Michael MacDonagh

LifeWorksCriticismCommentaryQuotationsReferencesNotes

Life
1862-1946 [err. 1860; occas. called Michael MacDonagh the Younger]; b. Limerick, educ. CBS; staff of Freeman’s Journal; moved to London, and worked as Times journalist; issued Irish Life and Character (5th ed. 1905); wrote books on parliament, The Speaker of the House (1914); The Irish at the Front, with a foreword by John Redmond (1916); also The Irish on the Somme (1917); chairman of Press Gallery, House of Commons, 1924; wrote biographies and studies incl. Bishop Doyle, JKL (1896), for the New Irish Library; also The Life of Daniel O’Connell (1903); Home Rule Movement (1920); The Life of William O’Brien (1928) and Daniel O’Connell and Catholic Emancipation (1929). JMC IF [DIW]

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Works
  • Mr. Balfour at Home [Freeman Pamphlets, 14] (Dublin 1887), 16pp. [8°];
  • Irish Graves in England [articles orig. in Evening Telegraph; reprints No. 6] (Dublin: Evening Telegraph Office 1888), 148pp.;
  • Bishop Doyle, “JKL”: A Biography and Historical Study [New Irish Library, 11] (London: T. Fisher Unwin; Dublin: Sealy, Bryers & Walker 1896), viii, 216pp. [see note]
  • Irish Life and Character (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1898; 5th Edn. 1905), viii, 382pp. [20cm.]
  • The Life of Daniel O’Connell (London & NY: Cassell 1903), xx, 429pp. [24cm.];
  • [ed.,] Viceroy’s Postbag: correspondence, hitherto unpublished, of [Philip Yorke, 3rd] Earl of Hardwicke, 1st lord lieutenant of Ireland after the Union (London: John Murray 1904), ix, 466pp. [Book I: The union; Book II: The Emmet insurrection];
  • Parliament: Its Romance, Its Comedy, Its Pathos (Westminster: P. S. King 1902, 1905), vi, 406pp., and Do. [another edn?] (Weston 1904) [copy in Aberdeen];
  • Sir Benjamin Stone's Pictures: Records of National Life and History, reproduced from the collection of photographs made by Sir Benjamin Stone, with descriptive notes by Michael MacDonagh, 2 vols. (London: Cassell 1906) [Vol. 1: Festivals, ceremonies, and customs; Vol. 2: Parliamentary scenes and portraits ];
  • The Reporter’s Gallery (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1913), xii, 452pp. [23cm.];
  • The Speaker of the House, with sixteen illustrations (London: Methuen & Co., 1914), xviii, 387pp. [8°];
  • The Irish at the Front, foreword by John Redmond (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1916), and Do. [facs. rep.] (Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Pub. 2007), xiii, 158pp. [details];
  • The Irish on the Somme [New Irish Library] (1917) [details];
  • Home Rule Movement [Modern Ireland in the Making ser.] (Dublin: Talbot Press; London: T. F. Unwin 1920), xii, 292pp. [19cm];
  • The Pageant of Parliament, 2 vols. (London: T. F. Unwin [1921]);
  • The Life of William O’Brien, The Irish Nationalist: A Biographical Study of Irish Nationalism, Constitutional and Revolutionary (London: 1928), 281pp. ill. [pls.; ports.];
  • Daniel O’Connell and the Story of Catholic Emancipation ( Dublin & Cork: Talbot Press; London: Burns Oates & Washbourne 1929), xxvii, 386pp., ill. [8 lvs. of pls., ports.; 23cm.; see note]
  • The English King: A Study of the Monarchy and the Royal Family, historical, constitutional and social (London: E. Benn Limited [1929]), 318pp.
  • In London During the Great War: The Diary of a Journalist (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode 1935), xvi, 336pp., ill [front. port.; 22cm.]

 

Also contrib. ‘The Sunniness [sic] of Irish Life’ to Irish Literature, gen. ed. Justin McCarthy (Washington: Catholic Univ. of America 1904), Vol. 8 [opening editorial essay]; chapter on ‘Irish Journalists’ to The Glories of Ireland: Essays by Various Authors, ed. Joseph Dunn & P[atrick] J[oseph] Lennox (Washington, D.C.: Phoenix 1914), ix, 357pp. [q.pp.; see note].

