Patrick MacGill (1891-1963)


Life
[freq. var. 1890; occas. err. McGill; rarely Magill; pseud. “John O’Gorman”]; b. New Year’s Day, Great Glen of Glenties, Co. Donegal, eldest of eleven children on a small farm; his mother née Boyle; left school at 12; migrated to Scotland at 14 and worked as a ‘tatie-haker’ and an itinerant labourer, becoming a plate-layer on the Caledonian Railway; after his verse first appeared in The Derry Journal at age of 14 he decided not to return home in the ordinary way of migrant workers; issued Gleanings from a Navvy’s Scrapbook (1911), his earliest book, in eight thousand copies at his own expense;
 
taken onto the staff of the Daily Express by ed. A. C. Pearson and continued there from Sept./Oct. 1911 to Jan 1912; interviewed G. B. Shaw, and may have been sent to interview Rev. Sir John Neale Dalton, Canon of St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle; worked as secretary to Dalton, translating Latin MSS, during which period he was housed at Windsor with a post of a librarian; issued Songs of a Navvy (1911), and Songs of the Dead End (1912);
 
he met Margaret Gibbons in 1913 or early 1914, afterwards marrying her in 1915; issued a novel, Children of the Dead End (1914), of which 10,000 copies were printed during 15 days of March 1914; gives account of exploitation of children as potato-pickers (tatie-howkers); incls. damning portrait of parish priest Father Devaney, who is based on Canon James McFadden, a bête noir of the Land League; MacGill called ‘un nuovo grande astro della litteratura inglese’ in La Stampa; enlisted with the London Irish Rifles (47th), August 1914 [as Rifleman 3008]; became stretcher-bearer in France; his sketches as a ‘reporter’ for Daily Mail and other papers form the chapters of documentary-fiction in the war novels, excepting the Battle of Loos scenes, written up after his return to England;
 

issued a sequel, The Rat-Pit (1915), in which Norah Ryan is made pregnant by a land-owner’s son in while working in Scotland and drive into prostitution; both hugely successful in England though not in Ireland due to suspicion of anti-clericalism; entered into contract with the publisher Herbert Jenkins (who also launched P. G. Woodhouse and operated a market-driven company); issued The Amateur Army (1915), in which his account of military training resulted in a threat of court-martial which was forestalled by the inclusion of a preface by Lord Esher, President of Co. of London Territorial Assoc.;

 
issued The Red Horizon (1916) followed by The Great Push (1916); returned to ‘Blighty’ after a slight wounding in the wrist [var. arm] at the Battle of Loos, September 25 1915 [var. 28th Sept]; transferred to the Intelligence Unit to forestall further war-documentary writing; post-war treatments of the period in The Dough-Boys (1918), dealing with the American contribution, and The Diggers (1918), on the Australians; issued Glenmornan (1919), the story of the journalist Doalty Connell who is denounced as an apostate by the corrupt clerical ‘tyrant’, Fr. Devany, supposedly modelled on Canon McFadden in Co. Donegal;
 
travelled to America in the early twenties and issued several novels with Irish backgrounds including the Christlike Carpenter of Orra (1924), and Sid Puddiefoot (1926), a rags to riches adventure set in Africa; Black Bonar (1928), the story of a gombeen man; Tulliver Mill (1934) reworks Millon the Floss with the same characters, but set in the 1920s; issued The Glen of Carra (1934), a love-story between Jack Fleming, an Englishman, and Moira O’Donnell; wrote The House at the World’s End (1935), on emigrants’ desire to return home, and their inevitable disappointment;
 
issued Helen Spenser (1937), concerning Protestant families adaption to life in post-Treaty Ireland; Jenkin (d. circa 1923); succeeded by John Grimsdick, whose son refused MacGill’s manuscripts from 1937 - viz, Diary of an Unwanted Girl; moved to Switzerland for the sake of one of his daughter’s health, 1926; embarked on lecturing tour in America in 1930, aborted by financial effects of the 1929 Crash on his sponsors; remained in America in ill-health up to his death in November 1963;
 
d. Nov., reputedly on the day when JFK was assassinated; buried Fall River, Massachusetts; annual Patrick MacGill Summer School in Donegal est. 1981; there is a docu-drama with Stephen Rea. IF DIB DIW PI DIL FDA APPL DUB OCIL

