Martin MacDermott

Life
1823-1905; b. 8 April, Ormond Quay, Dublin [var. Co. Leitrim DIH]; apprentice to architect Patrick Byrne, RHA; mbr. Young Ireland; contrib. occasional verse for Nation and The Irish Felon; author of ‘The Coulin’ and ‘The Exiles’; delegate in deputation to Lamartine to obtain French support for Young Ireland, 1848, represented The Nation in Paris; chief architect to Egyptian Govt. in Alexandria from 1866; retired to London 1878; fnd-mbr. Southwark Literary Club; ed. The New Spirit of the Nation (1894); ed., Songs and Ballads of Young Ireland (1896); ed. Moore’s Life of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, with new material; m. Miss Melladew and had 9 children; d. 25 April; an appreciation appeared in The Nation (5 Feb. 1889). ODNB PI JMC MKA DIH

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Works
The Spirit of the Nation, or Ballad and Song by the Writers of The Nation. With Original and Ancient Music Arranged for the Voice and Pianoforte
. New Edition (Dublin: Duffy 1898), 368pp.

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Commentary
Brian McKenna, Irish Literature (1978), ‘Our Poets No. 18’, in Irish Monthly 16 (1888); MacDermott edited The New Spirit of the Nation ... published since 1845 (1894); ed. Songs and Ballads of Young Ireland ([London: Downey & Co.] 1896); Thomas Moore’s Memoirs of Lord Edward Fitzgerald (1897).

Chris Morash, The Hungry Voice (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1989), notes that Martin MacDermott wrote in The Nation at 24 years of age: ‘I have seen death strike so fast / That the churchyards could not hold - / Though torn into one yawning grave – / The remnants of the young, the prave, / The bright-eyed and the bold. / I must be very, very old - A very Old, Old Man.’ (The Nation; cited in Morash, op. cit., p.31). Morash comments that ‘this tone of exhaustion is echoed throughout ... The Nation’ (idem.) See also the lines: ‘But, sure, it must be very long! / Since I beheld a nation, strong / In hope and valour grow. ... indeed I must be very old – / A very Old, Old Man’ [from stanza 4 of 5].

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References
Irish Literature, gen. ed. Justin McCarthy (Washington: Catholic Univ. of America 1904), gives ‘The Irish Exile’ and ‘Girl of the Red Mouth’. See W. P. Ryan, The Irish Literary Revival (1894), Martin MacDermott, an architect, he rebuilt [?] in Alexandria, working for the Khedive, after the bombardment; one of the last survivors of the Young Ireland era; seems to the young a gentle old bard of by-gone time; ed. The New Spirit of the Nation for Gavan Duffy’s New Irish Library.

Cathach Books Catalogue (1996-97) lists , The Spirit of the Nation, or Ballad and Song by the Writers of The Nation. With Original and Ancient Music Arranged for the Voice and Pianoforte. New Edition. (Dublin: Duffy 1898), 368pp.

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