 

Bishop Doyle, “JKL”: A Biography and Historical Study [New Irish Library, 11] (London: T. Fisher Unwin; Dublin: Sealy, Bryers & Walker 1896), viii, 216pp. [New Irish Library directed by Sir Charles Gavan Duffy; listed as 1893 in record of BL copy].
Daniel O’Connell and the Story of Catholic Emancipation (1929) is a ‘compressed’ version of his 1903 Life of Daniel O’Connell - vide Introduction, 1929].
The Glories of Ireland: Essays by Various Authors, ed. Joseph Dunn & P[atrick] J[oseph] Lennox (1914) is ‘[a]n outline of the whole range of Irish achievement during the last two thousand years’ - vide Preface].

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Bibliographical details
The Irish at the Front, with a foreword by John Redmond (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1916), xiii, 1l., 158pp., ill., 19cm.; [being a ‘narrative of the more signal feats of the Irish regiments in France, Flanders, and at the Dardanelles [...] based on letters of regimental officers and men, interviews with wounded soldiers [...] and, also, in several cases, on the records compiled at the depôts.’

The Irish on the Somme: being the second series of “The Irish at the Front” by Michael MacDonagh, with an introd. by John Redmond ( London; NY: Hodder & Stoughton 1917), 197pp.

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Commentary
W. P. Ryan, The Irish Literary Revival (1894), Michael MacDonagh lectures on Irish graves in England (1887-8; rep. in book-form); in consequence, John T Kelly writes to appeal that something be done for the grave of John Francis O’Donnell at Kensal Green, resulting in the publication of his poems, issued at Christmas 1890, a volume which ‘stand unquestionable as one of the most creditable additions made to Irish literature in the latter half of our century’ [31], and sparking off the initiative from Charles Gavan Duffy to establish a New Irish Library. [31ff]. MacDonagh succeeded T. P. O’Connor as the Freeman sketch-writer in the House of Commons, and had been writing a series on the neglected graves, and on the night of the lecture the committee was formed for ‘putting [O’Donnell’s] grave in a decent condition’ [33]. Included in the publishing plans of the New Irish Library a life of Dr. Doyle (JKL), by Michael MacDonagh [70]. A special Freeman commission to inquire into Western Islands on which he accompanied Lord Carnarvon, Lord Lieutenant, in 1885, and again in early 1886, produced his essay, ‘How Things are in the West’, which gave graphic and pathetic pictures and led to the establishing of a relief fund; other articles include ‘Life in West Donegal’, ‘Darkest Ireland’, ‘In Kerry’, ‘The Aran Island’; also his ‘Life in Achill and Aran’, in Westminster Review, Aug. 1890; his connection with the Freeman terminated in 1892 when he was appointed to Parliamentary Debates’ staff [Times]; ‘full knowledge and a bright style carry him a long way’. Other articles inc. ‘St Patrick - a secular portrait of the National Apostle’, and ‘Shamrockiana - gossip, grave and gay, about the National Emblem’ (Weekly Freeman 1890); ‘Thomas Davis, A Character Study’ (1890); ‘In the Footprints of Robert Emmet’ (Evening Telegraph 1891); ‘Our Irish Portrait Gallery’ (Irish Society) [110-111].

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Quotations
Martial spirit: ‘Each nationality evolves its own type of soldier, and each type has its distinctly marked attributes. As troops, taken in the masses, are the counterpart of the nations from which they spring, and, indeed, cannot be anything else, so the must … reveal in fighting the particular sort of martial spirit possessed by their race.’ (The Irish on the Somme, p.57. MacDonagh goes on to discuss the changeful moods of the men, ‘childlike and petulant, now jovial, now fierce, and occasionally unaccountable’, as well noting the ‘impulsiveness’, ‘glow’, ‘wild imagery and overbrimming expression’ of their nature (p.111; all quoted in Joanna Burke, “Irish Tommies”: The Construction of a Martial Manhood 1914-18’, in Bullán: an Irish Studies Journal, 1997/1998, p.15-20.)