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Works
Poetry
  • , Gleanings from a Navvy's Scrapbook (Derry: Derry Journal 1910 [var. 1911]) [port. of author on title-page and address Greenock];
  • Songs of a Navvy (Windsor: P. MacGill [1911]) [address, 4 the Cloisters Windsor];
  • Songs of the Dead End (London: Year Book Press 1912);
  • Soldier Songs (London: Herbert Jenkins 1917);
  • Songs of Donegal (London: Herbert Jenkins 1921).
Plays
  • Moleskin Joe (1921);
  • Suspense: A Play in Three Acts (Lon, Herbert Jenkins [1930])
  • Son, Said the Woman [n.d.].
Novels
  • Children of the Dead End: The Autobiography of a Navvy (London: Herbert Jenkins 1914);
  • The Rat-Pit (London: Herbert Jenkins 1915);
  • The Amateur Army (London: Herbert Jenkins 1915);
  • The Red Horizon (London: Herbert Jenkins 1916);
  • The Great Push: An Episode in the Great War (London: Herbert Jenkins 1916);
  • The Brown Brethren (London: Herbert Jenkins 1917);
  • [as John O’Gorman] The Dough-Boys (London: Herbert Jenkins 1919);
  • The Diggers: The Australians in France, with a foreword by W. M. Hughes [Australian PM] (London: Herbert Jenkins 1919);
  • Glenmornan (London: Herbert Jenkins 1919);
  • Maureen (London: Herbert Jenkins 1920);
  • Fear! (London: Herbert Jenkins 1921);
  • Lanty Hanlon: A Comedy of Irish Life (London: Herbert Jenkins 1922);
  • Moleskin Joe (London: Herbert Jenkins 1923) [as novel];
  • The Carpenter of Orra (London: Herbert Jenkins 1924);
  • Sid Puddiefoot (London: Herbert Jenkins 1926);
  • Una Cassidy (London: Herbert Jenkins 1928); Black Bonar (London: Herbert Jenkins 1928);
  • Tulliver’s Mill (London: Herbert Jenkins 1934) [alt. 1933; based on Mill on the Floss];
  • The Glen of Carra (London: Herbert Jenkins 1934 [var. 1935]) [note vars. Cana];
  • The House at the World's End (London: Herbert Jenkins 1935);
  • Helen Spenser (London: Herbert Jenkins [1937]).
Reissues
  • The Rat Pit [Caliban edns. issued in Working-class autobiog. series] (Kerry: Brandon; London: Caliban 1982), viii, 308pp., and Do. (Dingle: Brandon; London: Caliban 1992), 376pp.;
  • Glenmornan (Dingle: Brandon; London: Caliban 1983), 318pp.;
  • Moleskin Joe (Dingle: Brandon; London: Caliban 1983), 320pp. [as a novel], and Do. [rep. edn.] (Edinburgh: Birlinn 2000), 320pp.
  • The Navvy Poet: Collected Poetry of Patrick MacGill (Dingle: Brandon/London: Caliban 1984), 118pp. [complete repub. of Songs of Donegal; Songs of the Dead End; and Soldier Songs];
  • The Great Push: An Episode in the Great War (Edinburgh: Birlinn 2000), 240pp.; Children of the Dead End (Dublin: New Island 2001), 316pp.; The Rat-Pit (Dublin: New Island 2001), 336pp.; Moleskin Joe (Dublin: New Island 2005), 250pp.
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Criticism
  • ‘The Navvy Poet at Windsor Castle’, The Windsor, Eton and Slough Express (15 Sept. 1913);
  • [q. a.,] ‘From Cow-Byre to King’s Castle: Romantic Career of the Navvy Poet’, in The Christian Commonwealth (March 1914);
  • Blanche Warre Cornish [interview with MacGill], in Bookman, 122 (August 1916) [q.pp.];
  • Lochlann MacGlynn, ‘Patrick MacGill’, in The Bell, Vol. 9 ([1941]), p.31-29;
  • Dr. Joe Mulholland, ‘The Novelist Patrick MacGill and his Parish Priest Canon James McFadden’, in The Strabane Chronicle (24 Sept. 1983);
  • Aiden Farren, ‘Patrick MacGill (The Navvy Poet)’, in Templemore Journal of the N.W Archaeological and Hist. Society, Vol. 1 (1984/85), pp.59-60;
  • Benedict Kiely, ‘Return to the Rat Pit’, in The Irish Times (23 Feb. 1973), rep. in Raid into Dark Corners (1999), pp.134-59 [extract];
  • Joseph Tomelty, ‘Patrick MacGill’, in The Irish Bookman, ed. Seamus Campbell, 1, 2 (August 1947), pp.25-32 [extract];
  • A. E. Day, ‘From Irish Navvy to Royal Librarian’, in Library World 71, 831 (1969) [q.pp.];
  • Ruth Sherry, ‘The Working Class in Fiction’, in The British Working Class Novel in the Twentieth Century, ed. Jeremy Hawthorn (London: Arnold 1984);
  • Robert Greacen, Patrick MacGill, Champion of the Underdog [First MacGill Summer School, 6th Sept. 1981; Éire-Ireland, 1980/81] (Glenties Development Association 1981) [pamph. lect.];
  • Owen Dudley Edwards, ‘Patrick MacGill and the Making of A Historical Source, with a handlist of his works’, in The Innes Review of the Scottish Catholic Historical Association, 37, 2 (1986), pp.73-99;
  • ‘Patrick MacGill, the Making of a Writer’, in Ireland’s Histories, Aspects of State, Society, and Ideology, ed. Seán Hutton & Paul Stewart (London: Routledge 1991), pp.203-22 [extract].
 

