic orator--"an iambic rhapsodist", O'Connell called
him--who might have been leader, did not a greater tragedian occupy
the stage. And Sheil was content to be O'Connell's organizer. Without
O'Connell's voice or presence, he was his rhetorical superior,
excelling in irony and the by-plays of speech for which O'Connell was
too exuberant. Shell's speeches touch exquisite though not the deep
notes of O'Connell, whom he criticized for "throwing out broods of
sturdy young ideas upon the world without a rag to cover them." He
discredited his master and his cause by taking office. The fruits of
Emancipation were tempting to those who had borne the heat of the
day, but there was a rising school of patriots who refused
acquiescence to anything less than total freedom.

The Young Irelanders reincarnated the men of "ninety-eight." They
were neither too late nor too soon. They snatched the sacred torch of
Liberty from the dying hands of O'Connell, who summoned in vain old
Ireland against his young rivals. But men like Davis and Duffy
appealed to types O'Connell never swayed. He could carry the mob, but
poet, journalist, and idealist were enrolled with Young Ireland. For
this reason the history of their failure is brighter in literature
than the tale of O'Connell's triumphs. To read Duffy's "Young
Ireland" and Mitchel's "Jail Journal", with draughts from the _Spirit
of the Nation_. is to relive the period. Without the Young
Irelanders, Irish Nationalism might not have survived the Famine.

Mitchel, as open advocate of physical force, became father to
Fenianism. An honest conspirator and brilliant writer, he proved that
the pen of journalism was sharper than the Irish pike. Carlyle
described him as "a fine elastic-spirited young fellow, whom I
grieved to see rushing on destruction palpable, by attack of
windmills." Destruction came surely, but coupled with immortality. He
was transported as a felon before the insurrection, while his
writings sprang up in angry but unarmed men.

Mitchel and O'Connell both sought the liberation of Ireland, but
their viewpoint differed. Mitchel thought only of Liberty; O'Connell
not unnaturally considered the "Liberator." His refusal to allow a
drop of blood to be shed caused Young Ireland to secede. Only when
death removed his influence could the pent-up feelings of the country
break out under Smith O'Brien. If Mitchel was an Irish Robespierre,
O'Brien was their Lafayette. His advance from the level of dead
aristocracy had been rapid. From defending Whigs in Parliament he
passed to opposition and "contempt of the House." He resigned from
the Bench from which O'Connell had been dismissed, became a Repealer,
adding the words "no compromise," and finally gloried in his treason
before the House. His next step brought a price upon his head.

Grave and frigid, but inwardly warmhearted and passionate, O'Brien
had little aptitude for rebellion. But the death penalty (commuted to
transportation) which he incurred went far to redeem his forlorn
failure. Mitchel, who shared his Australian imprisonment, left a fine
picture of "this noblest of Irishmen, thrust in among the
off-scourings of England's gaols, with his home desolated and his
hopes ruined, and defeated life falling into the sere and yellow
leaf. A man, who cannot be crushed, or bowed, or broken; anchored
immovably upon his own brave heart within; his clear eye and soul
open as ever to all the melodies and splendors of heaven and earth,
and calmly waiting for the angel, Death."

The Irish cause was not revived until the Fenian movement. Disgust
with the politicians drove the noblest into their ranks. In Stephens
they found an organizing chief, in Boyle O'Reilly a poet, and in John
O'Leary a political thinker, men who under other conditions had
achieved mundane success. The Fenians were defended by Isaac Butt, a
big-hearted, broad-minded lawyer, who afterwards organized a party to
convince Englishmen that Repeal was innocuous, when called "Home
Rule." The people stood his patient ways patiently, but when a more
desperate leader arrived they transferred allegiance, and Butt died
of a broken heart.

Parnell took his place and began to marshal the broken forces of
Irish democracy against his own class. Butt had been a polite
parliamentarian, reverencing the courtesy of debate and at heart
loving the British Constitution. Parnell felt that his mission lay in
breaking rather than interpreting the law. The well-bred House stared
and protested when he defied their chosen six hundred. Parnell faced
them with their own marble callousness. He outdid them in political
cynicism and out-bowed them in frigid courtesy, while maintaining a
policy before which tradition melted and a time-honored system
collapsed. In one stormy decade he tore the cloak from the Mother of
Parliaments, reducing her to a plain-speaking democratic machine.
Through the breach he made, the English labor party has since

He united priest and peasant, physical and moral force, under him. He
could lay Ireland under storm or lull at his pleasure. His
achievement equalled his self-confidence. He reversed the Irish land
system and threw English politics out of gear. With the balance of
power in his hand, he made Tory and Radical outbid each other for his
support. He was no organizer or orator, but he fascinated able men to
conduct his schemes, as Napoleon used his marshals. On a pregnant day
he equaled the achievement of St. Paul and converted Gladstone, who
had once been his gaoler. Gladstone became a Home Ruler, and
henceforth English politics knew no peace.

Parnell stood for the fall and rise of many. Under his banner Irish
peasants became human beings with human rights. He felled the feudal
class in Ireland and undermined them in England. Incalculable forces
were set to destroy him. A forged letter in the _Times_ classed him
with assassins, while an legal Commission was sent to try his whole
movement. It is history that his triumphant vindication was followed
by a greater fall. The happiness of Ireland was sucked into the
maelstrom of his ruin. He refused to retire from leadership at
Gladstone's bidding, and Ireland staggered into civil war. The end is
known--Parnell died as he had lived. Of his moral fault there is no
palliation, but it may be said he held his country's honor dearer
than his own, for he could not bear to see her win even independence
by obeying the word of an Englishman.


Lecky: Leaders of Irish Opinion; Mitchel: Jail Journal; Duffy: Young
Ireland; O'Brien: Life of Parnell; D'Alton: History of Ireland.


By Alice Milligan

The worth and glory of a nation may well be measured and adjudged by
the typical character of its womanhood: not so much, I would say, by
the eminence attained to by rarely gifted, exceptionally developed
individuals, as by the prevalence of noble types at every period, and
amongst all classes of the community, and by their recurrence from
age to age under varying circumstances of national fortune.

Judged by such a standard, Ireland emerges triumphant and points to
the roll of her chequered history, the story of her ancient race,
with confidence and pride. Gaze into the farthest vistas of her
legendary past, into the remotest eras of which tradition preserves a
misty memory, and the figure of some fair, noble woman stands forth
glimmering like a white statue against the gloom. At every period of
stern endeavor, through all the generations of recorded time, the
pages of our annals are inscribed with the names of mothers, sisters,
wives, not unworthy to stand there beside those of the world-renowned
heroes of the Gael.

In the ancient tales of Ireland we read of great female physicians
and distinguished female lawyers and judges. There were _ban-file_,
or women-poets, who, like the _file_, were at the same time
soothsayers and poetesses, and there are other evidences of the high
esteem in which women were held. There can be no doubt, to judge by
the elaborate descriptions of garments in the saga-texts, that the
women were very skilful in weaving and needlework. The Irish peasant
girls of today inherit from them not a little of their gift for
lace-making and linen-embroidery. Ladies of the highest rank
practiced needlework as an accomplishment and a recreation. Some of
the scissors and shears they used have come to light in excavations.

In the stories of the loves of the ancient Irish, whether immortals
or mortals, the woman's role is the more accentuated, while in
Teutonic tradition man plays the chief part. Again, it has often been
remarked that the feminine interest is absent from the earlier heroic
forms of some literatures. Not so, however, in the earliest
saga-texts of the Irish. Many are the famous women to whom the old
tales introduce us and who stand out and compel attention like the
characters of the Greek drama. Everyone knows of the faithful
Deirdre, the heroine of the touching story of the "Exile of the Sons
of Usnech", and of her death; of the proud and selfish Medb. the
ambitious queen of Connacht, the most warlike and most expert in the
use of weapons of the women of the Gael--far superior in combat and
counsel to her husband, Ailill; of Emer, the faithful wife of
Cuchulainn; of Etain of the Horses (that was her name in Fairyland);
and of many others too numerous to mention.

It is with the introduction of Christianity into Ireland that the
Irish woman came into her rightful place, and attained the
preponderating influence which she, ever since, has held among the
Celtic people. In the period which followed the evangelization of the
island many were the "women of worth" who upheld the honor and glory
of "Inisfail the Fair", and women were neither the less numerous nor
the less ardent who hung upon the lips of the Apostle of Ireland.

Amid the galaxy of the saints, how lustrous, how divinely fair,
shines the star of Brigid, the shepherd maiden of Faughard, the
disciple of Patrick the Apostle, the guardian of the holy light that
burned beneath the oak-trees of Kildare! Over all Ireland and through
the Hebridean Isles, she is renowned above any other. We think of
her, moreover, not alone, but as the centre of a great company of
cloistered maidens, the refuge and helper of the sinful and
sorrowful, who found in the gospel that Patrick preached a message of
consolation and deliverance. Let it be remembered that the shroud of
Patrick is deemed to have been woven by Brigid's hand; that when she
died, in 525, Columcille, the future apostle of Scotland, was a child
of four. So she stands midmost of that trilogy of saints whose dust
is said to rest in Down.

Who that hears of Columcille will forget how He won that name, "dove
of the Church", because of his early piety, and that surely bespeaks
a mother's guiding care. Ethne, mother of Columcille, remains a vague
but picturesque figure, seen against the background of the rugged
heath-clad hills of Tir-Conal by the bright blue waters of Gartan's
triple lake. Her hearth-stone or couch is shown there to this day,
where once in slumber, before the birth of her son, she saw in a
glorious visionary dream a symbol of his future greatness. A vast
veil woven of sunshine and flowers seemed to float down upon her from
heaven: an exquisitely poetic thought, which gives us warrant to
believe that Columcille's poetic skill was inherited from his mother.

Ronnat, the mother of his biographer, St. Adamnan, plays a more
notable part in history, for, according to an ancient Gaelic text
recently published, it was to her that the women of Ireland owed the
royal decree which liberated them from military service. The story
goes that once, as she walked beside the Boyne, after some sanguinary
conflict, she came upon the bodies of two women who had fallen in
battle. One grasped a reaping hook, the other a sword, and dreadful
wounds disfigured them. Horrified at the sight, she brought strong
pressure to bear upon her son, and his influence in the councils of
the land availed to bring about the promulgation of the decree which
freed women from war-service.

Our warrior kings had noble queens to rule their households, and of
these none stands out so distinctly after long lapse of time as
Gormlai, the daughter of Flann Siona, and wife of Nial Glondubh. Her
story has in it that element of romance which touches the heart and
wins the sympathy of all who hear it.

Her father was king of the Meathan branch of the Clan Nial, and
_ard-ri_ of Ireland for thirty-seven years. Nial Glondubh was king of
Tir-Eoghain, and heir of Flann in the high kingship, for at that era
it was the custom for the kings of Meath and of Tyrone to hold the
supreme power alternately. In order to knit north and south, Flann
betrothed his beautiful daughter to Cormac macCuillenan, king of
Cashel, an ideal husband, one would have thought, for a poetess like
Gormlai, for Cormac was the foremost scholar of the day; but his mind
was so set on learning and religion that he took holy orders and
became bishop-king of Cashel, repudiating his destined bride. Gormlai
was then given as wife to Cearbhail, king of Leinster, and war was
waged against Cormac who was killed in the battle of Ballymoon.
Coming home wounded, Cearbhail lay on his couch, and while tended by
Gormlai and her ladies told the story of the battle and boasted of
having insulted the dead body of King Cormac. Gormlai reproached him
for his ignoble conduct in such terms that his anger and jealousy
flamed up, and striking her with his fist he hurled her to the

Gormlai rose indignant and left his house forever, returning to the
palace of King Flann, and on Cearbhail's death she at last found a
true lover and worthy mate in Nial Glondubh, who brought her
northward to rule over the famous palace of Aileach. In 916 Nial
became high king, but the place of honor was also the place of
danger, and soon he led the mustered hosts of the north against the
pagan foreigners, who held Dublin and Fingal, and he fell in battle
at Rathfarnham.

A poem, preserved for us ever since, tells us that Gormlai was
present at his burial and chanted a funeral ode. Her long widowhood
was a period of disconsolate mourning. At length it is said she had a
dream or vision, in which King Nial appeared to her in such life-like
shape that she spread her arms to embrace him, and thus wounded her
breast against the carven head-post of her couch, and of that wound
she died.

Many saintly, many noble, many hospitable and learned women lightened
the darkness that fell over Ireland after the coming of the Normans.

I pass to the time when a sovereign lady filled the throne of
England, "the spacious days of great Elizabeth," which were also the
period of Ireland's greatest, sternest struggle against a policy of
extermination towards her nobles and suppression of her ancient
faith. Amid all the heroes and leaders of that wondrous age in
Ireland, there appears, like a reincarnation of legendary Medb, a
warlike queen in Connacht, Grace O'Malley, "Granuaile" of the
ballads. Instead of a chariot, she mounts to the prow of a
swift-sailing galley, and sweeps over the wild Atlantic billows, from
isle to isle, from coast to coast, taking tribute (or is it plunder?)
from the clans. First an O'Flaherty is her husband, then a Norman
Burke. In Clare Island they show her castle tower, with a hole in the
wall, through which they say she tied a cable from her ship, ready by
day or night for a summons from her seamen. She voyaged as far as
London town, and stood face to face with the ruffed and hooped
Elizabeth, meeting her offer of an English title with the assertion
that she was a princess in her own land.

The mother of Red Hugh O'Donnell, Ineen-dubh, though daughter of the
Scottish Lord of the Isles, was none the less of the old Irish stock.
Her character is finely sketched for us by the Franciscan chronicler
who wrote the story of the captivity and mighty deeds of her son.
When the clans of Tir-Conal assembled to elect the youthful
chieftain, he writes: "It was an advantage that she came to the
gathering, for she was the head of the advice and counsel of the
Cinel-Conail, and, though she was slow and deliberate and much
praised for her womanly qualities, she had the heart of a hero and
the soul of a soldier." Her daughter, Nuala, is the "woman of the
piercing wail" in Mangan's translation of the bard's lament for the
death of the Ulster chieftains in Rome.

Modern critics like to interpret the "Dark Rosaleen" poem as an
expression of Red Hugh's devotion to Ireland, but I think that Rose,
O'Doherty's daughter, wife of the peerless Owen Roe, deserves
recognition as she whose

      "Holy delicate white hands should girdle him with steel."

The record has come down to us that she prompted and encouraged her
husband to return from the low-countries and a position of dignity in
a foreign court to command the war in Ireland, and in her first
letter, ere she followed him over sea, she asked eagerly: "How stands
Tir-Conal?" True daughter of Ulster was Owen's wife, so let us
henceforth acknowledge her as the _Roisin_ dubh, "dark Rosaleen", of
the sublimest of all patriot songs.

In the Cromwellian and Williamite wars, we see the mournful mothers
and daughters of the Gaeldom passing in sad procession to Connacht,
or wailing on Shannon banks for the flight of the "Wild Geese." But
what of Limerick wall, what of the valorous rush of the women of the
beleaguered city to stem the inroads of the besiegers and rally the
defenders to the breach? The decree of St. Adamnan was quite
forgotten then, and when manly courage for a moment was daunted,
woman's fortitude replaced and reinspired it.

And fortitude was sorely needed through the black years that
followed--the penal days, when Ireland, crushed in the dust, bereft
of arms, achieved a sublimer victory than did even King Brian
himself, champion of the Cross, against the last muster of European

Yes, her women have done their share in making Ireland what she is, a
heroic land, unconquered by long centuries of wrath and wrong, a land
that has not abandoned its Faith through stress of direst persecution
or bartered it for the lure of worldly dominion; no--nor ever yielded
to despair in face of repeated national disaster.

It was this fidelity to principle on the part of the Irish Catholic
people which won for them the alliance of all that were worthiest
among the Protestants of north and south in the days of the
Volunteers and the United Irishmen. What interesting and pathetic
portraits of Irishwomen are added to our roll at this period! None is
more tenderly mournful than that of Sarah Curran, the beloved of
Robert Emmet. The graceful prose of Washington Irving, the poignant
verses of Moore, have enshrined the memory of her, weeping for him in
the shadow of the scaffold, dying of heart-break at last in a far-off
land. No more need be said of her, for whom the pity of the whole
world has been awakened by song allied to sweetest, saddest music.
What of Anne Devlin, Emmet's faithful servant, helping in his
preparations for insurrection, aiding his flight, shielding him in
hiding, even when tortured, scourged, half-hanged by a brutal
soldiery, with stern-shut lips refusing to utter a word to compromise
her "Master Robert"?

What of the sister of Henry Joy McCracken, Mary, the friend and
fellow-worker with the Belfast United Irishmen? An independent,
self-reliant business woman, she earned the money which she gave so
liberally in the good cause, or to help the poor and distressed,
through the whole period of a long life. Some still living have seen
Mary passing along the streets of Belfast, an aged woman, clad in
sombre gown, to whom Catholic artisans raised their caps reverently,
remembering how in '98 she had walked hand in hand with her brother
to the steps of the scaffold, and how, in 1803, she had aided Thomas
Russell in his escape from the north after Emmet's failure, had
bribed his captors after arrest, provided for his defence, and
preserved for futurity a record of his dying words. Madden's _History
of the United Irishmen_, as far as it tells of the north, is mainly
the record that she kept as a sacred trust in letters, papers,
long-treasured memories of the men who fought and died to make
Ireland a united nation.

And now a scene in America comes last to my mind. Wolfe Tone, a
political fugitive who has served Ireland well and come through
danger to safety, is busy laying the foundations of a happy and
prosperous future, with a beloved wife and sister and young children
to brighten his home. An estate near Princeton, New Jersey, has been
all but bought, possibilities of a career in the new republic open
before him, when a letter comes from Belfast, asking him to return to
the post of danger, to undertake a mission to France for the sake of
Ireland. Let his own pen describe what happened: "I handed the letter
to my wife and sister and desired their opinion.... My wife
especially, whose courage and whose zeal for my honor and interest
were not in the least abated by all her past sufferings, supplicated
me to let no consideration of her or our children stand for a moment
in the way of my duty to our country, adding that she would answer
for our family during my absence and that the same Providence which
had so often, as it were, miraculously preserved us would not desert
us now."

Inspired by the fortitude of this noble woman, Tone went forth on his
perilous mission, and similarly the Young Ireland leaders, Mitchel
and Smith O'Brien, were sustained by the courage of their nearest and
dearest. "Eva," the poetess of the _Nation_, gave her troth-plight to
one who had prison and exile to face ere he could claim her hand.
Other names recur to me--"Speranza", with her lyric fire; Ellen
O'Leary, fervent and still patient and wise; Fanny Parnell and her

And what of the women of Ireland today? Shall they come short of the
high ideal of the past, falter and fail, if devotion and sacrifice
are required of them? Never: whilst they keep in memory and honor the
illustrious ones of whom I have written. The name of Irishwoman today
stands for steadfast virtue, for hospitality, for simple piety, for
cheerful endurance, and in a changing world let us trust it is the
will of God that in this there will be no change.


On Ethne, mother of St. Columcille: The Visions, Miracles, and
Prophecies of St. Columba (Clarendon Press Series). On Ronnat: S. Mac
an Bhaird, Life (in Irish) of Adamnan (Letterkenny); Reeves, St.
Adamnan's Life of St. Columba; The Mother of St. Adamnan, an old
Gaelic text, ed. by Kuno Meyer (Berlin). On Gormlai: Thomas
Concannon, Gormflath (in Irish; The Gaelic League, Dublin). On
Granuaile: Elizabethan State Papers (Record Office Series); William
O'Brien, A Queen of Men. On Ineen-Dubh: O'Clery's Life of Red Hugh
(contemporary), ed. by Denis Murphy, S. J. (Dublin, 1894); Standish
O'Grady, The Flight of the Eagle, or Red Hugh's Captivity. On Rose,
wife of Owen Roe O'Neill, see references in Father Meehan's The
Flight of the Earls, and in Sir John Gilbert's History of the
Confederate War (Dublin, 1885). On the wife of Wolfe Tone, see Wolfe
Tone's Autobiography, ed. by R. Barry O'Brien (London, 1894). The
American edition has a fuller account of Tone's wife, her courage and
devotion in educating her son, and her interviews with Napoleon, and
life in America. The women of the United Irish period are fully dealt
with in K. R. Madden's Lives and Times of the United Irishmen. On
Mary McCracken, see Mrs. Milligan Fox, The Annals of the Irish
Harpers. On the women of the Young Ireland period, see C. Gavan
Duffy's Young Ireland (Dublin), and John O'Leary's Fenians and
Fenianism. On the women of Limerick, see Rev. James Dowd, Limerick
and its Sieges (Limerick, 1890). For the women under Cromwellian
Plantation persecutions and the Penal Laws, see Prendergast's
Cromwellian Settlement, Rev. Denis Murphy's Cromwell in Ireland, and
R. R. Madden's History of the Penal Laws.



[NOTE.--This chapter was written by Lord Ashbourne in French, because
he is so strong an Irishman that he objects to write in English. The
translation has been made by the Editors.]

To those of us who are interested in the future of our country there
is at this very moment presented a really serious problem. The
political struggle of the last century has been so intense that many
of our people have come to have none but a political solution in
view. For them the whole question is one of politics, and they will
continue to believe that Ireland will have found salvation the moment
we get Home Rule or something like it. Such an attitude seems natural
enough when we remember what our people have suffered in the past.
Nevertheless, on a little reflection, this error--for error it is,
and an enormous one, too--will be quickly dissipated. In the first
place, the political struggle of today is only the continuation of a
conflict which has lasted seven hundred years, and in point of fact
we have a right to be proud that after so many trials there still
remains to us anything of our national inheritance. We find ourselves
indeed on the battlefield somewhat seriously bruised, but we can
console ourselves with the thought that our opponent is in equally
doleful case, that he is beginning to suffer from a fatal weariness,
and that he is anxious to make peace with us.

In order to place the present political situation in its true light
and to take into account its comparatively limited importance, we
must not lose sight of the fundamental fact that what Home Rule
connotes is rather a tender of peace on the part of Ireland than a
gift which England presents us of her own free will. In fact, our
neighbor across the Channel has as much interest as ourselves, and
perhaps even more, in bringing the struggle to an end. Through us,
England has already lost much prestige, and that famous British
Constitution, which in times past everyone admired while trying in
vain to imitate it, has lost caste considerably. I am not now
speaking of the danger which an Ireland discontented, and even
hostile, and having nothing to lose, would constitute for England in
case of war. It is especially from our neighbor's point of view that
we can cry up Home Rule or any other solution that will bring peace.
But let us leave to Great Britain the task of getting out of trouble
as best she may. On our side, what shall we say of it?

In our conflict with the English we are not wearied; rather are we
hardened for the fray. We have acquired the habit of fighting, and
many of us can now scarcely regulate our conduct in a manner suitable
to a state of peace with England. Nevertheless, as I have already
said, we have not emerged unscathed from this war of the centuries.
National sentiment remains with us, no doubt, and our traditions are
not wholly lost, especially among the country people of the West. But
our commerce is almost ruined and the national language is no longer
spoken throughout the greater part of the country. It is true that a
continuation of the hitherto existing state of war cannot do us much
more harm; that for purposes of mere destruction all the advantages
are on our side; and that on the other hand we can begin a
reconstruction at home without waiting for a treaty of peace to be
signed. But we have some things to do for which a home government
would be useful to us, and further, in the absence of such a
government, it would be difficult to imagine what means could be
employed to turn the people away from their too exclusive absorption
in Anglo-Irish politics.

It is, then, from a practical point of view that we wish for peace.
But, we may lawfully ask, will not this peace bring with it a special
danger, against which we ought to take precautions? As a matter of
fact, there is such a danger, and it lies in the fact that the people
have been to so great an extent obsessed by the political struggle
that they run the risk, once their end is attained, of collapsing and
of losing interest in the national question. Let us not forget that
that question is to save our language and our civilization; without
that, it is all over with our nationality. Let us endeavor to turn
our parliament to account in order to work seriously on the
reconstruction of our national life, and it is certain that Ireland
will find therein her salvation.

We can, therefore, take advantage either of England's prolonged
resistance or of peace. If England decides to continue the contest,
she will suffer more from it than we. Her empire, her institutions,
her safety, will be more and more impaired, while, as for us, there
will result a strong growth in patriotism and in anti-British
bitterness. What we have to do, right now, is to take our bearings in
such a way that, no matter what happens to England, our own future
shall be assured. We can do it if we wish it: the question is, shall
we wish it?

Here it may be objected, _Cui bono_ The English language is quite
enough for us. We have it now and we speak it, sometimes, even better
than the English people themselves. We are proud of using the same
language as Sheridan, Burke, and Grattan used. Such an opinion has
its modicum of truth, though less now than a hundred years ago.
Formerly there was in Ireland, and especially around Dublin, a little
colony of Anglo-Irish. The members of this colony spoke a very pure
and classic English, and this fact is largely responsible for the
place which Ireland at one time held in English literature. But
during the last century the remains of this colony have been swamped
beneath a flood of half-Anglicized people, of Irishmen from the
country districts, who were formerly excluded, and who brought with
them such a mixture of expressions and of phonetic tendencies derived
from the Gaelic that the language of Grattan, Sheridan, and Burke has
well-nigh gone out of existence. The reason of this is that since the
date of Catholic emancipation, most careers are open to everybody.
The result has been that the newly enfranchised majority has
ultimately absorbed the minority, and that the atmosphere of culture,
of which we have just spoken, has disappeared. We thus reach an
Ireland which, in a sense, has neither culture nor language, a
country in which the Gaelic spoken by a people humiliated and deeply
demoralized by an anti-Catholic legislation, which was both savage
and degrading, tended to coalesce with an English already condemned
to death. It is from the moment when the Catholics had finally
triumphed over persecution that we must date the beginning of that
political struggle with which we are familiar, a struggle which has
resulted in absorbing all the energies of a great part of the
population. That is why this tremendous problem presents itself to
us, at the very time when we should be justified in feeling ourselves
elated by triumph because of our victories in parliament. And let not
England rejoice too much at our dilemma. If we are doomed to die, she
will die with us, for before disappearing we shall prove to be a
great destructive force, and out of the ruins of the British power we
shall raise such a monument that future generations will know what it
costs to murder a nation.

But, if possible, we must live and let live. The elements of
reconstruction are always at hand. Anglo-Irish culture is indeed
dead, but Gaelic culture is only seriously sick, and on that side
there is always room for hope. Sooth to say, its sickness consists
above all in the fact that the Irish language is no longer spoken in
a great part of the country. But, on the other hand, where it is
preserved, that same language is spoken in all its purity. By going
there to find it all Ireland will gradually become Gaelic.

But, it will be objected, what a loss of time and energy! If it is a
question of languages, why not learn one of the more useful ones? To
this we may reply that, while English deforms the mouth and makes it
incapable of pronouncing any language which is not spoken from the
tip of the lips, Gaelic, on the contrary, so exercises the organs of
speech that it renders easy the acquisition and the practice of most
European idioms. Let us add, by way of example, that French, which is
usually difficult for strangers, is much more within the compass of
Irishmen who speak Irish, no less because of certain linguistic
customs than from the original relationship between the two

This remark brings us to another objection which is often lodged
against our movement. It is urged that Ireland is already isolated
enough, and that by making it a Gaelic-speaking nation, we shall make
that state of affairs still worse. English, say the objectors, is
spoken more or less everywhere, while Gaelic will never be able to
claim the position of a quasi-universal language. To this line of
reasoning it might be answered, for one thing, that no one can tell
how far Gaelic will go, in case our movement is a success, and that
many a language formerly "universal" is today as dead as a door-nail.
But we must look at the question from another point of view. John
Bull's language is spread everywhere, while he himself retains the
most exclusive insularity. He travels to every land and there finds
his own language and his own customs. Now it goes without saying that
from this very universalization his language is corrupted and becomes
vulgarized. The idiom of Shakespeare and Milton gives place gradually
to the idiom of the seaports. Furthermore, far from isolating us,
Gaelic will tend to put us in touch with the civilization of the
West. As a people Anglicised, and badly Anglicised at that, we share,
and even exaggerate, the faults which I have just described. It is
Anglo-Saxon speech which isolates us, and we wish on this ground to
break with it and to hold out our hand to our brothers of the

But, it may be said, what a pity to dig yet another abyss between
Ireland and Great Britain, for it is with the latter that our
geographical position will always link us for common defense. For,
while it is true that history does not show us a single case of an
empire which has not sooner or later fallen to pieces, nevertheless,
whatever happens, the two islands will be necessarily forced to
co-operate for the common good. Well, let us take it that things will
so fall out, and let us suppose an Anglicised Ireland called upon to
face such a situation. It would be a revolutionary Ireland, a
restless Ireland, an Ireland seeking vaguely for revenge on someone,
deprived of really national character, and, in a general way,
suspecting England of responsibility for the disappearance from our
country of everything that constitutes the idea of nationality. And
let us remark that we are no longer living in those good old times
when entire nations allowed themselves to be absorbed by their
conquerors. The art of printing has changed all that. Today a
"suppressed" nation is one that will sooner or later have its
revenge. Thus let us suppose that we are destined to make political
peace with England and to enter of our own accord into a
Hiberno-Britannic confederation. From our point of view, what would
be the result of that arrangement? The result would be strange. Here
again, as in the case of Home Rule, it is rather we who offer
advantages to England than she who offers them to us. Only, in this
latter case, the result depends on ourselves alone. If we die, it
will be because we have wished it. Our language is not dead; on the
contrary, although not widely spread, it is in itself much more alive
than English, which as a literary language is in full decay. We may
congratulate ourselves that our idiom is intact. Our civilization is
old, but it has not yet lived its full life. If we wish, the future
is ours. And let us truly believe that that is worth while, for the
race which has produced epics like those of Ossian and all that
magnificent literature which has been preserved for us through the
ages, the race that gave to Europe that great impulse of missionary
activity which is associated with the names of Columcille, Brendan,
Columbanus, and Gall, not to mention men like the famous Scotus
Erigena--that race is certainly called upon to play an important part
in the modern world. But--let us repeat it--it must have the wish.



_National Historian, A.O.H._.

In the social organization of no nation of antiquity were societies
of greater influence than in pagan Ireland. During many centuries
these societies, composed of the bards, ollamhs, brehons, druids, and
knights, contended for precedence. In no country did the literary
societies display greater vigor and exercise a more beneficent power
than in pagan Ireland. Although the Hebrews and other Asiatic nations
had societies organized from among the professions, yet in Ireland
alone these societies seem to have been constructed with a patriotic
purpose, and in Ireland alone they seem to have had ceremonies of
initiation, with constitutions and laws. These societies existed from
the earliest times until after the coming of St. Patrick. Traces of
them are visible during all the centuries from the conversion of
Ireland down to the Anglo-Norman epoch, and it is apparent that the
clan system and the introduction of the feudal system by the English
failed to eliminate completely their influence.

When the Irish emigration flowed towards the American colonies in the
eighteenth century, the social instinct early found expression in
societies. One of the earliest of these was founded in Boston, where,
in 1737, twenty-six "gentlemen merchants and others, natives of
Ireland or of Irish extraction", organized the Charitable Irish
Society. In Pennsylvania, where the Irish emigration had been larger
than in any other colony, the Hibernian Fire Company was organized in
1751. The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick was founded in Philadelphia in
1771, and about that time societies bearing this name were founded in
Boston and New York, as convivial clubs welcoming Irish emigrants to
their festive boards. These societies were formed upon the model of
the Friendly Brothers of St. Patrick, which had existed in Dublin and
other Irish cities a generation before, and was well and favorably
known throughout Ireland.

The Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in Philadelphia
contained some of the most prominent merchants and leading citizens
of the city, and in 1780 they subscribed L103,000, or one-third of
the sum collected, to supply the Continental army with food. Among
its members were Commodore Barry, the Father of the American Navy;
General Stephen Moylan; General Anthony Wayne; and the great
merchants, Blair McClenachan, Thomas Fitzsimons, and Robert Morris.
Washington, who was an honorary member, described it "as a society
distinguished for the firm adherence of its members to the glorious
cause in which we are embarked." Whether upon the field or upon the
sea, in council or in the sacrifice of their wealth, their names are
foremost in the crisis of the Revolution.

The Hibernian Society for the Relief of Emigrants from Ireland was
founded in Philadelphia on March 3, 1790. Other Hibernian Societies,
with the same title and organized for the same purpose, were founded
in other cities along the Atlantic coast in the early years of the
nineteenth century, but the Philadelphia Hibernian Society was, from
the character of its members, the extent of its beneficence, and the
length of its existence, the most famous. The emigrants from Ireland
during the eighteenth century had pushed on to the frontier, or, in
some instances, remained in the cities and engaged successfully in
mercantile pursuits. The emigration which came after the Revolution
was, however, in great part composed of families almost without
means. Unable to subsist while clearing farms in the virgin forest,
thousands were congested in the cities. The Hibernian Society
extended a ready and strong hand to these helpless people, and not
only aided the emigrants with gifts of money, but also secured for
them employment, disseminated among them useful information, and
provided them with medical attendance. While the Hibernian Society
was regarded as the successor of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick,
yet the two societies, which contained largely a membership roll
bearing the same names, flourished, in the work of patriotism, side
by side. The first officers of the Hibernian Society for the Relief
of Emigrants from Ireland were: President, Chief Justice Thomas
McKean; Vice-President, General Walter Stewart; Secretary, Matthew
Carey, the historian; Treasurer, John Taylor. It was said that no
other society in America contained so many men distinguished in
civil, military, and official life as the Hibernian Society. In
almost every city where the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and the
Hibernian Society for the Relief of Emigrants were found, there was a
close and intimate connection between them, which ultimately resulted
in amalgamation.

The Ancient Order of Hibernians traces its origin to those orders
which flourished in pagan Ireland, and which exercised so potent an
influence upon the history of the Celtic race. The order of
knighthood was the first of these orders to be founded. It existed
from the earliest times, and is visible in the annals of the nation,
until the Anglo-Normans invaded the land in the twelfth century. In
pagan Ireland the knightly orders became provincial standing armies,
and there are many glorious pages describing the feats of the Clanna
Deagha of Munster, the Clanna Morna of Connacht, the Feni of
Leinster, and the Knights of the Red Branch of Ulster. When the
island was Christianized, these knightly orders were among the
staunchest supporters of the missionary priests, and were consecrated
to the service of the church in the sixth century, assuming the cross
as their distinctive emblem, and becoming the defenders of religion.

Among the names which are upon the rolls of the ancient orders of
knighthood are those of most of the kings, bards, saints, and
statesmen, and in the long list there was no family of greater renown
than that of Roderick the Great, to which belonged Conall Cearnach
and Lugaidh, who, according to MacGeoghegan and others, were the
direct ancestors of the O'Mores of Leix. In this family the ancient
splendor of the knightly orders was a tradition which survived for
centuries, and they were in almost continual rebellion against the
English, from the siege of Dublin by Roderick O'Connor until the
rebellion against Queen Elizabeth, led by Rory Oge O'More and his son
Owen in the latter part of the sixteenth and the early seventeenth
century. A nephew of Rory Oge, the sagacious and statesmanlike Rory
O'More, revived the ancient orders in the Catholic Confederation of
Kilkenny in 1642. A grandson of Rory O'More, Patrick Sarsfield, Earl
of Lucan, was the most distinguished commander of Irish armies who
opposed, in Ireland, the forces of William of Orange.

There is no stranger story in all history than the intimate
connection of the O'More family with the annals of the Ancient Order
of Hibernians. The lineage of this family furnishes the links
connecting the ancient orders of pagan Ireland through the centuries
with the Ancient Order in modern times. Under the names of Rapparees,
Whiteboys, Defenders, Ribbonmen, etc., the Confederation of Kilkenny
was carried on through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries until
the nineteenth. At various times the duties of these organizations
were subject to local conditions. Thus the Defenders were occupied in
protecting themselves and their priests against the hostility of the
Penal Laws, engaging in armed conflict with the Orangemen in the
north, while the Whiteboys were waging war against the atrocities of
landlordism in the south. Between these two organizations there was a
secret code, which operated until they were combined, under the name
of Ribbonmen, in the early nineteenth century. The contentions of the
Whiteboys regarding Irish landlordism have since been acknowledged to
be just, and have been enacted into statutes. The Defenders joined
with Wolfe Tone in the formation of the United Irishmen.

About 1825 the Ribbonmen changed their name to St. Patrick's
Fraternal Society, and branches were established in England and
Scotland under the name of the Hibernian Funeral Society. In 1836 a
charter was received by members in New York City, and in Schuylkill
County, Pennsylvania. The headquarters were for some years in
Pennsylvania, but in 1851 a charter was granted to the New York
Divisions under the name of "The Ancient Order of Hibernians." New
York thus became the American headquarters. National conventions were
held there until 1878, since which year they have been held in many
other cities biennially. Many of the most distinguished leaders of
the Irish race in America have been members of the Order, and from a
humble beginning, with a few emigrants gathered together in a strange
land, the membership has grown to nearly 200,000. General Thomas
Francis Meagher, Colonel Michael Doheny, General Michael Corcoran,
and Colonel John O'Mahony were among the members in the late '50's.

Among the organizations which have sprung from the ranks of the
A.O.H. were the powerful Fenian Brotherhood, the Emmet Monument
Association, and scores of smaller associations in all sections of
the United States and Canada. During the Know Nothing riots, the
Order furnished armed defenders for the Catholic churches in New
York, Philadelphia, and Charleston, and it has ever been foremost in
preserving its position as the hereditary defender of the faith. In
1894, the Ladies' Auxiliary was founded, and this body of women
numbered in 1914 over 63,000, and had donated great sums to charity,
education, and religion. The A.O.H. had, in 1914, assets of
$2,230,000. It pays annually, for charity, sick and death benefits,
and maintenance, over $1,000,000, and during its existence in America
has donated nearly $20,000,000 to works of beneficence. One of the
most celebrated of the gifts of the Order was the endowment of the
Chair of Celtic in the Catholic University of America, and one of its
greatest gifts to charity was its contribution of $40,000 to the
sufferers from the San Francisco earthquake.

The Clan-na-Gael is a society organized to secure the independence of
Ireland by armed revolution. Its organization is secret and it is the
successor of the Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood, called in America
the Fenian Brotherhood, which promoted many daring raids and risings
in Ireland in 1867. The I.R.B. was perfected by James Stephens in
Ireland, and by John O'Mahony in America, from 1857 to 1867. An
invasion of Canada was made in great force under the general
direction of Colonel William R. Roberts, president of the Fenian
Brotherhood, but was unsuccessful owing to the attitude of the United
States Government, which declared that the Fenians were violating the
principles of neutrality. After the disorganization of the Fenian
Brotherhood, the idea of revolution languished until revived by the
founding of the Clan-na-Gael by Jerome J. Collins in 1869, and the
membership during the twenty years from 1880 to 1900 included almost
fifty thousand of the flower of the men of Irish blood in America.
The principle of revolution was first given organized public
expression in America through the formation in 1848 of the Irish
Republican Union, which was succeeded by the Emmet Monument
Association, these societies influencing the creation of the
Sixty-Ninth and Seventy-Fifth Regiments of the New York State
Militia, and the Ninth Massachusetts, which became so famous for
valor during the Civil War. Although not putting forth all its
strength, so as to allow full scope to the parliamentary efforts to
ameliorate the state of the Irish people, the Clan-na-Gael is as
vigorous a section as ever of the forces organized for the service of

The Land League, founded in Ireland in 1879, was transplanted to
America in 1880, when the first branch was established in New York
City through the efforts of Patrick Ford, John Boyle O'Reilly, John
Devoy, and others. Michael Davitt soon after came to America and
travelled through the country founding branches of the League. In a
few years the whole American continent was organized, and in this
organization Michael Davitt declared that the members of the Ancient
Order of Hibernians and the Clan-na-Gael were everywhere foremost. To
the enormous sums collected by the League in this country, and to the
magnificent labors of Parnell, Davitt, Redmond, Ferguson, Dillon,
Kettle, Webb, and others in Ireland, is due in a large measure the
present improved state of the people, resulting from the sacrifices
made by those who supported this greatest of leagues devoted to the
amelioration of unbearable economic conditions. A Ladies' Auxiliary
to the Land League was established by the sisters of Parnell, and was
for some years a brilliant vindication of the power and justice of
feminine participation in public questions.

The Land League, the name of which was changed to the Irish National
League in the early '80's, having prepared the path to eventual
victory, declined in potency after the political movement was divided
into Parnellites and Anti-Parnellites in 1890. The elements composing
these rival parties were, through the initiative of William O'Brien,
M.P., and in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the
United Irishmen of Wolfe Tone's day, joined in 1898 under the name of
the United Irish League, John E. Redmond becoming the first
president, and also the chairman of the Parliamentary Party which it
had been instrumental in uniting. This organization is now a living,
vital force in the affairs of Ireland on both sides of the Atlantic,
Mr. Redmond being still its head, with Michael J. Ryan, of
Philadelphia, as president of the American Branch.

The Knights of Columbus were organized in 1881 by Rev. Michael
McGivney, in New Haven, Connecticut, and a charter was granted by the
Connecticut Legislature on March 29,1882. At first the activity of
the organization was confined to Connecticut, but the time was ripe
for its mission, and it soon spread rapidly throughout New England.
In 1896 it began to attract the attention of Catholic young men in
other parts of the nation, and during the next few years its appeal
was made irresistibly in almost every State. It now exists in all the
States of the Union, the Dominion of Canada, Nova Scotia,
Newfoundland, Panama, Porto Rico, Mexico, Cuba, and the Philippine
Islands, with a total membership of 328,000, of whom 108,000 are
insurance members and 220,000 associate members. Its mortuary reserve
fund is $4,500,000, being over $1,000,000 more than is required by
law. It is one of the most successful fraternal societies ever
organized, and the Irish-American Catholics have given to it the full
strength of their enthusiasm and purpose.

The temperance movement among Catholics was, from the visit of Father
Mathew in 1849, largely Irish. The societies first formed were united
by no bond until 1871, when the Connecticut societies formed a State
Union. Other States formed unions and a national convention in
Baltimore in 1872 created a National Union. In 1878 there were 90,000
priests, laymen, women, and children in the Catholic Total Abstinence
Benevolent Union. In 1883 the Union was introduced into Canada, and
in 1895 there were 150,000 members on the American continent. From
the C.T.A.B.U. were formed the Knights of Father Mathew, a total
abstinence and semi-military body, first instituted in St. Louis in

The Catholic Knights of America, with a membership chiefly
Irish-American, were organized in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1877, and
the advantages offered for insurance soon attracted 20,000 members.
The decade of the '70's was prolific of Irish Catholic associations.
The Catholic Benevolent Legion was founded in 1873, shortly followed
by the Catholic Mutual Benevolent Association, the Catholic Order of
Foresters (which started in Massachusetts and spread to other
States), the Irish Catholic Benevolent Union, and the Society of the
Holy Name, which latter, although tracing its origin to Lisbon in
1432, is yet dominantly Irish in America.

In the large industrial centres there are scores of Irish county and
other societies composed of Irishmen and Irish-Americans, organized
for the service of country and faith, beneficence and education, and
all dedicated to the uplifting of humanity and to the progress of
civilization. The ancient genius for organization has not been lost,
the spirit of brotherhood pulsates strongly in the Irish heart, and
through its powerful societies the race retains its place in the
advance of mankind.


John M. Campbell: History of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and
Hibernian Society; Maguire: The Irish in America; McGee: Irish
Settlers in America; John O'Dea: History of the Ancient Order of
Hibernians and Ladies' Auxiliary in America; Michael Davitt: The Fall
of Feudalism in Ireland; Cashman: Life of Michael Davitt; T.P.
O'Connor: The Parnell Movement; Joseph Denieffe: Recollections of the
Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood; Articles in the Catholic
Encyclopedia; Report of the Knights of Columbus, 1914; The Tidings,
Los Angeles, 7th annual edition.



_Historiographer, American Irish Historical Society_.

Students of early American history will find in the Colonial records
abundant evidence to justify the statement of Ramsay, the historian
of South Carolina, when he wrote in 1789, that:

"The Colonies which now form the United States may be considered as
Europe transplanted. Ireland, England, Scotland, France, Germany,
Holland, Switzerland, Sweden, Poland, and Italy furnished the
original stock of the present population, and are generally supposed
to have contributed to it in the order named. For the last seventy or
eighty years, no nation has contributed so much to the population of
America as Ireland."

It will be astonishing to one who looks into the question to find
that, in face of all the evidence that abounds in American annals,
showing that our people were here on this soil fighting the battles
of the colonists, and in a later day of the infant Republic, thus
proving our claim to the gratitude of this nation, America has
produced men so ignoble and disingenuous as to say that the Irish who
were here in Revolutionary days "were for the most part heartily
loyal," that "the combatants were of the same race and blood", and
that the great uprising became, in fact, "a contest between

Although many writers have made inquiries into this subject, nearly
all have confined themselves to the period of the Revolution. We are
of "the fighting race", and in our enthusiasm for the fighting man
the fact seems to have been overlooked that in other noble fields of
endeavor, and in some respects infinitely more important, men of
Irish blood have occupied prominent places in American history, for
which they have received but scant recognition. The pioneers before
whose hands the primeval forests fell prostrate; the builders, by
whose magic touch have sprung into existence flourishing towns and
cities, where once no sounds were heard save those of nature and her
wildest offspring; the orators who roused the colonists into activity
and showed them the way to achieve their independence; the
schoolmasters who imparted to the American youth their first lessons
in intellectuality and patriotism; all have their place in history,
and of these we can claim that Ireland furnished her full quota to
the American colonies.