The Sunniness of Irish Life’ (1904): ‘The peasantry of Ireland are very emotional and sentimental. And yet, with that singular contrariness of character which makes them so uncomprehensible as a race, love my no means decides all the marriages that are made ... The match is often arranged in a ludicrously cool, business-like, and mercenary fashion ... the young people themselves rarely being allowed [or] expecting any voice in the matter. But if there is little romance ... they are as a rule entirely successful ... little or no illicit passion ...’ [ensuing narratives are in dialect]; ‘But happily, many of the marriages in rural Ireland have their spice of romance. The match is made by the boy and girl themselves. an Irish peasant-maid in the heyday of her youth, with her pretty figure, her abundant black hair, her large blue eyes, with their indescribable half-alluring, half-shy expression, and the soft, lulling intonation of her coaxing and beguiling brogue, is quite irresistible; and the boy has too often an impressionable heart and a “deludhering” tongue to render it always necessary that the parents should “make the bargain”’. (Rep. in Irish Literature, gen. ed. Justin McCarthy, Washington: Catholic Univ. of America 1904, Vol. 8.)

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References
Stephen Brown
, Ireland in Fiction (Dublin: Maunsel 1919), lists Irish Life and Character ([5th edn.] 1905), the object of which was ‘to give a clear, full and faithful picture of Irish life and character, illustrated by anecdotes and by my own experience during twelve years connection with Irish journalism ... ... The face of Ireland as in these pages is always puckered with a smile’ (acc. Pref.); chapters on The Old Irish Squire; Duelling; Faction-Fighting; Some Delusions about Ireland [e.g. Stage Irishman]; Bulls; In the Law Courts; Agin the Government; Irish Repartee and Sarcasm; Love-making in Ireland [matter-of-factness of, &c]; Humours of Politics In and Out of Parliament; The Ulster Irishman; the Jarvey; the Beggar; Sunniness of Irish Life [this essay prob. rep. in JMC, above]; Fr. Brown remarks that the laugh is against the Irish, and considers national failings more prominent than virtues while serious side of Irish character not represented at all.

Justin McCarthy, gen. ed., Irish Literature (Washington: Catholic Univ. of America 1904), supplies bio-data: b. Limerick, 1862, ed. CBS, joined Freeman’s Journal at 22, Westminster correspondent; Times Parl. reporter; wrote on many Irish subjects; his publications incl. Bishop Doyle, The Book of Parliament, Irish Life and Character, Parliament, Its Romance its Comedy, its Pathos. ‘Love-Making in Ireland,’ quoted here, is a hyper-conventional essay on Irish peasant match-making [see Quotations, infra].

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Brian McKenna, Irish Literature, 1800-1875: A Guide to Information Sources (Detroit: Gale Research Co. 1978), lists Irish Graves in England [articles orig. in Evening Telegraph; reprints No. 6] (Dublin 1888) 148pp.; incl. accurate and perceptive essays on T. C. Croker, T. Dermody, Mrs. S. C. Hall, Samuel Lover, William Maginn, Thomas Moore, Lady Morgan, John Francis O’Donnell, Thomas Parnell, and Bartholomew Simmons.

Hyland Books ( Catalogue 214) lists The Pageant of Parliament, 2 vols. (1st edn. 1921)

Belfast Central Public Library lists Irish Graves in England (1888); Home Rule Movement; The Irish at the Front; also Viceroy’s Postbag (1904) [also LIB HB]; Lives of O’Connell, William O’Brien, and other works of history and memoir.

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Notes
Kith & Kin: Michael MacDonagh, presum. the father of the above, issued Lays of Erin and Other Poems (Limerick: Printed by the Author 1882), 92pp. [8°], of which the copy in the British Library has an obituary notice cut from the Limerick Leader (29 May 1893), slipped in.

Namesake: Michael MacDonagh, “The Long-term Psychological Effects of Child Sexual Abuse” (Southampton U. 1993) [M.Sc. Diss.]