See also Patrick McGeown [search for memories of MacGill in Donegal, 1953], in Heat of the Furnace Seven Times More (London: Hutchinson 1967); J. W. Foster, Forces and Themes in Ulster Fiction (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1974) [extract]; James A. Handley, The Navvy in Scotland (Cork UP 1970); Jack Mitchell, ‘Early Harvest: Three anti-capitalist novels published in 1914’, in H Gustave Klaus, ed., The Socialist Novel in Britain (Harvester 1982); Ruth Sherry, ‘The Irish working class in fiction’, in Jeremy Hawthorn, ed., The British Working Class Novel in the Twentieth Century (Edward Arnold 1984); Pamela Ann Fox, ‘Recovering the “narrow plot of acquisitiveness and desire”: reproduction, resistance, and British working class writing, 1890-1945’ (Washington [CUA], PhD thesis, 1990); Robert Greacen, Rooted in Ulster (Belfast: Lagan Press 2001), 130pp.

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Irish Book Lover: Review of Gleanings [sold at 6d.], in The Irish Book Lover Vol. 3 (Oct. 1911), p. 41; see also editorial note on MacGill by J. S. Crone, IBL, Vol. 3 (Dec. 1911), pp.71-72, together with an autobiographical writing. also interview with Shaw, ‘Why Did You give Up Honest Employment to Take This Job?’ [Shaw’s question], Irish Book Lover, Vol. 3 (Jan. 1912), pp.96-97

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Commentary
Lord Esher, foreword to The Amateur Army: ‘The London Irish will be proud of their young artist in words, and he will for ever be proud of the London Irish Regiment, its deeds and valour, to which he has dedicated such great gifts.’ (Quoted in Brandon Books, Cat. 1995, p.38.)