It must now be accepted as an indisputable fact that a very large
proportion of the earliest settlers in the American colonies were of
Irish blood, for the Irish have been coming here since the beginning
of the English colonization. It has been estimated by competent
authorities that in the middle of the seventeenth century the
English-speaking colonists numbered 50,000. Sir William Petty, the
English statistician, tells us that during the decade from 1649 to
1659 the annual emigration from Ireland to the western continent was
upwards of 6000, thus making, in that space of time, 60,000 souls, or
about one-half of what the whole population must have been in 1659.
And from 1659 to 1672 there emigrated from Ireland to America the
yearly number of 3000 (Dobbs, on Irish Trade, Dublin, 1729).
Prendergast, another noted authority, in the _Cromwellian Settlement
of Ireland_, furnishes ample verification of this by the statistics
which he quotes from the English records. Richard Hakluyt, the
chronicler of the first Virginia expeditions, in his _Voyages,
Navigations, Traffiques, and Discoveries of the English Nation_
(London, 1600), shows that Irishmen came with Raleigh to Virginia in
1587 and, in fact, the ubiquitous Celts were with Sir John Hawkins in
his voyage to the Gulf of Mexico twenty years earlier. The famous
work of John Camden Hotten, entitled "The Original Lists of Persons
of Quality, Emigrants, Religious Exiles, Political Rebels, Serving
Men sold for a term of years," etc., who were brought to the Virginia
plantations between 1600 and 1700, as well as his "List of the
Livinge and the Dead in Virginia in 1623," contains numerous Celtic
names, and further evidence of these continuous migrations of the
Irish is contained in "A Booke of Entrie for Passengers passing
beyond the Seas", in the year 1632. The Virginia records also show
that as early as 1621 a colony of Irish people sailed from Cork in
the _Flying Harte_ under the patronage of Sir William Newce and
located at what is now Newport News, and some few years later Daniel
Gookin, a merchant of Cork, transported hither "great multitudes of
people and cattle" from England and Ireland.

In the "William and Mary College Quarterly," in the transcripts of
the original records published by the Virginia Historical Society,
and in all County histories of Virginia, there are numerous
references to the Irish "redemptioners" who were brought to that
colony during the seventeenth century. But the redemptioners were not
the only class who came, for the colonial records also contain many
references to Irishmen of good birth and education who received
grants of land in the colony and who, in turn, induced many of their
countrymen to emigrate. Planters named McCarty, Lynch, O'Neill,
Sullivan, Farrell, McDonnell, O'Brien, and others denoting an ancient
Irish lineage appear frequently in the early records. Much that is
romantic is found in the lives of these men and their descendants.
Some of them served in the Council chamber and the field, their sons
and daughters were educated to hold place, with elegance and dignity,
with the foremost of the Cavaliers, and when in after years the great
conflict with England began, Virginians of Irish blood were among the
first and the most eager to answer the call. Those historians who
claim that the South was exclusively an "Anglo-Saxon" heritage would
be completely disillusioned were they to examine the lists of
Colonial and Revolutionary troops of Celtic name who held the Indians
and the British at bay, and who helped in those "troublous times" to
lay the foundations of a great Republic.

There is no portion of the Atlantic seaboard that did not profit by
the Irish immigrations of the seventeenth century. We learn from the
"Irish State Papers" of the year 1595 that ships were regularly
plying between Ireland and Newfoundland, and so important was the
trade between Ireland and the far-distant fishing banks that "all
English ships bound out always made provisions that the convoy out
should remain 48 hours in Cork." In some of Lord Baltimore's accounts
of his voyages to Newfoundland he refers to his having "sailed from
Ireland" and to his "return to Ireland," and so it is highly probable
that he settled Irishmen on his Avalon plantations. After Baltimore's
departure, Lord Falkland also sent out a number of Irish colonists,
and "at a later date they were so largely reinforced by settlers from
Ireland that the Celtic part of the population at this day is not far
short of equality in numbers with the Saxon portion"--(Hatton and
Harvey, _History of Newfoundland_, page 32). Pedley attributes the
large proportion of Irishmen and the influence of the Catholics in
Newfoundland to Lord Falkland's company, and Prowse, in his History
(pp. 200-201), refers to "the large number of Irishmen" in that
colony who fled from Waterford and Cork "during the troubled times"
which preceded the Williamite war (1688). Many of these in after
years are known to have settled in New England.

But it was to Maryland and Pennsylvania that the greatest flow of
Irish immigration directed its course. In the celebrated "Account of
the Voyage to Maryland," written in the year 1634 by Mutius
Vitellestis, the general of the Jesuit Order, it is related that when
the _Arke_ and the _Dove_ arrived in the West Indies in that year,
they found "the island of Montserrat inhabited by a colony of
Irishmen who had been banished from Virginia on account of their
professing the Catholic faith." It is known also that there were many
families in Ireland of substance and good social standing who, at
their own expense, took venture in the enterprise of Lord Baltimore
and afterwards in that of William Penn, and who applied for and
received grants of land, which, as the deeds on record show, were
afterwards divided into farms bought and settled by O'Briens,
McCarthys, O'Connors, and many others of the ancient Gaelic race, the
descendants of those heroic men whose passion for liberty, while
causing their ruin, inspired and impelled their sons to follow
westward "the star of empire."

After the first English colonies in Maryland were founded, we find in
all the proclamations concerning these settlements by the proprietary
government, that they were limited to "persons of British or Irish
descent." The religious liberty established in Maryland was the
magnet which attracted Irish Catholics to that Province, and so they
came in large numbers in search of peace and comfort and freedom from
the turmoil produced by religious animosities in their native land.
The major part of this Irish immigration seems to have come in
through the ports of Philadelphia and Charleston and a portion
through Chesapeake Bay, whence they passed on to Pennsylvania and the
southern colonies.

The "Certificates of Land Grants" in Maryland show that it was
customary for those Irish colonists to name their lands after places
in their native country, and I find that there is hardly a town or
city in the old Gaelic strongholds in Ireland that is not represented
in the nomenclature of the early Maryland grants. One entire section
of the Province, named the "County of New Ireland" by proclamation of
Lord Baltimore in the year 1684, was occupied wholly by Irish
families. This section is now embraced in Cecil and Harford Counties.
New Ireland County was divided into three parts, known as New
Connaught, New Munster, and New Leinster. New Connaught was founded
by George Talbot from Roscommon, who was surveyor-general of the
Province; New Munster, by Edward O'Dwyer from Tipperary; and New
Leinster, by Bryan O'Daly from Wicklow, all of whom were in Maryland
prior to 1683. Among the prominent men in the Province may be
mentioned Charles O'Carroll, who was secretary to the proprietor;
John Hart from county Cavan, who was governor of Maryland from 1714
to 1720; Phillip Conner from Kerry, known in history as the "Last
Commander of Old Kent"; Daniel Dulany of the O'Delaney family from
Queen's County, one of the most famous lawyers in the American
Colonies; Michael Tawney or Taney, ancestor of the celebrated judge,
Roger Brooke Taney; the Courseys from Cork, one of the oldest
families in the State; the Kings from Dublin; and many others.

The only place in the State bearing a genuine Irish name which has
reached any prominence is Baltimore. Not alone has the "Monumental
City" received its name from Ireland, but the tract of land on which
the city is now situate was originally named (in 1695) "Ely
O'Carroll," after the barony of that name in King's and Tipperary
counties, the ancient home of the Clan O'Carroll. To subdivisions of
the tract were given such names as Dublin, Waterford, Tralee, Raphoe,
Tramore, Mallow, Kinsale, Lurgan, Coleraine, Tipperary, Antrim,
Belfast, Derry, Kildare, Enniskillen, Wexford, Letterkenny, Lifford,
Birr, Galway, Limerick, and so on, all indicating the nationality of
the patentees, as well as the places from which they came.

From such sources is the evidence available of the coming of the
Irish to Maryland in large numbers, and so it is that we are not
surprised to find on the rosters of the Maryland Revolutionary
regiments 4633 distinctive Irish names, exclusive of the large
numbers who joined the navy and the militia, as well as those who
were held to guard the frontier from Indian raids, whose names are
not on record. However, it is not possible now to determine the
proportion of the Revolutionary soldiers who were of Irish birth or
descent, for where the nationality is not stated in the rosters all
non-Irish names must be left out of the reckoning. The first census
of Maryland (1790), published by the United States Government,
enumerates the names of all "Heads of Families" and the number of
persons in each family. A count of the Irish names shows
approximately 21,000 persons. This does not take into account the
great number of people who could not be recorded under that head, as
it is known there were many thousand Irish "redemptioners" in
Maryland prior to the taking of the census, and while no precise data
exist to indicate the number of Irish immigrants who settled in
Maryland, I estimate that the number of people of Irish descent in
the State in 1790 was not far short of 40,000.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Land Records and Council Journals of Georgia of the last half of
the seventeenth and the first half of the eighteenth century afford
like testimony to the presence of the Irish, who crossed the sea and
colonized the waste places of that wild territory, and whose
descendants in after years contributed much of the strength of the
patriot forces who confronted the armed cohorts of Carleton and
Cornwallis. From the Colonial Records of Georgia, published under the
auspices of the State Legislature, I have extracted a long list of
people of Irish name and blood who received grants of land in that
colony. They came with Oglethorpe as early as 1735 and continued to
arrive for many years. It was an Irishman named Mitchell who laid out
the site of Atlanta, the metropolis of the South; an O'Brien founded
the city of Augusta; and a McCormick named the city of Dublin,

       *       *       *       *       *

From the records of the Carolinas we obtain similar data, many of an
absorbingly interesting character, and the number of places in that
section bearing names of a decidedly Celtic flavor is striking
evidence of the presence of Irish people, the line of whose
settlements across the whole State of North Carolina may be traced on
the high roads leading from Pennsylvania and Virginia. Hawk, one of
the historians of North Carolina, refers to the "Irish Romanists" who
were resident in that Province as early as 1700, and Williamson says
that "the most numerous settlers in the northwestern part of the
Province during the first half of the eighteenth century were from
Ireland." The manuscript records in the office of the Secretary of
State refer to "a ship load of immigrants" who, in the year 1761,
came to the Carolinas from Dublin. The names of the Irish pioneers in
the Carolinas are found in every conceivable connection, in the
parochial and court records, in the will books, in the minutes of the
general Assembly, in the quaint old records of the Land and
Registers' offices, in the patents granted by the colonial
Government, and in sundry other official records. In public affairs
they seem to have had the same adaptability for politics which, among
other things, has in later days brought their countrymen into
prominence. Florence O'Sullivan from Kerry was surveyor-general of
South Carolina in 1671. James Moore, a native of Ireland and a
descendant of the famous Irish chieftain, Rory O'More, was governor
of South Carolina in 1700; Matthew Rowan from Carrickfergus was
president of the North Carolina Council during the term of office of
his townsman, Governor Arthur Dobbs (1754 to 1764); John Connor was
attorney-general of the Province in 1730, and was succeeded in turn
by David O'Sheall and Thomas McGuire. Cornelius Hartnett, Hugh
Waddell, and Terence Sweeny, all Irishmen, were members of the Court,
and among the members of the provincial assembly I find such names as
Murphy, Leary, Kearney, McLewean, Dunn, Keenan, McManus, Ryan,
Bourke, Logan, and others showing an Irish origin. And, in this
connection, we must not overlook Thomas Burke, a native of "the City
of the Tribes", distinguished as lawyer, soldier, and statesman, who
became governor of North Carolina in 1781, as did his cousin Aedanus
Burke, also from Galway, who was judge of the Supreme Court of South
Carolina in 1778. John Rutledge, son of Dr. John Rutledge from
Ireland, was governor of South Carolina in 1776 and his brother
Edward became governor of the State in 1788.

But there were Irishmen in the Carolinas long before the advent of
these, and indeed Irish names are found occasionally as far back as
the records of those colonies reach. They are scattered profusely
through the will books and records of deeds as early as 1676 and down
to the end of the century, and in a list of immigrants from Barbados
in the year 1678, quoted by John Camden Hotten in the work already
alluded to, we find about 120 persons of Irish name who settled in
the Carolinas in that year. In 1719, 500 persons from Ireland
transported themselves to Carolina to take the benefit of an Act
passed by the Assembly by which the lands of the Yemmassee Indians
were thrown open to settlers, and Ramsay (_History of South
Carolina_, vol. I, page 20) says: "Of all countries none has
furnished the Province with so many inhabitants as Ireland."

       *       *       *       *       *

In the Pennsylvania records one is also struck with the very frequent
mention of Irish names. William Penn had lived in Ireland for several
years and was acquainted with the sturdy character of its people, and
when he arrived on board _The Welcome_ in 1682 he had with him a
number of Irishmen, who are described as "people of property and
people of consequence." In 1699 he brought over a brilliant young
Irishman, James Logan from Lurgan, who for nearly half a century
occupied a leading position in the Province and for some time was its
governor. But the first Irish immigration to Pennsylvania of any
numerical importance came in the year 1717. They settled in Lancaster
County. "They and their descendants," says Rupp, an impartial
historian, "have always been justly regarded as among the most
intelligent people in the County and their progress will be found to
be but little behind the boasted efforts of the Colony of Plymouth."
In 1727, as the records show, 1155 Irish people arrived in
Philadelphia and in 1728 the number reached the high total of 5600.
"It looks as if Ireland is to send all her inhabitants hither," wrote
Secretary Logan to the provincial proprietors in 1729, "for last week
not less than six ships arrived. The common fear is that if they
continue to come they will make themselves proprietors of the
Province" (Rupp's _History of Dauphin County_).

The continuous stream of Irish immigration was viewed with so much
alarm by the Legislature, that in 1728 a law was passed "against
these crowds of Irish papists and convicts who are yearly powr'd upon
us"--(the "convicts" being the political refugees who fled from the
persecutions of the English Government!). But the operations of this
statute were wholly nullified by the captains of the vessels landing
their passengers at Newcastle, Del., and Burlington, N, J., and, as
one instance of this, I find in the Philadelphia _American Weekly
Mercury_ of August 14, 1729, a statement to this effect: "It is
reported from Newcastle that there arrived there this last week about
2000 Irish and an abundance more daily expected." This expectation
was realized, for according to "An Account of Passengers and Servants
landed in Philadelphia between December 25, 1728, and December 25,
1729", which I find in the _New England Weekly Journal_ for March 30,
1730, the number of Irish who came in via the Delaware river in that
year was 5655, while the total number of all other Europeans who
arrived during the same period was only 553. Holmes, in his _Annals
of America_, corroborates this. The Philadelphia newspapers down to
the year 1741 also contained many similar references, indicating that
the flood of Irish immigration was unceasing and that it was at all
times in excess of that from other European countries. Later issues
of the _Mercury_ also published accounts of the number of ships from
Ireland which arrived in the Delaware, and from these it appears that
from 1735 to 1738 "66 vessels entered Philadelphia from Ireland and
50 cleared thereto." And in the _New York Gazette and Weekly
Post-Boy_ of the years 1750 to 1752, I find under the caption,
"Vessels Registered at the Philadelphia Custom House," a total of 183
ships destined from or to Ireland, or an average of five sailings per
month between Irish ports and the port of Philadelphia alone. A
careful search fails to disclose any record of the number of persons
who came in these ships, but, from the fact that it is stated that
all carried passengers as well as merchandise from Irish ports, we
may safely assume that the "human freight" must have been very large.

Spencer, in his _History of the United States_, says: "In the years
1771 and 1772 the number of emigrants to America from Ireland was
17,350, almost all of whom emigrated at their own expense. A great
majority of them consisted of persons employed in the linen
manufacture or farmers possessed of some property, which they
converted into money and brought with them. Within the first
fortnight of August, 1773, there arrived at Philadelphia 3500
immigrants from Ireland. As most of the emigrants, particularly those
from Ireland and Scotland, were personally discontent with their
treatment in Europe, their accession to the colonial population, it
might reasonably be supposed, had no tendency to diminish or
counteract the hostile sentiments toward Britain which were daily
gathering force in America." Marmion, in his _Ancient and Modern
History of the Maritime Ports of Ireland_, verifies this. He says
that the number of Irish who came during the years 1771, 1772, and
1773 was 25,000. The bulk of these came in by way of Philadelphia and
settled in Pennsylvania and the Virginias.

The Irish were arriving in the Province in such great numbers during
this period as to be the cause of considerable jealousy on the part
of other settlers from continental Europe. They were a vigorous and
aggressive element. Eager for that freedom which was denied them at
home, large numbers of them went out on the frontier. While the
war-whoop of the savage still echoed within the surrounding valleys
and his council fires blazed upon the hills, those daring adventurers
penetrated the hitherto pathless wilderness and passed through
unexampled hardships with heroic endurance. They opened up the roads,
bridged the streams, and cut down the forests, turning the wilderness
into a place fit for man's abode. With their sturdy sons, they
constituted the skirmish line of civilization, standing as a bulwark
against Indian incursions into the more prosperous and populous
settlements between them and the coast. From 1740 down to the period
of the Revolution, hardly a year passed without a fresh infusion of
Irish blood into the existing population, and, as an indication that
they distributed themselves all over the Province, I find, in every
Town and County history of Pennsylvania and in the land records of
every section, Irish names in the greatest profusion. They settled in
great numbers chiefly along the Susquehanna and its tributaries; they
laid out many prosperous settlements in the wilderness of western
Pennsylvania, and in these sections Irishmen are seen occupying some
of the foremost and most coveted positions, and their sons in after
years contributed much to the power and commercial greatness of the
Commonwealth. They are mentioned prominently as manufacturers,
merchants, and farmers, and in the professions they occupied a place
second to none among the natives of the State. In several sections,
they were numerous enough to establish their own independent
settlements, to which they gave the names of their Irish home places,
several of which are preserved to this day. It is not to be wondered
at then that General Harry Lee named the Pennsylvania line of the
Continental army, "the Line of Ireland"!

Ireland gave many eminent men to the Commonwealth, among whom may be
mentioned: John Burns, its first governor after the adoption of the
Constitution, who was born in Dublin; George Bryan, also a native of
Dublin, who was its governor in 1788; James O'Hara, one of the
founders of Pittsburgh; Thomas FitzSimmons, a native of Limerick,
member of the first Congress under the Constitution which began the
United States Government and father of the policy of protection to
American industries; Matthew Carey from Dublin, the famous political
economist; and many others who were prominent as nation-builders in
the early days of the "Keystone State."

       *       *       *       *       *

While the historians usually give all the credit to England and to
Englishmen for the early colonization of New England, whose results
have been attended with such important consequences to America and
the civilized world, Ireland and her sons can also claim a large part
in the development of this territory, as is evidenced by the town,
land, church, and other colonial records, and the names of the
pioneers, as well as the names given to several of the early
settlements. That the Irish had been coming to New England almost
from the beginning of the English colonization is indicated by an
"Order" entered in the Massachusetts record under date of September
25, 1634, granting liberty to "the Scottishe and Irishe gentlemen who
intend to come hither, to sitt down in any place upp Merimacke
river." This, doubtless, referred to a Scotch and Irish company
which, about that time, had announced its intention of founding a
settlement on the Merrimac. It comprised in all 140 passengers, who
embarked in the _Eagle Wing_, from Carrickfergus in September, 1636,
bringing with them a considerable quantity of equipment and
merchandise to meet the exigencies of their settlement in the new
country. The vessel, however, never reached its destination and was
obliged to return to Ireland on account of the Atlantic storms, and
there is no record of a renewal of the attempt. In the Massachusetts
records of the year 1640 (vol. I, p. 295) is another entry relating
to "the persons come from Ireland," and in the Town Books of Boston
may be seen references to Irishmen who were residents of the town in
that year.

From local histories, which in many cases are but verbatim copies of
the original entries in the Town Books, we get occasional glimpses of
the Irish who were in the colony of Massachusetts Bay between this
period and the end of the century. For example, between 1640 and
1660, such names as O'Neill, Sexton, Gibbons, Lynch, Keeney, Kelly,
and Hogan appear on the Town records of Hartford, and one of the
first schoolmasters who taught the children of the Puritans in New
Haven was an Irishman named William Collins, who, in the year 1640,
came there with a number of Irish refugees from Barbados Island. An
Irishman named Joseph Collins with his wife and family came to Lynn,
Mass., in 1635. Richard Duffy and Matthias Curran were at Ipswich in
1633. John Kelly came to Newbury in 1635 with the first English
settlers of the town. David O'Killia (or O'Kelly) was a resident of
Old Yarmouth in 1657, and I find on various records of that section a
great number of people named Kelley, who probably were descended from
David O'Killia. Peter O'Kelly and his family are mentioned as of
Dorchester in 1696. At Springfield in 1656 there were families named
Riley and O'Dea; and Richard Burke, said to be of the Mayo family of
that name, is mentioned prominently in Middlesex County as early as
1670. The first legal instrument of record in Hampden County was a
deed of conveyance in the year 1683 to one Patrick Riley of lands in
Chicopee. With a number of his countrymen, Riley located in this
vicinity and gave the name of "Ireland Parish" to their settlement.
John Molooney and Daniel MacGuinnes were at Woburn in 1676, and
Michael Bacon, "an Irishman", of Woburn, fought in King Philip's war
in 1675. John Joyce was at Lynn in 1637, and I find the names of
Willyam Heally, William Reyle, William Barrett, and Roger Burke
signed to a petition to the General Court of Massachusetts on August
17, 1664. Such names as Maccarty, Gleason, Coggan, Lawler, Kelly,
Hurley, MackQuade, and McCleary also appear on the Cambridge Church
records down to 1690. These are but desultory instances of the first
comers among the Irish to Massachusetts, selected from a great mass
of similar data.

In the early history of every town in Massachusetts, without
exception, I find mention of Irish people, and while the majority
came originally as "poor redemptioners", yet, in course of time and
despite Puritanical prejudices, not a few of them rose to positions
of worth and independence. Perhaps the most noted of these was
Matthew Lyon of Vermont, known as "the Hampden of Congress," who, on
his arrival in New York in 1765, was sold as a "redemptioner" to pay
his passage-money. This distinguished American was a native of county
Wicklow. Other notable examples of Irish redemptioners who attained
eminence in America were George Taylor, a native of Dublin, one of
Pennsylvania's signers of the Declaration of Independence; Charles
Thompson, a native of county Tyrone, "the perennial Secretary of the
Continental Congress", and William Killen, who became chief justice
and chancellor of Delaware. Some of the descendants of the Irish
redemptioners in Massachusetts are found among the prominent New
Englanders of the past hundred years. The Puritans of Massachusetts
extended no welcoming hand to the Irish who had the temerity to come
among them, yet, as an historical writer has truly said, "by one of
those strange transformations which time occasionally works, it has
come to pass that Massachusetts today contains more people of Irish
blood in proportion to the total population than any other State in
the Union."

So great and so continuous was Irish immigration to Massachusetts
during the early part of the eighteenth century that on Saint
Patrick's Day in the year 1737 a number of merchants, who described
themselves as "of the Irish Nation residing in Boston," formed the
Charitable Irish Society, an organization which exists even to the
present day. It was provided that the officers should be "natives of
Ireland or of Irish extraction," and they announced that the Society
was organized "in an affectionate and Compassionate concern for their
countrymen in these Parts who may be reduced by Sickness, Shipwrack,
Old Age, and other Infirmities and unforeseen Accidents." I have
copied from the Town Books, as reproduced by the City of Boston, 1600
Irish names of persons who were married or had declared their
intentions of marriage in Boston between the years 1710 and 1790,
exclusive of 956 other Irish names which appear on the minutes
between 1720 and 1775.

In 1718, one of the largest single colonies of Irish arrived in
Boston. It consisted of one hundred families, who settled at
different places in Massachusetts. One contingent, headed by Edward
Fitzgerald, located at Worcester and another at Palmer under the
leadership of Robert Farrell, while a number went to the already
established settlement at Londonderry, N.H. About the same time a
colony of fishermen from the west coast of Ireland settled on the
Cape Cod peninsula, and I find a number of them recorded on the
marriage registers of the towns in this vicinity between 1719 and
1743. In 1720, a number of families from county Tyrone came to
Shrewsbury, and eight years later another large contingent came to
Leicester County from the same neighborhood, who gave the name of
Dublin to the section where they located. The annals of Leicester
County are rich in Irish names. On the Town Books of various places
in this vicinity and on the rosters of the troops enrolled for the
Indian war, Irishmen are recorded, and we learn from the records that
not a few of them were important and useful men, active in the
development of the settlements, and often chosen as selectmen or
representatives. On the minutes of the meetings of the selectmen of
Pelham, Spencer, Sutton, Charlestown, Canton, Scituate, Stoughton,
Salem, Amesbury, Stoneham, and other Massachusetts towns, Irish names
are recorded many years before the Revolution. In local histories
these people are usually called "Scotch-Irish," a racial misnomer
that has been very much overworked by a certain class of historical
writers who seem to be unable to understand that a non-Catholic
native of Ireland can be an Irishman. In an exhaustive study of
American history, I cannot find any other race where such a
distinction is drawn as in the case of the non-Catholic, or so-called
"Scotch," Irish. In many instances, this hybrid racial designation
obviously springs from prejudice and a desire to withhold from
Ireland any credit that may belong to her, although, in some cases,
the writers are genuinely mistaken in their belief that the Scotch as
a race are the antithesis of the Irish and that whatever commendable
qualities the non-Catholic Irish are possessed of naturally spring
from the Scotch.

       *       *       *       *       *

The first recorded Irish settlement in Maine was made by families
named Kelly and Haley from Galway, who located on the Isles of Shoals
about the year 1653. In 1692, Roger Kelly was a representative from
the Isles to the General Court of Massachusetts, and is described in
local annals as "King of the Isles." The large number of islands,
bays, and promontories on the Maine coast bearing distinctive Celtic
names attests the presence and influence of Irish people in this
section in colonial times. In 1720, Robert Temple from Cork brought
to Maine five shiploads of people, mostly from the province of
Munster. They landed at the junction of the Kennebec and Eastern
rivers, where they established the town of Cork, which, however,
after a precarious existence of only six years, was entirely
destroyed by the Indians. For nearly a century the place was
familiarly known to the residents of the locality as "Ireland." The
records of York, Lincoln, and Cumberland counties contain references
to large numbers of Irish people who settled in those localities
during the early years of the eighteenth century. The Town Books of
Georgetown, Kirtery, and Kennebunkport, of the period 1740 to 1775,
are especially rich in Irish names, and in the Saco Valley numerous
settlements were made by Irish immigrants, not a few of whom are
referred to by local historians as "men of wealth and social
standing." In the marriage and other records of Limerick, Me., as
published by the Maine Historical and Genealogical Recorder, in the
marriage registers of the First Congregational Church of Scarborough,
and in other similarly unquestionable records, I find a surprisingly
large number of Irish names at various periods during the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries. In fact, there is not one town in the
Province that did not have its quota of Irish people, who came either
direct from Ireland or migrated from other sections of New England.

       *       *       *       *       *

The records of New Hampshire and Rhode Island are also a fruitful
source of information on this subject, and the Provincial papers
indicate an almost unbroken tide of Irish immigration to this
section, beginning as early as the year 1640. One of the most noted
of Exeter's pioneer settlers was an Irishman named Darby Field, who
came to that place in 1631 and who has been credited by Governor
Winthrop as "the first European who witnessed the White Mountains."
He is also recorded as "an Irish soldier for discovery," and I find
his name in the annals of Exeter as one of the grantees of an Indian
deed dated April 3, 1638, as well as several other Irish names down
to the year 1664. In examining the town registers, gazeteers, and
genealogies, as well as the local histories of New Hampshire, in
which are embodied copies of the original entries made by the Town
Clerks, I find numerous references to the Irish pioneers, and in many
instances they are written down, among others, as "the first
settlers." Some are mentioned as selectmen, town clerks,
representatives, or colonial soldiers, and it is indeed remarkable
that there is not one of these authorities that I have examined, out
of more than two hundred, that does not contain Irish names. From
these Irish pioneers sprang many men who attained prominence in New
Hampshire, in the legislature, the professions, the military, the
arts and crafts, and in all departments of civil life, down to the
present time. In the marriage registers of Portsmouth, Boscawen, New
Boston, Antrim, Londonderry, and other New Hampshire towns, are
recorded, in some cases as early as 1716, names of Irish persons,
with the places of their nativity, indicating that they came from all
parts of Ireland. At Hampton, I find Humphrey Sullivan teaching
school in 1714, while the name of John Sullivan from Limerick,
schoolmaster at Dover and at Berwick, Me., for upwards of fifty
years, is one of the most honored in early New Hampshire history.

This John Sullivan was surely one of the grandest characters in the
Colony of Massachusetts Bay, and the record of his descendants serves
as an all-sufficient reply to the anti-Irish prejudices of some
American historians. He was the father of a governor of New Hampshire
and of a governor of Massachusetts; of an attorney-general of New
Hampshire and of an attorney-general of Massachusetts; of New
Hampshire's only major-general in the Continental army; of the first
judge appointed by Washington in New Hampshire; and of four sons who
were officers in the Continental army. He was grandfather of an
attorney-general of New Hampshire, of a governor of Maine, and of a
United States Senator from New Hampshire. He was great-grandfather of
an attorney-general of New Hampshire, and great-great-grandfather of
an officer in the Thirteenth New Hampshire regiment in the Civil War.

       *       *       *       *       *

In Rhode Island, Irish people are on record as far back as 1640, and
for many years after that date they continued to come. Edward Larkin
was an esteemed citizen of Newport in 1655. Charles McCarthy was one
of the founders of the town of East Greenwich in 1677, while in this
vicinity as early as 1680 are found such names as Casey, Higgins,
Magennis, Kelley, Murphy, Reylie, Maloney, Healy, Delaney, Walsh, and
others of Irish origin. On the rosters of the Colonial militia who
fought in King Philip's war (1675) are found the names of 110
soldiers of Irish birth or descent, some of whom, for their services
at the battle of Narragansett, received grants of land in New
Hampshire and Massachusetts. The New England Historical and
Genealogical Register for 1848 contains some remarkable testimony of
the sympathy of the people of Ireland for the sufferers in this cruel
war, and the "Irish Donation," sent out from Dublin in the year 1676,
will always stand in history to Ireland's credit and as an instance
of her intimate familiarity with American affairs, one hundred years
prior to that Revolution which emancipated the people of this land
from the same tyranny under which she herself has groaned. And yet,
what a cruel travesty on history it reads like now, when we scan the
official records of the New England colonies and find that the Irish
were often called "convicts", and it was thought that measures should
be taken to prevent their landing on the soil where they and their
sons afterwards shed their blood in the cause of their fellow
colonists! In the minutes of the provincial Assemblies and in the
reports rendered to the General Court, as well as in other official
documents of the period, are found expressions of the sentiment which
prevailed against the natives of the "Island of Sorrows." Only twenty
years before the outbreak of King Philip's war, the government of
England was asked to provide a law "to prevent the importation of
Irish Papists and convicts that are yearly pow'rd upon us and to make
provision against the growth of this pernicious evil." And the
colonial Courts themselves, on account of what they called "the cruel
and malignant spirit that has from time to time been manifest in the
Irish nation against the English nation," prohibited "the bringing
over of any Irish men, women, or children into this jurisdiction on
the penalty of fifty pounds sterling to each inhabitant who shall buy
of any merchant, shipmaster, or other agent any such person or
persons so transported by them." This order was promulgated by the
General Court of Massachusetts in October, 1654, and is given in full
in the American Historical Review for October, 1896.

With the "convicts" and the "redemptioners" came the Irish
schoolmaster, the man then most needed in America. And the fighting
man, he too was to the fore, for when the colonies in after years
called for volunteers to resist the tyranny of the British, the
descendants of the Irish "convicts" were among the first and the most
eager to answer the call.

       *       *       *       *       *

Although it does not appear that Irish immigrants settled in the
Province of New York in such large numbers as in other sections, yet,
as far back as the third quarter of the seventeenth century, Irish
names are found on the records of the Colony. O'Callaghan, the
eminent archivist and historian, refers to "Dr. William Hayes,
formerly of Barry's Court, Ireland," as one of New York's physicians
in the year 1647, and from the same authority we learn that there
were "settlers and Indian fighters in New Netherland" named Barrett,
Fitzgerald, Dowdall, Collins, and Quinn in 1657. In records relating
to the war with the Esopus Indians (1663), and in fact as early as
1658, frequent references are made to "Thomas the Irishman", whose
name was Thomas Lewis, a refugee from Ireland to Holland after the
Cromwellian war. Lewis is on record in 1683 as one of the wealthiest
merchants of New York and a large owner of real estate in the present
downtown portion of the city. Such names as Patrick Hayes, John Daly,
John Quigly, and Dennis McKarty appear among its business men between
1666 and 1672, and in a "Census of the City of New York of the year
1703" we find people named Flynn, Walsh, Dooley, Gillen, Carroll,
Kenne, Gurney, Hart, Mooney, Moran, Lynch, Kearney, and others, all
"Freemen of the City of New York." In the "Poll List" of the city
from 1741 to 1761, more than one hundred such names appear, while
among the advertisers in the New York newspapers all through the
eighteenth century I find a large number of characteristic Irish

One would scarcely expect to find an Irishman in the old Dutch
settlement of Beverwyck as early as 1645. Yet such is the case, for
"Jan Andriessen, de Iersman van Dublingh"--(John Anderson, the
Irishman from Dublin)--is mentioned as the owner of considerable
landed property in the neighborhood of Albany and Catskill, and in
every mention of this ancient pioneer he is referred to as "the
Irishman." At Albany, between 1666 and 1690, we find people named
Connell, Daly, Larkin, Shaw, Hogan, and Finn, all Irishmen, and in
Jonathan Pearson's "Genealogies of the First Settlers of the Ancient
County of Albany" and in his "Genealogies of the First Settlers of
the Patent and City of Schenectady", I find 135 distinctive Irish
names. These were mostly merchants, farmers, artisans, millers, and
backwoodsmen, the pioneers, who, with their Dutch neighbors, blazed
the trail of civilization through that section, rolled back the
savage redman, and marked along the banks of the Hudson and Mohawk
rivers the sites of future towns and cities. In the rate lists of
Long Island between 1638 and 1675, I find Kelly, Dalton, Whelan,
Condon, Barry, Powers, Quin, Kane, Sweeney, Murphy, Reilly, as well
as Norman-Irish and Anglo-Irish names that are common to Irish
nomenclature. Hugh O'Neale was a prominent resident of Newtown, L.I.,
in 1655. In a "Report to the Lord President," dated September 6,
1687, Governor Dongan recommended "that natives of Ireland be sent to
colonize here where they may live and be very happy." Numbers of them
evidently accepted the invitation, for many Irishmen are mentioned in
the public documents of the Province during the succeeding twenty

That the Irish continued to settle in the Province all through the
eighteenth century may be seen from the announcements in the New York
newspapers of the time and other authentic records. The most
important of these, in point of numbers and character of the
immigrants, were those made in Orange County in 1729 under the
leadership of James Clinton from Longford, and at Cherry Valley, in
Otsego County, twelve years later. On the Orange County assessment
and Revolutionary rolls, and down to the year 1800, there is a very
large number of Irish names, and in some sections they constituted
nearly the entire population. In the northwestern part of New York,
Irishmen are also found about the time of the Franco-English war.
They were not only among those settlers who followed the peaceful
pursuits of tilling and building, but they were "the men behind the
guns" who held the marauding Indians in check and repelled the
advances of the French through that territory. In this war, Irish
soldiers fought on both sides, and in the "Journals of the Marquis of
Montcalm" may be seen references to the English garrison at Oswego,
which, in August, 1756, surrendered to that same Irish Brigade by
which they had been defeated eleven years before on the battlefield
of Fontenoy. In the "Manuscripts of Sir William Johnson", are also
found some interesting items indicating that Irishmen were active
participants in the frontier fighting about that time, and in one
report to him, dated May 28, 1756, from the commandant of an English
regiment, reference is made to "the great numbers of Irish Papists
among the Delaware and Susquehanna Indians who have done a world of
prejudice to English interests."

The early records, with hardly an exception, contain Irish names,
showing that the "Exiles from Erin" came to the Province of New York
in considerable numbers during the eighteenth century. The baptismal
and marriage records of the Dutch Reformed and Protestant churches of
New York City; of the Dutch churches at Kingston, Albany,
Schenectady, and other towns; the muster rolls of the troops enrolled
for the French, Indian, and Revolutionary wars; the Land Grants and
other provincial records at Albany; the newspapers; the Town, County,
and family histories, and other early chronicles, supplemented by
authoritative publications such as those of the New York Historical
and Genealogical and Biographical Societies--these are the
depositories of the evidence that thousands of Irish people settled
in the Province of New York and constituted no inconsiderable
proportion of the total population.

The majority of the Irish residents of New York whose marriages are
recorded in the Dutch Reformed church were, doubtless, of the
Catholic faith, but, as it was necessary to comply with the
established law, and also so that their offspring might be
legitimate, they could be bound in wedlock only by a recognized
Minister of the Gospel. As there was no Catholic church in New York
prior to 1786, the ceremony had to be performed in the Dutch Reformed
or Protestant church. Many of these Catholics were refugees from
Ireland on account of the religious persecutions. Like the people of
Ireland in all ages, they were devoted to their religion, and while,
no doubt, they eschewed for a while association with the established
churches, yet, as time went on, they and their children were
gradually drawn into religious intercourse with the other sects,
until eventually they became regular communicants of those churches.
The variations which from time to time were wrought in their names
brought them further and further away from what they had been; in
their new surroundings, both social and religious, they themselves
changed, so that their children, who in many cases married into the
neighboring Dutch and French families, became as wholly un-Irish in
manner and sentiment as if they had sprung from an entirely different
race. That fact, however, does not admit of their being now included
in the category "Anglo-Saxon."

In a work entitled "Names of Persons for whom Marriage Licenses were
issued by the Secretary of the Province of New York, previous to
1784," compiled by Gideon J. Tucker (when Secretary of State), and
taken from the early records of the office of the Secretary of State
at Albany, we find ample corroboration of the church records. Page
after page of this book looks more like some record of the Province
of Munster than of the Province of New York. It is a quarto volume
printed in small type in double columns, and there are eleven pages
wholly devoted to persons whose names commence with "Mac" and three
to the "O's." Nearly every name common to Ireland is here

New York, as a Province and as a State, is much indebted to Irish
genius. Ireland gave the Province its most noted governor in the
person of Thomas Dongan from Co. Kildare, and in later years Sir
William Johnson from Co. Meath, governor of the Indians from New York
to the Mississippi. It gave the State its first governor, George
Clinton, son of an immigrant from Co. Longford, and to the city its
first mayor after the Revolution, James Duane, son of Anthony Duane
from Co. Galway. Fulton, an Irishman's son, gave America priority in
the "conquest of the seas." Christopher Colles, a native of Cork, was
the originator of the grand scheme which united the waters of the
Atlantic and the Lakes--one of the greatest works of internal
improvement ever effected in the United States--while the gigantic
project was carried to a successful end through the influence and
direction of Governor DeWitt Clinton, the grandson of an Irishman.

       *       *       *       *       *

Many of the pioneer settlers of New Jersey were Irish. As early as
1683 "a colony from Tipperary in Ireland" located at Cohansey in
Salem County, and in the same year a number of settlers, also
described as "from Tipperary, Ireland," located in Monmouth County.
In the County records of New Jersey, Irish names are met with
frequently between the years 1676 and 1698. Several of the local
historians testify to the presence and influence of Irishmen in the
early days of the colony, and in the voluminous "New Jersey Archives"
may be found references to the large numbers of Irish
"redemptioners," some of whom, after their terms of service had
expired, received grants of land and in time became prosperous
farmers and merchants. Perhaps the most noted Irishman in New Jersey
in colonial days was Michael Kearney, a native of Cork and ancestor
of General Philip Kearney of Civil War fame, who was secretary and
treasurer of the Province in 1723.

       *       *       *       *       *

All through the west and southwest, Irishmen are found in the
earliest days of authentic history. Along the Ohio, Kentucky, Wabash,
and Tennessee rivers they were with the pioneers who first trod the
wilderness of that vast territory. As early as 1690, an Irish trader
named Doherty crossed the mountains into what is now Kentucky, and we
are told by Filson, the noted French historian and explorer of
Kentucky, that "the first white man who discovered this region"
(1754) was one James McBride, who, in all probability, was an
Irishman. The first white child born in Cincinnati was a son of an
Irish settler named John Cummins; the first house built on its site
was erected by Captain Hugh McGarry, while "the McGarrys, Dentons,
and Hogans formed the first domestic circle in Kentucky." Prior to
the Revolution, Indian traders from Western Pennsylvania had
penetrated into this region, and we learn from authentic sources that
no small percentage of those itinerant merchants of the west were
Irishmen. Among the leading and earliest colonists of the "Blue Grass
State" who accompanied Daniel Boone, the ubiquitous Irish were
represented by men bearing such names as Mooney, McManus, Sullivan,
Drennon, Logan, Casey, Fitzpatrick, Dunlevy, Cassidy, Doran,
Dougherty, Lynch, Ryan, McNeill, McGee, Reilly, Flinn, and the noted
McAfee brothers, all natives of Ireland or sons of Irish immigrants.

Irishmen and their sons figured prominently in the field of early
western politics. In the Kentucky legislature, I find such names as
Connor, Cassidy, Cleary, Conway, Casey, Cavan, Dulin, Dougherty,
Geohegan, Maher, Morrison, Moran, McMahon, McFall, McClanahan,
O'Bannon, Powers, and a number of others evidently of Irish origin.
On the bench we find O'Hara, Boyle, and Barry. Among the many
distinguished men who reflected honor upon the west, Judge William T.
Barry of Lexington ranks high for great ability and lofty virtues.
Simon Kenton, famed in song and story, who "battled with the Indians
in a hundred encounters and wrested Kentucky from the savage," was an
Irishman's son, while among its famous Indian fighters were Colonels
Andrew Hynes, William Casey, and John O'Bannon; Majors Bulger,
McMullin, McGarry, McBride, Butler, and Cassidy; and Captains
McMahon, Malarkie, Doyle, Phelon, and Brady. Allen, Butler, Campbell,
Montgomery, and Rowan counties, Ky., are named after natives of
Ireland, and Boyle, Breckinridge, Carroll, Casey, Daviess, Magoffin,
Kenton, McCracken, Meade, Menifee, Clinton, and Fulton counties were
named in honor of descendants of Irish settlers.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the councils of the first territorial legislature of Missouri were
Sullivan, Cassidy, Murphy, McDermid, McGrady, Flaugherty, McGuire,
Dunn, and Hogan, and among the merchants, lawyers, and bankers in the
pioneer days of St. Louis there were a number of Irishmen, the most
noted of whom were Mullanphy, Gilhuly, O'Fallon, Connor, O'Hara,
Dillon, Ranken, Magennis, and Walsh. In all early histories of
Missouri towns and counties, Irish names are mentioned, and in many
instances they are on record as "the first settlers."

       *       *       *       *       *

And so it was all through the west. In Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, and
Illinois, across the rolling prairies and the mountains, beyond the
Mississippi and the Missouri, in the earliest days of colonization of
that vast territory, we can follow the Irish "trek" in quest of new
homes and fortunes. They were part of that irresistible human current
that swept beyond the ranges of Colorado and Kansas and across the
Sierra Nevada until it reached the Pacific, and in the forefront of
those pathfinders and pioneers we find Martin Murphy, the first to
open a wagon trail to California from the East. The names of Don
Timoteo Murphy, of Jasper O'Farrell, of Dolans, Burkes, Breens, and
Hallorins are linked with the annals of the coast while that
territory was still under Spanish rule, and when Fremont crossed the
plains and planted the "Bear flag" beyond the Sierras, we find
Irishmen among his trusted lieutenants. An Irishman, Captain Patrick
Connor, first penetrated the wilderness of Utah; a descendant of an
Irishman, Hall J. Kelly, was the explorer of Oregon; Philip Nolan and
Thomas O'Connor were foremost among those brave spirits "whose daring
and persistency finally added the Lone Star State to the American
Union"; and the famous Arctic explorer, scientist, and scholar, Dr.
Elisha Kent Kane, was a descendant of John O'Kane who came from
Ireland to the Province of New York in 1752.

       *       *       *       *       *

To form any reliable estimate of the numerical strength of the Irish
and their descendants in the United States would, I believe, be a
hopeless task, and while several have attempted to do so, I am of the
opinion that all such estimates should be discarded as mere
conjecture. Indeed, there is no standard, or fixed rule or principle,
by which a correct judgment of the racial composition of the early
inhabitants of the United States can now be formed, and the available
statistics on the subject are incomplete and confusing. The greatest
obstacle in determining this question is found in the names of the
immigrants themselves. With names such as Smith, Mason, Carpenter,
and Taylor; White, Brown, Black, and Gray; Forrest, Wood, Mountain,
and Vail, and other names that are similarly derived, the first
thought is that they are of English origin. Yet we know that for
centuries past such names have been numerous in Ireland, and there
are many Irish families so named who are of as pure Celtic blood as
any bearing the old Gaelic patronymics. By a law passed in the second
year of the reign of Edward IV., natives of Ireland were forced to
adopt English surnames. This Act was, substantially, as follows: "An
Act that Irishmen dwelling in the Counties of, etc.... shall go
appareled like Englishmen and wear their beards in English manner,
swear allegiance and take English sirnames, which sirnames shall be
of one towne, as Sutton, Chester, Trim, Skryne, Cork, Kinsale; or
colours, as white, black, brown; or arts, or sciences, as smith or
carpenter; or office, as cook, butler, etc., and it is enacted that
he and his issue shall use his name under pain of forfeyting of his
goods yearly", etc.

This Act could be enforced only upon those Irish families who dwelt
within the reach of English law, and as emigrants from those
districts, deprived of their pure Celtic names, came to America in an
English guise and in English vessels, they were officially recorded
as "English." Moreover, numbers of Irish frequently crossed the
channel and began their voyage from English ports, where they had to
take on new names, sometimes arbitrarily, and sometimes voluntarily
for purposes of concealment, either by transforming their original
names into English or adopting names similar to those above referred
to. These names were generally retained on this side of the Atlantic
so as not to arouse the prejudice of their English neighbors. In
complying with the statute above quoted, some Irish families accepted
the rather doubtful privilege of translating their names into their
English equivalents. We have examples of this in such names as
Somers, anglicised from McGauran (presumably derived from the Gaelic
word signifying "summer"); Smith from McGowan (meaning "the son of
the smith"); Jackson and Johnson, a literal translation from MacShane
(meaning "the son of John"); and Whitcomb from Kiernan (meaning,
literally, "a white comb").

In addition to this, in the case of some of those Irish immigrants
whose family names were not changed in Ireland, their descendants
appear in a much disguised form in the colonial records. Through the
mistakes of clergymen, court clerks, registrars, and others who had
difficulty in pronouncing Gaelic names, letters became inserted or
dropped and the names were written down phonetically. In the
mutations of time, even these names became still further changed, and
we find that the descendants of the Irish themselves, after the lapse
of a generation or two, deliberately changed their names, usually by
suppressing the Milesian prefixes, "Mac" and "O". Thus we have the
Laflin and Claflin families, who are descended from a McLaughlin, an
Irish settler in Massachusetts in the seventeenth century; the Bryans
from William O'Brian, a captain in Sarsfield's army, who, after the
fall of Limerick in 1691, settled in Pasquetank County, N.C., and one
of whose descendants is William Jennings Bryan, now Secretary of
State; the Dunnels of Maine, from an O'Donnell who located in the
Saco Valley; and at the Land Office at Annapolis I have found the
descendants of Roger O'Dewe, who came to Maryland about 1665,
recorded under the surnames of "Roger", "Dew", and "Dewey". I find
Dennis O'Deeve or O'Deere written down on the Talbot County (Md.)
records of the year 1667 with his name reversed, and today his
descendants are known as "Dennis". Many such instances appear in the
early records, and when we find a New England family rejoicing in the
name of "Navillus" we know that the limit has been reached, and while
we cannot admire the attempt to disguise an ancient and honorable
name, we are amused at the obvious transposition of "Sullivan".

Thus we see, that, numerous though the old Irish names are on
American records, they do not by any means indicate the extent of the
Celtic element which established itself in the colonies, so that
there is really no means of determining exactly what Ireland has
contributed to the American Commonwealth. We only know that a steady
stream of Irish immigrants has crossed the seas to the American
continent, beginning with the middle of the seventeenth century, and
that many of those "Exiles from Erin", or their sons, became
prominent as leaders in every station in life in the new country.

Nor is the "First Census of the United States" any criterion in this
regard, for the obvious reason that the enumerators made no returns
of unmarried persons. This fact is important when we consider that
the Irish exodus of the eighteenth century was largely comprised of
the youth of the country. Although the First Census was made in 1790,
the first regular record of immigration was not begun until thirty
years later, and it is only from the records kept after that time
that we can depend upon actual official figures. During the decade
following 1820, Ireland contributed more than forty per cent, of the
entire immigration to America from all European countries, and the
Irish Emigration Statistics show that between 1830 and 1907 the
number of people who left Ireland was 6,049,432, the majority of whom
came to America. The _Westminster Review_ (vol. 133, p. 293), in an
article on "The Irish-Americans", puts a series of questions as
follows: "Is the American Republic in any way indebted to those Irish
citizens? Have they with their large numbers, high social standing,
great places of trust, contributed aught to her glory or added aught
to her commercial greatness, refined her social taste or assisted in
laying the foundations of the real happiness of her people, the real
security of her laws, the influence of her civic virtues, which more
than anything else give power and permanency to a naissant and mighty
nation? The answer is unquestionably affirmative. We have only to
look back on the past, and to scan the present state of American
affairs, to feel certain of this." If it be further asked: "Does this
statement stand the test of strict investigation?" the answer must
also be in the affirmative, for in almost every line of progress the
Irish in America have contributed their share of leaders and
pioneers, thus proving that there are characteristics among even the
poor Irish driven to emigration for an existence that are as capable
of development as those possessed by any other race. When we scan the
intellectual horizon, we see many men of great force of character:
preachers and teachers; statesmen and scholars; philanthropists and
founders of institutions; scientists and engineers; historians and
journalists; artists and authors; lawyers and doctors, of Celtic race
and blood, while, in the industrial field, as builders of steamships
and railroads and promoters of public works, as merchants,
manufacturers, and bankers, and in all other fields of endeavor, we
find the American Irish controlling factors in the upbuilding of the

Of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Thornton, Taylor,
and Smith were natives of Ireland; McKean, Read, and Rutledge were of
Irish parentage; Lynch and Carroll were grandsons of Irishmen;
Whipple and Hancock were of Irish descent on the maternal side; and
O'Hart (_Irish Pedigrees_) declares that Robert Treat Paine was a
great-grandson of Henry O'Neill, hereditary prince of Ulster, who
"changed his name to that of one of his maternal ancestors so as to
save his estates". It was an Irishman who first read the immortal
Document to the public; an Irishman first printed it; and an Irishman
published it for the first time with facsimiles of the signatures.

At least six American Presidents had more or less of the Celtic
strain. President Jackson, whose parents came from Co. Down, more
than once expressed his pride in his Irish ancestry. Arthur's parents
were from Antrim, Buchanan's from Donegal, and McKinley's
grandparents came from the same vicinity. Theodore Roosevelt boasts
among his ancestors two direct lines from Ireland, and the first
American ancestor of President Polk was a Pollock from Donegal. The
present occupant of the White House, Woodrow Wilson, is also of Irish
descent. Among the distinguished Vice-Presidents of the United States
were George Clinton and John C. Calhoun, sons of immigrants from
Longford and Donegal respectively, and Calhoun's successor as
chairman of the committee on foreign relations was John Smilie, a
native of Newtownards, Co. Down.

Among American governors since 1800, we find such names as Barry,
Brady, Butler, Carroll, Clinton, Conway, Carney, Connolly, Curtin,
Collins, Donaghey, Downey, Early, Fitzpatrick, Flannegan, Geary,
Gorman, Hannegan, Kavanagh, Kearney, Logan, Lynch, Murphy, Moore,
McKinley, McGill, Meagher, McGrath, Mahone, McCormick, O'Neal,
O'Ferrall, Orr, Roane, Filey, Sullivan, Sharkey, Smith, Talbot, and
Welsh, all of Irish descent. Today we have as governors of States,
Glynn in New York, Dunne in Illinois, Walsh in Massachusetts, O'Neal
in Alabama, Burke in North Carolina, Carey in Wyoming, McGovern in
Wisconsin, McCreary in Kentucky, and Tener in Pennsylvania, and not
alone is the governor of the last-mentioned State a native of
Ireland, but so also are its junior United States Senator, the
secretary of the Commonwealth, and its adjutant-general.

In the political life of America, many of the sons of Ireland have
risen to eminence, and in the legislative halls at the National
Capital, the names of Kelly, Fitzpatrick, Broderick, Casserly,
Farley, Logan, Harlan, Hannegan, Adair, Barry, Rowan, Gorman,
Kennedy, Lyon, Fitzgerald, Fair, Sewall, Kernan, Butler, Moore,
Regan, Mahone, Walsh, and Flannegan, are still spoken of with respect
among the lawmakers of the nation. William Darrah Kelly served in
Congress for fifty years, and it remained for James Shields to hold
the unique distinction of representing three different States, at
different times, in the Senate of the United States. Senator Shields
was a native of Co. Tyrone.

In the judiciary have been many shining lights of Irish origin. The
Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court is Edward D. White,
grandson of a '98 rebel, and one of his ablest associates is Joseph
McKenna. No more erudite or profound lawyer than Charles O'Conor has
adorned his profession and it can be said with truth that his career
has remained unrivalled in American history. James T. Brady, Daniel
Dougherty, Thomas Addis Emmet, and Charles O'Neill were among the
most eminent lawyers America has known, while the names of Dennis
O'Brien, Chief Justice of the New York Court of Appeals, John D.
O'Neill, who occupied a like elevated place on the bench of South
Carolina, John D. Phelan of the Alabama Supreme Court, Richard
O'Gorman, Charles P. Daly, Hugh Rutledge, Morgan J. O'Brien, and
others of like origin, are household words in the legal annals of
America. There is no State in the Union where an Irish-American
lawyer has not distinguished himself.

The history of medicine in the United States is adorned with the
names of many physicians of Irish birth or blood. Several Irish
surgeons rendered valuable services in the army of the Revolution,
among whom are found Drs. McDonough, McHenry, McCloskey, McCalla,
Burke, Irvine, and Williamson. Dr. John Cochran was appointed by
Washington surgeon-general of the army. Dr. James Lynah of
Charleston, a native of Ireland, became surgeon-general of South
Carolina in recognition of his valuable services to the patriot army.
Dr. John McKinley, a native of Ireland, who was a famous physician in
his day, became the first governor of Delaware. Dr. Ephraim McDowell
is known in the profession as the "Father of Ovariotomy", as is Dr.
William J. McNevin the "Father of American Chemistry". Dr. John Byrne
of New York had a world-wide fame, and his papers on gynecology have
been pronounced by the medical press as "the best printed in any
language". One of the most conspicuous figures in medicine in the
United States was Dr. Jerome Cochran of Alabama. Drs. Junius F. Lynch
of Florida; Charles McCreery of Kentucky; Hugh McGuire and Hunter
McGuire of Virginia; Matthew C. McGannon of Tennessee; and James
Lynch, Charles J. O'Hagan, and James McBride of South Carolina are
mentioned prominently in the histories of their respective localities
as the foremost medical men of their times, while in Wisconsin the
pioneer physician was Dr. William H. Fox, and in Oregon, Dr. John
McLoughlin. Among New York physicians who achieved high reputations
in their profession were Drs. Thomas Addis Emmet, Frank A. McGuire,
Daniel E. O'Neill, Charles McBurney, Isaac H. Reiley, Alfred L.
Carroll, Howard A. Kelly, Joseph O'Dwyer, and James J. Walsh. These
and many others of Irish descent have been honored by medical
societies as leaders and specialists, while it can be said that no
surgeon of the present day has achieved such a world-wide reputation
as Dr. John B. Murphy of Chicago. Among experts in medico-legal
science, the names of Drs. Benjamin W. McCreedy and William J.
O'Sullivan of New York stand out prominently, and among the most
noted contributors to medical journals in the United States, and
recognized as men of great professional skill and authorities in
their respective specialties, have been Drs. F.D. Mooney of St.
Louis; Thomas Fitzgibbon of Milwaukee; John D. Hanrahan of Rutland;
James McCann and James H. McClelland of Pittsburgh; John A. Murphy
and John McCurdy of Cincinnati; John Keating of Philadelphia; John H.
Murphy of St. Paul; John W.C. O'Neal of Gettysburg; and Arthur
O'Neill of Meadville, Pa. Indeed, it can be said that American
medical science owes an incalculable debt to Irish genius.

Theodore Vail, the presiding genius of the greatest telephone system
in the world, is Irish, and so is Carty, its chief engineer. Morse,
the inventor of the telegraph, was the grandson of an Irishman; Henry
O'Reilly built the first telegraph line in the United States; and
John W. Mackey was the president of the Commercial Cable Company.
John P. Holland, the inventor of the submarine torpedo boat, was a
native of Co. Clare; and McCormick, the inventor of the reaping and
mowing machine, was an Irishman's grandson.

Sons of Irishmen have stood in the front rank of American statesmen
and diplomats who represented their country abroad. To mention but a
few: Richard O'Brien, appointed by Jefferson American representative
at Algiers; James Kavanagh, Minister to Portugal; and Louis McLane,
Minister to England in 1829 and afterwards Secretary of State in
1832. In recent years, an O'Brien has represented American interests
in Italy and Japan; a Kerens in Austria; an Egan in Chili and another
of the same name in Denmark; an O'Shaughnessy in Mexico; a Sullivan
in Santo Domingo; and an O'Rear in Bolivia.

Among historians were John Gilmary Shea, author of numerous
historical works; Dr. Robert Walsh, a learned historian and
journalist of the last century, whose literary labors were extensive;
McMahon and McSherry, historians of Maryland; Burk, of Virginia;
O'Callaghan, Hastings, and Murphy of New York; Ramsay of South
Carolina; and Williamson of North Carolina, all native Irishmen or
sons of Irish immigrants.

In the field of American journalism have been many able and forcible
writers of Irish birth or descent. Hugh Gaine, a Belfast man, founded
the New York _Mercury_ in 1775. John Dunlap founded the first daily
paper in Philadelphia, John Daly Burk published the first daily paper
in Boston, and William Duane edited the _Aurora_ of Philadelphia in
1795. All these were born in Ireland. William Coleman, founder of the
New York _Evening Post_ in 1801, was the son of an Irish rebel of
1798; Thomas Fitzgerald founded the Philadelphia _Item_; Thomas Gill,
the New York _Evening Star_; Patrick Walsh, the Augusta _Chronicle_;
Joseph Medill, the Chicago _Tribune_. Henry W. Grady edited the
Atlanta _Constitution_; Michael Dee edited the Detroit _Evening News_
for nearly fifty years; Richard Smith, the Cincinnati _Gazette_;
Edward L. Godkin, the New York _Evening Post_; William Laffan, the
New York _Sun_; and Horace Greeley, the New York _Tribune_. All of
these were either natives of Ireland or sprung from immigrant
Irishmen, as were Oliver of the Pittsburgh _Gazette_, O'Neill of the
Pittsburgh _Despatch_, John Keating of Memphis, William D. O'Connor,
and many other shining lights of American journalism during the last
century. Fitz James O'Brien was "a bright, particular star" in the
journalistic firmament; John MacGahan achieved fame as a war
correspondent; Patrick Barry of Rochester, an extensive writer on
horticultural and kindred subjects, was the recognized leader of his
craft in the United States; and William Darby, son of Patrick and
Mary Darby, and Michael Twomey were the ablest American geographers
and writers on abstruse scientific subjects.

In the field of poetry, we have had Theodore O'Hara, the author of
that immortal poem, "The Bivouac of the Dead"; John Boyle O'Reilly;
Thomas Dunn English, author of "Ben Bolt"; Father Abram Ryan, "the
poet priest of the South"; James Whitcomb Riley; Eleanor Donnelly;
M.F. Egan; T.A. Daly; and Joseph I.C. Clarke, president of the
American Irish Historical Society.

To recount the successful men of affairs of Irish origin it would be
necessary to mention every branch of business and every profession.
Recalling but a few, Daniel O'Day, Patrick Farrelly, John and William
O'Brien, Alexander T. Stewart, John Castree, Joseph J. O'Donohue,
William R. Grace, John McConville, Hugh O'Neill, Alexander E. Orr,
William Constable, Daniel McCormick, and Dominick Lynch, all of New
York, were dominant figures in the world of business. Thomas Mellon
of Pittsburgh; John R. Walsh and the Cudahy brothers of Chicago;
James Phelan, Peter Donahue, Joseph A. Donohoe, and John Sullivan of
San Francisco; William A. Clark and Marcus Daly of Montana; George
Meade, the Meases and the Nesbits, Thomas FitzSimmons and Thomas
Dolan of Philadelphia; Columbus O'Donnell and Luke Tiernan of
Baltimore, all these have been leading merchants in their day. Few
American financiers occupy a more conspicuous place than Thomas F.
Ryan, and no great industrial leader has reached the pinnacle of
success upon which stands the commanding figure of James J. Hill,
both sons of Irishmen. The names of Anthony N. Brady, Eugene Kelly,
James S. Stranahan, and James A. Farrell, president of the United
States Steel Corporation, are household words in business and
financial circles.

John Keating, the first paper manufacturer in New York (1775); Thomas
Faye, the first to manufacture wall-paper by machinery, who won for
this distinction the first gold medal of the American Institute; John
and Edward McLoughlin of New York, for many years the leading
publishers of illustrated books; and John Banigan of Providence, one
of the largest manufacturers of rubber goods in America, were natives
of Ireland. John O'Fallon and Bryan Mullanphy of St. Louis, and John
McDonough of Baltimore, who amassed great wealth as merchants, were
large contributors to charitable and educational institutions;
William W. Corcoran, whose name is enshrined in the famous Art
Gallery at Washington, contributed during his lifetime over five
million dollars to various philanthropic institutions; and one of the
most noted philanthropists in American history, and the first woman
in America to whom a public monument was erected, was an Irishwoman,
Margaret Haughery of New Orleans.

Irishmen have shown a remarkable aptitude for the handling of large
contracts, and in this field have been prominent John H. O'Rourke,
James D. Leary, James Coleman, Oliver Byrne, and John D. Crimmins in
New York; John B. McDonald, the builder of New York's subways; George
Law, projector and promoter of public works, steamship and railroad
builder; and John Roach, the famous ship-builder of Chester, Pa. John
Sullivan, a noted American engineer one hundred years ago, completed
the Middlesex Canal; and John McL. Murphy, whose ability as a
constructing engineer was universally recognized, rendered valuable
service to the United States during the Civil War. Among pioneer
ship-builders in America are noted Patrick Tracy fron Wexford and
Simon Forrester from Cork, who were both at Salem, Mass., during the
period of the Revolution and rendered most valuable service to the
patriot cause; and the O'Briens, Kavanaghs, and Sewalls in Maine.

But it is not in the material things of life alone that the Irish
have been in the van. Thousands of Americans have been charmed by the
operas of Victor Herbert, a grandson of Samuel Lover, and with lovers
of music the strains of Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore's band still linger
as a pleasant memory. Edward A. MacDowell, America's most famous
composer, was of Irish descent. The colossal statute of "America" on
the dome of the National Capitol was executed by Thomas Crawford, who
was born in New York of Irish parents in 1814; Henry Inman, one of
the very best of portrait painters, was also born in New York of
Irish parents; John Singleton Copley, the distinguished artist, came
to Boston from Co. Clare in 1736; Thompson, the sculptor, was born in
Queen's Co.; another noted sculptor was William D. O'Donovan of
Virginia; and Augustus Saint Gaudens, one of the greatest sculptors
of modern times, was born in Dublin. Other sculptors of Irish race
have been elsewhere mentioned. Among America's most talented artists
and portrait painters may be mentioned George P. Healy, William J.
Hennessy, Thomas Moran, Henry Pelham, Henry Murray, John Neagle, and
William Magrath, all of Irish birth or descent.

Ireland has given many eminent churchmen to the United States. The
three American Cardinals, Gibbons, Farley, and O'Connell, stand out
prominently, as do Archbishops Carroll, Hughes, McCloskey, Kenrick,
Ryan, Ireland, Glennon, Corrigan, and Keane, all of whom have shed
lustre on the Church. History has given to an Irishman, Francis
Makemie of Donegal, the credit of founding Presbyterianism in
America, while among noted Presbyterian divines of Irish birth were
James Waddell, known as "the blind preacher of the wilderness,"
Thomas Smyth, John Hall, Francis Allison, William Tennant, and James
McGrady, all men of great ability and influence in their day. Samuel
Finley, President of Princeton College in 1761, was a native of
Armagh, and John Blair Smith, famous as a preacher throughout the
Shenandoah Valley and the first president of Union College (1795),
was of Irish descent. Among the pioneer preachers of the western
wilderness were McMahon, Dougherty, Quinn, Burke, O'Cool, Delaney,
McGee, and many others of Irish origin.

Irishmen and their sons have founded American towns and cities, and
the capital of the State of Colorado takes its name from General
James Denver, son of Patrick Denver, an emigrant from county Down in
the year 1795. Sixty-five places in the United States are named after
people bearing the Irish prefix "O" and upwards of 1000 after the
"Macs", and there are 253 counties of the United States and
approximately 7000 places called by Irish family or place names.
There are 24 Dublins, 21 Waterfords, 18 Belfasts, 16 Tyrones, 10
Limericks, 9 Antrims, 8 Sligos, 7 Derrys, 6 Corks, 5 Kildares, and so

Immigrant Irishmen have also been the founders of prominent American
families. One of the most ancient of Irish patronymics, McCarthy, is
found in the records of Virginia as early as 1635 and in
Massachusetts in 1675, and all down through the successive
generations descendants of this sept were among the leading families
of the communities where they located. In Virginia, the McCormick,
Meade, Lewis, Preston, and Lynch families; in the Carolinas, the
Canteys, Nealls, Bryans, and Butlers; and in Maryland, the Carrolls
and Dulanys are all descended from successful Irish colonizers.

Even from this very incomplete summary, we can see that Irish blood,
brain, and brawn have been a valuable acquisition to the building of
the fabric of American institutions, and that the sons of Ireland
merit more prominent recognition than has been accorded them in the
pages of American history. The pharisees of history may have withheld
from Ireland the credit that is her due, but, thanks to the
never-failing guidance of the records, we are able to show that at
all times, whether they came as voluntary exiles or were driven from
their homes by the persecutions of government, her sons have had an
honorable part in every upward movement in American life. Testimony
adduced from the sources from which this imperfect sketch is drawn
cannot be called into question, and its perusal by those who so
amusingly glorify the "Anglo-Saxon" as the founder of the American
race and American institutions would have a chastening influence on
their ignorance of early American history, and would reopen the long
vista of the years, at the very beginning of which they would see
Celt and Teuton, Saxon and Gaul, working side by side solidifying the
fulcrum of the structure on which this great nation rests.


The archives, registers, records, reports, and other official
documents mentioned in the text; the various Town, County, and State
Histories; the collections and publications of the following
societies: Massachusetts Historical Society, Genealogical Society of
Pennsylvania, New York Historical Society (34 vols.), New York
Genealogical and Biographical Society (44 vols.), Maine Historical
Society, Rhode Island Historical Society, Connecticut Historical
Society, South Carolina Historical Society, and American Historical
Society; New England Historical and Genealogical Register (67 vols.,
Boston, 1847-1913); New England Historical and Biographical Record;
Hakluyt: Voyages, Navigations, Traffiques, and Discoveries of the
English Nation (London, 1607); Dobbs: The Trade and Improvement of
Ireland (Dublin, 1729); Hutchinson: History of Massachusetts from the
First Settlement in 1628 until 1750 (Salem, 1795); Proud: History of
Pennsylvania, 1681-1770 (Philadelphia, 1797-1798); Savage:
Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England (Boston,
1860-1862); Morris (ed.): The Makers of New York (Philadelphia,
1895); Pope: The Pioneers of Massachusetts (Boston, 1900), The
Pioneers of Maine and New Hampshire (Boston, 1908); Richardson:
Side-lights on Maryland History (Baltimore, 1913); Spencer: History
of the United States; Ramsay: History of the United States;
Prendergast: Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland.


By JAMES J. WALSH, M.D., Ph.D., Litt.D., Sc.D.

When Wolfe captured Quebec and Canada came under British rule, some
of the best known of his officers and several of his men were Irish.
After the Peace was signed many of them settled in Canada, not a few
of them marrying French wives, and as a consequence there are
numerous Irish, Scotch, and English names among the French speaking
inhabitants of Lower Canada. Two of Wolfe's officers, Colonel Guy
Carleton, born at Strabane in the county Tyrone, and General Richard
Montgomery, born only seven miles away at Convoy, in the same county,
were destined to play an important role in the future history of
Canada. Montgomery was in command of the Revolutionary Army from the
Colonies, when it attempted to take Quebec, and Carleton, who had
been a trusted friend of General Wolfe, was in command of the
Canadian forces. The two men were the lives of their respective
commands, and with the death of Montgomery Carleton's victory was
assured.  Carleton was made Governor-in-Chief of Canada, and during
the trying years of the early British rule of New France and the
American Revolution, his tact did more than anything else to save
Canada for the British. Bibaud, the French historian, says, "the man
to whom the administration of the government was entrusted had known
how to make the Canadians love him, and this contributed not a little
to retain at least within the bounds of neutrality those among them
who might have been able, or who believed themselves able, to
ameliorate their lot by making common cause with the insurgent
colonies." Shortly after being made governor, Carleton went to
England and secured the passage of the Quebec Act through the English
parliament, which gave the Canadian French assurance that they were
to be ruled without oppression by the British Government.
Subsequently, in 1786, Carleton, as Lord Dorchester, became the first
governor-general of Canada, being given jurisdiction over Nova Scotia
and New Brunswick as well as Upper and Lower Canada, and to him more
than to any other is due the early loyalty to the British crown in
the Dominion.

After the army the next important source of Irish population in
Canada were the loyalists who after the Revolution removed from the
United States to the British Dominions in America. There were
probably many thousands of them, more than enough to make up for the
French who left Canada for France when the territory passed over to
England. Among the Irish loyalists who went to Canada was the Rev.
John Stuart, who had become very well known as a missionary in the
Mohawk Valley before the Revolution, and who, though born a
Presbyterian, was destined to win the title of the "Father of the
Church of England in Upper Canada." When the first Canadian
parliament met in December 1792, Edward O'Hara was returned for
Gaspe, in Lower Canada, and D'Arcy McGee could boast that
henceforward Lower Canada was never without an Irish representative
in its legislative councils.

When the question of settling Upper Canada with British colonists
came up, Colonel Talbot, a county Dublin man, was the most important
factor. He obtained a large grant of land near what is now London and
attracted settlers into what was at that time a wilderness. The tract
settled under his superintendence now comprises twenty-nine townships
in the most prosperous part of Canada.

The maritime Provinces had been under British rule before the fall of
Quebec and contained a large element of Irish population. In
Newfoundland in 1753 out of a total population of some thirteen
thousand, Davin says that there were nearly five thousand Catholics,
chiefly Irish. In 1784 a great new stimulus to Irish immigration to
Newfoundland was given by Father O'Connell, who in 1796 was made
Catholic bishop of the island. Newfoundland, for its verdure, the
absence of reptiles, and its Irish inhabitants, was called at this
time "Transatlantic Ireland", and Bonnycastle says that more than one
half of the population was Irish.

In 1749 Governor Cornwallis brought some 4,000 disbanded soldiers to
Nova Scotia and founded Halifax. Ten years later it was described as
divided into Halifax proper, Irishtown or the southern, and Dutchtown
or the northern, suburbs. The inhabitants numbered 3,000, one-third
of whom were Irish. They were among the most prominent men of the
city and province. In the Privy Council for 1789 were Thomas Corcoran
and Charles Morris. Morris was president of the Irish Society and
Matthew Cahill the sheriff of Halifax in that year. A large number of
Irish from the north of Ireland settled in Nova Scotia in 1763,
calling their settlement Londonderry. They provided a fortunate
refuge for the large numbers of Irish Presbyterians who were expelled
from New England by the intolerant Puritans the following year. They
also welcomed many loyalists who came from New York and the New
England States after the acknowledgment of the independence of the
American Colonies by Great Britain. Between the more eastern settlers
around Halifax and those in the interior, the greater part of the
population of Nova Scotia was probably Irish in origin.

It was in the Maritime Provinces that the first step in political
emancipation for Catholics under British rule was made. In 1821
Lawrence Cavanaugh, a Roman Catholic, was returned to the Assembly of
the Province for Cape Breton. He would not subscribe to the
declaration on Transubstantiation in the oath of office tendered him,
and as a consequence was refused admittance to the Assembly. But he
was elected again and again, and six years afterwards Judge
Haliburton, better known by his _nom de plume_ of "Sam Slick", in an
able speech, seconded the motion to dispense with the declaration,
and Cavanaugh was permitted to take the oath without the declaration.

The War of 1812 brought over from Ireland a number of Irish soldiers
serving in the British army, many of whom after the war settled down
and became inhabitants of the country. They were allotted farm lands
and added much to Canada's prosperity. A type of their descendants
was Sir William Hingston, whose father was at this time a lieutenant
adjutant in the Royal 100th Regiment, "the Dublins." Sir William's
father died when his son was a mere boy, but the lad supported his
mother, worked his way through the medical school, saved enough money
to give himself two years in Europe, and became a great surgeon. He
was elected three times mayor of Montreal, serving one term with
great prestige under the most trying circumstances. He afterwards
became a senator of the Dominion and was knighted by Queen Victoria.

Prince Edward Island was settled mainly by the Scotch and French, and
yet many Irish names are to be found among its old families. It was
ceded to Great Britain in 1763, and the first Governor appointed was
Captain Walter Patterson, whose niece, Elizabeth Patterson, was
married to Jerome Bonaparte in Baltimore in 1803. Captain Patterson
was so ardent an Irishman that through his influence he had an act
passed by the Assembly changing the name of the island to New
Ireland, but the home Government refused to countenance the change.
At this time the island was known as St. John's, and the name Prince
Edward was given to it in honor of the Duke of Kent in 1789. One of
the most popular governors of the island was Sir Dominick Daly,
knighted while in office. He was a member of a well known Galway
family, and first came to America as secretary to one of the
governors. He afterwards became provincial secretary for Lower

Canada suffered from the aftermath of the revolutions which took
place in Europe during the early part of the nineteenth century. The
year 1837 saw two revolutions, one in Upper, the other in Lower,
Canada, though neither of them amounted to more than a flash in the
pan. As might be expected, there were not a few Irish among the
disaffected spirits who fostered these revolutions. Their experience
at home led them to know how little oppressed people were likely to
obtain from the British Government except by a demonstration of
force. There were serious abuses, especially "the Family Compact",
the lack of anything approaching constitutional guarantees in
government, and political disabilities on the score of religion.
However, most of the Irish in Canada were ranged on the side of the
government. Sir Richard Bonnycastle, writing in 1846, said "The
Catholic Irish who have been long settled in the country are by no
means the worst subjects in this transatlantic realm, as I can
personally testify, having had the command of large bodies of them
during the border troubles of 1837-8. They are all loyal and true."
Above all Bonnycastle pledged himself for the loyalty of the Irish
Catholic priesthood.

One of the Irishmen who came into prominence in the rebellions of
1837 was Edmund Bailey O'Callaghan, the editor of the _Vindicator_,
the newspaper by means of which Papineau succeeded in arousing much
feeling among the people of Lower Canada and fomented the Revdlution.
O'Callaghan escaped to the United States and settled at Albany, where
he became the historian of New York State. To him, more than to any
other, we owe the preservation of the historical materials out of
which the early history of the State can be constructed. Rare volumes
of the Jesuit Relations, to the value of which for historical
purposes he had called special attention, were secured from his
library for the Canadian library at Ottawa.

Towards the middle of the nineteenth century, when the population of
Ireland reached its highest point of over 8,000,000, the pressure on
the people caused them to emigrate in large numbers, and then the
famine came to drive out great crowds of those who survived. In
proportion to its population Canada received a great many more of
these Irish emigrants than did the United States. Unfortunately the
conditions on board the emigrant sailing vessels in those days cost
many lives. They were often becalmed and took months to cross the
ocean. My grandmother coming in the thirties was ninety-three days in
crossing, landing at Quebec after seven weeks on half rations, part
of the time living on nothing but oatmeal and water. Ship fever, the
dreaded typhus, broke out on her vessel as on so many others, and
more than half the passengers perished. Many, many thousands of the
Irish emigrants thus died on ship-board or shortly after landing. In
1912, the Ancient Order of Hibernians erected near Quebec a monument
to the victims. In spite of the untoward conditions, emigration
continued unabated, and in 1875, in the population of Ontario,
Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, it was calculated that the
Irish numbered 846,414 as compared with 706,369 English and 549,946
Scotch (Hatton, quoted by Davin in _The Irishman In Canada_).

It had become clear that Canada would prosper more if united than in
separate provinces jealous of each other. The first move in this
direction came from the Maritime Provinces, where the Irish element
was so much stronger than elsewhere, and when a conference of the
leading statesmen of these Provinces was appointed to be held at
Charlottetown, P.E.I., September 1864, representatives of Upper and
Lower Canada asked to be allowed to be present to bring forward a
plan for a Federation of all the British Provinces in North America.
The British North America Act was passed, and received the royal
assent, the queen appointing July 1, 1867 as the formal beginning of
the Dominion of Canada.

Among the men who were most prominent in bringing about federation
and who came to be known as the Fathers of Confederation were several
distinguished Irishmen. Thomas D'Arcy McGee was the best known and
probably did more than any other Canadian to make the idea of
confederation popular by his writings and speeches. He had come to
Canada as a stranger, edited a newspaper in Montreal, and was elected
to the Assembly after a brief residence, in spite of the opposition
cries of "Irish adventurer" and "stranger from abroad," was
subsequently elected four times by acclamation, and was Minister of
Agriculture and Education and Canadian Commissioner to the Paris
Exposition of 1867. His letters to the Earl of Mayo, pleading for the
betterment of conditions in Ireland, were quoted by Gladstone during
the Home Rule movement as "a prophetic voice from the dead coming
from beyond the Atlantic."

Another of the Fathers of Confederation was the Honorable Edward
Whalen, born in the county Mayo, who as a young man went to Prince
Edward Island, where he gained great influence as a popular
journalist. He was an orator as well as an editor, and came to have
the confidence of the people of the island, and hence was able to do
very much for federation. A third of the Fathers of Confederation
from the Maritime Provinces was the Honorable, afterwards Sir, Edward
Kenny, who, when the first Cabinet of the New Dominion was formed,
was offered and accepted one of the portfolios in recognition of the
influence which he had wielded for Canadian union.

At all times in the history of Canada the Catholic hierarchy has been
looked up to as thoroughly conservative factors for the progress and
development of the country. After the Irish immigration most of the
higher ecclesiastics were Irish by birth or descent, and they all
exerted a deep influence not only on their own people but on their
city and province. One of the Fathers of Confederation was Archbishop
Connolly, of Halifax, of whom the most distinguished Presbyterian
clergyman of the Lower Provinces said the day after his death: "I
feel that I have not only lost a friend, but as if Canada had lost a
patriot; in all his big-hearted Irish fashion he was ever at heart,
in mind, and deed, a true Canadian." Among his colleagues of the
hierarchy were such men as his predecessor Archbishop Walsh,
Archbishop Lynch, the first Metropolitan of Upper Canada when Toronto
was erected into an archbishopric, Bishop Hogan of Kingston,
Archbishop Hannan of Halifax, Archbishop Walsh of Toronto, and
Archbishop O'Brien of Halifax, all of whom were esteemed as faithful
Canadians working for the benefit of their own people more
especially, but always with the larger view of good for the whole
commonwealth of Canada.

The Irish continued to furnish great representative men to Canada.
The first governor, Guy Carleton, was Irish, and his subsequent
governor-generalship as Lord Dorchester did much to make Canada loyal
to Great Britain. During the difficult times of the Civil War in the
United States, Lord Monck, a Tipperary man, was the tactful
governor-general, "like other Irish Governors singularly successful
in winning golden opinions" (Davin). Probably the most popular and
influential of Canada's governors-general was Lord Dufferin, another
Irishman. Some of the most distinguished of Canadian jurists,
editors, and politicians have been Irishmen, and Irishmen have been
among her great merchants, contractors, and professional men. In our
own time Sir William Hingston among the physicians, Sir Charles
Fitzpatrick among the jurists, and Sir Thomas George Shaughnessy
among the administrative financiers are fine types of Irish


Davin: The Irishman in Canada (Toronto, 1877); McGee: Works; Tracy:
The Tercentenary History of Canada (New York, 1908); Walsh: Sir
William Hingston, in the Amer. Catholic Quarterly (January, 1911),
Edmund Bailey O'Callaghan, in the Records of the Amer. Catholic
Historical Society (1907); McKenna: A Century of Catholicity in
Canada, in the Catholic World, vol. 1, p. 229.




South America, although comparatively little known until recent times
to the outside world, contains much to interest the missionary, the
scientist, the historian, the traveler, and the financier. The
twentieth century will probably see hundreds following in the
footsteps of their predecessors. In the meantime, the brilliant
achievements of numerous Irish men and women in that part of the
world are falling into oblivion, and call for a friendly hand to
collect the fragments of historical lore connected with their

This paper will cover three periods:--

(1). From the Spanish Conquest to the War of Independence: here the
principal actors were maritime explorers, buccaneers, and mercantile

(2). The War of Independence from 1810 to 1826: in this period
Irishmen performed feats of valor worthy to rank with those in Greek
or Roman history.

(3). Since the Independence; a period of commercial and industrial
development, in which Irishmen have played a foremost part.

       *       *       *       *       *

It has been said that George Barlow, the companion of Sebastian
Cabot, was an Irishman. Cabot was the first Britisher to sail up the
Rio de la Plata, and gave it its name just thirty-five years after
the discovery of America. Barlow was in the service of the king of
Spain, and in that country met Cabot, who had been appointed Pilot
Major to his Majesty in the year 1518. In 1577 we read of the famous
Admiral Drake's expedition to the River Plate, which he reached on
April 14, 1578. Evidently it was a successful one in the opinion of
Queen Elizabeth, for on Drake's return to Plymouth, September 26,
1580, she came aboard his ship and knighted him. There seem to have
been three Irishmen on this expedition, Fenton, Merrick, and Ward.
Fenton, who was in command of two vessels, was attacked by a Spanish
squadron between Brazil and the River Plate, and the battle continued
by moonlight until one of the Spaniards was sunk. The Spanish
historian adds that Fenton might have sunk another of the enemy's
ships, but refrained because there were several women on board.

Lozana in his _History_ mentions a revolution in Paraguay in 1555,
which was headed by an Irishman named Nicholas Colman. This
revolution was quickly suppressed by the Spanish viceroy, Yrala, but
Colman led a second revolution in 1570, when Captain Rigueline was
governor of Guayra. The mutineers named Colman for their chief, put
their treasures into canoes, and floated down the Parana until their
boats were capsized by some rapids, probably the falls of Apipe in
Misiones. The viceroy, on hearing of the revolt, sent troops to bring
back the fugitives, and the latter were treated with unusual
clemency. Lozana describes Colman as a daring, turbulent buccaneer.
For fifteen years he seems to have played an important part in
Guayra; his subsequent fate is unknown.

In 1626 an expedition commanded by James Purcell, an Irishman,
established itself on the island of Tocujos, in the mouth of the

Captain Charles O'Hara was sent by Governor Arana from Montevideo in
March, 1761, to destroy the old landmarks of Rio Negro and Ching
between the dominions of Portugal and Spain. The officer next under
him was Lieutenant Charles Murphy, afterwards governor of Paraguay.
This expedition suffered great hardships.

Several of the expeditions of the privateers of the eighteenth
century sailed from Ireland. Dampier, a skilful navigator, went on a
cruise to intercept the Spanish galleons returning from the River
Plate with booty supposed to be worth L600,000 sterling. He sailed
from Kinsale in September, 1703, with two vessels, and no doubt
amongst the crews were many Irishmen. It was on this expedition that
Alexander Selkirk, a Scotch sailor, was put on shore at Juan
Fernandez in 1704, where he remained until rescued by Captain Rogers,
who commanded the _Duke_, a vessel of 320 tons, which sailed from
Cork on September 1, 1708, touched by chance at Juan Fernandez, and
found the original of Defoe's remarkable story, _Robinson Crusoe_,
who presented a wild appearance dressed in his goatskins.

In 1765 Captain Macnamara, with two vessels called the _Lord Clive_
and the _Ambuscade_, mounting between them 104 guns, attempted to
take Colonia, in front of Buenos Ayres, from the Spaniards. Having
shelled the place for four hours, Macnamara expected every moment to
see a white flag hoisted, when, by some mishap, the _Lord Clive_ took
fire, and 262 persons perished. The Spaniards fired upon the poor
fellows in the water, only 78 escaping to land. Macnamara was seen to
sink. His sword was found a few years ago by a Colonia fisherman, who
presented it to the British consul at Montevideo. Most of the Irish
names still extant in the Argentine provinces, such as Sarsfield,
Carrol, and Butler, are probably derived from these captives. Among
the descendants of the survivors of Macnamara's expedition may be
mentioned the ablest lawyer ever known in Buenos Ayres and for many
years Prime Minister, the late Dr. Velez Sarsfield, and also Governor

The year 1586 saw an expedition of a very different character,
consisting of the first Jesuits sent to convert Paraguay, under the
direction of Father Thomas Field, an Irishman, and son of a Limerick
doctor. Their vessel fell into the hands of English privateers off
the Brazilian coast, but the sea rovers respected their captives, and
after sundry adventures the latter landed at Buenos Ayres, whence
they proceeded over land to Cordoba. The year following they set out
for Paraguay, where Father Field and his companions laid the
foundation of the Jesuit commonwealth of Misiones, which had such
wonderful development in the following two centuries as to cause
Voltaire to admit that "the Jesuit establishment in Paraguay seems to
be the triumph of humanity."

Another Irish Jesuit, Father Thaddeus Ennis, appears in authority in
Misiones shortly before the downfall. In 1756, when Spain ceded San
Miguel and other missions to Portugal, Father Ennis was entrusted
with the removal lower down to Parana of such tribes as refused to
become Portuguese subjects.

Yet another Jesuit, Father Falkiner, son of an Irish Protestant
doctor in Manchester, who had himself studied medicine, was one of
the most successful travellers and missionaries of the 18th century.
Among his friends in London was a ship-captain who traded from the
coast of Guinea to Brazil, carrying slaves for the company recently
established by Queen Anne's patent, and he it doubtless was who
prevailed on the young physician to try a seafaring life. In one of
his voyages as ship surgeon, from Guinea to Buenos Ayres, he fell ill
at the latter port, and, there being no hotels, he had the good
fortune to enjoy the hospitality of the Jesuit superior, Father
Mahony, whose name proclaims his Irish nationality. Such was the
impression made on Falkiner by the kindness of the Jesuits that he
shortly afterwards was received into the Church and entered as a
novice in the College of St. Ignatius at Buenos Ayres. He spent the
first years of his missionary career in Misiones and Tucuman. Later
on he was despatched by his superior to Patagonia, and his success
there during 27 years was almost equal to what has already been
mentioned of Father Field in Paraguay. He converted many tribes, and
traversed nearly every part of Patagonia from Rio Negro to Magellan's
Straits, and as far inland as the Andes. He knew most of the Indian
tongues, and by his winning manners and knowledge of medicine gained
a great influence over the savages. When he published his life and
travels, such was the effect of his book upon the king of Spain that
he at once ordered surveys and settlements to be made along the
Patagonian coast, which Father Falkiner represented as exposed to
seizure by the first adventurer who should land there. Father
Falkiner's book has been translated into French, German, and Spanish.
He returned to England and died at Spetchly, Worcestershire, near the
end of the 18th century.

In 1774 the bishop of Ayachucho was Dr. James O'Phelan, who rebuilt
the old Cathedral of Pasco. His father was an Irish officer in the
Spanish army.


Towards the close of the 18th century the Pitt administration lent a
willing ear to a Venezuelan patriot, General Miranda, who proposed
that Great Britain should aid South America to expel the Spanish
rulers and set up a number of independent states. Spain being the
ally of France and paying an annual subsidy to Napoleon, it became
moreover the object of England to seize the treasure-ships
periodically arriving from the River Plate.

Hostilities having broken out in Europe in 1803, an English squadron
under an Irish commander, Captain Moore, captured in the following
year some Spanish galleons laden with treasure at the mouth of the
River Plate. In June, 1806, Major General William Carr Beresford with
a British squadron cast anchor about twelve miles from Buenos Ayres,
and with a force of only 1635 men took possession of that city of
60,000 inhabitants. The indignation which such a humiliation at first
caused among the people was in large measure calmed by the manifesto
which the conquering commander issued on the occasion. In the
_Memoirs_ of General Belgrano we read: "It grieved me to see my
country subjugated in this manner, but I shall always admire the
gallantry of the brave and honorable Beresford in so daring an
enterprise." Beresford was, however, unable to hold his ground, for
the Spaniards got together an army of 10,000 men, and re-took the
city. Beresford was made prisoner, but after five months' detention
he and his brother-officers, among whom was another Irishman, Major
Fahy, managed to escape. Thus ended the expedition of this brave
general, who nevertheless had covered himself and his little army
with glory, for he held Buenos Ayres as a British colony for 45 days,
and had he been properly supported from home the result would in all
probability have been vastly different.

General Beresford was one of the most distinguished men of his time.
He was the illegitimate son of the Marquis of Waterford, entered the
army at 16, and served in every quarter of the globe. After his
defeat at Buenos Ayres he captured Madeira, and was made governor of
that island. In 1808 he successfully covered the retreat of Sir John
Moore to Corunna, a difficult feat, for which he received a marshal's
baton, and was made commander-in-chief in Portugal. In 1811 he
defeated Marshal Soult at Albuera, and subsequently took part in the
victories of Salamanca and Vittoria. For these services he was made
Duke of Elvas, and the British government conferred on him in 1814
the title of Baron Beresford of Albuera and Dungannon. The same year
he was sent as minister to Brazil, and on his return was created
viscount. He married the widow of Thomas Hope the banker, and settled
down on his estates in Kent, where he died in 1854.