Patrick McGeown, himself a migrant worker, searched for MacGill memories in Donegal in 1953 and was told that ‘his books were not good and there would be no welcome for him here’ (Heat of the Furnace Seven Times More, London: Hutchinson 1967, p.175-76)

Seamus Deane compares the success of Children of the Dead End with poor sales of Joyce’s Dubliners in 1914 (Lon. Review of Books, Feb. 1985.)

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Owen Dudley Edwards, ‘excellent report’ ... if Joyce’s devotion to artistic integrity distanced his public, for a time, MacGill ran the same risk in his choice of subject’ (Owen Dudley Edwards, ‘Patrick MacGill and the Making of a Historical Source’, in The Innes Review of the Scottish Catholic Historical Association, 37, 2, 1986, pp.73-99; p.80.)

John Foster Wilson, writes Forces and Themes in Ulster Fiction ( Gill & Macmillan, 1974): ‘[MacGill’s] sympathy for that British phenomenon, the Irish navvy’; notes that ‘MacGill’s novels labour under many literary shortcomings. His social criticism is ideologically simplistic, his poetry bad, his characters too often caricatures, his endings sentimental. For all this, his novels are mysteriously engaging.’ ( , p.89.)

Monk Gibbon, Inglorious Soldier (1968): ‘Patrick Magill’s [sic] The Red Horizon and The Great Push, perhaps the first books to delineate the protagonists on the western front as they actually were.’ (p.133.)

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Patrick O’Sullivan, ‘Patrick MacGill, the making of a writer’, in Seán Hutton & Paul Stewart, eds., Ireland’s Histories, Aspects of State, Society, and Ideology (Routledge 1991), pp.203-22: The narrator of Children of the Dead End is ‘Dermod Flynn’ [205]. A letter of MacGill’s announcing his arrival in London to an unknown addressee survives in the Brotherton Library, Leeds University (see A. E. Day, ‘From Irish Navvy to Royal Librarian’, in Library World 71 831, 1969 [q.pp.]) [207]. Handsome photo-portrait of MacGill on the title page of Gleanings from a Navvy’s Scrap Book (Derry Journal Ltd, Shipquay St [1910]), 56pp. In 1912, he met Canon Dalton, the King’s Chaplin at Windsor; Dalton gave MacGill a sinecure and an address from which he published his second volume, Songs of a Navvy (Derry Journal 1912). A poem in Songs of the Dead End (1913 [this date inferred by Edwards, op. cit., infra]), entitled ‘Heroes’, gives MacGill’s manly reflections on the loss of the Titanic [2.20 am 15 April 1912]. MacGill signed a contract for Children of the Dead End and first refusal on his next three books, with Herbert Jenkins Ltd, 15 Dec 1913. [211] A number of letters between Jenkins and MacGill, besides the original memorandum of contract, exist. These show MacGill negotiating reprints, and arranging to inclusion of verse in Maureen (1919). A postscript from MacGill, following the single line: ‘Glad you’re bringing out songs of Donegal on Armistice Anniversary’. Also one to Dr Crone of Irish Book Lover:‘The Derry Journal would be worth bearing in mind, for it’s the paper read by all the priests in Donegal, Tyrone and Derry. These clergy hate me so much that they buy my books for the pleasure of burning them.’ At this period MacGill was living in a large family house at Hendon, London NW, named St. Margaret after his wife. Helen Spenser (1937) was his last published novel [note Spencer (sic) in ftn., and ref. to Edwards, p.221]. The letter in which he undertakes to write it also mentions an unpublished work called The Diary of an Unwanted Girl. [212; cont.]