The brilliancy of Beresford's achievement in capturing Buenos Ayres
with a handful of men had dazzled the minds of English statesmen, who
felt that 10,000 British troops were enough to subdue the whole of
the vast continent of South America. In May, 1807, an expedition
comprising several frigates and transports with 5,000 troops appeared
off Montevideo from England. A month later Lieutenant-General
Whitelock arrived with orders to assume the chief command, and among
his officers were the gallant Irishmen, Major Vandeleur, who
commanded a wing of the 88th Regiment, and Lieutenant-Colonel Nugent,
of the 38th. Whitelock endeavored, but failed, to retake Buenos
Ayres. During the siege a small detachment of Spanish troops under
Colonel James Butler, after a terrific conflict, in which they sold
their lives dearly, were all killed. Agreeably to Colonel Butler's
request his remains were buried on the spot he had so valiantly
defended, and his tombstone was visible there until 1818.

It is a remarkable fact that several of the South American countries,
Mexico, Peru, and Chile, were governed by viceroys of Irish birth in
the critical period preceding the Independence, although Spanish law
forbade such office to any but Spaniards born. It was in recognition
of gallant services in Spain, in combination with the Duke of
Wellington, that General O'Donoghue was made viceroy of Mexico in
1821, but the elevation of the great viceroy of Peru, Ambrose
O'Higgins, was due to the splendid talents of administration already
displayed by him during twenty years of service in Chile. He was born
at Summerhill, Co. Meath, about 1730. An uncle of his was one of the
chaplains at the court of Madrid, and at his expense O'Higgins was
educated at a college in Cadiz. He then entered the Spanish engineer
corps, and in 1769 was given the command of the commission sent to
Chile to strengthen the fortifications of Valdivia. He was made
captain-general of Chile in 1788, was subsequently created marquis of
Osorno, and in 1796 was nominated viceroy of Peru, a position which
he held until his death in 1801.

The great viceroy left only one son, Bernard O'Higgins, who succeeded
General Carreras in the supreme command of the patriot army against
the Spaniards in 1813. In 1817 O'Higgins took a principal part in the
victory of Chacabuco, and was almost immediately appointed supreme
director of Chile, with dictatorial powers. During his
administration, which lasted six years, he gave every proof of his
fitness for the position. But, alas! it was the misfortune of South
America to surpass the republics of antiquity in the ingratitude
shown towards its greatest benefactors. It is then not surprising to
find that the Father of his Country, as O'Higgins is affectionately
styled, was deposed by a military revolution, and obliged to take
refuge in Peru, from which country he never returned. General Miller
and Lord Cochrane, in their _Memoirs_, give frequent testimony to the
honesty and zeal of Bernard O'Higgins. He was always treated as an
honored guest in Lima, in which city he died on October 24, 1842. He
left a son, Demetrio O'Higgins, a wealthy land-owner, who contributed
large sums for the patriot army against Spain.

Among other Irish commanders in Chile and Peru, who, during the War
of Independence, fought their way to dignity and rank, was General
MacKenna, the hero of Membrillar. He was born in 1771, at Clogher,
Co. Tyrone; his mother belonged to the ancient Irish sept of
O'Reilly, whose estates were confiscated after the fall of Limerick
in 1691.

General Thomond O'Brien, who won his spurs at the battle of
Chacabuco, seems to have been born in the south of Ireland about
1790. He joined the army of San Martin, and accompanied that general
through the campaigns of Chile and Peru until the overthrow of the
Spanish regime and the proclamation of San Martin as protector of
Peru. On the day (July 28, 1821) when independence was declared at
Lima, the protector took in his hand the standard of Pizarro and
said, "This is my portion of the trophies." Then, taking the state
canopy of Pizarro, a kind of umbrella always borne over the viceroys
in processions, he presented it to General O'Brien, saying, "This is
for the gallant comrade who fought so many years by my side in the
cause of South America." The inscription on the canopy, in O'Brien's
hand, says that it was brought to Peru on Pizarro's second journey
from Spain. Little did the viceroys think that its last owner would
be an Irishman.

General O'Connor, one of the most distinguished soldiers of the War
of Independence, played an important part in the final victory of
Ayachucho. For his gallantry on that day he was promoted to the rank
of general by the commander-in-chief, General Bolivar. After the War
of Independence he became Minister of War in Bolivia. General
O'Connor went to South America as an ensign in the Irish Legion under
General Devereux. He claimed direct descent from Roderic O'Conor,
last king of Ireland, 1186.

Captain Esmonde also fought in the War of Independence. He was
brother to the then baronet, Sir Thomas Esmonde, of Co. Wexford. In
later years Captain Esmonde was employed by the Peruvian government
to report on some proposed canals at Tarapaca. The vessel in which he
embarked was never more heard of.

Colonel Charles Carroll had served in Spain, but joined the Chilian
army after independence was gained. He was one of the most popular
officers in the army, and met with a sad fate. Being sent with too
small a detachment against the savage Indians, their commander,
Benavides, cut his forces in pieces and murdered all the officers in
a most cruel manner. O'Carroll had his tongue cut out and was then

Lieutenant Colonel Moran, who commanded the Colombian legion at the
battle of Ayachucho, probably came out in the legion of General

Colonel (afterwards General) O'Leary was first aide-decamp to General
Bolivar, the Liberator, and received his last breath. He was nephew
to the famous Father Arthur O'Leary. Bolivar employed him on various
missions of great trust and says "he acquitted himself with great
ability." After the war, General O'Leary was appointed British charge
d'affaires at Bogota, and died in Rome in 1868. General Arthur
Sandes, a native of Dublin, was entrusted with an important garrison
in Peru on the close of the War of Independence.

Admiral Brown, the distinguished commander and hero of the War of
Independence, whose exploits may be ranked, like those of Nelson,
"above all Greek, above all Roman fame," was born at Foxford, Co.
Mayo, Ireland, on the 22nd of June, 1777. His father emigrated with
his family to Pennsylvania. A ship captain who was about to sail from
Philadelphia offered to take the intelligent Irish boy with him, and
the offer was promptly accepted. During twenty years he seems to have
voyaged to many countries; at one time we find him at Archangel.
Brown had been in Buenos Ayres just two years when the patriot
government offered him command of a squadron to commence hostilities
against the Spanish navy, then mistress of all the coasts and waters
of South America. On the memorable 8th of March, 1814, Brown sailed
out of the port of Buenos Ayres with three ships to commence a
campaign, which was destined to destroy the Spanish navy in this part
of the waters of the New World. With him went his fellow-countrymen,
Captains Seaver and Kearney. Brown's next exploits were against
Spanish shipping in the Pacific, and his entirely successful campaign
at sea against Brazil, in which he gained the mastery by his
wonderful skill, courage, and perseverance, keeping at bay the great
naval power of that country (which consisted at one time of fifty war
vessels) with his few, small, ill-supplied, and ill-armed craft.
After these great exploits Brown spent some months among the wild
scenery of Mayo, so dear to him in boyhood, and, returning to Buenos
Ayres, devoted himself to the quiet life of a country gentleman. He
died surrounded by his family and friends on May 3, 1857, and the day
of his funeral was one of national mourning. His widow erected a
monument to his memory in the Recoleta cemetery, and in 1872 the
municipality of Buenos Ayres granted a site for a public statue on
the Pasco Julio, which so often rang with the plaudits of the people
as they welcomed this great Irishman returning from victory.

No brighter pages occur in the history of the New World than those
which commemorate the gallantry and self-devotion of the Irish
soldiers who aided South Americans to throw off the yoke of Spain. In
1819 an Irish Legion of 1729 men arrived under the command of General
Devereux, a Wexford landowner, called the Lafayette of South America,
to fight in the campaign of General Bolivar. Devereux was
distinguished for his great bravery. After the War of Independence he
returned to Europe, being commissioned to form a company for mining
operations in Colombia, which country had appointed him envoy
extraordinary to various European courts.

Colonel Ferguson and Captain Talbot were both Irishmen and among the
last survivors of Devereux's Legion. It is computed that one-third of
the Irish who came out under General Devereux died in hospital. It
was this legion which won the decisive battle of Carabobo, June 26,
1821, going into action 1100 strong and leaving 600 on that
hard-fought field.

Among the officers who composed Bolivar's Albion Rifles we find the
Irish names of Pigott, Tallon, Peacock, Phelan, O'Connell, McNamara,
Fetherstonhaugh, French, Reynolds, Byrne, and Haig, and the medical
officer was Dr. O'Reilly. We find mention in General Millar's
_Memoirs_ of Dr. Moore, an Irishman, who attended Bolivar in most of
his campaigns and was devotedly attached to the person of the
Liberator. Lieutenant-Colonel Hughes, Major Maurice Hogan, Lieutenant
William Keogh, Captain Laurence McGuire, Lieutenant-Colonel S.
Collins also served in the struggle for independence.

The period of independence found a small number of Irish residents in
Buenos Ayres, mostly patrician families, such as Dillon, MacMurrough,
Murphy, French, O'Gorman, Orr, Butler, O'Shee, who had been exiled or
had fled from Ireland and obtained the king of Spain's permission to
settle in Spanish America. The descendants of these families are now
so intermarried in the country that they have mostly forgotten the
language and traditions of their ancestors; but they occupy high
positions in political, legal, and commercial circles.


A remarkable influx of settlers from Ireland occurred between 1825
and 1830, to work in the _saladeros_, or salt mines, of the Irish
merchants, Brown, Dowdall, and Armstrong. Previous to this a few
Irish mechanics and others had come from the United States. In 1813
Bernard Kiernan came from New Brunswick. He seems to have devoted
himself to science, as the papers mention his discovery of a comet in
the Magellan clouds on March 19, 1830. His son, James Kiernan, became
editor of the government paper, _Gaceta Mercantil_, in 1823, and held
this post for twenty years; his death occurred in 1857. There is
reason to believe that the first Irishman who landed in Buenos Ayres
in the 19th century, exclusive of Beresford's soldiers, was James
Coyle, a native of Tyrone, who came in the _Agreable_ in 1807, and
died in 1876 at the age of 86.

In 1830 some survivors of an Irish colony of 300 persons in Brazil
made their way to Buenos Ayres. They had come out from Europe in the
barque _Reward_ in 1829.

The banker, Thomas Armstrong, who arrived in Buenos Ayres in 1817,
occupied the foremost place for half a century in the commerce of
that city. He was of the ancient family of Armstrong in the King's
county, one of whose members was General Sir John Armstrong, founder
of Woolwich arsenal. Having married into the wealthy family of
Villanueva he became intimately connected with all the leading
enterprises of the day, such as railways, banks, loans, etc. He took
no part in politics, but interested himself in charities of every

In 1865 another Irishman, James P. Cahill, introduced into Peru from
the United States the first complete machinery for sugar growing and

Still another Irishman, Peter Sheridan, was one of the chief founders
of the sheep farming industry in Argentina. His family claimed
descent from the same stock in Co. Cavan as Richard Brinsley
Sheridan, the great statesman and dramatist. Sheridan died at the age
of 52, in 1844, and was succeeded in the _estancia_ or sheep-farming
business by his nephew, James, whose brother Dr. Hugh Sheridan had
served under Admiral Brown.

The number and wealth of the Irish _estancieros_, or sheep-farmers,
in Argentina have never been exactly ascertained, but after the old
Spanish families they are the most important. It would be impossible
to give all the Irish names to be met with. Some of them own immense
tracts of land. Men whose fathers arrived in Argentina without a
shilling are today worth millions. Their _estancia_ houses display
all the comforts of an American or English home; their hospitality is
proverbial; and most of them have built on their land fine schools
and beautiful little chapels, in which the nearest Irish priest

Many of the _partidos_ or districts of the various provinces of
Argentina may be compared to Irish counties, the railway stations
being called after the owners of the land on which they are situated.
Among the earliest families settled in Argentina in the farming
industries, we find Duggans, Torneys, Harringtons, O'Briens,
Dowlings, Gaynors, Murphys, Moores, Dillons, O'Rorkes, Kennys, Raths,
Caseys, Norrises, O'Farrells, Brownes, Hams, Duffys, Ballestys,
Gahans, and Garaghans.  Dr. Santiago O'Farrell, son of one of the
earliest Irish pioneers, holds a foremost position among the
distinguished lawyers of the present day. An Irish engineer, Mr. John
Coghlan, gave Buenos Ayres its first waterworks. The British hospital
has at present for its leading surgeon a distinguished Irishman, Dr.
Luke O'Connor. A son of Peter Sheridan, educated in England, has left
the finest landscapes of South America by any artist born in America.
He died at Buenos Ayres in his 27th year, 1861. Among the public men
of Irish descent, fifty years ago, in Buenos Ayres, are to be
mentioned the distinguished lawyer and politician, Dalmacio Velez
Sarsfield, and John Dillon, commissioner of immigration. Dillon was
the first to start a brewery in Buenos Ayres, for which purpose he
brought out workmen and machinery from Europe. All of his sons
occupied distinguished positions. Richard O'Shee, president of the
Chamber of Commerce in Buenos Ayres, was born at Seville of an old
Irish family banished by William III. Among the many valuable
citizens of Buenos Ayres who perished during the cholera of 1868 was
Dr. Leslie, a native of Cavan, whose benevolence to the poor was
unceasing. Henry O'Gorman, for some years chief of police in Buenos
Ayres and afterwards governor of the penitentiary, was descended from
an Irish family which went to Buenos Ayres in the eighteenth century.
His brother, Canon O'Gorman, was one of the dignitaries of the
archdiocese, and director of the boys' reformatory. General Donovan,
son of an Irish Dr. Donovan of Buenos Ayres, had command of one of
the sections of the new Indian frontier.

The first Irish chaplain was Father Burke, a venerable friar
mentioned by Mr. Love in 1820 as over 70 years of age and much
esteemed. When Rivadavia suppressed the Orders in 1822, he allowed
Father Burke to remain in the convent of Santo Domingo. After his
death the Irish residents, in 1828, petitioned Archbishop Murray of
Dublin for a chaplain. Accordingly the Rev. Patrick Moran was
selected, and he arrived in Buenos Ayres in 1829. He died in the
following year, and was succeeded by the Rev. Patrick O'Gorman from
Dublin, who continued as chaplain during 16 years till his death in

The year 1843 is memorable for the arrival of Rev. Anthony Fahy, with
whose name the advancement of the Irish in Argentina will be forever
identified. This great patriarch was born at Loughrea, Co. Galway, in
1804, and made his ecclesiastical studies at St. Clement's convent of
Irish Dominicans at Rome. Being sent to the western states of
America, he passed ten years in Ohio and Kentucky, after which, on
the invitation of the Irish community of Buenos Ayres and by
permission of the superior of his Order, he came to the river Plate
at a time when the prospects of the country and of the Irish
residents were far from promising. The history of the Irish community
since that time is in some measure a recital of the labors of Father
Fahy. He it was who helped his countrymen to choose and buy their
lands which now are of such enormous value. Their increasing numbers
and prosperity in the camp districts obliged him to endow each of the
provincial _partidos_ was a resident chaplain. Most of these
clergymen were educated in Dublin, and soon showed their zeal not
merely in religious, but also in social spheres. Irish reading-rooms,
libraries, and schools sprang up and laid the foundation for the
refined Irish life of the present day in those districts. Among other
services, Father Fahy founded the Irish convent, bringing out some
Sisters of Mercy under Mrs. Mary Evangelist Fitzpatrick from Dublin,
to whom he gave it in charge. Father Fahy died in harness in 1871 of
yellow fever; he attended a poor Italian woman and on returning home
was at once taken ill. He lasted only three days and expired
peacefully, a martyr to his sacred calling. He died so poor that Mr.
Armstrong had to discharge for him some small debts, and five others
of his countrymen paid his funeral expenses. A fitting memorial of
the deceased priest, the Fahy College for Irish orphan boys in
Argentina, has been erected in Buenos Ayres, and a magnificent
monument of Irish marble, carved in Ireland, also perpetuates his

The priests, still living, who were co-workers with Father Fahy and
appointed by him to various _partidos_, are Monsignor Samuel
O'Reilly, deservedly beloved by his parishioners, and the Rev. Father
Flannery, whose appointment to San Pedro brought a great influx of
Irish farmers into that district. Among those who have gone to enjoy
their eternal reward are the brothers, Rev. Michael and Rev. John
Leahy, both of whom were indefatigable during the yellow fever in
Buenos Ayres. Rev. Father Mulleady, Rev. Patrick Lynch, Rev. James
Curran, and Monsignor Curley were also among the Irish priests of
that time.

The Fahy College is entrusted to the care of the Marist Brothers, who
are largely Irish. The community of Holy Cross of the Passionist
Fathers, who have as provincial the distinguished North American
scholar Father Fidelis Kent Stone, is almost entirely composed of
Irish and Irish-Americans. They have several establishments in
various provinces of Argentina. Irish priests are to be met with all
over the country. In Patagonia and the Chaco we also find a number of
Protestant missionaries sent out by the Irish branch of the South
American Missionary Society.

Archdeacon Dillon succeeded Father Fahy as Irish chaplain in Buenos
Ayres, and, although by birth and education an Irishman, he became
one of the principal dignitaries of the archdiocese. He was for some
time professor of theology in the ecclesiastical seminary of Buenos
Ayres, and accompanied Archbishop Escalada as theologian to the
Vatican Council in 1869. He was the founder of the _Southern Cross_
in 1874, the Irish weekly paper which is now so ably edited by the
gifted Irishman, Mr. Gerald Foley.

The first daily paper to appear in English in South America was the
_Standard_, founded in 1861 by Michael G. Mulhall, the distinguished
statistician, and it is still one of the leading papers in the
country. In conducting it Michael G. Mulhall was joined by his
brother, Edward T. Mulhall, in 1862, and for many years it was
continuously under their care. The _Standard_ still remains in the
Mulhall family, and has for its editor a cousin of the former
editor's, Mr. John Mulhall, who wisely directs its course. The
_Argentina_, an important paper in Spanish, was founded a few years
since by Edward T. Mulhall, Jr., a brilliant son of the late Edward
Mulhall of the _Standard_. The _Hyberno-Argentine Review_, a new
Irish weekly, is edited by another able Irishman, James B. Sheridan.
In Rio Janeiro the _Anglo-Brasilian Times_ was founded in 1864 by an
Irishman, Mr. Scully, who also wrote an important book on Brazil.

Ireland had also its representatives in South American diplomacy and
the making of treaties. As early as 1809 Colonel James Burke was sent
by Lord Strangford, British minister at Rio, on a confidential
mission to Buenos Ayres to negotiate the establishment of a separate
kingdom on the river Plate, with the Princess Charlotte as queen. In
1867 Mr. Gould, an Irishman, British charge d'affaires, endeavored to
mediate between the allies, Brazil and Argentina, and President Lopez
of Paraguay, but without success. Stephen H. Sullivan, British charge
d'affaires for Chile, signed the treaty of commerce and navigation
between England and Chile on the 10th of May, 1852. He was afterwards
appointed British minister at Lima, where he was murdered. The late
Chilian ministers to Buenos Ayres and London, William Blest Gana and
Albert Blest Gana, were the sons of an Irish Doctor Blest from Sligo,
who settled in Chile. In 1859 George Fagan signed a treaty with
General Guido for compensation of losses to British subjects during
the civil wars after the Independence.

The mining industry had among its pioneers brave sons of Erin. J. O.
French went to Buenos Ayres in 1826, and after an arduous mountain
journey arrived at the foot of the Cerro Morado, where he found
auriferous ores. Chevalier Edmond Temple, an Irish gentleman who had
served in Spain in a dragoon regiment, also landed in Buenos Ayres in
1826, and started across the Pampas, then almost uninhabited, until
he came to the mountainous country where the Potosi mines were
situated. In one of the defiles he lost his favorite horse, and in
his book he bids a touching farewell to the friendly steed which had
shared with him so many toils and dangers. Temple's successor in the
Argentine mining provinces was Major Rickard Seaver, a member of an
old Co. Dublin family.

Several books of travel in South America have been published by Irish
writers during the last fifty years. MacCann's _Travels in the
Argentine Provinces_, 1846-49, contains much that is valuable
concerning the history and manners of the country. Major Rickard
Seaver issued in 1863 an interesting narrative of his crossing the
Andes. Consul Hutchinson, an Irishman, published in 1864 his book
_Argentine Gleanings_, which was followed by another in 1869 called
_South American Recollections_. Robert Crawford, an Irish engineer,
led an expedition from Buenos Ayres in November, 1871, across the
Indian Pampas and over the pass of the Planchon in the Andes, to
survey an overland route to Chile, and subsequently published an
interesting account of his journey. The first book printed and
published in English, in South America, was the _Handbook of the
River Plate_, written by Michael G. Mulhall and published by the
_Standard_, in 1861. The same author also published the _Rural Code
of Buenos Ayres_ in 1867, and the _Handbook of Brazil_ in 1877. In
1871 he published an account of his travels among the German colonies
in Rio Grande do Sul. Twenty years ago the writer of this sketch
published _Between the Amazon and the Andes_ and the _Story of the
Jesuit Missions of Paraguay_. These books derive special interest
from the fact that she was the first foreign woman ever seen in
Cuyaba, the capital of Matto Grosso, whither she accompanied her
husband, 2500 miles from either the Atlantic or the Pacific seaboard.
They arrived as far as the Diamantina Mountains, beyond Cuyaba, and
saw the little rivers which form the sources of the mighty Amazon.

Casting a glance over South America, we see in every country and
province evidences of Irish genius employed not only in fighting but
in the development of natural resources. To quote Consul Cowper's
report to the Foreign Office in London: "The progress of Buenos Ayres
is mainly due to the industrious Irish sheep farmers." No other
nationality contributed so largely to the export trade of the
country. At one time it was shown by the tables of Mr. Duggan and
other wool exporters that the quantity of this staple industry yearly
sold by Irishmen in Buenos Ayres exceeded that sold by all other
nationalities. In later years the Irish sheep farmers in the province
of Buenos Ayres have turned their lands into wheat lands, and the
great industries of the country, sheep and cattle, have been moved to
the outside camps, especially to that wonderful grazing region in the
Andine valleys recently visited by Col. Roosevelt and his party. It
may be interesting to mention that at the first English races ever
held in South America, on November 6, 1826, the principal event, in
which ten horses ran, was easily won by an Irish horse with the
appropriate name of "Shamrock."


Beaumont: Travels In Buenos Ayres (1828); Wilson: Travels In South
America (1796); Pinkerton: Travels (1808), Captain Weddell: Cape Horn
and South Atlantic Surveys; Major Gillesple: Buenos Ayres and
Provinces; Mrs. Williams, on Humboldt's Travels (1826); Captain
Master: At Home with the Patagonians (1891); Hadfield: Notes of
Travel in Brazil and La plata (1863); Hinchcliff: South American
Sketches (1862); Captain Burton: Highlands of Brazil; Ross Johnston:
A Vacation in the Argentine Alps (1867); MacCann: Travels in the
Argentine Provinces (1846-1849); Hutchinson: Argentine Gleanings and
South American Recollections; Major Seaver: Crossing the Andes;
Crawford: Across the Pampas; V. MacKenna: Life of O'Higgins; Life of
Diego Rimagro; History of Santiago; History of Valparaiso; MacKenna:
Archives of Spanish America, 50 vols.; Miller: Memoirs; Lives of
Belgrano and San Martin; Mulhall; English In South America.



Should one be called upon to give in brief the history of the Irish
in the land of the Southern Cross, he could do nothing more to the
purpose than to relate the story of the "Holy House of Australia."
The episode, indeed, is characteristic, not merely of the Irish in
Australia, but of the Irish in every land and clime where they have
striven and conquered.

On the fourteenth of November, 1817, there landed in Sydney an Irish
Cistercian Father, Jeremiah F. Flynn. He had heard in Rome of the
spiritual destitution of the Irish Catholics in Australia, and he
secured the permission of his superiors to minister to the needs of
his compatriots in the Antipodes. Shortly after his arrival he
celebrated Mass in the house of an Irishman named William Davis, who
had been transported for making pikes for the insurgents in the days
of '98, and then, on the first opportunity that presented itself, he
sought the authorization of the colonial governor to exercise the
functions of his sacred ministry. Far from hospitable was the
reception accorded him by Governor Macquarie. The priest was told,
with the bluntness characteristic of British officialdom, that the
presence of no "popish missionary" would be tolerated in the
settlement, and that the profession of the Protestant form of belief
was obligatory on every person in the penal colony.

With the example of the "priesthood hunted down like wolves" before
him, Father Flynn saw but one consistent course to pursue. His fellow
Catholics, his fellow Irishmen, were in sore need of his help; that
help they must receive, even though the civil powers refused their
sanction. So for several months he went about as secretly as he
could, hearing confessions, offering the Holy Sacrifice, and breaking
the bread of good counsel. During this trying period, Davis was his
host and defender and friend. Eventually the presence of the priest
was detected; he was arrested and promptly sent back to England.
Before the ship sailed he tried repeatedly to return to the house of
Davis where the Blessed Sacrament was preserved in a cedar
clothes-press, but the surveillance of his captors was strict and
unsleeping. So in the dwelling of the convict Irishman the Sacred
Species remained. Before this unwonted repository Davis kept a light
ever burning day and night; and day and night crept the loyal
Irishmen of the settlement to kneel in prayer before the improvised
shrine. The "Holy House of Australia", as the Davis dwelling came to
be known, remained the only Catholic church in the colony until 1821,
when two Irish priests, Father John Joseph Therry of Cork and Father
Philip Connolly of Kildare, were permitted to attend to the spiritual
needs of the Irish Catholics. Their coming marked the beginning of
religious toleration in Australia and the termination of the
sufferings and sacrifices of the Irish colonists, several of whom had
had to pay dearly for their religious convictions. Davis himself had
been twice flogged and once imprisoned for refusing to attend
Protestant service.

Today, on the site of the "Holy House of Australia", stands the
church of St. Patrick. Davis gave the land and the sum of one
thousand pounds to the church, and his fellow exiles contributed
according to their means. This episode in the history of the Irish in
Australia pays a touchingly eloquent tribute to the spirit of loyalty
to God and country which has characterized the sons and daughters of
St. Patrick everywhere whither their feet have strayed. It is the
spirit which has embodied itself in the imposing cathedral of St.
Patrick in Melbourne and the splendidly equipped college of St.
Patrick in Sydney. It is the spirit which has made the Irish play so
conspicuous a role in the civic and commercial history of

Originally known as New Holland, Australia became an English penal
colony after the outbreak of the Revolutionary War in the United
States of America. An Irish element came into the colony in the last
decade of the eighteenth century when, during the Orange reign of
terror, upwards of a thousand people from the west of Ireland were
deported by the Ulster magistrates and by Lord Carhampton, the
notorious "Satanides", who was charged with the pacification of
Connacht. And during the first three decades of the nineteenth
century the stream of Irish transportation flowed on. As a result of
the Tithes agitation, the Charter and Reform movements, the
Combination Laws and the Corn Laws, many more Irishmen were forced
across the sea. It was not until 1868 that the convict system was
permanently abolished.

It is difficult for us of a later day to realize the meaning of that
word, transportation. Let us form some conception of what the Irish
exiles suffered from the graphic picture painted in colors, somber
but not untrue, by one who knew from firsthand experience the lot of
the political prisoner. Writes Dr. Ullathorne in _The Horrors of

"Take any one of you, my dear readers; separate him from his wife,
from his children, from all those whose conversation makes life dear
to him; cast him on the ends of the earth; let him there fall amongst
reprobates who are the last stain and disgrace of our common nature;
give him those obscene-mouthed monsters for his constant companions
and consolers; let the daily vision of their progress from infamy to
infamy, until the demon that inspires them has exhausted invention
and the powers of nature together, be his only example; house him, at
night, in a bark hut on a mud floor, where he has less comfort than
your cattle in their stalls; awake him from the troubled dreams of
his wretched wife and outcast children, to feel how far he is from
their help, and take him out at sunrise; work him under a burning
sun, and a heartless overseer, and the threat of the lash until the
night fall; give him not a penny's wages but sorrow; leave him no
hope but the same dull, dreary round of endless drudgery for many
years to come; let him see no opening by which to escape, but through
a long, narrow prospect of police courts, of gaols, of triangles, of
death cells, and of penal settlements; let him all the while be
clothed in a dress of shame, that shows to every living soul his
degradation; and if he dare to sell any part of that clothing, then
flog him worse than any dog! And thus, whilst severed from all
kindness and all love, whilst the stern harsh voice of his
task-master is grating in incessant jars within his ear, take all
rest out of his flesh, and plant the thorn; take all feeling out of
his heart, and leave the withered core; take all peace out of his
conscience, and leave the worm of remorse; and then let any one come
and dare to tell me that the man is happy because he has bread and
meat. Is it not here, if ever there was such a case, where the taste
of bread is a taste of misery, and where to feed and prolong life is
to feed and lengthen our sorrow? And in pondering these things, do
not those strong words of Sacred Scripture bring down their load of
truth in heavy trouble to our thoughts, that, 'Their bread is
loathsome to their eye, and their meat unto their soul.'"

But the bright side of the story of the Irish in Australia and New
Zealand unfolds in the subsequent years. The men who had been sent
forth from Erin with the brand of the convict upon them became the
founders of a new commonwealth. To them were joined the numerous
voluntary settlers who, attracted by the natural resources of the
island-continent and especially by the gold discoveries of the
fifties, migrated to Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales. When
in 1858 William E. Gladstone sought to establish a new colony to be
known as North Australia, he opened a fresh field for Irish
initiative. As a result of his effort there stands today, on a
terrace overlooking Port Curtis, the city of Gladstone, the terminal
of the Australian railway system. It was here, according to Cardinal
Moran, that in 1606, Mass was first celebrated in Australia, when the
Spaniards sought shelter in the "Harbor of the Holy Cross." The first
government resident at Gladstone was Sir Maurice Charles O'Connell, a
relative of the great Liberator; he was four times acting-governor of

The list of Irish pioneer settlers in Australasia is a lengthy one.
The name of Thomas Poynton stands out prominently. He was a New
Zealand pioneer who had married an Irish girl in Sydney. The devotion
of Poynton and his wife to the faith of their fathers is evidenced by
the fact that he several times made the long journey from his home to
Sydney to interest the church authorities in the wants of the New
Zealand Irish Catholics, and that she twice made the same arduous
trip to have her children baptized. Thomas Mooney has the distinction
of being the first Irish pioneer in Western Australia; and yet
another Irishman, Cassidy by name, carried out a policy of benevolent
assimilation by marrying the daughter of a Maori chief.

Among the pioneer ecclesiastics were Father William Kelly of
Melbourne and Father John McEncroe, a native of Tipperary and a
Maynooth man, who for thirty years and more was a prominent figure in
the religious and civic life of New South Wales. Father John Brady,
another pioneer priest, became Bishop of Perth. Irish names occupy a
conspicuous and honored place in the roster of the Australian
episcopate. Notable on the list are Bishop Francis Murphy of
Adelaide, who was born in Co. Meath, and Archbishop Daniel Murphy of
Sydney, a native of Cork, the man who delivered the eulogy on the
occasion of Daniel O'Connell's funeral at Rome. But scant reference
can here be made to the illustrious primate of Australia, Cardinal
Moran, archbishop of Sydney from 1884 to 1911, who was such a potent
force in the land of his adoption, and whose masterly _History of the
Catholic Church in Australasia_ puts him in the forefront of
ecclesiastical historians. On his death he was succeeded in the see
of Sydney by another Irishman, Archbishop Michael Kelly of Waterford.
Archbishop O'Reily of Adelaide is a recognized authority on music,
and has written several pamphlets on that subject. A Galway man, Dr.
T. J. Carr, a great educator, is now (1914) archbishop of Melbourne,
and a Clare man, Dr. J. P. Clune, holds sway in Perth.

Irishmen in Australia have figured largely in the iron and coal
industries, in the irrigation projects, in the manufacturing
activities, and in the working of the gold mines. But they have
likewise distinguished themselves in other fields of endeavor.
Prominent on the beadroll of Australian fame stand the names of Sir
Charles Gavan Duffy (1816-1903), founder of the _Nation_ newspaper in
Dublin, member of the British house of commons, and afterwards
premier of Victoria and speaker of the legislative assembly, and his
sons, John Gavan Duffy and Frank Gavan Duffy, public-spirited
citizens and authorities on legal matters. The Currans, father and
son, active in the public life of Sydney, were afterwards members of
the British parliament. Distinguished in the records of the
Australian judiciary are Judges Quinlan, Casey, Brennan, and O'Dowd.
The Rev. J. Milne Curran, F.G.S., is a geologist who has achieved
more than local fame. Other Irishmen who have loomed large in
Australasian affairs are Daniel Brophy, John Cumin, Augustus Leo
Kenny, James Coghlan, Sir Patrick Buckley, Sir John O'Shannessy, and
Nicholas Fitzgerald. Louis C. Brennan, C.B., who was born in Ireland
in 1852, emigrated to Australia when a boy and while working in a
civil engineer's office in Melbourne conceived the idea of the
"Brennan Torpedo", which he afterwards perfected, and then in 1897
sold the invention to the British Admiralty for L110,000. Another
Brennan, Frank by name, is president of the Knights of Our Lady of
the Southern Cross and has been a labor member of the federal
parliament since 1911; a third, Christopher John, is assistant
lecturer in modern literature in the University of Sydney; and a
fourth, James, of the diocese of Perth, was made a Knight of St.
Silvester by Pius X. in 1912. Young Australia and New Zealand may be
as the world goes, but already both have much to their credit in the
domains of music, art, and literature; and here, as usual, the Irish
have been to the fore. In the writing of poetry, history, and fiction
the Celtic element has been especially distinguished. Not to speak of
the writers mentioned elsewhere in this sketch, scores of Irish men
and women have been identified with the development of an Australian
literature which, though delightfully redolent of the land whence it
sprang, nevertheless possesses the universal note which makes it a
truly human product. Many years ago one of the most gifted of
Irish-Australian singers, "Eva"' of the _Nation_, voiced a tentative

      "O barren land! O blank, bright sky!
         Methinks it were a noble duty
      To kindle in that vacant eye
         The light of spirit--beauty--
      To fill with airy shapes divine
         Thy lonely plains and mountains,
      The orange grove, the bower of vine,
         The silvery lakes and fountains;
      To wake the voiceless, silent air
         To soft, melodious numbers;
      To raise thy lifeless form so fair
         From those deep, spell-bound slumbers.
      Oh, whose shall be the potent hand
         To give that touch informing,
      And make thee rise, O Southern Land,
         To life and poesy warming?"

Mrs. O'Doherty herself, who long lived in that Queensland which she
thus apostrophized, helped in no uncertain way to answer her own
question. So did John Farrell, the author of the truly remarkable
"Jubilee Ode" of 1897 and of a collection of poems which include the
well known "How He Died." And so, long before, had the non-Catholic
Irishman, Edward O'Shaughnessy, who went to Australia as a convict,
but who laughed in lockstep and made music with his chains.

James Francis Hogan, author and journalist, was born in Tipperary in
1855 and shortly afterward was brought by his parents to Melbourne
where he received his education. On his return to Ireland he was
elected to represent his native county in parliament. He is an
authority on Australian history and in his book on _The Gladstone
Colony_ has given us a fine specimen of modern historical method.
With him must be mentioned Roderick Flanagan, whose _History of New
South Wales_ appeared in 1862.

Other Irish names distinguished in Australasian literature are those
of the New Zealand poet, Thomas Bracken; Roderick Quinn; Desmond
Byrne; J.B. O'Hara; the eccentric convict-writer, George "Barrington"
Waldron; Victor J. Daley; Bernard O'Dowd; Edwin J. Brady; the Rev.
J.J. Malone; and the Rev. W. Kelly.

Finally, the Irish in Australia have done more than their share in
the work of education and social service. Under Irish auspices
several of the Catholic teaching congregations, including the
Christian Brothers and the Presentation Nuns, were introduced, and
their work has borne goodly fruit. A mighty power for good is the
Hibernian Australasian Benefit Society. The organization, which was
founded in 1871, has spread rapidly and has a large active

Truly the land of the Southern Cross is not the dimmest jewel in the
coronet of Ireland's glories.


Hogan: The Irish in Australia (1888), The Gladstone Colony (1898);
Mennell: Dictionary of Australian Biography (1892); Duffy: Life in
Two Hemispheres (1903); Kenny: The Catholic Church in Australia to
the Year 1840; Moran: History of the Catholic Church in Australasia
(1898); Davitt: Life and Progress in Australasia (1898); Bonwick: The
First Twenty Years of Australia (1883); Flanagan: History of New
South Wales (1862); Byrne: Australian Writers (1896); Wilson: The
Church in New Zealand (1910); Hocken: A Bibliography of the
Literature Relating to New Zealand (1909).



The tide of emigration from Ireland has set chiefly towards America
and Australia. In South Africa, therefore, the Irish element among
the colonists has never been a large one. But, despite its
comparatively small numbers, it has been an important factor in the
life of South Africa. Here, as in so many other countries, it has
been the glory of the sons of Erin to be a missionary people. To
their coming is due the very existence of the Catholic Church in
these southern lands.

When Dr. Ullathorne touched at the Cape on his way to Australia in
1832, he found at Cape Town "a single priest for the whole of South
Africa," an English Benedictine, who soon afterwards returned to
Europe in broken health. Few Irish immigrants had by that time found
their way to the Cape. They began to arrive in numbers only after the
famine year.

The founder of the Catholic hierarchy in South Africa was the Irish
Dominican, Patrick R. Griffith, who, in 1837, was sent to Cape Town
by Gregory XVI. as the first Vicar Apostolic of Cape Colony. His
successors at the Cape, Bishops Grimley, Leonard, and Rooney, have
all been Irishmen, and nine in every ten of their flock have from the
first been Irish by birth or descent. In the earlier years of Bishop
Griffith's episcopate there was a large garrison in South Africa on
account of the Kaffir wars. Many of these soldiers were Irishmen. At
Grahamstown in 1844 the soldiers of an Irish regiment stationed there
did most of the work of building St. Patrick's Church, one of the
oldest Catholic churches in South Africa. They worked without wages
or reward of any kind, purely out of their devotion to their Faith,
giving up most of their leisure to this voluntary labor.

Ten years after Bishop Griffith's appointment, Pius IX. separated
Natal and the eastern districts of Cape Colony from Cape Town, and
erected the Eastern Vicariate Apostolic. Once more an Irish prelate
was the first Bishop--Aidan Devereux, who was consecrated by Bishop
Griffith at Cape Town in the Christmas week of 1847. The great
emigration from Ireland had now begun, and a stream of immigrants was
arriving at the Cape. Bishop Devereux fixed his residence at Port
Elizabeth, and of his four successors up to the present day three
have been Irish. Bishop Moran, who went out to Port Elizabeth in
1854, was consecrated at Carlow in Ireland by Archbishop (afterwards
Cardinal) Cullen. The third Vicar Apostolic was Bishop Ricards, and
the present bishop is another Irishman, Dr. Hugh McSherry, who
received his consecration from the hands of Cardinal Logue in St.
Patrick's Cathedral at Armagh.

Until the discovery of the diamond deposits in what is now the
Kimberley district, some forty years ago, the Irish immigrants had
chiefly settled in the ports and along the coast. But among the
crowds who went to seek their fortunes at the diamond fields were
large numbers of adventurous Irishmen. The mission church established
at Kimberley became the centre of a new bishopric in 1886, when the
Vicariate of Kimberley, which for some time included the Orange Free
State, was established, and an Irish Oblate, Father Anthony Gaughran,
was appointed its first bishop. He was succeeded in 1901 by his
namesake and fellow countryman, the present Bishop Matthew Gaughran.

The gold discoveries on the Witwatersrand about Johannesburg produced
another rush into the interior in the days after the first Transvaal
war. A great city of foreign immigrants--the "Uitlanders"--grew up
rapidly on the upland, where a few months before there had been only
a few scattered Boer farms. Irishmen from Cape Colony and Natal, from
Ireland itself, and from the United States formed a large element in
the local mining and trading community. They were mostly workers. Few
of them found their way into the controlling financier class, which
was largely Jewish. The Irish were better out of this circle of
international gamblers, whose intrigues finally produced the terrible
two years' bloodshed of the great South African war. Many engineers
of the mines were Irish-Americans. Huge consignments of mining
machinery arrived from the United States, and many of the engineers
who came to fit it up remained in the employ of the mining companies.
Until after the war, the Transvaal and Johannesburg had depended
ecclesiastically on the Vicar Apostolic of Natal, but in 1904 a
Transvaal Vicariate was erected, and once more the first bishop was
an Irishman, Dr. William Miller, O.M.I.

We have seen how Irish the South African episcopate has been from the
very outset. Most of the clergy belong to the same missionary race,
as also do the nuns of the various convents, and the Christian
Brothers, who are in charge of many of the schools. Of the white
Catholic population of the various states of the South African Union,
the greater part are Irish. There are about 25,000 Irish in Cape
Colony in a total population of over two millions. There are some
7,000 in Natal, I,500 in Kimberley, and about 2,000 in the Orange
River Colony. In the Transvaal, chiefly in and about Johannesburg,
there are some 12,000 Irish. A few thousand more are to be found
scattered in Griqualand and Rhodesia.

As has been already said, the total numbers are not large in
proportion to that of the population generally, and they belong
chiefly to the industrial and trading classes. The most notable names
among them are those of prelates, priests, and missionaries, who have
founded and built up the organization of the Catholic Church in South
Africa. But there are some names of note also in civil life. Sir
Michael Gallwey was for many years Chief Justice of Natal; the Hon.
A. Wilmot, who has not only held high official posts, but has also
done much to clear up the early history of South Africa, is Irish on
the mother's side; Mr. Justice Shiel is a judge of the Cape Courts;
Eyre and Woodbyrne are Irish names among the makers of Rhodesia; and
amongst those who have done remarkable work in official life may also
be named Sir Geoffrey Lagden, Sir William St. John Carr, and the Hon.
John Daverin. Lagden was for many years British Resident in
Basutoland, the Switzerland of South Africa, where the native tribes
are practically independent under a British protectorate. Griffith,
the paramount chief of the Basuto nation, has been a Catholic since
1911. Sir Geoffrey's tactful policy and wise counsels did much to
promote the prosperity of this native state, and during the trying
days of the South African War, he was able to secure the neutrality
of the tribesmen.

In the Boer wars, Irishmen fought with distinction on both sides.
General Colley, who fell at Majuba in the first Boer War, was a
distinguished Irish soldier. Another great Irishman, General Sir
William Butler, has written the story of Colley's life. Butler
himself was in command of the troops at the Cape before the great
war. If his wise counsels had been followed by the Government, the
war would undoubtedly have been avoided. He refused to have any part
in the war-provoking policy of Rhodes and Chamberlain, and warned the
Home Government that an attack on the Dutch republics would be a
serious and perilous enterprise. When the war came, England owed much
to the enduring valor of Irish soldiers and to the leadership of
Irish generals. One need only name General Hart, of the Irish
Brigade; General French, who relieved Kimberley, and who is now
(1914) Field-Marshal and Commander-in-Chief of the British army in
France; General Mahon, who raised the siege of Mafeking; Colonel
Moore, of the famous Connaught Rangers, now (1914) commandant and
chief military organizer of the Irish National Volunteers; and,
finally, Lord Roberts, who took over the chief command and saved the
situation after the early disasters. Lord Kitchener, who acted as
Roberts's chief-of-staff, succeeded him in the command, and brought
the war to an end by an honorable treaty with the Boer leaders, is a
native of Ireland, but of English descent, and he passed most of his
boyhood in Ireland, in Co. Kerry, where his father had bought a small
property. I used to know an Irish Franciscan lay brother who told me
he had taught the future soldier "many games" when he was quite a
little fellow.

Of the regiments which took part in the war none won a higher fame
than the Munster and the Dublin Fusiliers and the Connaught Rangers.
It was in recognition of their splendid valor that the new regiment
of Irish Guards was added to the British Army.

But the majority of Irishmen sympathized with the Boer republics, and
many of them fought under the Boer flag, of these were legally
British subjects, but many were naturalized burghers of the
Transvaal, and many more were United States citizens, Irish-Americans
from the Rand gold mines. There were two small Irish brigades under
the Boer flag, those of McBride and Lynch (the latter now a member of
the British House of Commons), and an engineer corps commanded by
Colonel Blake, an American. At the first battle before Ladysmith it
was one of the Irish brigades that kept the Boer guns in action,
bringing up ammunition under a rain of shellfire. During the Boer
retreat and Roberts's advance on Pretoria, Blake's engineers were
always with the Boer rearguard and successfully destroyed every mile
of the railway as they went back. Blake had served in the United
States cavalry, had learned mining while on duty in Nevada, and had
then gone to seek his fortune at Johannesburg. The great leader of
the Boer armies, now the Prime Minister of the new South Africa which
has happily arisen out of the storm of war, has Irish connections.
Louis Botha lived before the war in the southeast Transvaal, not far
from Laings Nek, and near neighbors of his were a family of Irish
settlers bearing the honored name of Emmet. The Emmets and the Bothas
were united by ties of friendship and intermarriage, and one of the
Emmets served with Louis Botha during the war.

The Irish colonists of South Africa keep their love for faith and
fatherland, but, as in the United States, they have thoroughly and
loyally thrown in their lot with the new country of which they have
become citizens. Few in number though they are, they are an important
factor in the new Dominion, for their national tradition inspires
them with civic patriotism, and their religion gives them a high
standard of conduct and puts before them, as guides in the work of
life and the solution of the problems of the day, the Christian
principles of justice and charity.


Government Census Returns, South Africa; Catholic Directory for
British South Africa (Cape Town, since 1904); The Catholic Magazine,
Cape Town; Wilmot and Chase: History of Cape Colony (London, 1896);
Theal: History of South Africa (5 vols., London, 1888-1893); for the
war period, the _Times_ History of the South African War, and the
British Official History.



The Celtic languages consist of two divisions, (a) the Gaelic or
Irish division, and (b) the Kymric or Welsh division. Between them
they comprise (a) Irish, Scotch-Gaelic, and Manx, and (b) Welsh,
Armorican, and Cornish. All these languages are still alive except
Cornish, which died out about a hundred years ago.

Of all these languages Irish is the best preserved, and it is
possible to follow its written literature back into the past for some
thirteen hundred years; while much of the most interesting matter has
come down to us from pagan times. It has left behind it the longest,
the most luminous, and the most consecutive literary track of any of
the vernacular languages of Europe, except Greek alone.

For centuries the Irish and their language were regarded by the
English as something strange and foreign to Europe. It was not
recognized that they had any relationship with the Greeks or Romans,
the French, the Germans, or the English. The once well-known
statesman, Lord Lyndhurst, in the British parliament denounced the
Irish as aliens in religion, in blood, and in language. Bopp, in his
great Comparative Grammar, refused them recognition as
Indo-Europeans, and Pott in 1856 also denied their European
connection. It was left for the great Bavarian scholar, John Caspar
Zeuss, to prove to the world in his epoch-making "Grammatica Celtica"
(published in Latin in 1853) that the Celts were really
Indo-Europeans, and that their language was of the highest possible
value and interest. From that day to the present it is safe to say
that the value set upon the Irish language and literature has been
steadily growing amongst the scholars of the world, and that in the
domain of philology Old Irish now ranks close to Sanscrit for its
truly marvellous and complicated scheme of word-forms and
inflections, and its whole verbal system.

The exact place which the Celtic languages (of which Irish is
philologically far the most important) hold in the Indo-European
group has often been discussed. It is now generally agreed upon that,
although both the Celtic and Teutonic languages may claim a certain
kinship with each other as being both of them Indo-European, still
the Celtic is much more nearly related to the Greek and the Latin
groups, especially to the Latin.

All the Indo-European languages are more or less related to one
another. We Irish must acknowledge a relationship, or rather a very
distant connecting tie, with English. But, to trace this home, Irish
must be followed back to the very oldest form of its words, and
English must be followed back to Anglo-Saxon and when possible to
Gothic. The hard mutes (p, t, c) of Celtic (and, for that matter, of
Sanscrit, Zend, Greek, Latin, Slavonic, and Lithuanian) will be
represented in Gothic by the corresponding soft mutes (b, d, g), and
the soft mutes in Celtic by the corresponding, hard mutes in Gothic.
Thus we find the Irish _dia_ (god) in the Anglo-Saxon _tiw_, the god
of war, whose name is perpetuated for all time in Tiwes-daeg, now
"Tuesday", and we find the Irish _dead_ in the Anglo-Saxon "toth",
now "tooth", and so on. But of all the Indo-European languages Old
Irish possesses by far the nearest affinity to Latin, and this is
shown in a great many ways, not in the vocabulary merely, but in the
grammar, which for philologists is of far more importance,--as, for
example, the _b_-future, the passive in-_r_, the genitive singular
and nominative plural of "o stems", etc. Thus the Old Irish for
"man", nom. _fer_, gen. _fir_, dat. _fiur_, acc. _fer n_--, plur.
nom. _fir_, gen. _fer n_--, is derived from the older forms _viros,
viri, viro, viron_, nom. plur. _viri_, gen. plur. _viron_, which
everyone who knows Latin can see at a glance correspond very closely
to the Latin inflections, _vir, viri, viro, virum_, nom. plur.
_viri_, etc.

So much for the language. When did this language begin to be used in
literature? This question depends upon another--When did the Irish
begin to have a knowledge of letters; when did they begin to commit
their literature to writing; and whence did they borrow their
knowledge of this art?

The oldest alphabet used in Ireland of which remains exist appears to
have been the Ogam, which is found in numbers of stone inscriptions
dating from about the third century of our era on. About 300 such
inscriptions have already been found, most of them in the southwest
of Ireland, but some also in Scotland and Wales, and even in Devon
and Cornwall. Wherever the Irish Gael planted a colony, he seems to
have brought his Ogam writing with him.

The Irishman who first invented the Ogam character was probably a
pagan who obtained a knowledge of Roman letters. He brought back to
Ireland his invention, or, as is most likely, invented it on Irish
soil. Indeed, the fact that no certain trace of Ogam writing has been
found upon the European continent indicates that the alphabet was
invented in Ireland itself. An inscription at Killeen Cormac, Co.
Kildare, survives which seems to show that the Roman alphabet was
known in Ireland in pagan times. Ogam is an alphabet suitable enough
for chiselling upon stones, but too cumbrous for the purposes of
literature. For this the Roman alphabet must have been used. The Ogam
script consists of a number of short lines straight or slanting, and
drawn either below, above, or through one long stem-line. This
stem-line is generally the sharp angle between two faces or sides of
a long upright rectangular stone. Thus four cuts to the right of the
long line stand for S; to the left of it they mean C; passing through
it, half on one side and half on the other, they mean Z. The device
was rude, but it was applied with considerable skill, and it was
undoubtedly framed with much ingenuity. The vowels occurring most
often are also the easiest to cut, being scarcely more than notches
on the edge of the stone. The inscription generally contains the name
of the dead warrior over whom the memorial was raised; it usually
begins on the left corner of the stone facing the reader and is to be
read upwards, and it is often continued down on the right hand
angular line as well.

The language of the Ogam inscriptions is very ancient and nearly the
same forms occur as in what we know of Old Gaulish. The language, in
fact, seems to have been an antique survival even when it was first
engraved, in the third or fourth century. The word-forms are probably
far older than those used in the spoken language of the time. This is
a very important conclusion, and it must have a far-reaching bearing
upon the history of the earliest epic literature. Because if forms of
language much more ancient than any that were then current were
employed on pillar-stones in the third or fourth century, it follows
that this obsolescent language must have survived either in a written
or a regularly recited form. This immediately raises the probability
that the substance of Irish epic literature (which was written down
on parchment in the sixth or seventh century) really dates from a
period much more remote, and that all that is purely pagan in it was
preserved for us in the same antique language as the Ogam
inscriptions before it was translated into what we now call "Old

The following is the Ogam alphabet as preserved on some 300 ancient
pillars and stones, in the probably ninth-century treatise in the
Book of Ballymote, and elsewhere:

[Illustration: Ogam Alphabet]

There are a great many allusions to this Ogam writing in the ancient
epics, especially in those that are purely pagan in form and
conception, and there can be no doubt that the knowledge of letters
must have reached Ireland before the island became Christianized.
With the introduction of Christianity and of Roman letters, the old
Ogam inscriptions, which were no doubt looked upon as flavoring of
paganism, quickly fell into disuse and disappeared, but some
inscriptions at least are as late as the year 600 or even 800. In the
thoroughly pagan poem, _The Voyage of Bran_, which such authorities
as Zimmer and Kuno Meyer both consider to have been committed to
parchment in the seventh century, we find it stated that Bran wrote
the fifty or sixty quatrains of the poem in Ogam. Cuchulainn
constantly used Ogam writing, which he cut upon wands and trees and
standing stones for Queen Medb's army to read, and these were always
brought to his friend Fergus to decipher. Cormac, king of Cashel, in
his glossary tells us that the pagan Irish used to inscribe the wand
they kept for measuring corpses and graves with Ogam characters, and
that it was a source of horror to anyone even to take it in his hand.
St. Patrick in his Confession, the authenticity of which no one
doubts, describes how he dreamt that a man from Ireland came to him
with innumerable letters.

In Irish legend Ogma, one of the Tuatha De Danann who was skilled in
dialects and poetry, seems to be credited with the invention of the
Ogam alphabet, and he probably was the equivalent of the Gaulish god
Ogmios, the god of eloquence, so interestingly described by Lucian.

We may take it then that the Irish pagans knew sufficient letters to
hand down to Irish Christians the substance of their pagan epics,
sagas, and poems. We may take it for granted also that the greater
Irish epics (purely pagan in character, utterly untouched in
substance by that Christianity which so early conquered the country)
really represent the thoughts, manners, feelings, and customs of
pagan Ireland.

The effect of this conclusion must be startling indeed to those who
know the ancient world only through the medium of Greek and Roman
literature. To the Greek and to his admiring master, the Roman, all
outside races were simply barbarians, at once despised,
misinterpreted, and misunderstood.

We have no possible means of reconstructing the ancient world as it
was lived in by the ancestors of some of the leading races in Europe,
the Gauls, Spaniards, Britons, and the people of all those countries
which trace themselves back to a Celtic ancestry, because these races
have left no literature or records behind them, and the Greeks and
Romans, who tell us about them, saw everything through the false
medium of their own prejudices. But now since the discovery and
publication of the Irish sagas and epics, the descendants of these
great races no longer find it necessary to view their own past
through the colored and distorting glasses of the Greek or the Roman,
since there has now opened for them, where they least expected to
find it, a window through which they can look steadily at the life of
their race, or of one of its leading offshoots, in one of its
strongholds, and reconstruct for themselves with tolerable accuracy
the life of their own ancestors. It is impossible to overrate the
importance of this for the history of Europe, because neither Teutons
nor Slavs have preserved pictures of their own heroic past, dating
from pagan times. It is only the Celts, and of these the Irish, who
have handed down such pictures drawn with all the fond intimacy of
romance, and descriptions which exhibit the life of western Europeans
at an even earlier culture-stage in the evolution of humanity than do
the poems of Homer.

This conclusion, to which a study of the literature invites us, falls
in exactly with that arrived at from purely archaeological sources.
Professor Ridgeway of Cambridge University, working on archaeological
lines, expresses himself as follows: "From this survey of the
material remains of the _la Tern_ period found actually in Ireland,
and from the striking correspondence between this culture and that
depicted in the _Tain Bo Cualnge_, and from the circumstance that the
race who are represented in the epic as possessing this form of
culture resemble in their physique the tall, fair-haired, grey-eyed
Celts of Britain and the continent, we are justified in inferring (1)
that there was an invasion (or invasions) of such peoples from Gaul
in the centuries immediately before Christ, as is ascribed by the
Irish traditions, and (2) that the poems themselves originally took
shape when the _la Tene_ culture was still flourishing in Ireland.
But as this could hardly have continued much later than A.D. 100, we
may place the first shaping of the poems not much later than that
date and possibly a century earlier."

This conclusion would make the earliest putting together of the Irish
epics almost contemporaneous with Augustus Caesar.

So much for the history and growth of Irish letters.


Brash: Ogam inscribed Monuments of the Gaedhil (1879); MacAlister:
Studies in Irish Epigraphy, vol. 1 (1897), vol. 2 (1902), vol. 3
(1907); Rhys: in Proceedings of the Scottish Society of Antiquaries
(Edinburgh, 1892); Ridgeway: Date of the First Shaping of the
Cuchulain Saga (1905), in Proceedings of the British Academy, vol.
II; Joyce: Social History of Ancient Ireland, vol. I, Chap. 2;
Preface to fac-simile edition of the Book of Ballymote.



[Note.--This chapter was written in French by M. Dottin, who is a
distinguished professor and dean at the University of Renacs, France.
The translation into English has been made by the Editors.]

By the year 1200 of the Christian era, a time at which the other
national literatures of Europe were scarcely beginning to develop,
Ireland possessed, and had possessed for several centuries, a Gaelic
poetry, which was either the creation of the soul of the people or
else was the work of the courtly bards. This poetry was at first
expressed in rhythmical verses, each containing a fixed number of
accented syllables and hemistichs separated by a pause:

      _Crist_ lim,    |  _Crist_ reum,   |  _Crist_ in degaid
      _Crist_ indium  |  _Crist_ issum   |  _Crist_ uasum
                      |  _Crist_ dessum  |  _Crist_ uasum

This versification, one of the elements of which was the repetition
of words or sounds at regular intervals, was transformed about the
eighth century into a more learned system. Thenceforward
alliteration, assonance, rhyme, and a fixed number of syllables
constituted the characteristics of Irish verse:

      Messe ocus Pangur bAN
      cechtar nathar fria saindAN
      bith a _menma_ sam fri SEILGG
      mu _menma_ cein im sainchEIRDD.

As we see, the consonants in the rhyme-words were merely related: _l,
r, n, ng, m, dh, gh, bh, mh, ch, th, f_ could rime together just as
could _gg, dd, bb_. Soon the poets did not limit themselves to
end-rhymes, which ran the risk of becoming monotonous, but introduced
also internal rhyme, which set up what we may call a continuous chain
of melody:

      is aire caraim DOIRE
      ar a reidhe ar a ghlOINE
      's ar iomad a aingel fIND
      o 'n CIND go aoich arOILE.

This harmonious versification was replaced in the seventeenth century
by a system in which account was no longer taken of consonantal rhyme
or of the number of syllables.

The rules of Irish verse have nothing in common with classical Latin
metres, which were based on the combination of short and long
syllables. In Low-Latin, indeed, we find occasionally alliteration,
rhyme, and a fixed number of syllables, but these novelties are
obviously of foreign origin, and date from the time when the Romans
borrowed them from the nations which they called barbarous. We cannot
prove beyond yea or nay that they are of Celtic origin, but it is
extremely probable that they are, for it is among the Celts both of
Ireland and of Wales that the harmonizing of vowels and of consonants
has been carried to the highest degree of perfection.

This learned art was not acquired without long study. The training of
a poet (_file_) lasted twelve years, or more. The poets had a regular
hierarchy. The highest in rank, the _ollamh_, knew 350 kinds of verse
and could recite 250 principal and 100 secondary stories. The
_ollamhs_ lived at the court of the kings and the nobles, who granted
them freehold lands; their persons and their property were sacred;
and they had established in Ireland schools in which the people might
learn history, poetry, and law. The bards formed a numerous class, of
a rank inferior to the _file_; they did not enjoy the same honors and
privileges; some of them even were slaves; according to their
standing, different kinds of verse were assigned to them as a

The Danish invasions in the ninth century set back for some time the
development of Irish poetry, but, when the Irish had driven the
fierce and aggressive sea-rovers from their country, there was a
literary renascence. This was in turn checked by the Anglo-Norman
invasion in the twelfth century, and thereafter the art of
versification was no longer so refined as it had formerly been.
Nevertheless, the bardic schools still existed in the seventeenth
century, more than four hundred years after the landing of Strongbow,
and, in them, students followed the lectures of the _ollamhs_ for six
months each year, or until the coming of spring, exercising both
their talents for composition and their memory.

A catalogue of Irish poets, which has recently been made out, shows
that there were more than a thousand of them. We have lost many of
the oldest poems, but the Irish scribes often modernized the texts
which they were copying. Hence the language is not always a
sufficient indication of date, and it is possible that, under a
comparatively modern form, some very ancient pieces may have been
preserved. Even if the poems attributed to Amergin do not go back to
the tenth century B.C., as has been claimed for them, they are in any
case old enough to be archaic, and certain poems of the mythological
cycle are undoubtedly anterior to the Christian era.

We have reason to believe that there have been preserved some genuine
poems of Finn macCumaill (third century), a hymn by St. Patrick (d.
461), some greatly altered verses of St. Columcille (d. 597), and
certain hymns written by saints who lived from the seventh to the
ninth century. The main object of the most celebrated of the ancient
poets up to the end of the twelfth century was to render history,
genealogy, toponomy, and lives of saints readier of access and easier
to retain by putting them into verse-form; and it is the names of
those scholars that have been rescued from oblivion, while lyric
poetry, having as its basis nothing more than sentiment, has remained
for the most part anonymous. After the Anglo-Norman invasion, the
best poet seems to have been Donnchadh Mor O'Daly (d. 1244). Of later
date were Teig MacDaire (1570-1652), Teig Dall O'Higinn (d. 1615),
and Eochaidh O'Hussey, who belonged to the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries. The new school, which abandoned the old rules and whose
inspiration is now personal, now patriotic, is represented by
_caoine_ (keens or laments), _abran_ (hymns), or _aislingi_
(visions), composed, among others, by Geoffrey Keating (d. c. 1650),
David O'Bruadair (c. 1625-1698), Egan O'Rahilly (c. 1670-c. 1734),
John MacDonnell (1691-1754), William O'Heffernan (fl. 1750), John
O'Tuomy (1706-1775), and Andrew MacGrath (d. c. 1790). The greatest
of the eighteenth century Irish poets was Owen Roe O'Sullivan (c.
1748-1784), whose songs were sung everywhere, and who, in the opinion
of his editor, Father Dinneen, is the literary glory of his country
and deserves to be ranked among the few supreme lyric poets of all

If, in order to study the subjects treated by the poets, we lay aside
didactic poetry and confine ourselves to the ancient poems from the
seventh to the eleventh century, we shall find in the latter a
singular variety. They were at first dialogues or monologues, now
found incorporated with the sagas, of which they may have formed the
original nucleus. Thus, in the _Voyage of Bran_, we have the account
of the Isles of the Blessed and the discourse of the King of the Sea;
in the _Expedition of Loegaire MacCrimthainn_, the brilliant
description of the fairy hosts; in _The Death of the Sons of Usnech_,
the touching farewell of Deirdre to the land of Scotland and her
lamentation over the dead bodies of the three warriors; and in the
_Lay of Fothard Canann_, the strange and thrilling speech of the dead
lover, returning after the battle to the tryst appointed by his
sweetheart. Other poems seem never to have figured in a saga, like
the Song of Crede, daughter of Guaire, in which she extols the memory
of her friend Dinertach, and the affecting love-scenes between Liadin
and Curithir; or like the bardic songs designed to distribute praise
or blame: the funeral panegyric on King Niall, in alternate verses,
the song of the sword of Carroll, and the satire of MacConglinne
against the monks of Cork.

Religious poetry comprised lyric fragments, which were introduced
into the lives of the saints and there formed a kind of Christian
saga, or else were based on Holy Writ, like the _Lamentation of Eve_;
hymns in honor of the saints, like _The Hymn to St. Michael_, by Mael
Isu; pieces such as the famous Hymn of St. Patrick; and philosophic
poems like that keen analysis of the flight of thought which dates
from the tenth century.

At a time when the poets of other lands seem wholly engrossed in the
recital of the deeds of men, one of the great and constant
distinguishing marks of poetry in Ireland, whether we have to do with
a short note set down by a scribe on the margin of a manuscript or
with a religious or profane poem, is a deep, personal, and intimate
love of nature expressed not by detailed description, but more often
by a single picturesque and telling epithet. Thus we have the hermit
who prays God to give him a hut in a lonely place beside a clear
spring in the wood, with a little lark to sing overhead; or we have
Marban, who, rich in nuts, crab-apples, sloes, watercress, and honey,
refuses to go back to the court to which the king, his brother,
presses him to return. Now, we have the description of the summer
scene, in which the blackbird sings and the sun smiles; now, the song
of the sea and of the wind, which blows tempestuously from the four
quarters of the sky; again, the winter song, when the snow covers the
hills, when every furrow is a streamlet and the wolves range
restlessly abroad, while the birds, numbed to the heart, are silent;
or yet again the recluse in his cell, humorously comparing his quest
of ideas to the pursuit of the mice by his pet cat. This deep love of
inanimate and animate things becomes individualized in those poems in
which every tree, every spring, every bird is described with its own
special features.

If we remember that these original poems, which, before the twelfth
century, expressed thoughts that were scarcely known to the
literature of Europe before the eighteenth, are, besides, clothed in
the rich garb of a subtle harmony, what admiration, what respect, and
what love ought we not to show to that ancient Ireland which, in the
darkest ages of western civilization, not only became the depositary
of Latin knowledge and spread it over the continent, but also had
been able to create for herself new artistic and poetic forms!


Hyde: Love Songs of Connacht (Dublin, 1893), Irish Poetry, an Essay
in Irish with Translation in English and a Vocabulary (Dublin, 1902),
The Religious Songs of Connacht (London, 1906); Meyer: Ancient Gaelic
Poetry (Glasgow, 1906), a Primer of Irish Metrics with a Glossary and
an Appendix containing an Alphabetical List of the Poets of Ireland
(Dublin, 1909); Dottin-Dunn: The Gaelic Literature of Ireland
(Washington, 1906); Meyer: Selections from Ancient Irish Poetry (2d
edition, London, 1913); Best: Bibliography of Irish Philology and of
Printed Irish Literature (Dublin, 1913); Loth: La metrique galloise
(Paris, 1902); Thurneysen: Mittelirische Verslehren, Irische Texte
III.; Buile Suibhne (Dublin, 1910).



Ireland has the unique distinction of having preserved for mankind a
full and vivid literary record of a period otherwise, so far as
native memorials are concerned, clouded in obscurity. A few
fragmentary suggestions, derived from ancient stone monuments or from
diggings in tumuli and graves, are all that Gaul or Britain have to
contribute to a knowledge of that important period just before and
just after the beginning of our era, when the armies of Rome were
overrunning western Europe and were brought, for the first time, into
direct contact with the Celtic peoples of the West. Almost all that
we know of the early inhabitants of these countries comes to us from
the pens of Roman writers and soldiers--Poseidonius, Caesar,
Diodorus, Tacitus. We may give these observers credit for a desire to
be fair to peoples they sometimes admired and often dreaded, but
conquerors are not always the best judges of the races they are
engaged in subduing, especially when they are ignorant of their
language, unversed in their lore and customs, and unused to their
ways. Valuable as are the reports of Roman authorities, we feel at
every point the need of checking them by native records; but the
native records of Gaul, and in large part also those of Britain and
Wales, have been swept away. Caesar is probably right in saying that
the Druids, who were the learned men of their race and day, committed
nothing to writing; if they did, whatever they wrote has been
irrecoverably lost.

But Ireland was exempt from the sweeping changes brought about
through long periods of Roman and Saxon occupation; no great upheaval
from without disturbed the native political and social conditions up
to the coming of the Norse and Danes about the beginning of the ninth
century. Agricola, standing on the western coast of Britain, looked
across the dividing channel, and reflected upon "the beneficial
connection that the conquest of Ireland would have formed between the
most powerful parts of the Roman Empire," but, fortunately for the
literature of Ireland, if not for her history, he never came. The
early incursions of the Scotti or Irish were eastward into England,
Wales, and Gaul, and there seem to have been few return movements
towards the west. Ireland pursued her path of native development
undisturbed. It is to this circumstance that she owes the
preservation of so much of her native literature, a great body of
material, historical, religious, poetic, romantic, showing marks of
having originated at a very early time, and of great variety and

At what period this literature first began to be written down we do
not know. Orosius tells us that a traveler named Aethicus spent a
considerable time in Ireland early in the fifth century "examining
their volumes", which tends to prove that there was writing in
Ireland before St. Patrick. But the native bard must have made
writing superfluous. The man who could, at a moment's notice, recite
any one out of the 350 stories which might be called for, besides
poetry, genealogies, and tribal records, was worth many books. Only a
few were expert enough to read his writings, but all could enjoy his

The earliest written records that we have now existing date from the
seventh or eighth century; but undoubtedly there is preserved for us,
in these materials, a picture of social conditions going back to the
very beginning of our era, and coeval with the stage of civilization
known in archaeology as _La Tene_ or "Late Celtic".

To help his memory the early "shanachie" or story-teller grouped his
romantic story-store under different heads, such as "Tains" or
Cattle-spoils, Feasts, Elopements, Sieges, Battles, Destructions,
Tragical Deaths; but it is easier for us now to group them in another
way, and to class together the series of tales referring to the
Tuatha De Danann or ancient deities, those belonging to the Red
Branch cycle of King Conchobar and Cuchulainn, those relating to
Finn, and the Legends of the Kings. The hundred or more tales
belonging to the second group are especially valuable for social
history on account of the detailed descriptions they give of customs,
dress, weapons, habits of life, and ethical ideas. To the historian,
folklorist, and student of primitive civilizations they are documents
of the highest importance.

It seems likely that the Red Branch cycle of tales, including the
epic tale of the Tain or Cattle-spoil of Cualnge, which has gathered
round itself a number of minor tales, had some basis of historical
fact, and arose in the period of Ulster's predominance to celebrate
the deeds of a band of warlike champions who flourished in the north
about the beginning of the Christian era. No one who has visited the
raths of Emain Macha, near Armagh, where stood the traditional site
of the ancient capital of Ulster, or has followed the well-defined
and massive outworks of Rath Celtchair and the forts of the other
heroes whose deeds the tales embody, could doubt that they had their
origin in great events that once happened there. The topography of
the tales is absolutely correct. Or again, when we cross over into
Connacht, the remains at Rath Croghan, near the ancient palace of the
Amazonian queen, Medb, testify to similar events. She it was who in
her "Pillow Talk" with her husband Ailill declared that she had
married him only because in him did she find the "strange bride-gift"
which her imperious nature demanded, "a man without stinginess,
without jealousy, without fear." It was in her desire to surpass her
husband in wealth that she sent the combined armies of the south and
west into Ulster to carry off a famous bull, the Brown Bull of
Cooley, the only match in Ireland for one possessed by her spouse.
This raid forms the central subject of the _Tain Bo Cualnge_. The
motif of the tale and the kind of life described in it alike show the
primitive conditions out of which it had its rise. It belongs to a
time when land was plenty for the scattered inhabitants to dwell
upon, but stock to place upon it was scarce. The possession of herds
was necessary, not only for food and the provisioning of troops, but
as a standard of wealth, a proof of position, and a means of
exchange. Everything was estimated, before the use of money, by its
value in kine or herds. When Medb and Ailill compare their
possessions, to find out which of them is better than the other,
their herds of cattle, swine, and horses are driven in, their
ornaments and jewels, their garments and vats and household
appliances are displayed. The pursuit of the cattle of neighboring
tribes was the prime cause of the innumerable raids which made every
man's life one of perpetual warfare, much more so than the
acquisition of land or the avenging of wrongs. Hence a motif that may
seem to us insufficient and remote as the subject of a great epic
arose out of the necessities of actual life. Cattle-driving is the
oldest of all occupations in Ireland.

The conditions we find described in these tales show us an open
country, generally unenclosed by hedges or walls. The chariots can
drive straight across the province. There are no towns, and the
stopping places are the large farmers' dwellings, open inns known as
"houses of hospitality", fortified by surrounding raths or earthen
walls, the only private property in land, in a time when the
tribe-land was common, that we hear of at this period. Within these
borders lay the pleasure grounds and gardens and the cattle-sheds for
the herds, which the great landowner or chief loaned out to the
smaller men in return for services rendered. Here were trained in
arts of industry and fine needlework the daughters of the chief men
of the tribe and their foster-sisters, drawn from the humbler
families around them. The rivers as a rule formed the boundaries of
the provinces, and the fords were constantly guarded by champions who
challenged every wayfarer to single combat, if he could not show
sufficient reason for crossing the borderland. These combats were
fought actually in the ford itself, and all wars began in a long
series of single hand-to-hand combats between equal champions before
the armies as a whole engaged each other.

To fight was every man's prime duty, and the man who had slain the
largest number of his fellows was acclaimed as the greatest hero. It
was the proud boast of Conall Cernach, "the Victorious", that seldom
had a day passed in which he had not challenged a Connachtman, and
few nights in which a Connachtman's head had not formed his pillow.
It shows the primitive savagery of the period that skulls of enemies
were worn dangling from the belt, and were stored up in one of the
palaces of Emain Macha as trophies of valor. So warlike were the
heroes that even during friendly feasts their weapons had to be hung
up in a separate house, lest they should spring to arms in rivalry
with their own fellows.

Yet in spite of this rude barbarism of outward life, the warriors had
formed for themselves a high and exacting code of honor, which may be
regarded as the first steps toward what in later times and other
countries became known as "chivalry"; save that there is in the acts
of the Irish heroes a simplicity and sincerity which puts them on a
higher level than the obligatory courtesies of more artificial ages.
Generosity between enemies was carried to an extraordinary pitch.
Twice over in fights with different foes, Conall Cernach binds his
right hand to his side in order that his enemy, who had lost one
hand, may fight on equal terms with him. The two severest combats
sustained by Cuchulainn, the youthful Ulster champion, in the long
war of the Tain are those with Loch the Great and Ferdiad, both
first-rate warriors, who had been forced by the wiles of Medb into
unwilling conflict against their young antagonist. In their youth
they had been fellow-pupils in the school of the Amazon Scathach, who
had taught them both alike the arts of war. When Loch the Great, as a
dying request, prays Cuchulainn to permit him to rise, "so that he
may fall on his face and not backwards towards the men of Erin," lest
hereafter it should be said that he fell in flight, Cuchulainn
replies: "That will I surely, for it is a warrior's boon thou
cravest," and he steps back to allow the wounded man to reverse his
position in the ford. The tale of Cuchulainn's combat with Ferdiad
has become classic; nothing more pathetic or more full of the true
spirit of chivalry is to be found in any literature. Each warrior
estimates nobly the prowess of the other, each sorrowfully recalls
the memory of old friendships and expeditions made together. When
Ferdiad falls, his ancient comrade pours out over him a passionate
lament. Each night, when the day's combat is over, they throw their
arms round each other's neck and embrace. Their horses are put up in
the same paddock and their charioteers sleep beside the same fire;
each night Cuchulainn sends to his wounded friend a share of the
herbs that are applied to his own wounds, while to Cuchulainn Ferdiad
sends a fair half of the pleasant delicate food supplied to him by
the men of Erin. We may recall, too, Cuchulainn's act of compassion
towards Queen Medb near the close of the Tain. Her army is flying in
rout homeward across the Shannon, closely pursued by Cuchulainn. As
he approaches the ford he finds Queen Medb lying prostrate on the
bank, unable any longer to guard the retreat of her army. She appeals
to her enemy to aid her; and Cuchulainn, with that lovable boyish
delight in acts of supreme generosity which is always ascribed to
him, undertakes to shield the retreat of the disordered host from his
own troops and to see them safely across the river, while Medb
reposes peacefully in a field hard by. The spirit which actuates the
heroes is well expressed by Cuchulainn when his friends would
restrain him from going forth to his last fight, knowing that in that
battle he must fall: "I had rather than the whole world's gold and
than the earth's riches that death had ere now befallen me, so would
not this shame and testimony of reproach now stand recorded against
me; for in every tongue this noble old saying is remembered, 'Fame
outlives life.'"

The Irish tales surpass those of the Arthurian cycle in simplicity,
in humor, and in human interest; the characters are not mere types of
fixed virtues and vices, they have each a strongly marked
individuality, consistently adhered to through the multitude of
different stories in which they play a part. This is especially the
case with regard to the female characters. Emer, Deirdre, Etain,
Grainne may be said to have introduced into European literature new
types of womanhood, quite unlike, in their sprightliness and humor,
their passionate affection and heroic qualities, to anything found
elsewhere. Stories about women play a large part in ancient Irish
literature; their elopements, their marriages, their griefs and
tragedies, form the subject of a large number of tales. Among the
list of tales that any bard might be called upon to recite, the
"Courtships" or "Wooings" probably formed a favorite group; they are
of great variety and beauty. The Irish, indeed, may be called the
inventors of the love-tale for modern Europe.

The gravest defect of this literature (a defect which is common to
all early literature before coming under the chastening hand of the
master) is undoubtedly its tendency to extravagance; though much
depended upon the individual writer, some being stylists and some
not, all were prone to frequent and grotesque exaggerations. The lack
of restraint and self-criticism is everywhere apparent; the old Irish
writer seems incapable of judging how to shape his material with a
view to presenting it in its best form. Thus, we have the feeling,
even with regard to the _Tain Bo Cualnge_, that what has come down to
us is rather the rough-shaped material of an epic than a completed
design. The single stories and the groups of stories have been
handled and rehandled at different times, but only occasionally, as
in the Story of Deirdre (the "Sorrowful Tale of the Sons of Usnech"),
or in the later versions of the "Wooing of Emer", or the Book of
Leinster version of the "Wooing of Ferb", do we feel that a competent
artist has so formed his story that the best possible value has been
extracted from it. Yet, in spite of their defects, the old heroic
sagas of Ireland have in them a stimulating force and energy, and an
element of fine and healthy optimism, which is strangely at variance
with the popular conception of the melancholy of Irish literature,
and which, wherever they are known, make them the fountain-head of a
fresh creative inspiration. This stimulating of the imagination is
perhaps the best gift that a revived interest in the old native
romance of Ireland has to bestow.


The originals of many of the Tales of the Cuchulainn cycle of
romances will be found, usually accompanied by English or German
translations, in the volumes of _Irische Texte; Revue Celtique;
Zeitschrift fuer Celt. Phil.; Eriu_; Irish Texts Society, vol. II;
_Atlantis_; Proceed. of the R. Irish Academy (Irish MSS. Series and
Todd Lecture Series). English translations: of the Tain Bo Cualnge
(LU. and Y.B.L. versions), by Miss Winifred Faraday (1904); (LL.
version with conflate readings), by Joseph Dunn (1914); of various
stories: E. Hull, The Cuchulain Saga in Irish Literature (1898); A.
H. Leahy, Heroic Romances of Ireland (1905-6), the Courtship of Ferb
(1902). French translations in Arbois de Jubainville's _Epopee
celtique en Irlande_; German translations in Thurneysen's _Sagen aus
dem alien Irland_ (1901); free rendering by S. O'Grady in The Coming
of Cuchullain (1904), and in his History of Ireland, the Heroic
Period (1878). For full bibliography, see R. I. Best's Bibliography
of Irish Philology and Printed Literature (1913), and Joseph Dunn's
_Tain Bo Cualnge_, pp. xxxii-xxxvi (1914).



One of the supreme creations of the human mind is the _Divine Comedy_
of Dante, and undoubtedly one of its chief sources is the literature
of ancient Ireland. Dante himself was a native of Florence, Italy,
and lived from 1265 to 1321. Like many great men, he incurred the
hatred of his countrymen, and he spent, as a result, the last twenty
years of his life in exile with a price on his head. He had been
falsely accused of theft and treachery, and his indignation at the
wrong thus done him and at the evil conduct of his contemporaries led
him to write his poem, in which he visits Hell, Purgatory, and
Paradise, and learns how God punishes bad actions, and how He rewards
those who do His will.

To the writing of his poem Dante brought all the learning of his
time, all its science, and an art that has never been surpassed,
perhaps never equalled. Of course, he did not know any Irish, but he
knew Italian and the then universal tongue of the learned--Latin, in
both of which were tales of visits to the other world; and the
greater part of these tales, as well as those most resembling Dante's
work in form and spirit, were Irish in origin.

All peoples have traditions of persons visiting the realms of the
dead. Homer tells of Odysseus going there; Virgil does the same of
Aeneas; and the Oriental peoples, as well as the Germanic races, have
similar tales; but no people have so many or such finished accounts
of this sort as the ancient Irish. In pagan times in Ireland one of
the commonest adventures attributed to a hero was a visit to "tir na
m-beo," the land of the living, or to "tir na n-og," the land of the
young; and this supernatural world was reached in some cases by
entering a fairy mound and going beneath the ground to it, and in
others by sailing over the ocean.

Of the literature of pagan Ireland, though much has come down to us,
we have only a very small fraction of what once existed, and what we
have has been transmitted and modified by persons of later times and
different culture, who, both consciously and unconsciously, have
changed it, so that it is very different from what it was in its
original form; but the subject and the main outlines still remain,
and we have many accounts of both voyages and underground journeys to
the other world.

The oldest voyage is, perhaps, that of Maelduin, which, Tennyson has
transmuted into English under the title _The Voyage of Maeldune_.
This is a voyage undertaken for revenge; but vengeance, as Sir Walter
Scott has pointed out in his preface to _The Two Drovers_, springs in
a barbarous society from a passion for justice; and it is this
instinct for justice that inspires the Irish hero to endure and to
achieve what he does. Christianity has preserved this legend and
added to it its own peculiar quality of mercy; and this illustrates
one of the characteristics of Ireland's pagan literature--it is
imperfectly Christian and can readily be made to express the
Christian point of view.

Another voyage of pagan Irish literature is the _Voyage of Bran_. In
this tale idealism is the inspiration that leads the hero into the
unknown world. A woman appears who is invisible to all but Bran, and
whose song of the beauteous supernatural land beyond the wave is
heard by none but him; so that, after refusing to go with her the
first time she appears, at length he steps into her boat of glass and
sails away to view the wonders and taste the joys of the other world.

In these tales we have two main elements, one real and one ideal. The
real element is the fact that the ancient Irish unquestionably made
voyages and visited lands which the fervid Celtic imagination and the
lapse of time transformed into the wonderful regions of the legends.
The stories are thus early geographies, and they show unmistakably a
knowledge of western Europe and of the Canary Islands or some other
tropical regions; perhaps also, some have gone so far as to claim,
they are reminiscent of voyages to America.

The ideal element is no less important as indicating achievement, for
it shows that the Irish poets of pagan times had not only realized,
but had succeeded in making their national traditions embody, the
fact that love of justice and aspiration for knowledge are the
foundations of all enduring human achievement and all perfect human
joy. Christianity therefore found moral and spiritual ideas of a
highly developed order in pagan Ireland, and it did not hesitate to
adopt whatever in the literature of the country illustrated its own
teachings, and not only were these stories of visits to the other
world full of suggestions as to ways of enforcing Christian doctrine,
but the Irish church and men of Irish birth were the most active in
spreading the faith in the early centuries of its conquest of western

For these reasons it is not strange that all the earliest Christian
visions of the spirit-world were of Irish origin. We find the
earliest in the _Ecclesiastical History_ of the "Venerable Bede," who
died in 735. It is the story of how an Irishman of great sanctity,
Furseus by name, was taken in spirit by three angels to a place from
which he looked down and saw the four fires that are to consume the
world: those of falsehood, avarice, discord, fraud and impiety. In
this there is the germ of some very fundamental things in Dante's
poem, and we know that Dante knew Bede and had probably read his
history, for he places him in Paradise and mentions him elsewhere in
his works.

In Bede's work there is also another vision, and though in this
second case the man who visits the spirit-world is not an Irishman,
but a Saxon named Drithelm, yet the story came to Bede through an
Irish monk named Haemgils; so it, too, is connected with Ireland, and
it also contains much that is developed further in the _Divine

One of the most celebrated of the works belonging to this class of
so-called "visionary" writings is the _Fis_ or "Vision" which goes
under the name of the famous Irish saint, Adamnan, who was poetically
entitled the "High Scholar of the Western World." This particular
vision, the _Fis Adamnain_, is remarkable among other things for its
literary quality, which is far superior to anything of the time, and
for the fact that it represents "the highest level of the school to
which it belonged," and that it is "the most important contribution
made to the growth of the legend within the Christian Church prior to
the advent of Dante."

Another Irish vision of great popularity all over Europe in the
Middle Ages is the _Voyage of Saint Brendan_. This is known as the
Irish Odyssey, and it is similar to the pagan tales of Maelduin and
Bran, except that instead of its hero being a dauntless warrior
seeking vengeance or a noble youth seeking happiness, he is a
Christian saint in quest of peace; and instead of the perils of the
way being overcome by physical force or the favor of some capricious
pagan deity, they are averted by the power of faith and virtue.

The _Voyage of Saint Brendan_, like its pagan predecessors, has a
real and an ideal basis; and in both respects it shows an advancement
over its prototypes. It contains some very poetic touches, and is
credited with being the source of some of the most effective features
of Dante's poem. Its great popularity is shown by the fact that
Caxton, the first English printer, published a translation of it in
1483; so that it was among the first books printed in English, and
for that reason must have been one of the best-known works of the
time. Dante undoubtedly knew it, for he was a great scholar in the
learning of his day, and especially in ecclesiastical history and the
biography of saints.

Another vision of Irish origin that Dante and other writers have
borrowed from is that of an Irish soldier named Tundale. He is said
to have been a very wicked and proud man, who refused to a friend who
owed him for three horses an extension of time in which to pay for
them. For this he was struck down by an invisible hand so that he
remained apparently dead from Wednesday till Saturday, when he
revived and told a story of a visit to the world of the dead that has
many features later embodied in the _Divine Comedy_. Tundale's vision
is said to have taken place in 1149; Dante probably wrote his poem
between 1314 and 1321.

The Irish also produced another legend of this sort that was
enormously and universally popular, and became the chief authority on
the nature of heaven and hell, in the story of _Saint Patrick's
Purgatory_. Saint Patrick was said to have been granted a view of
heaven and hell, and a certain island in Lough Derg in Donegal was
reputed to be the spot in which he had begun his journey; and there,
it was said, those who desired to purge themselves of their sins
could enter as he had entered and come back to the world again,
provided their faith was strong enough.

This legend was probably known in Ireland from a very early time, but
it had spread over all western Europe by the twelfth century. Henry
of Saltrey, a Benedictine monk of the Abbey of that name in England,
wrote an account in Latin of the descent of an Irish soldier named
Owen into Saint Patrick's Purgatory in 1153; and this story soon
became the subject of poetic treatment all over Europe. We have
several French versions, one by the celebrated French poetess Marie
de France, who lived about 1200; and there are others in all the
languages of Europe, besides evidence of its wide circulation in the
original Latin. Its importance is shown by the fact that it is
mentioned by Matthew Paris, the chief English historian of the
thirteenth century, and also by Froissart, the well-known French
annalist of the fourteenth while Calderon, the great Spanish
dramatist, has written a play based on the legend. Dante undoubtedly
knew of Marie de France's version as well as the original of Henry of
Saltrey and probably others besides.

From what has been said it will be seen that Dante's masterpiece is
largely based on literature of Irish origin; but there are other
superlative exhibitions of human genius of which the same is true.
One of these is the story of Tristan and Isolde. Tristan is the
paragon of all knightly accomplishments, the most versatile figure in
the entire literature of chivalry; while Isolde is an Irish princess.
By a trick of fate these two drink a love potion inadvertently and
become irresistibly enamored of each other, although Isolde is
betrothed to King Mark of Cornwall, and Tristan is his nephew and
ambassador. The story that follows is infinitely varied, intensely
dramatic, delicately beautiful, and tenderly pathetic. It has been
treated by several poets of great genius, among them Gottfried of
Strassburg, the greatest German poet of his time, and Richard Wagner;
but all the beauty and power in the works of these men existed in the
original Celtic form of the tale, and the later writers have only
discovered it and brought it to light.

The same thing is true of the Arthurian Legend and the story of the
Holy Grail. Dante knew of King Arthur's fame, and mentions him in the
_Inferno_. To Dante he was a Christian hero, and the historical
Arthur may have been a Christian; but much in the story goes back to
the pagan Celtic religion. We can find in Irish literature many
references that indicate a belief in a self-sustaining, miraculous
object similar to the Holy Grail, and the fact that this object was
developed into a symbol of some of the deepest and most beautiful
Christian truths shows the high character of the civilization and
literature of ancient Ireland.


Wright: St. Patrick's Purgatory (London, 1844); Krapp: The Legend of
St. Patrick's Purgatory (Baltimore, 1900); Becker: Mediaeval Visions
of Heaven and Hell (Baltimore, 1899); Shackford: Legends and Satires
(Boston, 1913); Meyer and Nutt: The Voyage of Bran, edited and
translated by K. Meyer, with an Essay on the Irish Version of the
Happy Other World and the Celtic Doctrine of Rebirth, by A. Nutt, 2
vols. (London, 1895); Boswell: An Irish Precursor of Dante (London,



Among the literary peoples of the west of Europe, the Irish, in late
medieval and early modern times, were singularly little affected by
the frequent innovations in taste and theme which influenced Romance
and Teutonic nations alike. To such an extent is this true, that one
is often inclined to think that far-off Iceland was to a greater
degree in the general European current than the much more accessible
Erin. During the age of chivalry, conditions in Ireland were not
calculated to promote the growth of epic and lyric poetry after the
continental manner. Some considerable time elapsed before the Norman
barons became fully Hibernicised, previous to which their interest
may be assumed to have turned to the compositions of the trouveres.
In the early Norman period, the poets of Ireland might well have
begun to imitate Romance models. But, strange to say, they did not,
and, for this, various reasons might be assigned. The flowing verses
of the Anglo-Norman were impossible for men who delighted in the
trammels of the native prosody; and in the heyday of French
influence, the patrons of letters in Ireland probably insisted on
hearing the foreign compositions in their original dress, as these
nobles were doubtless sufficiently versed in Norman-French to be able
to appreciate them. But a still more potent factor was the
conservatism of the hereditary Irish poet families. A close
corporation, they appear to have resented every innovation, and were
content to continue the tradition of their ancestors. The direct
consequence of this tenacious clinging to the fashions of by-gone
days rendered it impossible, nay almost inconceivable, that the
literary men of Ireland should have exerted any profound or immediate
influence upon England or western Europe. Yet, nowadays, few serious
scholars will be prepared to deny that the island contributed in
considerable measure to the common literary stock of the Middle Ages.