Patrick O’Sullivan (‘Patrick MacGill, the making of a writer’, 1991) - cont.: MacGill married a lovely girl in Margaret Gibbons, and named his Hendon house St Margaret, and had a daughter called Chris. Margaret was in 1912 the author of a work published by the Year Book Press called The ‘Good-Night’ Stories, about fairies. Her photo shows a beautiful woman, and a press notice calls her ‘well-connected’. The couple were married in the Catholic Church, Hampstead, Nov. 1915. she was given away by the son of Christian socialist F.D. Maurice, and the reception was paid for by Jenkins. He wrote Children of the Dead End not in a Glasgow garret but in the comfort of Windsor, with Jenkins as his paying publisher. The genre to which it belongs has been called ‘the literature of fact’. [212-22]. Farley McKeown is the tyrannical gombeen-man in The Rat-Pit. Whereas in Children of the Dead End, the narrator reads Marx and Henry George’s Progress and Poverty (and prefers the logicality of the former), in The Rat-Pit, progressive ideas are given to despicable people, such as Alec Morrison, the seducer, and the sailor-client of Norah Ryan who turns out to be her brother. ‘The Rat-Pit’ is the name for the lodging house for women, ‘threepence a night for a bunk’. MacGill joined up in the London Irish Rifles when already a successful popular novelist, and wrote the war novels, initially workmanlike developments of his journalism, capturing the feeling of the trenches. The later novels are Jenkins Ltd. potboilers, The Dough-Boys (1918); The Diggers (1918), while Mrs Patrick MacGill (Margaret Gibbons) wrote The Anzac’s Bride (1918). After public interest in war experience fizzled out, MacGill struggled to find a theme. He was not recognised as Irish in Ireland. He wrote Helen Spenser [sic], a Jenkins house romance against the background of the Irish war of Independence. In Glenmornan there is some suggestion of the migrant writer dealing with his experience as deracinated. [218] He listed his hobby as ‘mowing Irish meadows’ in Who’s Who. O’Sullivan concludes, ‘Attempts to recapture MacGill for Irishness amount to a misreading of a man who, in his life and in his work, remained an unforgiven migrant ... looking south towards the hills of Hampstead’. [218].

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Joseph Tomelty, ‘Patrick MacGill’, The Irish Bookman, ed. Seamus Campbell, Vol. 1, No.2 (August 1947), pp.25-32, ‘In all his works McGill [sic] has attempted, in a spirit of sheer realism, to depict the lot of the criminal, the lost and the fallen. His sympathies are with these types. Yet, in exposing the conditions that brought their lot about, I feel that McGill has, like Dickens, contributed not only to the culture of his native land, but also to its social improvement’ (p.32).

Benedict Kiely, ‘The Whores on the Half-Doors: An Image of the Irish Writer’, in Raid into Dark Corners (1999), pp.134-59: ‘Patrick MacGill, no more than Burns or Dean Swift, I never met. A sort of Irish Gorki, he came out fo the Glenties, in the lovely but barren mountains of west donegal, to write of the plight of the Irish migratory labourer in Scotland, to serve with the London-Irish in the Kaiser war and to write, even on the field, war-sketches in the style of Barbusse; and, as a way of saying goodbye to all that, to write a great comic novel, Lanty Hanlon, about life in Donegal. It reads as if Christopher Mahon had played Pirandello on that meditative man John Synge, and written another chapter to tell in his own words of his life as a likely gaffer. […]. it was said all around me, and, as I afterwards found out, with the grossest exaggeration, that MacGill had it in for the priests. There was, at any rate, one he mentioned who was potbellied and purplefaced and who squandered more money on a water-closet for his own carnal comfort and convenience than would have housed, bedded and cleared out three parishs.’ (p.136.)

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Quotations
Children of the Dead End (1914): ‘In this true story, as in real life, men and women crop up for a moment, do something or say someting then go away and probably never appear again. In my story there is no train of events or sequence of incidents leading up to a desired end.’ Further: ‘I always revolted against injustice, and hated all manner of oppression. My heart went out to the men, women, and children who toil in the dudgeons and ditches of labour, grinding their souls and bodies for meagre pittances. All around me were social injustices, affecting the very old and the very young as they affected the supple and strong. Social suffering begins at any age, and death is often its only remedy. That remedy is only for the individual; the general remedy is to be found in Socialism.’ ‘Only lately I have come to the conclusion that true art, the only true art, is that which appeals to the simple people. When writing this book I have been governed by this conclusion, and have endeavoured to tell of things which all people may understand.’ (Q.pp.)