We might expect to find that direct influence, as a general rule, can
be most easily traced in the case of religious themes. Here, in the
literature of vision, so popular in Ireland, a chord was struck which
continued to vibrate powerfully until the time of the Reformation. In
this branch the riotous fancy of the Celtic monk caught the medieval
imagination from an early period. Bede has preserved for us the story
of Fursey, an Irish hermit who died in France, A.D. 650. The greatest
Irish composition of this class with which we are acquainted, the
_Vision of Adamnan_, does not appear to have been known outside the
island, but a later work of a similar nature met with striking
success. This was the _Vision of Tundale_ (Tnudgal), written in Latin
by an Irishman named Marcus at Regensburg, about the middle of the
twelfth century. It seems probable that this work was known to Dante,
and, in addition to the numerous continental versions, there is a
rendering of the story into Middle English verse.

Closely allied to the Visions are the _Imrama_ or "voyages" (Lat.
_navigationes_). The earliest romances of this class are secular,
_e.g., Imram Maelduin_, which provided Tennyson with the frame-work
of his well-known poem. However, the notorious love of adventure on
the part of the Irish monks inevitably led to the composition of
religious romances of a similar kind. The most famous story of this
description, the_ Voyage of St. Brendan_, found its way into every
Christian country in Europe, and consequently figures in the South
English Legendary, a collection of versified lives of saints made in
the neighborhood of Gloucester towards the end of the thirteenth
century. The episode of St. Brendan and the whale, moreover, was
probably the ultimate source of one of Milton's best known similes in
his description of Satan. Equally popular was the visit of Sir Owayn
to the Purgatory of St. Patrick, which is also included in the same
Middle English Legendary. Ireland further contributed in some measure
to the common stock of medieval stories which were used as
illustrations by the preachers and in works of an edifying character.

When we turn to purely secular themes, we find ourselves on much less
certain ground. Though the discussion as to the origins of the
"romance of Uther's son", Arthur, continues with unabated vigor, many
scholars have come think that the Celtic background of these stories
contains much that is derived from Hibernian sources. Some writers in
the past have argued in favor of an independent survival of common
Celtic features, in Wales and Ireland, but now the tendency is to
regard all such coincidences as borrowings on the part of Cymric
craftsmen. At the beginning of the twelfth century a new impulse
seems to have been imparted to native minstrelsy in Wales under'the
patronage of Gruffydd ap Cynan, a prince of Gwynedd, who had spent
many years in exile at the court of Dublin. Some of the Welsh
rhapsodists apparently served a kind of apprenticeship with their
Irish brethren, and many things Irish were assimilated at this time
which, through this channel, were shortly to find their way into
Anglo-French. Thus it may now be regarded as certain that the name of
the "fair sword" Excalibur, by Geoffrey called Caliburnus (Welsh
_caletfwlch_), is taken from Caladbolg, the far-famed broadsword of
Fergus macRoig. It does not appear that the whole framework of the
Irish sagas was taken over, but, as Windisch points out, episodes
were borrowed as well as tricks of imagery. So, to mention but one,
the central incident of _Syr Gawayn and the Grene Knyght_ is
doubtless taken from the similar adventure of Cuchulainn in
_Bricriu's Feast_. The share assigned to Irish influence in the
_matiere de Bretagne_ is likely to grow considerably with the
progress of research.

The fairy lore of Great Britain undoubtedly owes much to Celtic
phantasy. Of this Chaucer, at any rate, had little doubt, as he

      In th' olde dayes of the King Arthour,
      Of which that Britons speken greet honour,
      Al was this land fulfild of fayerye;
      The elf-queen, with hir joly companye,
      Daunced ful ofte in many a grene med.

And here again there is a reasonable probability that certain
features were borrowed from the wealth of story current in the
neighboring isle. Otherwise it is difficult to understand why the
queen of fayerye should bear an Irish name (Mab, from Irish Medb),
and curiously enough the form of the name rathef suggests that it was
borrowed through a written medium and not by oral tradition. On the
other hand it is incorrect to derive Puck from Irish _puca_, as the
latter is undoubtedly borrowed from some form of Teutonic speech.

So all embracing a mind as that of the greatest English dramatist
could not fail to be interested in the gossip that must have been
current in London at the time of the wars in Ulster. References to
kerns and gallowglasses are fairly frequent. He had evidently heard
of the marvellous powers with which the Irish bards were credited,
for, in _As You Like It_, Rosalind exclaims:

"I was never so be-rhymed since Pythagoras' time, that I was an Irish
rat, which I can hardly remember."

Similarly, in _King Richard III_, mention is made of the prophetic
utterance of an Irish bard, a trait which does not appear in the
poet's source. Any statements as to Irish influence in Shakespeare
that go beyond this belong to the realm of conjecture. Professor
Kittredge has attempted to show that in Syr Orfeo, upon which the
poet drew for portions of the plot of _A Midsummer Night's Dream_,
the Irish story of Etain and Mider was fused with the medieval form
of the classical tale of Orpheus and Eurydice. Direct influence is
entirely wanting, and it is difficult to see how it could have been

Even in the case of the Elizabethan poet who spent many years in the
south of Ireland, there is no trace of Hibernian lore or legend.
Spenser, indeed, tells us himself that he had caused some of the
native poetry to be translated to him, and had found that it
"savoured of sweet wit and good invention." But Ireland plays an
infinitesimal part in the _Faerie Queene_. The scenery round
Kilcolman Castle forms the background of much of the incident in Book
V. "Marble far from Ireland brought" is mentioned in a simile in the
second Book, where we also read:

      As when a swarme of gnats at eventide
      Out of the fennes of Allan do arise.

But Ireland supplied no further inspiration.

The various plantations of the seventeenth century produced an
Anglo-Irish stock which soon asserted itself in literature. As a
typical example, we may take the author of _The Vicar of Wakefield_.
At his first school at Lissoy, Oliver Goldsmith came under Thomas
Byrne, a regular shanachie, possessed of all the traditional lore,
with a remarkable gift for versifying. It was under this man that the
boy made his first attempts at verse, and his memory is celebrated in
_The Deserted Village_:

      There, in his noisy mansion, skilled to rule,
      The village master taught his little school.
      A man severe he was, and stern to view.

Unfortunately Goldsmith was removed to Elphin at the age of nine, and
although he retained an affection for Irish music all his life, his
intimate connection with Irish Ireland apparently ceased at this
point. "Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain" is doubtless
full of reminiscences of the poet's early years in Westmeath, but the
sentiments, the rhythm, and the language are entirely cast in an
English mould. We may mention, in passing, that it has been suggested
that Swift derived the idea of the kingdom of Lilliput from the Irish
story of the Adventures of Fergus macLeide amongst the leprechauns.
All that can be said is that this derivation is not impossible,
though the fact that the tale is preserved only in a single
manuscript rather points to the conclusion that the story did not
enjoy great popularity in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

We have seen that Goldsmith was removed from an Irish atmosphere at a
tender age, and this is not the only instance of the frowning of
fortune upon the native literature. When the fame of the ancient
bards of the Gael was noised from end to end of Europe, it was
through the medium of Macpherson's forgeries. _Fingal_ caught the
fleeting fancy of the moment in a manner never achieved by the true
Ossianic lays of Ireland. The _Reliques of Irish Poetry_, published
by Miss Brooke by subscription in Dublin in 1789 to vindicate the
antiquity of the literature of Erin, never went into a second
edition. And although some of the pieces contained in that volume
have been reprinted in such undertakings of a learned character as
the volumes of the Dublin Ossianic Society, J.F. Campbell's _Leabhar
na Feinne_, and Cameron's _Reliquiae Celticae_, they have aroused
little interest amongst those ignorant of the Irish tongue.

During the nineteenth century, the number of poets who drew upon
Ireland's past for their themes increased considerably. The most
popular of all is unquestionably the author of the _Irish Melodies_.
But, here again, the poet owes little or nothing to vernacular
poetry, the mould is English, the sentiments are those of the poet's
age. Moore's acquaintance with the native language can have been but
of the slightest, and in the case of Mangan we are told that he had
to rely upon literal versions of Irish pieces furnished him by
O'Donovan or O'Curry. Of the numerous attempts to reproduce the
overelaboration of rhyme to which Irish verse has ever been prone,
Father Prout's _Bells of Shandon_ is perhaps the only one that is at
all widely known. When the legendary lore of Ireland became
accessible to men of letters, owing to the labors of O'Curry,
O'Donovan, and Hennessy, and the publication of various ancient texts
by the Irish Archaeological Society, it was to be expected that an
attempt would be made by some poet of Erin to do for his native land
what the Wizard of the North had accomplished for Scotland. The task
was undertaken by Sir Samuel Ferguson, who met with conspicuous
success. His most ambitious effort, _Congal_, deals in epic fashion
with the story of the battle of Moyra. Others in similar strain treat
the story of Conaire Mor and Deirdre, whilst others such as the
_Tain-Quest_ are more in the nature of ballads. Ferguson did more to
introduce the English reading public to Irish story than would have
been accomplished by any number of bald translations. His diction is
little affected by the originals, and he sometimes treats his
materials with great freedom, but his achievement was a notable one,
and he has not infrequently been acclaimed as the national poet.

Is it perhaps invidious to single out any living author for special
mention, but this brief survey cannot close without noticing the
dramatic poems of W.B. Yeats, the latest poet who attempts to present
the old stories in an English dress. His plays _On Baile's Strand,
Deirdre_, and others, have become familiar to English audiences
through the excellent acting of the members of the Abbey Theatre
Company. The original texts are now much better known than they were
in Ferguson's day, and Mr. Yeats consequently cannot permit himself
the same liberties. Similarly, it is only during the last twenty-five
years that the language of Irish poetry has been carefully studied,
and Mr. Yeats has this advantage over his predecessors that on
occasion, e.g., in certain passages in _The King's Threshold_, he is
able to introduce with great effect reminiscences of the
characteristic epithets and imagery which formed so large a part of
the stock-in-trade of the medieval bard.


Friedel and Meyer: La Vision de Tondale (Paris, 1907); Boswell: An
Irish Precursor of Dante (London, 1908); Cambridge History of English
Literature, vol. I, chaps, xii and xvi; Windisch: _Das Keltische
Brittannien_ (Leipzig, 1912), more especially chap. xxxvii;
Dictionary of National Biography; Gwynn: Thos. Moore ("English Men of
Letters" Series, London, 1905).



Among savage peoples there is at first no distinction of a definite
kind between good and bad spirits, and when a distinction has been
reached, a great advance in a spiritual direction has been made. For
the key to the religion of savages is fear, and until such terror has
been counteracted by belief in beneficent powers, civilization will
not follow. But the elimination of the fear of the unseen is a slow
process; indeed, it will exist side by side with the belief in
Christianity itself, after a modification through various stages of
better pagan belief.

Ireland still presents, in its more out-of-the-way districts,
evidence of that strong persistence in the belief in maleficent or
malicious influences of the pre-Christian powers of the air, which it
seems difficult to eradicate from the Celtic imagination. In the
celebrated poem entitled _The Breastplate of St. Patrick_, there is
much the same attitude on the part of Patrick towards the Druids and
their powers of concealing and changing, of paralyzing and cursing,
as was shown by Moses towards the magicians of Egypt. Indeed, in
Patrick's time a belief in a world of fairies existed even in the
king's household, for "when the two daughters of King Leary of
Ireland, Ethnea the fair and Fedelma the ruddy, came early one
morning to the well of Clebach to wash, they found there a synod of
holy bishops with Patrick. And they knew not whence they came, or in
what form, or from what people, or from what country; but they
supposed them to be _Duine Sidh_, or gods of the earth, or a

Colgan explains the term _Duine Sidh_ thus: "Fantastical spirits," he
writes, "are by the Irish called men of the _Sidh_, because they are
seen, as it were, to come out of the beautiful hills to infest men,
and hence the vulgar belief that they reside in certain subterranean
habitations: and sometimes the hills themselves are called, by the
Irish, _Sidhe_ or _Siodha_."

No doubt, when the princesses spoke of the gods of the earth,
reference was made to such pagan deities as Beal; Dagda the great or
the good god; Aine, the Moon, goddess of the water and of wisdom;
Manannan macLir, the Irish Neptune; Crom, the Irish Ceres; and
Iphinn, the benevolent, whose relations to the Irish Oirfidh
resembled those of Apollo towards Orpheus; and to the allegiance they
owed to the Elements, the Wind, and the Stars. But besides these
pagan divinities and powers, and quite apart from them, the early
Irish believed in two classes of fairies: in the first place, a
hierarchy of fairy beings, well and ill disposed, not differing in
appearance, to any great degree at any rate, from human beings--good
spirits and demons, rarely visible during the daytime; and, in the
second place, there was the magic race of the De Danann, who, after
conquest by the Milesians, transformed themselves into fairies, and
in that guise continued to inhabit the underworld of the Irish hills,
and to issue thence in support of Irish heroes, or to give their aid
against other fairy adversaries.

There is another theory to account for the fairy race. It is that
they are angels who revolted with Satan and were excluded from heaven
for their unworthiness, but were not found evil enough for hell, and
therefore were allowed to occupy that intermediate space which has
been called "the Other World." It is still a moot point with the
Irish peasantry, as it was with the Irish saints of old, whether,
after being compelled to dwell without death among rocks and hills,
lakes and seas, bushes and forest, till the day of judgment, the
fairies then have the chance of salvation. Indeed, the fairies are
themselves believed to have great doubts of a future existence,
though, like many men, entertaining undefined hopes of happiness; and
hence the enmity which some of them have for mankind, who, they
acknowledge, will live eternally. Thus their actions are balanced
between generosity and vindictiveness towards the human race.

Mr. W.Y. Evans Wentz, A.M., of Leland Stanford University,
California, and Jesus College, Oxford, has received an honorary
degree from the latter university for his thesis, "The Fairy Faith in
Celtic Countries: Its Psychical Origin and Nature", a most laborious
as well as ingenious work, whose object is to prove "that the origin
of the fairy faith is psychical, and that fairyland, being thought of
as an invisible world within which the visible world is immersed as
an island in an unexplored ocean, actually exists, and that it is
peopled by more species of living beings than this world, because
incomparably more vast and varied in its possibilities." This may be
added as a fourth theory to account for the existence of fairies, and
it may be further stated here that the Irish popular belief in ghosts
attributes to some of their departed spirits much of the same
violence and malice with which fairies are credited. Mr. Jeremiah
Curtin gives striking instances of this kind in his book, the _Folk
Lore of West Kerry_.

It became necessary, therefore, for the Gaels who believed in the
preternatural powers of the fairies for good and ill to propitiate
them as far as possible. On May eve, accordingly, cattle were driven
into raths and bled there, some of the blood being tasted, the rest
poured out in sacrifice. Men and women were also bled on these
occasions. The seekers for buried treasure, over which fairies were
supposed to have influence, immolated a black cock or a black cat to
propitiate them. Again, a cow, suffering from sickness believed to be
due to fairy malice, was bled and then devoted to St. Martin. If it
recovered, it was never sold or killed. The first new milk of a cow
was poured out on the ground to propitiate the fairies, and
especially on the ground within a fairy rath. The first drop of any
drink is also thrown out by old Irish people. If a child spills milk,
the mother says, "that's for the fairies, leave it to them and
welcome." Slops should never be thrown out of doors without the
warning, "Take care of water!" lest fairies should be passing
invisibly and get soiled by the discharge. Eddies of dust upon the
road are supposed to be caused by the fairies, and tufts of grass,
sticks, and pebbles are thrown into the centre of the eddy to
propitiate the unseen beings. Some fairies of life size, who live
within the green hills or under the raths, are supposed to carry off
healthy babes to be made fairy children, their abstractors leaving
weak changelings in their place. Similarly, nursing mothers are
sometimes supposed to be carried off to give the breast to fairy
babes, and handsome young men are spirited away to become bridegrooms
to fairy brides. Again, folk suffering from falling sickness are
supposed to be in that condition owing to the fatigue caused by
nocturnal rides through the air with the fairies, whose steeds are
bewitched rushes, blades of grass, straws, fern roots, and cabbage
stalks. The latter, to be serviceable for the purpose, should be cut
into the rude shapes of horses before the metamorphosis can take

Iron of every kind keeps away malignant fairies: thus, a horseshoe
nailed to the bottom of the churn prevents butter from being
bewitched. Here is a form of charm against the fairies who have
bewitched the butter: "Every window should be barred, a great turf
fire should be lit upon which nine irons should be placed, the
bystanders chanting twice over in Irish, 'Come, butter, come; Peter
stands at the gate waiting for a buttered cake.' As the irons become
heated the witch will try to break in, asking the people to take the
irons, which are burning her, off the fire. On their refusing, she
will go and bring back the butter to the churn. The irons may then be
removed from the fire and all will go well."

If a neighbor or stranger should enter a cottage during the churning,
he should put his hand to the dash, or the butter will not come. A
small piece of iron should be sewed into an infant's clothes and kept
there until the child is baptized, and salt should be sprinkled over
his cradle to preserve the babe from abduction. The fairies are
supposed to have been conquered by an iron-weaponed race, and hence
their dread of the metal.

To recover a spell-bound friend, stand on All Hallows' eve at cross
roads or at a spot pointed out by a wise woman or fairy doctor. When
you have rubbed fairy ointment on your eyelids, the fairies will
become visible as the host sweeps by with its captive, whom the gazer
will then be able to recognize. A sudden gust announces their
approach. Stooping down, you will then throw dust or milk at the
procession, whose members are then obliged to surrender your
spell-bound friend. If a man leaves home after his wife's
confinement, some of his clothes should be spread over the mother and
infant, or the fairies may carry them off. It is good for a woman,
but bad for a man, to dream of fairies. It betokens marriage for a
girl, misfortune for a man, who should not undertake serious business
for some time after such dreaming.

Fairy changelings may be recognized by tricky habits, constant
crying, and other unusual characteristics. It was customary to
recover the true child in the following way: The changeling was
placed upon an iron shovel over the fire, when it would go shrieking
up the chimney, and the _bona fide_ human child would be restored. It
was believed that fairy changelings often produced a set of small
bagpipes from under the clothes and played dance music upon them,
till the inmates of the cottage dropped with exhaustion from the
effects of the step dancing they were compelled to engage in.

On Samain eve, the night before the first of November, or, as it is
now called, All Hallows' night or Hallowe'en, all the fairy hills or
_shees_ are thrown wide open and the fairy host issues forth, as
mortals who are bold enough to venture near may see. Naturally
therefore people keep indoors so as not to encounter the spectral
host. The superstition that the fairies are abroad on Samain night
still exists in Ireland and Scotland, and there is a further belief,
no doubt derived from it, that the graves are open on that night and
that the spirits of the dead are abroad.

Salt, as already suggested, is regarded to be so lucky that if a
child falls, it should always be given three pinches of salt, and if
a neighbor calls to borrow salt, it should not be refused, even
though it be the last grain in the house.

An infant born with teeth should have them drawn by the nearest
smith, and the first teeth when shed should be thrown into the fire,
lest the fairies should get hold of what had been part of you.

Those who hear fairy music are supposed to be haunted by the melody,
and many are believed to go mad or commit suicide in consequence.

The fairies are thought to engage in warfare with one another, and in
the year 1800 a specially sanguinary battle was believed to have been
fought between two clans of the fairies in county Kilkenny. In the
morning the hawthorns along the fences were found crushed to pieces
and drenched with blood.

In popular belief fairies often go hunting, and faint sounds of fairy
horns, the baying of fairy hounds, and the cracking of fairy whips
are supposed to be heard on these occasions, while the flight of the
hunters is said to resemble in sound the humming of bees.

Besides the life-sized fairies who are reputed to have these direct
dealings with human beings, there are diminutive preternatural beings
who are also supposed to come into close touch with men. Among these
is the Luchryman (_Leithphrogan_), or brogue maker, otherwise known
as Leprechaun. He is always found mending or making a shoe, and, if
grasped firmly and kept constantly in view, will disclose hidden
treasure to you, or render up his _sparan na sgillinge_, or purse of
the (inexhaustible) shilling. He can only be bound by a plough chain
or woolen thread. He is the symbol of industry which, if steadily
faced, leads to fortune, but, if lost sight of, is followed by its

Love in idleness is personified by another pigmy, the _Geancanach_
(love-talker). He does not appear, like the Leprechaun, with a purse
in one of his pockets, but with his hands in both of them, and a
_dudeen_ (short pipe) in his mouth, as he lazily strolls through
lonely valleys making love to the foolish country lasses and
"gostering" with the idle "boys." To meet him meant bad luck, and
whoever was ruined by ill-judged love was said to have been with the

Another evil sprite was the _Clobher-ceann_, "a jolly, red-faced,
drunken little fellow," always "found astride of a wine-butt" singing
and drinking from a full tankard in a hard drinker's cellar, and
bound by his appearance to bring its owner to speedy ruin.

Then there were the _Leannan-sighes_, or native Muses, to be found in
every place of note to inspire the local bard, and the _Beansighes_
(Banshees, fairy women) attached to each of the old Irish families
and giving warning of the death of one of its members with piteous

Black Joanna of the Boyne (_Siubhan Dubh na Boinne_) appeared on
Hallowe'en in the shape of a great black fowl, bringing luck to the
home whose _Banithee_ (woman of the house) kept the dwelling
constantly clean and neat.

The Pooka, who appeared in the shape of a horse, and whom Shakespeare
is by many believed to have adapted as "Puck," was a goblin who
combined "horse-play" with viciousness, but also at times helped with
the housework.

The _Dullaghan_ was a churchyard demon whose head was of a movable
kind. Dr. Joyce writes: "You generally meet him with his head in his
pocket, under his arm, or absent altogether; or if you have the
fortune to light upon a number of _Dullaghans_, you may see them
amusing themselves by flinging their heads at one another or kicking
them for footballs."

An even more terrible churchyard demon is the fascinating phantom
that waylays the widower at his wife's very tomb, and poisons him by
her kiss when he has yielded to her blandishments.

Of monsters the Irish had, and still believe in, the _Piast_ (Latin
_bestia_), a huge dragon or serpent confined to lakes by St. Patrick
till the day of judgment, but still occasionally seen in their
waters. In old Fenian times, namely, the days of Finn and his
companion knights, the _Piasts_, however, roamed the country,
devouring men and women and cattle in large numbers, and some of the
early heroes are recorded to have been swallowed alive by them and
then to have hewed their way out of their entrails.

Merrows, or Mermaids, are also still believed in, and many folk tales
exist describing their intermarriage with mortals.

According to Nicholas O'Kearney, "It is the general opinion of many
old persons versed in native traditional lore, that, before the
introduction of Christianity, all animals possessed the faculties of
human reason and speech; and old story-tellers will gravely inform
you that every beast could speak before the arrival of St. Patrick,
but that the saint having expelled the demons from the land by the
sound of his bell, all the animals that, before that time, had
possessed the power of foretelling future events, such as the Black
Steed of _Binn-each-labhra_, the Royal Cat of _Cloughmagh-righ-cat_
(Clough), and others, became mute, and many of them fled to Egypt and
other foreign countries."

Cats are said to have been appointed to guard hidden treasures; and
there are few who have not heard old Irish people tell about strange
meetings of cats and violent battles fought by them in the
neighborhood. "It was believed," adds O'Kearney, "that an evil spirit
in the shape of a cat assumed command over these animals in various
districts, and that when those wicked beings pleased they could
compel all the cats belonging to their division to attack those of
some other district. The same was said of rats; and rat-expellers,
when commanding a colony of those troublesome and destructive animals
to emigrate to some other place, used to address their 'billet' to
the infernal rat supposed to hold command over the rest. In a curious
pamphlet on the power of bardic compositions to charm and expel rats,
lately published, Mr. Eugene O'Curry states that a degraded priest,
who was descended from an ancient family of hereditary bards, was
enabled to expel a colony of rats by the force of satire!"

Hence, of course, Shakespeare's reference to rhyming Irish rats to

It will thus be seen that Irish Fairy Lore well deserves to have been
called by Mr. Alfred Nutt, one of the leading authorities on the
subject, "as fair and bounteous a harvest of myth and romance as ever
flourished among any race."


Alex. Carmichael: Carmina Gadelica; David Comyn: The Boyish Exploits
of Finn; the Periodical, "Folklore"; Lady Gregory: Cuchulain of
Muirthemne, Gods and Fighting Men; Miss Eleanor Hull: The Cuchulain
Saga in Irish Literature; Douglas Hyde: Beside the Fire, (a
collection of Irish Gaelic Folk Stories), _Leabhar Sgeulaicheachta_,
(Folk Stories in Irish); "Irish Penny Journal"; Patrick Kennedy: The
Fireside Stories of Ireland, Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celt;
Standish Hayes O'Grady: Silva Gadelica; Wood-Martin: Traces of the
Elder Faiths in Ireland, Pagan Ireland; W.Y. Wentz: The Fairy Faith
in Celtic Countries; Lady Wilde: Charms, Incantations, etc.; Celtic
articles in Hastings' Dictionary of Religion and Ethics.


By Charles L. Graves.

No record of the glories of Ireland would be complete without an
effort, however inadequate, to analyze and illustrate her wit and
humor. Often misunderstood, misrepresented, and misinterpreted, they
are nevertheless universally admitted to be racial traits, and for an
excellent reason. Other nations exhibit these qualities in their
literature, and Ireland herself is rich in writers who have furnished
food for mirth. But her special pre-eminence resides in the
possession of what, to adapt a famous phrase, may be called an _anima
naturaliter jocosa_. Irish wit and Irish humor are a national
inheritance. They are inherent in the race as a whole, independent of
education or culture or comfort. The best Irish sayings are the
sayings of the people; the greatest Irish humorists are the nameless
multitude who have never written books or found a place in national
dictionaries of biography. None but an Irishman could have coined
that supreme expression of contempt: "I wouldn't be seen dead with
him at a pig-fair," or rebuked a young barrister because he did not
"squandher his carcass" (_i.e._, gesticulate) enough. But we cannot
trace the paternity of these sayings any more than we can that of the
lightning retort of the man to whom one of the "quality" had given a
glass of whisky. "That's made another man of you, Patsy," remarked
the donor. "'Deed an' it has, sor," Patsy flashed back, "an' that
other man would be glad of another glass." It is enough for our
purpose to note that such sayings are typically Irish and that their
peculiar felicity consists in their combining both wit and humor.

To what element in the Irish nature are we to attribute this joyous
and illuminating gift? No one who is not a Gaelic scholar can venture
to dogmatize on this thorny subject. But, setting philology and
politics aside, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Ireland has
gained rather than lost in this respect by the clash of races and
languages. Gaiety, we are told, is not the predominating
characteristic of the Celtic temperament, nor is it reflected in the
prose and verse of the "old ancient days" that have come down to us.
Glamour and magic and passion abound in the lays and legends of the
ancient Gael, but there is more melancholy than mirth in these tales
of long ago. Indeed, it is interesting to note in connection with
this subject that the younger school of Irish writers associated with
what is called the Celtic Renascence have, with very few exceptions,
sedulously eschewed anything approaching to jocosity, preferring the
paths of crepuscular mysticism or sombre realism, and openly avowing
their distaste for what they consider to be the denationalized
sentiment of Moore, Lever, and Lover. To say this is not to disparage
the genius of Yeats and Synge; it is merely a statement of fact and
an illustration of the eternal dualism of the Irish temperament,
which Moore himself realized when he wrote of "Erin, the tear and the
smile in thine eye."

A reaction against the Donnybrook tradition was inevitable and to a
great extent wholesome, since the stage Irishman of the transpontine
drama or the music-halls was for the most part a gross and unlovely
caricature, but, like all reactions, it has tended to obscure the
real merits and services of those who showed the other side of the
medal. Lever did not exaggerate more than Dickens, and his portraits
of Galway fox-hunters and duellists, of soldiers of fortune, and of
Dublin undergraduates were largely based on fact. At his best he was
a most exhilarating companion, and his pictures of Irish life, if
partial, were not misleading. He held no brief for the landlords, and
in his later novels showed a keen sense of their shortcomings. The
plain fact is that, in considering the literary glories of Ireland,
we cannot possibly overlook the work of those Irishmen who were
affected by English influences or wrote for an English audience.

Anglo-Irish humorous literature was a comparatively late product, but
its efflorescence was rapid and triumphant. The first great name is
that of Goldsmith, and, though deeply influenced in technique and
choice of subjects by his association with English men of letters and
by his residence in England, in spirit he remained Irish to the
end--generous, impulsive, and improvident in his life; genial, gay,
and tender-hearted in his works. The Vicar of Wakefield was Dr.
Primrose, but he might just as well have been called Dr. Shamrock. No
surer proof of the pre-eminence of Irish wit and humor can be found
than in the fact that, Shakespeare alone excepted, no writers of
comedy have held the boards longer or more triumphantly than
Goldsmith and his brother Irishman, Sheridan. _She Stoops to Conquer,
The Rivals, The School for Scandal_, and _The Critic_ represent the
sunny side of the Irish genius to perfection. They illustrate, in the
most convincing way possible, how the debt of the world to Ireland
has been increased by the fate which ordained that her choicest
spirits should express themselves in a language of wider appeal than
the ancient speech of Erin.

On the other hand, English literature and the English tongue have
gained greatly from the influence exerted by writers familiar from
their childhood with turns of speech and modes of expression which,
even when they are not translations from the Gaelic, are
characteristic of the Hibernian temper. The late Dr. P.W. Joyce, in
his admirable treatise on English as spoken in Ireland, has
illustrated not only the essentially bilingual character of the
Anglo-Irish dialect, but the modes of thought which it enshrines.
There is no better known form of Irish humor than that commonly
called the "Irish bull," which is too often set down to lax thinking
and faulty logic. But it is the rarest thing to encounter a genuine
Irish "bull" which is not picturesque and at the same time highly
suggestive. Take, for example, the saying of an old Kerry doctor who,
when conversing with a friend on the high rate of mortality,
observed, "Bedad, there's people dyin' who never died before." Here a
truly illuminating result was attained by the simple device of using
the indicative for the conditional mood--as in Juvenal's famous
comment on Cicero's second Philippic: _Antoni gladios potuit
contemnere si sic omnia dixisset_. The Irish "bull" is a heroic and
sometimes successful attempt to sit upon two stools at once, or, as
an Irishman put it, "Englishmen often make 'bulls,' but the Irish
'bull' is always pregnant."

Though no names of such outstanding distinction as those of Goldsmith
and Sheridan occur in the early decades of the nineteenth century,
the spirit of Irish comedy was kept vigorously alive by Maria
Edgeworth, William Maginn, Francis Mahony (Father Prout), and William
Carleton. Sir Walter Scott's splendid tribute to the genius of Maria
Edgeworth is regarded by some critics as extravagant, but it is
largely confirmed in a most unexpected quarter. Turgenief, the great
Russian novelist, proclaimed himself her disciple, and has left it on
record that but for her example he might never have attempted to give
literary form to his impressions of the classes in Russia
corresponding to the poor Irish and the squireens and the squires of
county Longford. Maginn and Mahony were both scholars--the latter
happily called himself "an Irish potato seasoned with Attic
salt"--wrote largely for English periodicals, and spent most of their
lives out of Ireland. In the writings of all three an element of the
grotesque is observable, tempered, however, in the case of Mahony,
with a vein of tender pathos which emerges in his delightful "Bells
of Shandon." Maginn was a wit, Mahony was the hedge-schoolmaster _in
excelsis_, and Carleton was the first realist in Irish peasant
fiction. But all alike drew their best inspiration from essentially
Irish themes. The pendulum has swung back slowly but steadily since
the days when Irish men of letters found it necessary to accommodate
their genius to purely English literary standards. Even Lever, though
he wrote for the English public, wrote mainly about Ireland. So, too,
with his contemporary Le Fanu, whose reputation rests on a double
basis. He made some wonderful excursions into the realm of the
bizarre, the uncanny, and the gruesome. But in the collection known
as _The Purcell Papers_ will be found three short stories which for
exuberant drollery and "diversion" have never been excelled. That the
same man could have written _Uncle Silas_ and _The Quare Gander_ is
yet another proof of the strange dualism of the Irish character.

The record of the last fifty years shows an uninterrupted progress in
the invasion of English _belles lettres_ by Irish writers. Outside
literature, perhaps the most famous sayer of good things of our times
was a simple Irish parish priest, the late Father Healy. Of his
humorous sayings the number is legion; his wit may be illustrated by
a less familiar example--his comment on a very tall young lady named
Lynch: "Nature gave her an inch and she took an ell." In the House of
Commons today there is no greater master of irony and sardonic humor
than his namesake, Mr. Tim Healy. On one occasion he remarked that
Lord Rosebery was not a man to go tiger-shooting with--except at the
Zoo. On another, being anxious to bring an indictment against the
"Castle" _regime_ in Dublin and finding the way blocked by a debate
on Uganda, he successfully accomplished his purpose by a judicious
geographical transference of names, and convulsed the House by a
speech in which the nomenclature of Central Africa was applied to the
government of Ireland.

But wit and humor are the monopoly of no class or calling in Ireland.
They flourish alike among car-drivers and K.C.'s, publicans and
policemen, priests and parsons, beggars and peers. It is a
commonplace of criticism to deny these qualities in their highest
form to women. But this is emphatically untrue of Ireland, and was
never more conclusively disproved than by the recent literary
achievements of her daughters. The partnership of two Irish ladies,
Miss Edith Somerville and Miss Violet Martin, has given us, in _Some
Experiences of an Irish R.M._ (_i.e._, Resident Magistrate), the most
delicious comedy, and in _The Real Charlotte_ the finest
tragi-comedy, that have come out of Great Britain in the last thirty
years. The _R.M._, as it is familiarly called, is already a classic,
but the Irish _comedie humaine_--to use the phrase in the sense of
Balzac--is even more vividly portrayed in the pages of _The Real
Charlotte_. Humor, genuine though intermittent, irradiates the
autumnal talent of Miss Jane Barlow, and the long roll of gifted
Irishwomen who have contributed to the gaiety of nations may be
closed with the names of Miss Hunt, author of _Folk Tales of
Breffny_; of Miss Purdon and Miss Winifred Letts, who in prose and
verse, respectively, have moved us to tears and laughter by their
studies of Leinster peasant life; and of "Moira O'Neill" (Mrs.
Skrine), the incomparable singer of the Glens of Antrim. To give a
full list of the living Irish writers, male and female, who are
engaged in the benevolent work of driving dull care away would be
impossible within the space at our command. But we cannot end without
recognition of the exhilarating extravaganzas of "George A.
Birmingham" (Canon Hannay), the freakish and elfin muse of James
Stephens, and the coruscating wit of F.P. Dunne, the famous
Irish-American humorist, whose "Mr. Dooley" is a household word on
both sides of the Atlantic.


Goldsmith: Vicar of Wakefield, She Stoops to Conquer; Sheridan: The
Rivals, The School for Scandal, The Critic; R. Edgeworth: Essay on
Irish Bulls; M. Edgeworth: Castle Rackrent, The Absentee; Maginn:
Miscellanies in Prose and Verse; Carleton: Traits and Stories of the
Irish Peasantry; Mahony (Father Prout): Reliques of Father Prout;
John and Michael Banim: Tales of the O'Hara Family; Lover: Legends
and Stories of Ireland, Handy Andy; Lever: Harry Lorrequer, Charles
O'Malley, Lord Kilgobbin; Le Fanu: The Purcell Papers; Barlow:
Bogland Studies, Irish Idylls, Irish Neighbours; Birmingham: The
Seething Pot, Spanish Gold, The Major's Niece, The Red Hand of
Ulster, General John Regan; Stephens: The Crock of Gold, Here are
Ladies; Hunt: The Folk Tales of Breffny; Purdon: The Folk of Furry
Farm; Somerville and Ross: The Real Charlotte, Some Experiences of an
Irish R.M., All on the Irish Shore, Dan Russel the Fox.



The Irish theatre and secular drama may be said to begin with the
production of James Shirley's historical play, _St. Patrick for
Ireland_, in Werburgh Street Theatre, about 1636-7; and though Dublin
was a great school for acting, and supplied many of the best players
to the English stage, such as Quin, Macklin, Peg Woffington, Miss
O'Neill, and hosts of others, it never really possessed a creative
theatre (save at the Capel Street Theatre for a few years during the
Grattan Parliament) until the modern movement in Ireland came into
being and the Abbey Theatre became its headquarters.

Of course, innumerable plays by Irish writers were written, but most
of them were not distinctively Irish in character; and the names of
Goldsmith, Sheridan, O'Keeffe, Farquhar, Sheridan Knowles, Oscar
Wilde, and dozens of others will always be remembered as great Irish
writers for the stage. And when fine impersonators of Irish character
like Tyrone Power, John Drew, or Barney Williams arrived, there were
always to be found several clever writers to fit them with parts, the
demand always creating the supply.

Even before Dion Boucicault took to writing Irish dramas of a more
palatable and less "stage-Irish" character than those of his
immediate predecessors, some excellent plays, Irish in character and
tone, had from time to time found their way to the stage. However,
Boucicault sweetened our stage by the production of _The Colleen
Bawn, Arrah-na-Pogue_, and _The Shaughraun_, and showed by his
rollicking impersonations of Myles, Shan, and Conn, how good-humored,
hearty, and self-sacrificing Irish boys in humble life can be. He had
great technical knowledge of stagecraft, and that has helped to make
his Irish plays live in the popular goodwill right up to today.

A revolt against Boucicault's Irish boys, all fun and frolic, and
charming colleens, who could do no wrong, has made our modern
playwrights go to the other extreme; so that now we find our stage
peopled with peasants, cruel, hard, and forbidding for the most part,
and with colleens who are the reverse of lovable in thought or act.
Neither picture is quite true of our people. What is really wanted is
the happy medium, which few, if any, of our new playwrights have yet
given us.

If our great popular Irish drama has yet to come, I think the Fays
have made it possible to say that a distinct and really fine dramatic
school has arisen in Ireland, evolved out of their wonderful skill in
teaching, producing, and acting; and if we are not always really
delighted with what our playwrights give us, the almost perfect way
in which the plays are served up by the actors invariably wholly
satisfies. It is the actors who have made the Abbey Theatre famous,
and not the plays. Such acting as theirs cast a spell over all who
see them. What pleasing memories do the names of W.G. Fay, Frank J.
Fay, Dudley Digges, Sara Allgood, Arthur Sinclair, Maire O'Neill,
Maire ni Shuiblaigh, J.M. Kerrigan, Fred O'Donovan, Eileen O'Doherty,
Una O'Connor, Eithne Magee, Nora Desmond, and John Connolly recall!

With the production of W.B. Yeats's poetic one-act play, _The Land of
Heart's Desire_, at the Avenue Theatre, London, on March 29, 1894,
began the modern Irish dramatic movement. When the poet had tasted
the joys of the footlights, he longed to see an Irish Literary
Theatre realized in Ireland. Five years later, in the Antient Concert
Rooms, Dublin, on May 9, 1899, his play, _The Countess Cathleen_, was
produced, and his desire gratified. The experiment was tried for
three years and then dropped; plays by Yeats, Edward Martyn, George
Moore, and Alice Milligan were staged with English-trained actors in
the casts; and a Gaelic play--the first ever presented in a theatre
in Ireland--was also given during the third season. It was _The
Twisting of the Rope_, by Dr. Douglas Hyde, and was played at the
Gaiety Theatre, Dublin, on October 21, 1901, by a Gaelic Amateur
Dramatic Society coached by W.G. Fay. The author filled the principal
part with distinction.

It was while rehearsing this play that the thought came to Fay: "Why
not have my little company of Irish-born actors--the Ormond Dramatic
Society--appear in plays by Irish writers instead of in the ones they
have been giving for years?" And the thought soon ripened into
realization. His brother, Frank, had dreamed of such a company since
he read of the small beginnings out of which the Norwegian Theatre
had grown; and just then, seeing some of "AE's" (George Russell's)
play, _Deirdre_, in the _All Ireland Review_, he asked the author if
he would allow them to produce it, and, consent being given, the
company put it into rehearsal at once. "AE" got for them from Yeats
_Kathleen-Ni-Houlihan_, to make up the programme. Thus it was that
this company of amateurs and poets, now known as the Abbey Players,
came into existence, and at St. Teresa's Hall, Clarendon Street,
Dublin, gave their first performance on April 2, 1902.

Shortly afterwards they took a hall at the back of a shop in Camden
Street, where they rehearsed and gave a few public performances. On
"AE" declining to be their president, Frank Fay suggested the name of
W.B. Yeats, and he was elected, and in that way came again into the
movement in which he has figured so largely ever since.

The company played occasionally in the Molesworth Hall, and produced
there, among other pieces, Synge's _In the Shadow of the Glen_
(October 8, 1903) and _Riders to the Sea_ (February 25, 1904);
Yeats's _The Hour Glass_ (March 14, 1903) and _The King's Threshold_
(October 8, 1903); Lady Gregory's _Twenty-five_ (March 14,1903); and
Padraic Colum's _Broken Soil_ (December 3, 1903).

On March 26, 1904, the company paid a flying one-day visit to the
Royalty, London, and Miss A.E.F. Horniman, who had given Shaw, Yeats,
and Dr. John Todhunter their first real start as playwrights at the
Avenue, London, in March-April, 1894 (Shaw had had his first play,
_Widowers' Houses_, played by the Independent Theatre in 1892), saw
the performance, and was so impressed that she thought she would like
to find a suitable home for such talent in Dublin, and fixed upon the
old Mechanics' Institute and its surrounding buildings, and there the
Abbey Theatre soon afterwards--on December 27, 1904--came into

In writing of this Irish dramatic movement, one must always bear in
mind that it was Yeats who first conceived the idea of such a
movement; the Fays who founded the school of Irish acting; and Miss
Horniman who, like a fairy godmother, waved the wand, and gave it a
habitation and a name--the Abbey Theatre--and endowed it for six

Play followed play with great rapidity, and dramatic societies sprang
up all over the country, playing home-made productions in Gaelic and
English. All Ireland seemed to be play-acting and play-writing; so
much so that Frank Fay was heard to say that "he thought everyone had
a play in his pocket, and that anyone in the street could be picked
up and shaped into an actor or actress with a little training,
Ireland was so teeming with talent!"

Dramatic Ireland had slumbered for a long while, and awoke with
tremendous vigor for work. New dramatists sprang up in all parts of
Ireland; The Ulster Literary Theatre started in Belfast; The Cork
Dramatic Society, in Cork; The Theatre of Ireland, in Dublin; and
others in Galway and Waterford soon followed. In Dublin at present
more than half a dozen dramatic societies are continually producing
new plays and discovering new acting talent. There are also two
Gaelic dramatic societies. And nearly every town in Ireland now has
its own dramatic class and its own dramatists. All this activity has
come about within the last ten or twelve years, where, before, in
many places, drama and acting were almost unknown.

Many Gaelic societies throughout the country put on Gaelic plays by
Dr. Douglas Hyde, Pierce Beasley, Thomas Haynes, Canon Peter O'Leary,
and others; and the _Oireachtas_ (the Gaelic musical and literary
festival) held each year in Dublin usually presents several Irish
plays and offers prizes for new ones at each festival.

Of all the Irish playwrights who have arisen in recent years, Lady
Gregory has produced most and W.B. Yeats is the most poetic. He is
more a lyric poet than a dramatist, and is never satisfied with his
work for the stage, but keeps eternally chopping and changing it. His
_Kathleen-Ni-Houlihan_, though a dream-play, always appeals to an
audience of Irish people. Perhaps his one-act _Deirdre_ is the
nearest approach to real drama he has done. Some of Lady Gregory's
earlier one-act farces, such as _The Workhouse-Ward_, are very
amusing; _The Rising of the Moon_ is a little dramatic gem, and _The
Gaol Gate_ is touched with genuine tragedy. Synge wrote only one
play--_Riders to the Sea_--that acts well. The others are admired by
critics for the strangeness of their diction and the beauty of the
nature-pictures scattered through them. His much-discussed _Playboy
of the Western World_ has become famous for the rows it has created
at home and abroad from its very first production on January 26,
1907. William Boyle, who gets to the heart of those he writes about,
has produced the most popular play of the movement in _The Eloquent
Dempsey_, and a perfectly constructed one in _The Building Fund_.
W.F. Casey's two plays--_The Man Who Missed the Tide_ and _The
Suburban Groove_--are both popular and actable. Padraic Colum's
plays--_The Land_ and _Broken Soil_ (the latter rewritten and renamed
_The Fiddler's House_)--are almost idyllic scenes of country life.
Lennox Robinson's plays are harsh in tone, but dramatically
effective, and T.C. Murray's _Birthright_ and _Maurice Harte_ are
fine dramas, well constructed and full of true knowledge of the
people he writes about. Seumas O'Kelly has written two strong dramas
in _The Shuiler's Child_ and _The Bribe_, and Seumas O'Brien one of
the funniest Irish farces ever staged in _Duty_. R.J. Ray's play,
_The Casting Out of Martin Whelan_, is the best this dramatist has as
yet given us, and George Fitzmaurice's _The Country Dressmaker_ has
the elements of good drama in it. St. John G. Ervine has written a
very human drama in _Mixed Marriage_. He hails from the north of
Ireland; but Rutherford Mayne is the best of the Northern
playwrights, and his plays, _The Drone_ and _The Turn of the Road_,
are splendid homely county Down comedies.

Bernard Shaw's _John Bull's Other Island_, as Irish plays go, is a
fine specimen; Canon Hannay has written two successful comedies,
_Eleanor's Enterprise_ and _General John Regan_--the latter not
wholly to the taste of the people of the west. James Stephens and
Jane Barlow have also tried their hands at playwriting, with but
moderate success. Perhaps the modern drama that made the most
impression when first played was _The Heather Field_, by Edward
Martyn. It gripped and remains a lasting memory with all who saw it
in 1899. But I think I have written enough to show that the Irish
Theatre of today is in a very alive condition, and that if the great
National Dramatist has not yet arrived, he is sure to emerge. When
that time comes, the actors are here ready to interpret such work to

An article, however brief, on the Irish Theatre, would be incomplete
without mention of the world-famous tragedians, John Edward
MacCullough, Lawrence Patrick Barrett, and Barry Sullivan; of genial
comedians like Charles Sullivan and Hubert O'Grady; of sterling
actors like Shiel Barry, John Brougham, Leonard Boyne, J.D.
Beveridge, and Thomas Nerney; or of operatic artists like Denis
O'Sullivan and Joseph O'Mara--many of whom have passed away, but
some, fortunately, are with us still.


John Genest: Some Account of the English Stage from the Restoration
to 1830 (1832; vol. 10 is devoted to the Irish Stage); Chetwood:
General History of the Stage, more particularly of the Irish Theatre
(Dublin, 1749); Molloy: Romance of the Irish Stage; Baker: Biographia
Dramatica (Dublin, 1782); Hitchcock: An Historical View of the Irish
Stage from its Earliest Period down to the Season of 1788; Doran:
Their Majesties' Servants, or Annals of the English Stage (London,
1865); Hughes: The Pre-Victorian Drama in Dublin; The History of the
Theatre Royal, Dublin (Dublin, 1870); Levey and O'Rourke: Annals of
the Theatre Royal (Dublin, 1880); O'Neill: Irish Theatrical History
(Dublin, 1910); Brown: A Guide to Books on Ireland (Dublin, 1912);
Lawrence: The Abbey Theatre (in the Weekly Freeman, Dublin, Dec.,
1912), Origin of the Abbey Theatre (in Sinn Fein, Dublin, Feb. 14,
1914); Weygandt: Irish Plays and Playwrights (London, 1913); Lady
Gregory: Our Irish Theatre (London, 1914); Bourgeois: John M. Synge
and the Irish Theatre (London, 1913); Moore: Hail and Farewell, 3
vols. (London, 1911-1914); Esmore: The Ulster Literary Theatre (in
the Lady of the House, Dublin, Nov. 15, 1913); the Reviews, Beltaine
(1899-1900) and Samhain (1901-1903).



The most splendid testimony to the Irish genius in journalism is
afforded by the London press of the opening decades of the twentieth
century. One of the greatest newspaper organizers of modern times is
Lord Northcliffe. As the principal proprietor and guiding mind of
both the _Times_ and the _Daily Mail_, he directly influences public
opinion, from the steps of the Throne and the door of the Cabinet, to
the errand boy and the servant maid. T.P. O'Connor, M.P., is the most
popular writer on current social and political topics, and so amazing
is his versatility that every subject he touches is illumined by
those fine qualities, vision and sincerity. The most renowned of
political writers is J.L. Garvin of the _Pall Mall Gazette_ and the
_Observer_. By his leading articles he has done as much as the late
Joseph Chamberlain by his speeches to democratize and humanize the
old Tory party of England. The authoritative special correspondent,
studying at first hand all the problems which divide the nations of
Europe, and knowing personally most of its rulers and statesmen, is
E.J. Dillon of the _Daily Telegraph_. And when the quarrels of
nations are transferred from the chancelleries to the stricken field
there is no one among the war correspondents more enterprising and
intrepid in his methods, or more picturesque and vivid with his pen,
than M.H. Donohoe of the _Daily Chronicle_. All these men are Irish.
Could there be more striking proof of the natural bent and aptitude
of the Irish mind for journalism?

Dean Swift was the mightiest journalist that ever stirred the
sluggish soul of humanity. Were he alive today and had he at his
command the enormous circulation of a great daily newspaper, he would
keep millions in a perpetual mental ferment, such was the ferocious
indignation into which he was aroused by wrong and injustice and his
gift of savage ironical expression. Swift, as a young student in
Trinity College, Dublin, saw the birth of the first offspring of the
Irish mind in journalism. The _Dublin News Letter_ made its
appearance in June, 1685, and was published every three or four days
for the circulation of news and advertisements. Only one copy of the
first issue of this, the earliest of Irish newspapers, is extant. It
is included in the Thorpe collection of tracts in the Royal Dublin
Society. Dated August 26, 1685, it consists of a single leaf of paper
printed on both sides, and contains just one item of news, a letter
brought by the English packet from London, and two local
advertisements. As I reverently handled it, I was thrilled by the
thought that from this insignificant little seed sprang the great
national organ, the _Freeman's Journal_; the _Press_ of the United
Irishmen; the _Nation_ of the Young Irelanders; the _United Ireland_
of the Land League; the _Irish World_ and the _Boston Pilot_ of the
American Irish; and the _Irish Independent_, the first half-penny
Dublin morning paper, and the most widely circulated of Irish
journals. If Swift did not write for the _Dublin News Letter_, he
certainly wrote for the _Examiner_, a weekly miscellany published in
the Irish capital from 1710 to 1713, and the first journal that
endeavored to create public opinion in Ireland. It was at Swift's
instigation that this paper was started, and he was doubtless
encouraged to suggest it by the success that attended his articles in
the contemporary London publication of the same name, the Tory
_Examiner_, in which his journalistic genius was fully revealed. As
it has been expressively put, he wrote his friends, Harley and St.
John, into a firm grip of power, and thus, as in other ways,
contributed his share to the inauguration and maintenance of that
policy which in the last four years of Queen Anne so materially
recast the whole European situation. About the same time there
appeared in London the earliest forms of the periodical essay in the
_Tatler_ and the _Spectator_, which exhibit the comprehensiveness of
the Irish temperament in writing by affording a contrast between the
Irish force and vehemence of Swift and the Irish play of kindly wit
and tender pathos in the deft and dainty periods of Richard Steele.

Dr. Charles Lucas was, even more than Swift perhaps, the precursor of
that type of Irish publicist and journalist, of which there have been
many splendid examples since then in Ireland, England, and America.
Lucas first started the _Censor_, a weekly journal, in 1748. Within
two years his paper was suppressed for exciting discontent with the
government, and to avoid a prosecution he fled to England. In 1763
the _Freeman's Journal_ was established by three Dublin merchants.
Lucas, who had returned from a long exile and was a member of the
Irish parliament, contributed to it, sometimes anonymously but
generally over the signature of "A Citizen" or "Civis." The editor
was Henry Brooks, novelist, poet, and playwright. His novel, _The
Fool of Quality_, is still read. His tragedy, _The Earl of Essex_,
was, wrongly, supposed to contain a precept, "Who rules o'er freemen
should himself be free," which led to the more famous parody of Dr.
Samuel Johnson, "Who drives fat oxen should himself be fat." The
object of Lucas and Brooke, as journalists, was to awaken national
sentiment, by teaching that Ireland had an individuality of her own
independently of England. But they were more concerned with the
assertion of the constitutional rights of the parliament of the
Protestant colony as against the domination of England. Therefore,
the first organ of Irish Nationality, representative of all creeds
and classes, was the _Press_, the newspaper of the United Irishmen,
which was started in Dublin in 1797, by Arthur O'Connor, the son of a
rich merchant who had made his money in London. Its editor was Peter
Finnerty, born of humble parentage at Loughrea, afterwards a famous
parliamentary reporter for the London _Morning Chronicle_, and its
most famous contributor was Dr. William Drennan, the poet, who first
called Ireland "the Emerald Isle."

Irishmen did not become prominently associated with American
journalism until after the Famine and the collapse of the Young
Ireland movement in 1848. The journalist whom I regard as having
exercised the most fateful influence on the destinies of Ireland was
Charles Gavan Duffy, the founder and first editor of the _Nation_, a
newspaper of which it was truly and finely said that it brought a new
soul into Erin. Among its contributors, who afterwards added lustre
to the journalism of the United States, was John Mitchel. In the
_Southern Citizen_ and the _Richmond Enquirer_ he supported the South
against the North in the Civil War. The Rev. Abram Joseph Ryan, who
was associated with journalism in New Orleans, not only acted as a
Catholic chaplain with the Confederate army, but sang of its hopes
and aspirations in tuneful verse. Serving in the army of the North
was Charles G. Halpine, whose songs signed "Private Miles O'Reilly"
were very popular in those days of national convulsion in the United
States. Halpine's father had edited the Tory newspaper, the Dublin
_Evening Mail_; and Halpine himself, after the war, edited the
_Citizen_ of New York, famous for its advocacy of reforms in civic
administration. Perhaps the two most renowned men in Irish-American
journalism were John Boyle O'Reilly of the _Boston Pilot_ and Patrick
Ford of the _Irish World_. O'Reilly was a troop-sergeant in the 10th
Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own), and during the Fenian troubles of
1866 had eighty of his men ready armed and mounted to take out of
Island Bridge Barracks, Dublin, at a given signal, to aid the
projected insurrection. Detected, he was brought to trial, summarily
convicted, and sentenced to be shot. This sentence was commuted to
twenty-five years' penal servitude; but O'Reilly survived it all to
become a brilliant man of letters and make the _Boston Pilot_ one of
the most influential Irish and Catholic newspapers in the United
States. Ford, who had served his apprenticeship as a compositor in
the office of William Lloyd Garrison at Boston, founded the _Irish
World_ in 1870. This newspaper gave powerful aid to the Land League.
A special issue of 1,650,000 copies of the _Irish World_ was printed
on January 11, 1879, for circulation in Ireland; and money to the
amount of $600,000 altogether was sent by Ford to the headquarters of
the agitation in Dublin. A journalist of a totally different kind was
Edwin Lawrence Godkin. Born in County Wicklow, the son of a
Presbyterian clergyman, Godkin in 1865 established the _Nation_ in
New York as an organ of independent thought; and for thirty-five
years he filled a unique position, standing aside from all parties,
sects, and bodies, and yet permeating them all with his sane and
restraining philosophy.

In Canada, Thomas D'Arcy Magee won fame as a journalist on the _New
Era_ before he became even more distinguished as a parliamentarian.
When the history of Australian journalism is written it will contain
two outstanding Irish names: Daniel Henry Deniehy, who died in 1865,
was called by Bulwer Lytton "the Australian Macaulay" on account of
his brilliant writings as critic and reviewer in the press of
Victoria. Gerald Henry Supple, another Dublin man, is also remembered
for his contributions to the _Age_ and the _Argus_ of Melbourne. In
India one of the first--if not the first--English newspapers was
founded by a Limerick man, named Charles Johnstone, who had
previously attained fame as the author of _Chrysal, or the Adventures
of a Guinea_, and who died at Calcutta about 1800.

Stirring memories of battle and adventure leap to the mind at the
names of those renowned war correspondents, William Howard Russell,
Edmond O'Donovan, and James J. O'Kelly. Russell, a Dublin man, was
the first newspaper representative to accompany an army into the
field. He saw all the mighty engagements of the Crimea--Alma,
Balaclava, Inkerman, Sebastopol--not from a distance of 60 or 80
miles, which is the nearest that correspondents are now allowed to
approach the front, but at the closest quarters, riding through the
lines on his mule, and seeing the engagements vividly, so that he was
able to describe them in moving detail for readers of the _Times_.
O'Donovan--son of Dr. John O'Donovan, the distinguished Irish scholar
and archaeologist--was in the service of the London _Daily News_.
That dashing campaigner--as his famous book, _The Merv Oasis_, shows
him to have been--perished with Hicks Pasha's Army in the Sudan in
November, 1883. At the same time James O'Kelly, also of the _Daily
News_, was lost in the desert, trying to join the forces of the
victorious Sudanese under the Madhi. Ten years before that he had
accomplished, for the New York _Herald_, the equally daring and
hazardous feat of joining the Cuban rebels in revolt against Spain.
He escaped the perils of the Mambi Land and the Sudan, and survived
to serve Ireland for many years as a Nationalist member in the
British parliament. John Augustus O'Shea, better known, perhaps, as
"The Irish Bohemian", also deserves remembrance for his quarter of a
century's work as special correspondent in Europe--including Paris
during the siege--for the London _Standard_.

Indeed, no matter to what side of journalism we turn, we find
Irishmen filling the foremost and the highest places. John Thaddeus
Delane, under whose editorship the _Times_ became for a time the most
influential newspaper in the world, was of Irish parentage. The first
editor of the _Illustrated London News_ (1842)--one of the pioneers
in the elucidation of news by means of pictures--was an Irishman,
Frederick Bayley. Among the projectors of _Punch_, and one of its
earliest contributors, was a King's county man, Joseph Sterling
Coyne. The founder of the _Liverpool Daily Post_ (1855), the first
penny daily paper in Great Britain, was Michael Joseph Whitty, a
Wexford man. His son, Edward M. Whitty, was the originator of that
interesting feature of English and Irish journalism, the sketch of
personalities and proceedings in parliament. Of the editors of the
_Athenaeum_--for many years the leading English organ of literary
criticism--one of the most famous was Dr. John Doran, who was of
Irish parentage. "Dod" is a familiar household word in the British
Parliament. It is the name of the recognized guide to the careers and
political opinions of Lords and Commons. Its founder was an Irishman,
Charles Roger Dod, who for twenty-three years was a parliamentary
reporter for the _Times_. And what name sheds a brighter light on the
annals of British journalism for intellectual and imaginative force
than that of Justin MacCarthy, novelist and historian, as well as
newspaper writer?

At home in Ireland the name of Gray is inseparably associated with
the _Freeman's Journal_. Under the direction of Dr. John Gray this
newspaper became in the sixties and seventies the most powerful organ
of public opinion in Ireland; and in the eighties it was raised still
higher in ability and influence by his son and successor, Edmund
Dwyer Gray. In the south of Ireland the most influential daily
newspaper is the _Cork Examiner_, which was founded in 1841 by John
Francis Maguire, who wrote in 1868 _The Irish in America_. It is
doubtful whether any country ever produced a more militant and able
political journal than was _United Ireland_ in the stormy years
during which it was edited by William O'Brien as the organ of the
Land League.

The Irish mood is gregarious, expansive, glowing, and eager to keep
in intimate touch with the movements and affairs of humanity. That, I
think, is the secret of its success in journalism.


Madden: Irish Periodical Literature (1867); Andrews: English
Journalism (1855); North: Newspaper and Periodical Press of the
United States (1884); MacDonagh: The Reporter's Gallery (1913).



In the closing decade of the nineteenth century and in the opening
years of the twentieth, no literary movement has awakened a livelier
interest than the Irish Literary Revival, a movement which, by its
singleness and solidarity of purpose, stood alone in a time of
confused literary aims and tendencies. Movements, like individuals,
have their ancestry, and that of the Irish Literary Revival is easily
traced. It descends from Callanan and Walsh, and from the writers of
'48. It is to this descent that the lines in William Butler Yeats's
"To Ireland in Coming Times" allude:

      Know that I would accounted be
      True brother of that company,
      Who sang to sweeten Ireland's wrong,
      Ballad and story, rann and song.

With the passing of the mid-nineteenth-century writers, the old
movement waned, and in the field of Irish letters there was, in the
phrase of a famous bull, nothing stirring but stagnation. A witty
critic of the period, commenting upon this unhappy state of affairs,
declared that, though the love of learning in Ireland might still be,
as the saying went, indestructible, it was certainly imperceptible.
But after the fall of Parnell a new spirit was stirring. Politics no
longer absorbed the whole energy of the nation. Groups of men
inspired with a love of the arts sprang up here and there. In 1890
Yeats proved himself a real prophet when he wrote: "A true literary
consciousness--national to the centre--seems gradually to be forming
out of all this disguising and prettifying, this penumbra of
half-culture. We are preparing likely enough for a new Irish literary
movement--like that of '48--that will show itself in the first lull
in politics."

Responsive to the need of the young writers associated with Yeats,
the National Literary Society was founded in Dublin in 1892, and a
year later London Irishmen, among them men already distinguished in
letters, founded in the English metropolis the Irish Literary
Society. From the presses in Dublin, in London, and in New York as
well, books began to appear in rapid succession--slender volumes of
verse, novels, short stories, essays, plays, translations, and
remakings of Irish myths and legends, all inspired by, and closely
related to, the past or the present of Ireland, voicing an
essentially national spirit and presenting the noblest traits of
Irish life and character.

Not content with the organization of the two literary societies,
Yeats, with courage and relentless tenacity, cast about to realize
his long-cherished dream of a theatre that should embody the ideals
of the Revival. In Lady Gregory, and in Edward Martyn, an Irishman of
large means, who with both pen and purse lent a willing hand, he
found two ardent laborers for his vineyard. George Moore, who in the
event proved a fish out of water in Ireland, Yeats and Martyn
contrived to lure from his London lodgings and his cosmopolitan ways,
and to enlist in the theatrical enterprise. The practical knowledge
of the stage which this gifted _enfant terrible_ of literature
contributed was doubtless of great value in the early days of the
dramatic adventure, though Moore's free thoughts, frank speech, and
mordant irony brought an element of discord into Dublin literary
circles, which may well have left Yeats and his associates with a
feeling that they had paid too dear for a piper to whose tunes they
refused to dance. Be that as it may, in 1899 Yeats's dream was
measurably realized, and the Irish Literary Theatre established, to
be succeeded a little later by the Irish National Theatre Society.
Enough, however, of the dramatic aspect of the Revival, which
receives separate treatment elsewhere in these pages, as does also
the dramatic work of certain of the authors considered here.

From what has already been said, it should be plain that in the last
decade of the last century the ranks of the Irish Literary
Revivalists filled rapidly, and that the movement was really under
way. The renascent spirit took various forms. To one group of poets
the humor, pathos, and tragedy of peasant life deeply appealed, and
found expression in a poetry distinctively and unmistakably national,
from which a kind of pleasure could be drawn unlike anything else in
other literatures. In this group Alfred Perceval Graves and Moira
O'Neill cannot pass unmentioned. Who would ask anything racier in its
kind than the former's "Father O'Flynn"?

      Of priests we can offer a charmin' variety,
      Far renowned for larnin' and piety,
      Still I'd advance you without impropriety,
      Father O'Flynn as the flower of them all.
         Here's a health to you, Father O'Flynn,
         Slainte,[1] and slainte, and slainte agin.
            Powerfullest preacher,
            And tinderest teacher,
      And kindliest creature in Old Donegal.

[Footnote 1: "Your health."]

Or was the homing instinct, the homesick longing for the old sod,
ever more truly rendered than in Moira O'Neill's song of the Irish
laborer in England?

      Over here in England I'm helpin' wi' the hay,
      An' I wish I was in Ireland the livelong day;
      Weary on the English, an' sorra take the wheat!
      Och! Corrymeela an' the blue sky over it.

      D'ye mind me now, the song at night is mortial hard to raise,
      The girls are heavy-goin' here, the boys are ill to plase;
      When ones't I'm out this workin' hive, 'tis I'll be back again--
      Aye, Corrymeela in the same soft rain.

Here, too, should be named Jane Barlow, whose poems and stories are
faithful imaginative transcripts of the face of nature and the hearts
of men as she knew them in Connemara. Finally there is William Butler
Yeats, who, on the whole, is the representative man of the Revival.
Except in the translator's sphere, his writings have given him a
place in almost all the activities of this movement. As a lyric poet,
he has expressed the moods of peasant and patriot, of mystic,
symbolist, and quietist, and it is safe to say that in lyric poetry
no one of his generation writing in English is his superior. We
cannot resist the pleasure of quoting here from his "Innisfree",
which won the praise of Robert Louis Stevenson, and which, if not the
high mark of Yeats's achievement, is still a flawless thing in its

      I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
         And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
      Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
         And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

      And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
         Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
      There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
         And evening full of the linnets' wings.

In this place, and for convenience sake, it may be permitted to speak
of aspects of Yeats's work other than that by virtue of which he is
to be classed with the group we have just considered. In his
narrative poem, "The Wanderings of Usheen", as well as in his plays
and lyrics, he is of the best of those--among them we may mention by
the way Dr. John Todhunter, Nora Hopper (Mrs. W.H. Chesson), and
William Larminie--who have revealed to our day the strange beauty of
the ancient creations of the Gaelic imagination. In prose he has
written short stories, a novelette, _John Sherman and Dhoya_, and
essays that reveal a subtle critical insight, and a style of
beautiful finish and grace, suggestive of the style of Shelley's
_Defence of Poetry_. Yeats's plays constitute a considerable and an
important part of his work, but these must be reserved for treatment
elsewhere in this book. In prefaces to anthologies of prose and verse
of his editing, in the pages of reviews, and elsewhere, he appears as
the chief apologist of the aims of the Literary Revival, and in
particular of the methods of the dramatists of the Revival. Whatever
he has touched he has lifted into the realm of poetry, and this is in
large measure true of his prose, which proceeds from the poet's point
of view and breathes the poetic spirit. A man of rare versatility, a
finished artist with a scrupulous artistic conscience, he has done
work of high and sustained quality, and is certain to exert a good
and lasting influence upon the literature of his country.

In a literary movement in the "Isle of Saints", we look naturally for
religious poetry, and we do not look in vain. This poetry, chiefly
Catholic, has a quality of its own as distinctive as that of the
writers of the group we have just left. Now it voices a naive,
devoted simplicity of Christian faith; now it attains to a high and
keen spirituality; now it is mystic and pagan. Among the religious
poets, Lionel Johnson easily stands first--perhaps the Irish poet of
firmest fibre and most resonant voice of his generation. A note of
high courage and of spiritual triumph rings through his verse, even
from the shadow of the wings of the dark angel that gives a title to
one of the saddest of his poems. Often he strikes a note of genuine
religious ecstasy and exaltation rarely heard in English, as in "Te
Martyrum Candidatus":

      Ah, see the fair chivalry come, the companions of Christ!
         White Horsemen, who ride on white horses, the Knights of God!
      They, for their Lord and their Lover who sacrificed
         All, save the pleasure of treading where He first trod.

      These through the darkness of death, the dominion of night,
         Swept, and they woke in white places at morning tide:
      They saw with their eyes, and sang for joy of the sight,
         They saw with their eyes the Eyes of the Crucified.

Among the men of the Revival, no personality is stronger or more
attractive than that of G.W. Russell--"AE", as he is always
called--who may be regarded as the hero of George Moore's _Hail and
Farewell_, and who alone in that gallery of wonderful pen-portraits
looks forth with complete amiability. He is a pantheist, a mystic,
and a visionary, with what would seem a literal and living faith in
many gods, though strongly prepossessed in favor of the ancient
divinities of the Gael, now long since in exile. Impressive and
striking by a certain spiritual integrity, so to say, "AE" unites
gifts and faculties seldom combined. He is a poet of rare subtlety, a
painter in whose genius so good a judge as George Moore believed, and
a most practical man of affairs, who, as assistant to Sir Horace
Plunkett, held up the latter's hands in his labors on behalf of
co-operative dairies and the like. His poems have their roots in a
pantheism which half reveals the secrets of an indwelling spirit,
speaking alike "from the dumb brown lips of earth" and from the
passions of the heart of man.

Of novelists, both men and women, the Irish Revival can, in the words
of "Father O'Flynn", offer a charming variety, and among their novels
and short stories are some books of high quality and not a few in a
high degree interesting and entertaining. To Standish O'Grady we turn
for tales, with a kind of bardic afflatus about them, of the hero age
of legendary Ireland--tales which drew attention to the romantic
Celtic past of myth and saga, and must have been an inspiration to
more than one writer of the younger generation. In contrast to the
broad epic sweep and remote romantic backgrounds of O'Grady, are the
stories of Jane Barlow, whose _genre_ pictures of peasant life in the
west of Ireland, like her poems mentioned above, show how
sympathetically she understands the ways of thinking, feeling, and
acting of her humble compatriots. A like minute and faithful
knowledge is evident in the work of two story-tellers of the north,
Seumas MacManus and Shan Bullock. The former's outlook is humorous
and pathetic. He tells fairy and folk tales well, and is a past
master of the dialect and idiom that combine to give his old-wives'
yarns an honest smack of the soil. Let him who doubts it read
_Through the Turf Smoke_ or _Donegal Fairy Stories_. If Shan Bullock
walks the same fields as Seumas MacManus, he does so with a different
air and with a more definite purpose. Sometimes he turns to the
squireens, small farmers, or small country gentry, and lays bare the
hardness and narrowness that are a part of their life. Or, again, in
pictures whose sadness and gloom are lightened, to be sure, with
humor or warmed with love, he studies the necessitous life of the
poor. _The Squireen, The Barrys_, and _Irish Pastorals_ are some of
his representative books.

In the novel as in poetry the ladies have worked side by side with
their literary brethren. Miss Hermione Templeton, in her _Darby
O'Gill_, and elsewhere, has written pleasantly and gracefully of the
fairies. In a very different vein are the novels of the
collaborators, Miss Somerville and "Martin Ross" (Miss Violet
Martin), over which English and American readers have laughed as
heartily as their own fellow countrymen. _The Experiences of an Irish
R.M._remains, perhaps, their best book. The work of these ladies, be
it said by the way, is in the line of descent from that group of
older Irish novelists who wrote in the spirit of the devil-may-care
gentry, the novelists from Maxwell to Lover and Lever, who were ever
questing "divilment and divarshion," and who in their moods of
boisterous fun forgot the real Irishman, and presented in his place a
caricature--him of the Celtic screech and the exhilarating whack of
the shillelagh, the famous stage Irishman who has made occasional
appearances in English literature from the time of Shakespeare's
_Henry V._, on through the works of Fielding and the plays of
Sheridan, to the present moment of writing.

Of a very different stripe from the work of the collaborating ladies
just mentioned are the novels of the recently deceased Canon
Sheehan--notable among them _Luke Delmege_ and _My New
Curate_--rambling, diffuse, and a trifle provincial from the artistic
standpoint, but interesting as studies of manners, and for the
pictures they afford of the priesthood of modern Ireland in the
pleasantest light. If the stories of Miss Somerville and "Martin
Ross" are related to the comic stories of the old novelists of the
gentry, those of Canon Sheehan must be associated with the work of
the older novelists who wrote more or less in the spirit of the
peasantry, that is, with Gerald Griffin, the Banim brothers, and
William Carleton, less famous than he deserves to be by his _Traits
and Stories_ and a long line of novels and tales.

No survey of Irish novelists, however brief, can afford to forget the
Rev. James Owen Hannay ("George A. Birmingham"), canon of St.
Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, whose work is as distinctively
Protestant in its point of view as Father Sheehan's is Catholic. His
more substantial novels are a careful transcript of the actualities
of Irish life today, and in them one meets, incognito but easily
recognizable, many Irishmen now prominent in literature or politics
in Ireland. Of his numerous books may be mentioned _The Seething Pot,
Hyacinth_, and _Northern Iron_.

Finally there is George Moore, whose enlistment in the Revival was
responsible for the novel _The Lake_ and the short stories of _The
Unfilled Field_, and for a largely autobiographic and entirely
indiscreet trilogy entitled _Hail and Farewell_, the separate volumes
appearing as _Ave, Salve, Vale_, and the last of them as late as
1914. George Moore's anti-Catholic bias is strong, but his is the pen
of an accomplished artist. He has the story-teller's beguiling gift,
and he bristles with ideas which his books cleverly embody and to
which the dramatic moments of his novels give point and relief.

Not the least important work of the Irish Literary Revival has been
done by translators, who have put into English the old Gaelic
romances and the folklore still current among the little remnant of
Irish-speaking country folk. Dr. Douglas Hyde is in the forefront of
this group. He it was who organized the Gaelic League, a band of
enthusiasts zealous for the revival of the Irish language both as a
spoken tongue and as the medium for a national literature, and eager,
also, to breed up a race of Celtic scholars. The lyrics in his _Love
Songs of Connacht_ are full of grace, tenderness, and fire, and
indicate the kind of gems which he and his fellow laborers have added
to the treasury of poetry in English. But it is Lady Gregory,
especially in her _Cuchulain of Muirthemne_ and _Gods and Fighting
Men_, who more than any other has found a way to stir the blood of
readers of to-day by the romantic hero tales of Ireland. From the
racy idiom of the dwellers on or about her own estate in Galway, she
happily framed a style that gave her narratives freshness, novelty,
and a flavor of the soil. Upon the work of scholars she drew heavily
in making her own renderings, but she has justified all borrowings by
breathing into her books the breath and the warmth of life, and her
adaptation to epic purposes of the dialect of those who still retain
the expiring habit of thinking in Gaelic was a real literary
achievement. She has, indeed, in sins of commission and of omission,
taken liberties with the old legends, but this may render them not
less, and perhaps more, delightful to the general reader, however
just complaints may be from the standpoint of the scholar.

Even so brief a sketch as this may suffice to bring home to those not
already aware of it a realization of the delights to be drawn from
the creations of a living literary movement, which is perhaps the
most notable of its generation, and which has gathered together a
remarkable group of poets, novelists, and dramatists, who, as men and
women, are a most interesting company--a fact to which even George
Moore's _Hail and Farewell_, with its quick eye for defects and
foibles and its ironic wit, bears abundant testimony.


Brooke and Rolleston: Treasury of Irish Poetry (New York and London,
1900); Krans: William Butler Yeats and the Irish Literary Revival
(New York and London, 1904); Yeats: Ideas of Good and Evil (London,
1903); Moore: Hail and Farewell, 3 vols. (London and New York,
1912-1914); Lady Gregory: Our Irish Theatre (New York and London,
1913); Weygandt: Irish Plays and Playwrights (New York, 1913); Yeats:
Introduction to Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry (London,
1889), Representative Irish Tales (London, 1890), Book of Irish Verse
(London, 1895). There is much of interest, though chiefly as regards
the drama, in the reviews, Beltaine (London and Dublin, 1899-1900)
and Samhain (London and Dublin, 1901-1903).


By P.J. LENNOX, B.A., Litt.D.

The Gaelic literature of Ireland is not only of wonderful volume and
priceless worth, but is also of great antiquity, whereas the English
literature of Ireland, while also of considerable extent and high
value, is of comparatively modern origin. The explanation of this
fact is that for more than six centuries after the Anglo-Norman
invasion of 1169 the Irish language continued to be both the spoken
and, with Latin, the written organ of the great mass of the Irish
people, and that for nearly the whole of that period those English
settlers who did not become, as the well-known phrase has it, more
Irish than the Irish themselves by adopting the native language,
customs, and sentiments, were kept too busy in holding, defending,
and extending their territory to devote themselves to literary
pursuits. Hence we need not wonder if, leaving out of account merely
technical works like Lionel Power's treatise on music, written in
1395, we find that the English literature of Ireland takes its
comparatively humble origin late in the sixteenth century. For more
than two centuries thereafter, owing to the fact that the native
Irish, because they were Catholics, were debarred by law from an
education, the writing of English remained almost exclusively in the
hands of members or descendants of the Anglo-Irish colony, who, with
scarcely an exception, were Protestants and had as their principal
Irish seat of learning the then essentially Protestant institution,
Trinity College, Dublin. Alien in race and creed though these writers
mainly were, they have nevertheless spread a halo of glory around
their adopted country, and have won the admiration, and often the
affection, of Irishmen of every shade of religious and political
belief. For example, there is no Irishman who is not proud of
Molyneux and Swift, of Goldsmith and Burke, of Grattan and Sheridan.
From the nineteenth century onward Irish Catholics have taken their
full share in the production of English literature. Here, however, it
will be necessary to consider the writers of none but the sixteenth,
seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, as in other pages of this
volume considerable attention has been given to those of later date.


Richard Stanyhurst (1547-1618), born in Dublin but educated at
Oxford, is the first representative of the sixteenth century with
whom we are called upon to deal. He belonged to a family long settled
in or near Dublin and of some note in municipal annals. Under the
direction of the Jesuit martyr, Edmund Campion, Stanyhurst wrote a
_Description_, as well as a portion of the _History_, of Ireland for
Holinshed's _Chronicles_, published in 1577. He also translated
(1582) the first four books of _Virgil his Aeneis_ into quantitative
hexameters, on the unsound pedantic principles which Gabriel Harvey
was at that time trying so hard to establish in English prosody; but
the experiment, which turned out so badly in the master's hands,
fared even worse in those of the disciple, and Stanyhurst's lines
will always stand as a noted specimen of inept translation and
ridiculous versification. Equally inartistic was his version of some
of the Psalms in the same metre. In Latin he wrote a profound
commentary on Porphyry, the Neo-Platonic mystic. Stanyhurst, who was
uncle to James Ussher, the celebrated Protestant archbishop of
Armagh, was himself a convert to Catholicity, and on the death of his
second wife became a priest and wrote in Latin some edifying books of
devotion. Two of his sons joined the Jesuit order. He died at
Brussels in 1618. Stanyhurst viewed Ireland entirely from the English
standpoint, and in his _Description_ and _History_ is, consciously or
unconsciously, greatly biased against the native race.

If we may take it as certain that modern investigation is correct in
asserting that Thomas Campion was a native of Dublin, a notable
addition will have been made to the ranks of Irish-born writers of
English at this period. Thomas Campion (1567-1620), wherever born,
spent most of his life in London. He was a versatile genius, for,
after studying law, he took up medicine, and, although practising as
a physician, he yet found time to write four masques and many lyrics
and to compose a goodly quantity of music. Some of his songs appeared
as early as 1591. Among his works is a treatise entitled
_Observations in the Art of English Poesie_ (1602), in which, strange
to say, he, a born lyrist, advocated unrhymed verse and quantitative
measures, but fortunately his practice did not usually square with
his theory. His masques were written for occasions, such as the
marriage of Lord Hayes (1607), the nuptials of the Princess Elizabeth
and the Elector Palatine (1613), and the ill-starred wedding of
Somerset and the quondam Countess of Essex in the same year. In these
masques are embedded some of his best songs; others of his lyrics
appeared in several _Bookes of Ayres_ between 1601 and 1617. Many of
them were written to music, sometimes music of his composing. Such
dainty things as "Now hath Flora robb'd her bowers" and "Harke, all
you ladies that do sleep" possess the charms of freshness and
spontaneity, and his devotional poetry, especially "Awake, awake,
thou heavy Spright" and "Never weather-beaten Saile more willing bent
to shore", makes almost as wide an appeal.


Passing by with regret the illustrious seventeenth century names of
Philip O'Sullivan Beare, Sir James Ware, Luke Wadding, Hugh Ward,
John Colgan, and John Lynch, because their bearers wrote in Latin,
and those of "The Four Masters" and Geoffrey Keating, because they
wrote in Irish, we are first brought to a pause in the seventeenth
century by the imposing figure of him, whom, in a later day, Johnson
justly called the "great luminary of the Irish [Protestant] church",
none other than the archbishop of Armagh and primate of Ireland,
James Ussher himself. James Ussher (1581-1656), born in Dublin and
among the earliest students of the newly-founded Trinity College, was
in intellect and scholarship one of the greatest men that Ireland has
ever produced. Selden describes him as "learned to a miracle" (_ad
miraculum doctus_), and Canon D'Alton in his _History of Ireland_
says of him that "he was not unworthy to rank even with Duns Scotus,
and when he died he left in his own Church neither an equal nor a
second." Declining the high office of provost of Trinity, Ussher was
made bishop of Meath and was afterwards promoted to the primatial
see. His fine intellect was unfortunately marred by narrow religious
views, and in many ways he displayed his animus against those of his
countrymen who did not see eye to eye with him in matters of faith
and doctrine. For example, it was he who in 1626 drew up the Irish
Protestant bishops' protest against toleration for Catholics, therein
showing a bigotry which consorted badly with his reputation as a
scholar. On account of his well-known attitude towards Catholicism,
he was naturally unpopular with those who professed the ancient
creed, and hence, when the rebellion of 1641 broke out, much of his
property was destroyed by the enraged insurgents. His person escaped
violence, for he happened to be in England at the time engaged in the
vain task of trying to effect an accommodation between Charles I. and
the English parliament. He never returned to his see and died in

Ussher's collected works fill seventeen stately volumes. His _magnum
opus_ is undoubtedly the _Annales Veteris et Novi Testamenti_. It is
written in Latin, and is a chronological compendium of the history of
the world from the Creation to the dispersion of the Jews under
Vespasian. Published at Leyden, London, Paris, and Oxford, it gained
for its author a European fame. His books written in English deal
mostly with theological or controversial subjects, and while they
display wide reading, great acumen, and keen powers of argumentation,
they yet do not do full justice to his genius. Those which he
published in Dublin are _A Discourse of the Religion anciently
professed by the Irish and British_ (1622), in which he tried to show
that the ritual and discipline of the Church as originally
established in the British Isles were in agreement with the Church of
England and opposed to the Catholic Church on the matters in dispute
between them; _An Answer to a Challenge made by a Jesuite in Ireland_
(1624), in which his aim was to disprove the contention set forth
earlier in the same year by a Jesuit that uniformity of doctrine had
always been maintained by the Catholic Church; and _Immanuel, or the
Mysterie of the Incarnation_. He published in England _The Originall
of Bishops, A Body of Divinitie, The Principles of Christian
Religion_, and other works. So great was Ussher's reputation that
when he died Cromwell relaxed in his favor one of the strictest laws
of the Puritans and allowed him to be buried with the full service of
the Church of England, and with great pomp, in Westminster Abbey.

Among Ussher's other claims to distinction, it should be noted that
it was he who in 1621 discovered the celebrated Book of Kells, which
had long been lost. This marvel of the illuminator's art passed with
the remainder of his collection of books and manuscripts to Trinity
College, Dublin, in 1661, and to this day it remains one of the most
treasured possessions of the noble library of that institution.

Sir John Denham (1615-1669), a Dublin man by birth, took an active
part on the side of Charles I. against the parliament during the
Civil War, and subsequently was conspicuous in the intrigues that led
to the restoration of Charles II. In his own day he had a great
reputation as a poet. His tragedy, _The Sophy_, and his translation
of the Psalms are now forgotten, but he is still remembered for one
piece, _Cooper's Hill_, in which occur the well-known lines addressed
to the River Thames:

      O could I flow like thee, and make thy stream
      My great example, as it is my theme!
      Though deep, yet clear; though gentle, yet not dull;
      Strong, without rage; without o'erflowing, full.

Another Dublin-born man was Wentworth Dillon, Earl of Roscommon
(1633-1684). He had the good fortune to win encomiums both from
Dryden and from Pope. One of his merits, as pointed out by the
latter, is that

                      In all Charles's days
      Roscommon only boasts unspotted bays.

He translated from Virgil, Lucan, Horace, and Guarini; wrote
prologues, epilogues, and other occasional verses; but is now
principally remembered for his poetical _Essay on Translated Verse_
(1681), in which he develops principles previously laid down by
Cowley and Denham. To his credit be it said, he condemns indecency,
both as want of sense and bad taste. He was honored with a funeral in
Westminster Abbey. Johnson records that, at the moment of his death,
Roscommon uttered with great energy and devotion the following two
lines from his own translation of the _Dies Irae_:

      My God, my Father, and my Friend,
      Do not forsake me in my end!

Robert Boyle (1627-1691), one of the founders of the Royal Society
(1662), was son of the "great" Earl of Cork and was born at Lismore,
Co. Waterford. He takes rank among the principal experimental
philosophers of his age, and he certainly rendered valuable services
to the advancement of science. Most of his writings, which are very
voluminous, are naturally of a technical character and therefore do
not properly belong to literature; but his _Occasional Reflections on
Several Subjects_ (1665), a strange mixture of triviality and
seriousness, was germinal in this sense that it led to two celebrated
_jeux d'esprit_, namely, Butler's _Occasional Reflection on Dr.
Charlton's feeling a Dog's Pulse at Gresham College_ and Swift's
_Pious Meditation upon a Broomstick, in the Style of the Honourable
Mr. Boyle_. Indeed, one of Boyle's _Reflections_, that "Upon the
Eating of Oysters", is reputed to have rendered a still more signal
service to literature, for in its two concluding paragraphs is
contained the idea which, under the transforming hand of the master
satirist, eventually took the world by storm when it appeared, fully
developed, as _Gulliver's Travels_.

His brother, Roger Boyle (1621-1679), who figures largely as a
soldier and a statesman in Irish and English history under his title
of Lord Broghill, was an alumnus of Trinity College, Dublin. During
the Civil War he was a royalist until the death of Charles I., when
he changed sides and aided Cromwell materially in his Irish campaign.
When the Lord Protector died, Broghill made another right-about-face,
and crossing to his native country worked so energetically and
successfully that he made Ireland solid for the restoration of
Charles II. For this service he was rewarded by being created Earl of
Orrery. He was the author of six tragedies and two comedies, some of
which when produced proved gratifyingly popular. He is noted for
having been the first to write tragedy in rhyme, thereby setting an
example that was followed with avidity for a time by Dryden and
others. He also wrote poems, a romance called _Parthenissa_ (1654),
and a _Treatise on the Art of War_ (1677). From whatever point of
view considered, Lord Orrery was a remarkable member of a remarkable
family. His son, John Boyle, Earl of Cork and Orrery (1707-1762), in
virtue of his translation of Pliny's _Letters_, his _Remarks on the
Life and Writings of Swift_, and his _Letters from Italy_, has some
claims to recognition in the field of literature.

Charles Leslie (1650-1722), a Dubliner by birth, was son of that John
Leslie, bishop of Raphoe and Clogher, who lived through a whole
century, from 1571 to 1671, and who was 79 years of age when Charles,
his sixth son, was born. Educated first at Enniskillen and afterwards
at Trinity College, Dublin, Charles Leslie studied law in London, but
eventually abandoned that profession and entered the ministry. He was
of a disputatious character and in particular went to great lengths
in opposing the pro-Catholic activities of James II. Nevertheless,
when the Revolution of 1688 came, he took the side of the deposed
monarch, and loyally adhered to his Jacobite principles for the
remainder of his life. He even joined the Old Pretender on the
continent, and endeavored to convert him to Protestantism, but,
failing therein, he returned to Ireland, where he died at Glasslough
in county Monaghan. Many years of Leslie's life were devoted to
disputes with Catholics, Quakers, Socinians, and Deists, and the
seven volumes which his writings fill prove that he was an extremely
able controversialist. His best known work is the famous treatise, _A
Short and Easy Method with the Deists_, published in 1698.

The Irish note, tone, or temper is not conspicuous in any of the
writings so far named unless when it is conspicuous by its absence;
but it appears plainly, for the first time, in Molyneux's _Case of
Ireland being bound by Laws [made] in England Stated_ (1698). William
Molyneux (1656-1698) has always ranked as an Irish patriot. His was
one of the spirits invoked by Grattan in his great speech (1782) on
the occasion on which he carried his celebrated Declaration of
Independence in the Irish parliament. When the English Act of 1698,
which was meant to destroy, and did destroy, the Irish woolen
industry, came before the Irish house of commons for ratification,
Molyneux's was the only voice raised against its adoption. His
protest was followed by the publication of his _Case Stated_, which
is a classic on the general relations between Ireland and England,
and contained arguments so irrefutable that it drove the English
parliament to fury and was by that body ordered to be burned by the
common hangman. It is a remarkable coincidence that Molyneux opens
his argument by laying down in almost identical words the principles
which stand at the beginning of the American Declaration of

John Toland (1669-1722) was born near Redcastle, in Co. Derry, and
was at first a Catholic but subsequently became a free-thinker. His
_Christianity not Mysterious_ (1696) marks an epoch in religious
disputes, for it started the deistical controversy which was so
distinctive a feature of the first half of the eighteenth century. It
shared a similar fate to that of the _Case Stated_, though on very
different grounds, and was ordered by the Irish parliament to be
burned by the hangman. Toland wrote many other books, among which are
_Amyntor_ (1699); _Nazarenus_ (1702); _Pantheisticon; History of the
Druids_; and _Hypatia_. All his books show versatility and wide
reading and are characterized by a pointed, vigorous, and aggressive

George Farquhar (1678-1707), a Derry man, and Thomas Southerne
(1660-1746), born near Dublin, were distinguished playwrights, who
began their respective careers in the seventeenth century. Farquhar
left Trinity College, Dublin, as an undergraduate and became an
actor, but owing to his accidental killing of another player he left
the stage and secured a commission in the army. He soon turned his
attention to the writing of plays, and was responsible in all for
eight comedies. He has left us some characters that are very humorous
and at the same time true to life, such as Scrub the servant in _The
Beaux' Stratagem_ and Sergeant Kite in _The Recruiting Officer_. His
Boniface, the landlord in the former of these two plays, has become
the type, as well as the ordinary quasi-facetious nickname, of an
innkeeper. He was advancing in his art, for his last comedy, _The
Beaux' Stratagem_ (1707), is undoubtedly his best, and had he lived
longer--he died before he was thirty--he might have bequeathed to
posterity something even more noteworthy. As Leigh Hunt says of him:
"He was becoming gayer and gayer, when death, in the shape of a sore
anxiety, called him away as if from a pleasant party, and left the
house ringing with his jest."

Southerne was also a student of Trinity College, Dublin. At the age
of eighteen, however, he left his _alma mater_, and went to London to
study law. This profession he in turn abandoned for the drama. His
first play, _The Persian Prince, or the Loyal Brother_, had
remarkable success when performed, and secured him an ensign's
commission in the army (1685). Here promotion came to him rapidly and
by 1688 he had risen to captain's rank. The Revolution of that year,
however, cut off all further hope of advancement, and he once more
turned his attention to the writing of plays. His productions number
ten. His tragedies _Isabella, or the Fatal Marriage_ (1694) and
_Oroonoko_ (1696), both founded on tales by Mrs. Aphra Behn, are
powerful presentations of human suffering. His comedies are amusing,
but gross. Southerne had business ability enough to make play-writing
pay, and the amounts he received for his productions fairly staggered
his friend Dryden. It is to this faculty that Pope alludes when he
says that Southerne was one whom

                 heaven sent down to raise
      The price of prologues and of plays.

He was apparently of amiable and estimable character, for he secured
and retained the friendship not only of Dryden--a comparatively easy
matter--but also that of Pope, a much more difficult task. Known as
"the poets' Nestor", Southerne spent his declining years in peaceful
retirement and in the enjoyment of the fortune which he had amassed
by his pen.

Nahum Tate (1652-1715), a Dubliner by birth, and Nicholas Brady
(1659-1726), a Bandon man, have secured a certain sort of twin
immortality by their authorized metrical version of the Psalms
(1696), which gradually took the place of the older rendering by
Sternhold and Hopkins. Tate became poet-laureate in 1690 in
succession to Shadwell and was appointed historiographer-royal in
1702. He wrote the bulk of the second part of _Absalom and
Achitophel_ with a wonderfully close imitation of Dryden's manner,
besides several dramatic pieces and poems. Between Tate, Shadwell,
Eusden, and Pye lies the unenviable distinction of being the worst of
the laureates of England. Brady was a clergyman who, after the
pleasant fashion of that day, was a pluralist on a small scale, for
he had the living of Richmond for thirty years from 1696, and while
holding that held also in succession the livings of Stratford-on-Avon
and Clapham. He added further to his income, and doubtless to his
anxieties, by keeping a school at Richmond. He wrote a tragedy
entitled _The Rape_, a _History of the Goths and Vandals_, a
translation of the _Aeneid_ into blank verse, and an _Ode for St.
Cecilia's Day_; but, unless for his share in the version of the
Psalms, his literary reputation is well nigh as dead as the dodo.

Ireland somewhat doubtfully claims to have given birth to Mrs.
Susannah Centlivre (c. 1667-1723), who, after a rather wild youth,
settled down to literary pursuits and domestic contentment when, in
1706, she married Queen Anne's head-cook, Joseph Centlivre, with whom
she lived happily ever after. Her first play, _The Provoked Husband_,
a tragedy, was produced in 1700, and then she went on the stage as an
actress. She wrote in all nineteen dramatic pieces, some of which had
the honor of being translated into French and German. Her most
original play was _A Bold Stroke for a Wife_ (1717).


We have now fairly crossed the border of the eighteenth century, and,
as we met Ussher early in the seventeenth, so we are here confronted
with the colossal intellect and impressive personality of Swift, one
of the greatest, most peculiar, and most original geniuses to be
found in the whole domain of English literature. Jonathan Swift
(1667-1745), born in Dublin, was educated at Trinity College, where
he succeeded in graduating only by special favor. After some years
spent in the household of Sir William Temple in England, he entered
the ministry of the Irish Church. During the early years of the
century he spent much time in London, and took an active part in
bringing about that political revolution which seated the Tories
firmly in power during the last four years of the reign of Queen
Anne. His services in that connection on the _Examiner_ newspaper
were so great that it would be difficult to dispute the assertion,
which has been made, that he was one of the mightiest journalists
that ever wielded a pen. He also stood loyally by his party in his
great pamphlets, _The Conduct of the Allies_ (1711), _The Barrier
Treaty_ (1712), and _The Public Spirit of the Whigs_ (1714). When the
time came for his reward, he received not, as he had hoped, an
English bishopric, but the deanery of St. Patrick's in Dublin. On
resuming his residence in Ireland he was at first very unpopular, but
his patriotic spirit as shown in the _Drapier Letters_ (1723-1724),
written in connection with a coinage scheme known as "Wood's
halfpence", not only caused the withdrawal of the obnoxious project
but also made Swift the idol of all classes of his countrymen. In
many others of his writings he showed that pro-Irish leaning which
caused Grattan to invoke his spirit along with that of Molyneux on
the occasion already referred to. Nothing more mordant than the irony
contained in his _Modest Proposal_ has ever been penned. In his plea
for native manufactures he struck a keynote that has vibrated down
the ages when he advised Irishmen to burn everything English except

Swift's greater works are _The Battle of the Books_, his contribution
to the controversy concerning the relative merits of the ancients and
the moderns; the _Tale of a Tub_, in which he attacked the three
leading forms of Christianity; and, above all, _Gulliver's Travels_.
In this last work he let loose the full flood of his merciless satire
and lashed the folly and vices of mankind in the most unsparing way.
He also wrote verses which are highly characteristic and some of them
not without considerable merit. His life was unhappy and for the last
five years of it he was to all intents and purposes insane. His
relations with Stella (Hester Johnson) and Vanessa (Esther
Vanhomrigh) have never been quite satisfactorily explained. The
weight of evidence would seem to show that he was secretly married to
Stella, but that they never lived together as husband and wife. Many
novels and plays have been written round those entanglements. He lies
buried in his own cathedral, St. Patrick's, Dublin, and beside him
lies Stella. Over his tomb there is an epitaph in Latin, written by
himself, in which, after speaking of the _saeva indignatio_ which
tore his heart, he bids the wayfarer go and imitate, if he can, the
energetic defender of his native land.

Contemporary with the Dean there was another Anglo-Irishman, who
fills a large space in the history of English literature, and of whom
his countrymen are justly proud. Sir Richard Steele (1672-1729), who
was born in Dublin and educated at the Charterhouse in London and
afterwards at Oxford, started the _Tatler_ in 1709, and thereby
popularized, though he did not exactly originate, the periodical
essay. Aided by his friend, Addison, he carried the work to
perfection in the _Spectator_ (1711-1712) and the _Guardian_ (1713).
Since then these essays have enlightened and amused each succeeding
generation. Of the two, Addison's is the greater name, but Steele was
the more innovating spirit, for it is to him, and not to Addison,
that the conception and initiation of the plan of the celebrated
papers is due. Steele had had a predecessor in Defoe, whose _Review_
had been in existence since 1704, but the more airy graces which
characterized the _Tatler_ and the _Spectator_ gave the
"lucubrations" of "Isaac Bickerstaffe" and of "Mr. Spectator" a
greater hold on the public than Defoe's paper was ever able to
establish. Steele was responsible for many more periodicals, such as
the _Englishman_, the _Lover_, the _Reader_, _Town Talk_, the
_Tea-Table, Chit-Chat_, the _Plebeian_, and the _Theatre_, most of
which had a rather ephemeral existence. Among his other services to
literature he helped to purify the stage of some of its grossness,
and he became the founder of that sentimental comedy which in the
days of the early Georges took the place of the immoral comedy of the
Restoration period, when, in Johnson's famous phrase,

      Intrigue was plot, obscenity was wit.

Steele's four comedies are _The Funeral; or Grief a la mode_ (1701);
_The Lying Lover_ (1703); _The Tender Husband_ (1705); and _The
Conscious Lovers_ (1722). Although he held various lucrative offices,
Steele was never really prosperous and was frequently in debt; like
most of the contemporary Englishmen with whom his lot was thrown, he
was rather addicted to the bottle; but, on the whole, it may fairly
be advanced that unnecessary stress has been laid on these aspects of
his life by Macaulay, Thackeray, and others. After a chequered
career, he died near Carmarthen, in Wales, on September 1, 1729.

Member of a family and bearer of a name destined to secure immense
fame in later Irish history, Thomas Parnell (1679-1718) was born in
Dublin and educated at Trinity College. Entering the ministry in
1700, he was rapidly promoted to be archdeacon of Clogher and some
years later was made rector of Finglas. An accomplished scholar and a
delightful companion, he was one of the original members of the
famous Scriblerus Club and wrote or helped to write several of its
papers, he contributed to the _Spectator_ and the _Guardian_, and he
rendered sterling assistance to Pope in the translation of Homer. As
will be inferred, he spent much of his time in England, and on one of
his journeys to Ireland he died in his thirty-ninth year at Chester,
where he was buried. He wrote a great deal of verse--songs, hymns,
epistles, eclogues, translations, tales, and occasional trifles; but
three poems, _A Hymn to Contentment_, which is fanciful and
melodious, _A Night-piece on Death_, in which inquisitorial research
seems to have found the first faint dawn of Romanticism, and _The
Hermit_, which has been not inaptly styled "the apex and _chef
d'oeuvre_ of Augustan poetry in England", constitute his chief claim
to present remembrance.

Francis Hutcheson (1694-1746), the son of a Presbyterian minister,
was born at Armagh, and studied at Glasgow University. He opened in
Dublin a private academy, which succeeded beyond expectation. The
publication of his _Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty
and Virtue_ (1720) and his _Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the
Passions_ (1728) brought him great fame, and in 1729 he was elected
to the professorship of moral philosophy in the University of
Glasgow. Others of his works are a treatise on _Logic_ and _A System
of Moral Philosophy_, the latter not published till 1755, nine years
after his death. Hutcheson fills a large space in the history of
philosophy, both as a metaphysician and as a moralist. He is in some
respects a pioneer of the "Scotch school" and of "common sense"
philosophy. He greatly developed the doctrine of "moral sense", a
term first used by the third Earl of Shaftesbury; indeed, much of his
whole moral system may be traced to Shaftesbury. Hutcheson's
influence was widely felt: it is plainly perceptible in Hume, Adam
Smith, and Reid. He was greater as a speaker even than as a writer,
and his lectures evoked much enthusiasm.

George Berkeley (1685-1753), bishop of Cloyne, was born at Dysert
Castle, near Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, and was educated first at
Kilkenny school and afterwards at Trinity College, Dublin. Having
taken Anglican orders, he visited London, where he wrote nine papers
for the _Guardian_ and was admitted to the companionship and
friendship of the leading literary men of the age--Swift, Pope,
Addison, Steele, and Arbuthnot. This connection proved of great
assistance to him, for Pope not only celebrated him as possessing
"every virtue under heaven", but also recommended him to the Duke of
Grafton, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, who appointed him his chaplain
and subsequently obtained for him the deanery of Derry. In
furtherance of a great scheme for "converting the savage Americans to
Christianity", Berkeley and some friends, armed with a royal charter,
came to this country, landing at Newport in Rhode Island in January,
1729. All went well for a while: Berkeley bought a farm and built a
house; but when the hard-hearted prime minister refused to forward
the L20,000 which had been promised, the project came to an end, and
Berkeley returned to London in February, 1732. In 1734 he was
appointed bishop of Cloyne, and later refused the see of Clogher,
though its income was fully double that of his own diocese. In 1752
he resigned his bishopric and settled at Oxford, where he died in

Berkeley's works are very numerous. His _Essay towards a New Theory
of Vision_ (1709), which was long regarded in the light of a
philosophical romance, in reality contains speculations which have
been incorporated in modern scientific optics. In his _Three
Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous_ (1713) he sets forth his
famous demonstration of the immateriality of the external world, of
the spiritual nature of the soul, and of the all-ruling and direct
providence of God. His tenets on immateriality have always been
rejected by "common-sense" philosophers; but it should be remembered
that the whole work was written at a time when the English-speaking
world was disturbed by the theories of sceptics and deists, whose
doctrines the pious divine sought as best he could to confute. In
1732 appeared his _Alciphron, or the Minute Philosopher_, in which,
dialogue-wise, he presents nature from a religious point of view and
in particular gives many pleasing pictures of American scenery and
life. These dialogues have frequently been compared to the dialogues
of Plato. To Berkeley's credit be it said that while he ruled in
Cloyne he devoted much thought to the amelioration of conditions in
his native land. Many acute suggestions in that direction are found
in the _Querist_ (1735-1737). By some extraordinary ratiocinative
process he convinced himself that tar-water was a panacea for human
ills, and in 1744 he set forth his views on that subject in the tract
called _Siris_, and returned to the charge in 1752 in his _Further
Thoughts on Tar-Water_. Whatever may be thought of the value of
Berkeley's philosophical or practical speculations, there is only one
opinion of his style. It is distinguished by lucidity, ease, and
charm; it has the saving grace of humor; and it is shot through with
imagination. Taken all in all, this eighteenth century bishop is a
notable figure in literary annals.

Charles Macklin (c. 1697-1797), whose real name was MacLaughlin, was
a Westmeath man, who took to the stage in early life and remained on
the boards with considerable and undiminished reputation for some
seventy years, not retiring until 1789 when he was at least 92 years
old. To him we are indebted for what is now the accepted presentation
of the character of Shylock in _The Merchant of Venice_. He wrote a
tragedy and many comedies and farces: those by which he is now best
remembered are the farce, _Love-a-la-Mode_ (1760), and his
masterpiece, the farcical comedy, _The Man of the World_ (1764). In
Sir Pertinax MacSycophant, Macklin has given us one of the
traditional burlesque characters of the English stage.

Thomas Amory (1691?-1788), if not born in Ireland, was at least of
Irish descent and was educated in Dublin. He is known in literature
for two books. The first, with the very mixed title of _Memoirs
containing the Lives of several Ladies of Great Britain; A History of
Antiquities; Observations on the Christian Religion_, was published
in 1755, and the second, _The Life of John Buncle, Esq._, came out in
two volumes in 1756-1766. It appears to have been the author's aim in
both works to give us a hotch-potch in which he discourses _de
omnibus rebus et quibusdam aliis_. We have dissertations on the cause
of earthquakes and of muscular motion, on the Athanasian Creed, on
fluxions, on phlogiston, on the physical cause of the Deluge, on
Irish literature, on the origin of language, on the evidences for
Christianity, and on all other sorts of unrelated topics. Hazlitt
thought that the soul of Rabelais had passed into Amory, while a more
recent critic can see in his long-winded discussions naught but the
"light-headed ramblings of delirium." If we try to read _John Buncle_
consecutively, the result is boredom; but if we open the book at
random, we are pretty sure to be interested and even sometimes
agreeably entertained.

The bizarre figure of Laurence Sterne (1713-1768) next claims our
attention. The son of a captain in the British army, he was born at
Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. Of him almost more than of any of the writers
so far dealt with, it may be said that he was Irish only by the
accident of birth. His parents were English on both sides, and
practically the whole life of their son was spent out of Ireland. He
was sent to school at Halifax, in Yorkshire, and thence went to
Cambridge University, where he graduated in due season. Taking
Anglican orders in 1738, he was immediately appointed to the benefice
of Sutton-in-the-Forest, near York, and on his marriage in 1741 with
Elizabeth Lumley he received the additional living of Stillington. He
was also given sundry prebendal and other appointments in connection
with the chapter of the archdiocese of York. He spent nearly twenty
years in the discharge of his not very onerous duties and in reading,
painting, shooting, and fiddling, without showing the least sign of
any literary leanings. Then suddenly, in 1760, he took the world by
storm with the first two volumes of _Tristram Shandy_. He at once
became the lion of the hour, was feted and dined to his heart's
content, and had his nostrils tickled with the daily incense of
praise from his numerous worshippers. He repeated the experiment with
equal success the following year with two more volumes of _Tristram_,
and so at intervals until 1767, when he published the ninth and last
volume of this most peculiar story. In 1768 he brought out _A
Sentimental Journey_, and within three weeks he died in his lodgings
in London. His other publications include _Sermons_ and _Letters_.
_Tristram Shandy_ is unique in English literature--it stands _sui
generis_ for all time. There is scarcely any consecutive narrative,
and what there is is used merely as a peg on which to hang endless
digressions. But while there are many faults of taste and morals,
there are also genuine humor and pathos, and without Walter Shandy,
Dr. Slop, the Widow Wadman, Yorick, Uncle Toby, and Corporal Trim,
English literature would certainly be very much the poorer.

Hugh Kelly (1739-1777), born in Dublin, was the son of a publican and
himself became a staymaker, a trade from which he developed through
the successive stages of attorney's clerk, newspaper-writer,
theatrical critic, and essayist, into a novelist and playwright. His
novel, _Memoirs of a Magdalen_ (1767), was translated into French.
His first comedy, a sentimental one entitled _False Delicacy_ (1768),
achieved a remarkable success on the stage and was even a greater
success in book form, 10,000 copies being sold in a year, so that its
author was raised from poverty to comparative affluence. In addition,
it gave him a European reputation, for it was translated into German,
French, and Portuguese. Strange to say, his later comedies, _A Word
to the Wise, A School for Wives_, and _The Man of Reason_, were
practically failures, and the same is true of his tragedy,
_Clementina_. Kelly ultimately withdrew from stage work, and for the
last three years of his life practised as a barrister without,
however, achieving much distinction in his new profession.

Charles Coffey (d. 1745), an Irishman, was the author of several
farces, operas, ballad operas, ballad farces, and farcical operas,
the best known of which was _The Devil to Pay, or the Wives
Metamorphosed_ (1731).

Henry Brooke (1703?-1783), a county Cavan man and the son of a
clergyman, was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and afterwards
studied law in London. Becoming guardian to his cousin, a girl of
twelve, he put her to school for two years and then secretly married
her. Of his large family of twenty-two children, three of whom were
born before their mother was eighteen years old, but one survived
him. Appointed by Lord Chesterfield barrack-master at Mullingar,
Brooke afterwards settled in Co. Kildare. It was there that he wrote
his celebrated work, _The Fool of Quality, or the History of the Earl
of Moreland_ (5 vols., 1766-1770), which won the commendations of men
so widely different as John Wesley and Charles Kingsley. It is,
indeed, a remarkable book, combining, as it does, many of the
characteristics of Sterne, Mackenzie, Borrow, and George Meredith. It
is not very well known nowadays, but it will always bear, and will
well repay, perusal. Brooke also wrote a poem on _Universal Beauty_
(1735) and the tragedies _Gustavus Vasa_ (1739), the production of
which was forbidden in London but which was afterwards staged in
Dublin as _The Patriot_, and _The Earl of Essex_ (1749), which was
played both in London and in Dublin, and has been made famous by the
parody of one line in it by Samuel Johnson. Another novel, _Juliet
Grenville, or the History of the Human Heart_, published in 1774, was
not nearly up to the standard of _The Fool of Quality_. Brooke was a
busy literary man. He made a translation of part of Tasso, drafted
plans for a History of Ireland, projected a series of old Irish
tales, wrote one fragment in a style very like that subsequently
adopted by Macpherson in his _Ossian_, and for a while was editor of
the _Freeman's Journal_. In the beginning, Brooke was violently
anti-Catholic; but, as time progressed, he became more
liberal-minded, and advocated the relaxation of the penal laws and a
more humane treatment of his Catholic fellow-countrymen. Like Swift
and Steele, he fell into a state of mental debility for some years
before his death. His daughter, Charlotte Brooke (1740-1793),
deserves mention as a pioneer of the Irish literary revival, for she
devoted herself to the saving of the stores of Irish literature which
in her time were rapidly disappearing. One of the fruits of her
labors was _The Reliques of Irish Poetry_, published in 1789. She
also wrote _Emma, or the Foundling of the Wood_, a novel, and
_Belisarius_, a tragedy.

Charles Johnstone (c. 1719-1800), a Co. Limerick man, was educated in
Dublin and called to the English bar, but owing to deafness was more
successful as a chamber counsel than as a pleader. Emigrating to
India in 1782, he became joint proprietor of a newspaper in Calcutta,
and there he died. He wrote several satirical romances, such as
_Chrysal, or the Adventures of a Guinea; The Reverie, or a Flight to
the Paradise of Fools_; and _The History of Arsaces, Prince of
Betlis_. Of these the first was the best. Samuel Johnson, who read it
in manuscript, advised its publication, and his opinion was
vindicated, for it proved a huge success. Sir Walter Scott afterwards
said that the author of _Chrysal_ deserved to rank as a prose
Juvenal. Johnstone also wrote _The Pilgrim, or a Picture of Life_ and
a picaresque novel, _The History of John Juniper, Esquire, alias
Juniper Jack_.

Arthur Murphy (1727-1805), born at Cloonquin, Co. Roscommon, was
educated at St. Omer. At first an actor, he afterwards studied law
and was called to the English bar in 1762. He made a translation of
Tacitus, and wrote several farces and comedies, among which may be
mentioned _The Apprentice; The Spouter; The Upholsterer; The Way to
Keep Him_; and _All in the Wrong_. He also wrote three tragedies,
namely, _The Orphan of China; The Grecian Daughter_; and _Arminius_.
For the last-named, which was produced in 1798, and which had a
strongly political cast, he received a pension of L200 a year. His
plays long held the stage.

Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774), essayist, poet, novelist, playwright,
historian, biographer, and editor, was a many-sided genius, who, as
Johnson said in his epitaph, left scarcely any kind of writing
untouched, and touched none that he did not adorn. Born, probably, in
Co. Longford, the son of a poor clergyman, he was educated at various
country schools until, in 1744, he secured a sizarship in Trinity
College, Dublin. There he had a somewhat stormy career, but
eventually took his degree in 1749. He then lounged at home for a
while in his widowed mother's cottage at Ballymahon, until he was
persuaded to take orders, but spoiled his already sufficiently poor
chances of ordination by appearing before the bishop of Elphin in
scarlet breeches. After other adventures in search of a profession,
he went to Edinburgh in 1752 to study medicine, and two years later
transferred himself to Leyden for the same purpose. It was from
Leyden that, with one guinea in his pocket, one shirt on his person,
and a flute in his hand, he started on his celebrated walking tour of
Europe, during which he gained those impressions which he was
afterwards to embody in some of his greater works. In 1756 he arrived
in England, where for three years he had very varied experiences--as
a strolling player, an apothecary's journeyman, a practising
physician, a reader for the press, an usher in an academy, and a
hack-writer. In 1759 he published anonymously his _Enquiry into the
Present State of Polite Learning in Europe_, which was well received
and helped him to other literary work. _The Bee_, a volume of essays
and verses, appeared in the same year. He was made editor of the
_Lady's Magazine_; he published _Memoirs of Voltaire_ (1761), a
_History of Mecklenburgh_ (1762), and a _Life of Richard Nash_
(1762). In 1762 also he brought out his _Citizen of the World_, a
collection of essays, which takes an extremely high rank. In 1764 his
poem, _The Traveller, or a Prospect of Society_, made its appearance;
and in 1766 he gave to the world his famous novel, _The Vicar of
Wakefield_. His reputation as a writer was now established; he was
received into Johnson's circle and was a member of the Literary Club;
Reynolds and Burke were proud to call him friend. In 1768 he had his
comedy, _The Good Natured Man_, produced at Covent Garden Theatre,
where it achieved a fair measure of success and brought him in L400.
In 1770 he repeated his triumph as a poet with _The Deserted
Village_. He wrote a _History of Animated Nature_, a _History of
England_, and a _History of Rome_, all compilations couched in that
easy style of which he was master. He also wrote a _Life of Parnell_
and a _Life of Bolingbroke_. Finally, in 1773, his great comedy, _She
Stoops to Conquer_, was staged at Covent Garden, and met with
wonderful success. A little more than a year later Goldsmith died of
a nervous fever, the result of overwork and anxiety, and was buried
in the burial ground of the Temple Church. His unfinished poem,
_Retaliation_, a series of epigrams in epitaph form on some of his
distinguished literary and artistic friends, was issued a few days
after his death, and added greatly to his reputation as a wit and
humorist, a reputation which was still further enhanced when, in
1776, _The Haunch of Venison_ made its appearance. In the latter year
a monument, with a medallion and Johnson's celebrated Latin epitaph
attached, was erected to his memory in Westminster Abbey.

Goldsmith's renown, great in his own day, has never since diminished.
His essays, his novel, and his poems are still read with avidity and
pleasure; his comedy is still acted. It is his statue that stands
along with Burke's at the entrance gate to Trinity College, Dublin,
the _alma mater_ seeking to commemorate in a striking manner two of
her most distinguished sons by placing their effigies thus in the
forefront of her possessions and in full view of all the world.
Personally, Goldsmith was a very amiable and good-hearted man, dear
to his own circle and dear to that "Mr. Posterity" to whom he once
addressed a humorous dedication. He had his faults, it is true, but
they are hidden amid his many perfections. Everyone will be disposed
to agree with what Johnson wrote of him: "Let not his frailties be
remembered; he was a very great man."

Edmund Burke (1729-1797), born in Dublin, the son of a Protestant
father and a Catholic mother whose name was Nagle, was educated first
at a Quaker school in Ballitore, Co. Kildare, and afterwards at
Trinity College, Dublin. He became a law student in London, but he
did not eventually adopt the law as a profession. He brought out in
1756 a _Vindication of Natural Society_, in which he so skilfully
imitated the style and the paradoxical reasoning of Bolingbroke that
many were deceived into the belief that the _Vindication_ was a
posthumously published production of the viscount's pen. In the
following year Burke published in his own name _A Philosophical
Inquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful_,
which attracted widespread attention, was translated into German and
French, and brought its author into touch with all the leading
literary men of London. He was instrumental with Dodsley the
publisher in starting the _Annual Register_ in 1759, and for close on
thirty years he continued to supply it with the "Survey of Events."
He entered public life in 1760 by accompanying "Single-Speech"
Hamilton to Dublin when the latter was appointed Chief Secretary for
Ireland. In 1765 he was made private secretary to the prime minister,
the Marquis of Rockingham, and, as member for Wendover, entered
parliament, where he speedily made a name for himself. During Lord
North's long tenure of office (1770-1782) Burke was one of the
minority and opposed the splendid force of his genius to the
corruption, extravagance, and mal-administration of the government.
To this period belong, in addition to lesser works, his great
speeches _On American Taxation_ (1774) and _On Conciliation with
America_ (1775), as well as his spirited _Letter to the Sheriffs of
Bristol_ (1777). He had been elected member of parliament for Bristol
in 1774, but he lost his seat in 1780 because he had advocated the
relaxation of the restrictions on the trade of Ireland with Great
Britain and of the penal laws against Catholics. In the second
administration of Rockingham (1782) and in that of Portland (1783) he
was paymaster of the forces, a position which he lost on the downfall
of the Whigs in the latter year, and he never again held public
office. His speech on the impeachment of Warren Hastings in 1788 is
universally and justly ranked as a masterpiece of eloquence. When the
French Revolution broke out, he opposed it with might and main. His
_Reflections on the French Revolution_ (1790) had an enormous
circulation, reached an eleventh edition inside of a year, was read
all over the continent as well as in the British Isles, and helped
materially not only to keep England steady in the crisis, but also to
incite the other powers to continue their resistance to French
aggression. He continued his campaign in _Thoughts on French Affairs_
and _Letters on a Regicide Peace_. He was given two pensions in 1794,
and would have been raised to the peerage as Lord Beaconsfield, had
not the succession to the title been cut off by the premature death
of his only son. He himself died in 1797 and was buried at
Beaconsfield, where, as far back as 1768, he had purchased a small

As an orator and a deep political thinker, Burke holds a foremost
place among those of all time who distinguished themselves in the
British parliament. His keen intellect, his powerful imagination, his
sympathy with the fallen, the downtrodden, and the oppressed, and his
matchless power of utterance of the thoughts that were in him have
made an impression that can never be effaced. His wise and
statesman-like views on questions affecting the colonies ought to
endear him to all Americans, although, if his counsels had been
hearkened to, it is probable that the separation from the mother
country would not have occurred as soon as it did. For his native
land he used his best endeavors when and how he could, and although,
as her defender, he was faced by obloquy as well as by the loss of
that parliamentary position which was as dear to him as the breath of
his nostrils, he did not flinch or shrink from supporting her
material and spiritual interests in his own generous, manly,
whole-hearted way. Trinity College, Dublin, has done well in placing
his statue at her outer gates as representing the greatest Irishman
of his generation.

A political associate of Burke's for many years was Richard Brinsley
Sheridan (1751-1816). Of Co. Cavan descent, Sheridan was born in
Dublin, and was educated partly in his native city and partly at
Harrow, and the remainder of his life was spent in England. He was
distinguished first as a playwright and afterwards as a parliamentary
orator. In 1775 his comedy, _The Rivals_, was produced at Covent
Garden Theatre; his farce, _St. Patrick's Day, or the Scheming
Lieutenant_, and his comic opera, _The Duenna_, were staged in the
same year. His greatest comedy, _The School for Scandal_, was acted
at Drury Lane Theatre in 1777, and it was followed in 1779 by _The
Critic_. His last dramatic composition was the tragedy, _Pizarro_,
produced in 1799. Elected to parliament in 1780, Sheridan was made
under-secretary for foreign affairs in the Rockingham administration
of 1782, and in 1783 he was secretary to the treasury in the
Coalition Ministry. He sprang into repute as a brilliant orator
during the impeachment of Warren Hastings, 1787-1794. His speech on
the Begums of Oude was one of the greatest ever delivered within the
walls of the British parliament. In 1806, on the return of the Whigs
to power, he was appointed treasurer in the navy. In 1812 his long
parliamentary career came to a close when he was defeated for the
borough of Westminster. He died in 1816, and was honored with a
magnificent funeral in Westminster Abbey.

To give an idea as to how Sheridan's oratorical powers impressed his
contemporaries, it is perhaps enough to repeat what Burke said of his
second speech against Warren Hastings, namely, that it was "the most
astonishing effort of eloquence, argument, and wit united of which
there is any record or tradition", and to add that when, after three
hours of impassioned pleading, he brought his first speech against
Hastings to an end, the effect produced was so great that it was
agreed to adjourn the house immediately and defer the final decision
until the members should be in a less excited mood. As a dramatist
Sheridan is second in popularity to Shakespeare alone. _The School
for Scandal_ and _The Rivals_ are as fresh and as eagerly welcomed
today as they were a hundred and forty years ago. Like Burke, he was
true to the land of his birth and his oppressed Catholic
fellow-countrymen. Almost his last words in the house of commons were
these: "Be just to Ireland. I will never give my vote to any
administration that opposes the question of Catholic emancipation."

Sheridan belonged to a family that was exceptionally distinguished in
English literature. Among those who preceded him as litterateurs were
his grandfather, the Rev. Thomas Sheridan, D.D.; his father, Thomas
Sheridan; and his mother, Frances Sheridan. Rev. Dr. Sheridan
(1684-1738), the friend and confidant of Dean Swift, kept a
fashionable school in Dublin, edited the _Satires_ of Persius in
1728, wrote a treatise on _The Art of Punning_, and figures largely
in Swift's correspondence. Thomas Sheridan (1721-1788) was at first
an actor of considerable reputation, both in Dublin and in London;
was next a teacher of elocution; and finally came forward with an
improved system of education, in which oratory was to have a
conspicuous part. In this connection he published an elaborate _Plan
of Education_ in 1769, but his ideas, some of which are in accord
with modern practice, were not taken up, He also compiled a
pronouncing _Dictionary of the English Language_, with a prosodic
grammar, and in 1784 published an entertaining _Life of Swift_.
Frances Sheridan (1724-1766), wife of Thomas and mother of Richard
Brinsley, who as Frances Chamberlaine had been known as a poetess,
wrote after her marriage two plays, _The Discovery_ and _The Dupe_,
and two novels, _The Memoirs of Miss Sidney Biddulph_, which was a
great success and was translated by the Abbe Prevost into French, and
_The History of Nourjahad_, an Oriental tale. In 1775 the singular
spectacle was presented of the son's play running at Covent Garden
while the mother's was being acted at Drury Lane.

Among Sheridan's descendants who earned a niche in the temple of
literary fame were his grand-daughters, the Countess of Dufferin
(1807-1867) and the Hon. Mrs. Norton, afterwards Lady Stirling
Maxwell (1808-1877), and his great-grandson, the first Marquis of
Dufferin and Ava (1826-1902). Lady Dufferin's _Lament of the Irish
Emigrant_ ("I'm sittin' on the style, Mary") has moved the hearts and
brought tears to the eyes of countless thousands since it was
published more than fifty years ago.

Sir Philip Francis (1740-1818), born in Dublin, was the son of a
clergyman of like name who attained some literary eminence as the
translator of Horace and as a political writer. After filling various
important government positions, Philip Francis, the son, was in 1773
made a member of the Council of Bengal, where his relations with the
governor-general, Warren Hastings, were of an extremely strained
character, amounting at times almost to a public scandal. He returned
to England in 1781, entered parliament, made a name as a speaker,
took part in the impeachment of Hastings, and composed numerous
political pamphlets. He is generally supposed to have been the writer
of the celebrated _Letters of Junius_, which appeared at intervals in
the _Public Advertiser_ between January 21, 1769, and January 21,
1772. These letters are distinguished for their polished style, their
power of invective, their galling sarcasm, their knowledge of state
secrets, and their unparalleled boldness. Every prominent man
connected with the government was attacked: even the king himself was
not spared. As revised by their pseudonymous writer in a reprint made
in 1772, they number 70; a later edition, in 1812, contained 113
more. Their authorship has been the subject of much controversy, nor
is the question yet finally settled. In his _Essay on Warren
Hastings_, written in 1841, Macaulay went to considerable trouble to
prove, by the cumulative method, that Francis was the writer, and
since then that opinion has been generally, but not universally,

Isaac Bickerstaffe (c. 1735-c. 1812) was an Irishman, whose name,
strange to say, had no connection with the _nom de guerre_ of the
same style under which Swift had masqueraded in his outrageously
satirical attacks on Partridge the almanac maker, or with the more
celebrated imaginary Isaac Bickerstaffe under cover of whose
personality Steele conducted the _Tatler_. The real Bickerstaffe was
a prolific playwright. His best known pieces are _The Sultan_, _The
Maid of the Mill_, _Lionel and Clarissa_, and _Love in a Village_. In
the last-mentioned occurs the famous song, beginning "We all love a
pretty girl--under the rose."

William Drennan (1754-1820), who has been called the Tyrtaeus of the
United Irishmen, was the son of a Presbyterian clergyman, was born in
Belfast, and was educated at Glasgow and Edinburgh universities,
taking a medical degree from the latter. He practised his profession
in the north of Ireland. When the Irish Volunteers were established,
Drennan entered heart and soul into the movement. Removing to Dublin
in 1789, he associated with Tone and other revolutionary spirits, and
became one of the founders of the Society of United Irishmen, the
first statement of whose objects was the product of his pen. His
_Letters of Orellana_ helped materially to enlist the men of Ulster
in the ranks of the Society. He also wrote a series of stirring
lyrics which, voicing as they did the general sentiment in Ireland at
the time, became extremely popular and had a widespread effect. These
were afterwards (1815) collected under the title of _Fugitive
Pieces_. All his political hopes being blasted with the failure of
the rebellion of 1798 and of Emmet's insurrection in 1803, Drennan
returned in 1807 to Belfast and there founded the _Belfast Magazine_.
"The Wake of William Orr", a series of noble and affecting stanzas
commemorating the judicial murder of a young Presbyterian Irish
patriot in 1798, is one of his best known pieces. He also celebrated
the ill-fated brothers Sheares. His song "Erin" was considered by
Moore to be one of the most perfect of modern songs. It was in this
piece that he fixed upon Ireland the title of the Emerald Isle:

      When Erin first rose from the dark swelling flood,
      God bless'd the green island, and saw it was good;
      The em'rald of Europe, it sparkled and shone--
      In the ring of the world the most precious stone.

Mary Tighe (1772-1810), whose maiden name was Blachford, was born,
the daughter of a clergyman, in Co. Wicklow. She contracted an
unhappy marriage with her cousin who represented Kilkenny in the
Irish house of commons. By all accounts she was of great beauty and
numerous accomplishments. She wrote many poems: her best, and best
known, is _Psyche, or the Legend of Love_, an adaptation of the story
of Cupid and Psyche from the _Golden Ass_ of Apuleius. The metre she
employed in this piece was the Spenserian stanza, which she handled
with great power, freedom, and melody. _Psyche_, which first appeared
in 1795, had a wonderful vogue, running rapidly through edition after
edition. Among others to whom it appealed and who were influenced by
it was Keats. Mrs. Tighe's talent drew from Moore a delicate
compliment in "Tell me the witching tale again"; and in "The Grave of
a Poetess" and "I stood where the life of song lay low", Mrs. Hemans
bewailed her untimely death.

Edmund Malone (1741-1813), the son of an Irish judge, was born in
Dublin and studied at Trinity College. He was called to the Irish bar
in 1767, but coming into a fortune, he abandoned his profession and
gave himself over to literary work. In 1790 he brought out an edition
of Shakespeare which was deservedly praised for its learning and
research. His critical acumen led him to doubt the genuineness of
Chatterton's _Rowley Poems_, and he was one of the first to expose
Ireland's Shakespearean forgeries in 1796. Among other services to
literature he wrote a _Life of Sir Joshua Reynolds_ and edited
Dryden. He also left a quantity of materials afterwards utilized for
the "Variorum Shakespeare" by James Boswell the younger in 1821.

John O'Keeffe (1747-1833), a Dublin man, was at first an art student,
but soon became an actor, and then developed into a playwright. His
pen was most prolific; he published a collection of over fifty pieces
in 1798. His plays are mostly comic operas or farces, and some of
them had great success. Lingo, the schoolmaster in _The Agreeable
Surprise_, is a very amusing character. _The Positive Man, The
Son-in-Law, Wild Oats, Love in a Camp_, and _The Poor Soldier_ are
among his compositions. His songs are well known, such as "I am a
friar of orders grey", and there are few schoolboys who have not
sooner or later made the acquaintance of his "Amo, amas, I loved a
lass". For the last fifty-two years of his life O'Keeffe was blind,
an affliction which he bore with unfailing cheerfulness. In 1826 he
was given a pension of one hundred guineas a year from the king's
privy purse.

George Canning (1770-1827), prime minister of England, properly
belongs here, for, although born in London, he was a member of an
Irish family long settled at Garvagh in Co. Derry. Entering
parliament on the side of Pitt in 1796, he was made secretary of the
navy in 1804 and in 1812 secretary of State for foreign affairs. He
became prime minister in 1827, but died within six months, leaving a
record for scarcely surpassed eloquence. In addition to his speeches,
he is known in literature for his contributions to the _Anti-Jacobin,
or Weekly Examiner_, which ran its satirical and energetic career for
eight months (November, 1797-July, 1798.) Some of the best things
that appeared in this ultra-conservative organ were from Canning's
pen. Few there are who have not laughed at his _Loves of the
Triangles_, in which he caricatured Erasmus Darwin's _Loves of the
Plants_; at _The Needy Knife-Grinder_; or at the song of Rogero in
_The Rovers_, with its comic refrain of the

      niversity of Gottingen.

Like most of the great Anglo-Irishmen of his time, Canning favored
Catholic emancipation. It is interesting to note that it was a letter
of Canning's that led to the formulation of the Monroe Doctrine.

Henry Grattan (1746-1820), the hero of Grattan's parliament, was born
in Dublin and studied at Trinity College. His history belongs to that
of his country. Suffice it here to say that not only did he by great
eloquence and real statesmanship secure a free parliament for Ireland
In 1782, but also that he fought energetically, if unavailingly,
against the abolition of that parliament in 1800, and that
thenceforward he devoted his abilities to promoting the cause of
Catholic emancipation. Dying in London, he was honored by being
buried in Westminster Abbey. In an age of great orators he stands out
among the very foremost. His speeches have become classics, and are
constantly quoted.

Another brilliant Irish orator, as well as an eminent wit, of this
period, was John Philpot Curran (1750-1817), who, born at Newmarket,
Co. Cork, and educated at Trinity College, Dublin, achieved a
wonderful success at the Irish bar. He defended with rare insight,
eloquence, and patriotism those who were accused of complicity in the
rebellion of 1798. As a member of Grattan's parliament, he voiced the
most liberal principles, and, though a Protestant himself, he worked
hard in the Catholic cause. He held the great office of Master of the
Rolls in Ireland from 1806 to 1814. The memory of few Irish orators,
wits, or patriots is greener today than that of Curran. His daughter
Sarah, whose fate is so inextricably blended with that of the
ill-starred Robert Emmet, has been rendered immortal by Moore in his
beautiful song, "She is far from the land where her young hero

Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (1759-1797), the first advocate of the
rights of women, though born in London, was of Irish extraction. Into
the details of her extraordinary and chequered career it is not
possible, or necessary, here to enter. Her published works include
_Thoughts on the Education of Daughters_ (1787); _Answer to Burke's
Reflections on the French Revolution_ (1791); _Vindication of the
Rights of Women_ (1792); and an unfinished _Historical and Moral View
of the French Revolution_ (Vol. I., 1794). Having in August, 1797,
borne to her husband, William Godwin, a daughter who afterwards
became Shelley's second wife, Mary Godwin died in the following
month. Whatever her faults--and they were perhaps not greater than
her misfortunes--she had something of the divine touch of genius,
and, in a different environment, might easily have left some great
literary memento which the world would not willingly let die.

Maria Edgeworth (1767-1849), though born at Blackbourton in England,
belonged to a family which had been settled in different parts of
Ireland and finally at Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford, for nearly two
hundred years. She was the daughter of Richard Lovell Edgeworth
(1744-1817), who was distinguished for his inventions, for his
eccentricity, and for his varied matrimonial experiences, and who
himself figures in literature as the author of _Memoirs_,
posthumously published in 1820, and as the partner with his daughter
in _Practical Education_ (1798) and in an _Essay on Irish Bulls_
(1802). Maria had a busy literary career and was before the public
for fifty-two years from 1795 to 1847. She wrote _Moral Tales;
Popular Tales; Tales from Fashionable Life_; and _Harrington_; but
she is now best remembered for her three masterpieces dealing with
Irish life and conditions, namely, _Castle Rackrent_ (1800); _The
Absentee_ (1812); and _Ormond_ (1817). By these works she inspired
Scott, as he himself tells us, to attempt for his own country
something "of the same kind with that which she had so fortunately
achieved for Ireland", and in a later day she inspired Turgenief to
do similarly for Russia. She excels in wit and pathos and gives a
true and vivid presentation of the times and conditions as she viewed

Andrew Cherry (1763-1821), born in Limerick, became an actor, a
theatrical manager, and a playwright. He wrote nine or ten plays,
several of which were moderately successful. The one that is now
remembered is _The Soldier's Daughter_. Some of his songs, such as
"The Bay of Biscay", "Tom Moody, the Whipper-in", and, especially,
"The Green Little Shamrock of Ireland", bid fair to be immortal.

Other Irish song-writers were Thomas Duffet (fl. 1676), author of
"Come all you pale lovers"; Arthur Dawson (1700?-1775), author of
"Bumpers, Squire Jones"; George Ogle (1742-1814), author of "Molly
Asthore"; Richard Alfred Millikin (1767-1815), author of the
grotesque "Groves of Blarney"; Edward Lysaght (1763-1811), author of
"Our Ireland", "The Gallant Man who led the van Of the Irish
Volunteers", and "Kate of Garnavilla"; George Nugent Reynolds
(1770?-1802), author of "Kathleen O'More"; Thomas Dermody
(1775-1802), author of the collection of poems and songs known as
_The Harp of Erin_; James Orr (1770-1816), author of "The Irishman";
Henry Brereton Code (d. 1830), author of "The Sprig of Shillelah";
Charles Wolfe (1791-1823), author of "If I had thought thou couldst
have died", and of "The Burial of Sir John Moore"; and Charles Dawson
Shanly (1811-1875), author of "Kitty of Coleraine".

Theobald Wolfe Tone (1763-1798), born in Dublin, educated at Trinity
College, and called to the Irish bar in 1789, fills a large space in
the history of his country from 1790 to his death in 1798. Intrepid,
daring, and resourceful, he was one of the most dangerous of the
enemies to English domination in Ireland that arose at any time
during the troubled relations between the two countries. Taken
prisoner on board a French ship of the line bound for Ireland on a
mission of freedom, he committed suicide in prison rather than submit
to the ignominy of being hanged to which he had been condemned. He
sleeps his last sleep in Bodenstown churchyard, in that county of
Kildare to which he was connected by many ties. His grave is still
the Mecca of many a pilgrimage, and the corner-stone of a statue to
his memory has been laid for some years on a commanding site in the
city of his birth. He is known in literature for his _Journals_ and
his _Autobiography_, both containing sad, but inspiring, reading for
the Irishman of today.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here this rapid survey of Irish writers of English must close. To
tell in any sort of appropriate detail the story of the English
literature of Ireland in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries would
require a separate volume--a volume which is now under way and will,
it is hoped, be speedily forthcoming. There is all the less need to
attempt the agreeable task here, because in other portions of this
book much more than passing reference is made to the chief Irish
authors who, in the last hundred and fifteen years, have
distinguished themselves and shed lustre on their country. During
that period Irish poets, playwrights, novelists, essayists,
historians, biographers, humorists, critics, and scholars have fully
held their own both in the quantity and the quality of the work
produced, and have left an impression of power and personality, of
graceful style and vivifying imagination, that in itself constitutes,
and must for ever constitute, one of the distinctive Glories of


Irish Literature (10 vols., New York, 1904); Chambers's Cyclopaedia
of English Literature (3 vols., Philadelphia and London, 1902-1904);
Dictionary of National Biography; Encyclopaedia Britannica; Cambridge
History of English Literature; D'Alton: History of Ireland (London,
1910); Lennox: Early Printing in Ireland (Washington, 1909), Addison
and the Modern Essay (Washington, 1912), Lessons in English
Literature (21st edition, Baltimore, 1913); Macaulay: Essays, History
of England; Brown: A Reader's Guide to Irish Fiction (London, 1910),
A Guide to Books on Ireland (Dublin, 1912).

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Glories of Ireland
by Edited by Joseph Dunn and P.J. Lennox


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