Amateur Army (1915) ‘The psychological proceses ... that led to by enlisting in ‘Kitchener’s Army’ need not be enquired into. Few men could explain why they enlisted’ (Opening sentence; p.13).

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The Great Push (1916): ‘Before I joined the Army / I lived in Donegal, / Where every night the Fairies / Would hold their carnival. [...] But now I’m out in Flanders / Where men like wheat-ears fall, / And it’s Death and not the Fairies / Who is holding carnival.’ (p.50.) Introduction: ‘The justice of the cause which endeavours to achieve its object by the murdering and maiming of mankind is apt to be doubted by a man who has come through a bayonet charge. The dead lying on the fields seem to ask, “Why has this been done to us? Why have you done it, brothers? What purpose has it served?” The battle-line is a secret world, a world of curses. The guilty secrecy of war is shrouded in lies, and shiefly by bloodstained swords; to know it you must be one of those who wage it, a party to dark and mysterious orgies of carnage. War is the purge of repeleted kingdoms, needing a clse place for its operations. / I have tried in this book to give, as far as I am allowed, an account of an attack in which I took part [...]’. [

The Great Push (1916): “Back at Loos” [chap.]: ‘The Munster Fusiliers held a trench on the left of Loos and they suffered severely. They had been in there for eight days, and the big German guns were active all the time. In one place the trench was filled in for a distance of three hundred yards. Think of what that means. Two hundred men manned the deep, cold alley dug in the clay. The shells fell all round the spot, the parados swopped forward, the parapet dropped back, they were jaws which devoured men. The soliders went in there, into a grave that closed like a trap. None could escape. When we reopened the trench, we reopened a grave and took out the dead.’ (p.221; for longer extracts, ending with the narrator, wounded and entraining for London, ‘on the highway of pain’, go to RICORSO Library, “Various Irish Writers”, via index, or direct.)

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Glenmornan (1919) ‘The priest of the parish was an old fellow named Devaney, a man belonging to a bad type, the peasant-born extortionist. Doalty knew him of old, when a barefotted boy at the national school. Devaney was a gombeen priest, who played on the fears and dreads of the poor and drained the needy of their last penny. (p.130.)

Moleskin Joe (1923), ‘It is he who goes out into the deserted ways of the world, who works and dies in combat with Nature, the rude uncultured labourer under whose feet railways, bridges, cities, and castles, spring into being.’ (p.15.)

Tattie-pickers: ‘Nine of the older men dug the potatoes from the ground with short three-prong graips. The women followed behind, crawling on their knees and dragging their two baskets a-piece along with them. ... The first day was we ... The job bad enough for men, was killing for women. All day long, on their hands and knees, they dragged through the slush and rubble of the field. The baskets which they hauled after them were cased in a clay to the depth of several inches, and sometimes when emptied of potatoes a basket weighed over two stone. Pools of water gathered in the hollows of the dress that covered the calves of their legs.’ (Cited in Jonathan Bell & Mervyn Watson, Irish Farming 1750-1900, 1986, p.128; rep. in Jonathan Bardon, History of Ulster, Belfast: Blackstaff 1992, p.319.)

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References
D. J. O’Donoghue, Poets of Ireland (Dublin: Hodges Figgis 1912),, MacGill wrote a few verses for the Derry Journal; Gleanings &c. (Greenock 1911) so well received that he has given up his calling as ‘navvy’; now employed on London Daily Express [in 1912]. NOTE, Roy Foster, Modern Ireland (1988), ‘Never explicitly concerned with nationality ... retired to America in the 1920s.’ OXCO, Children of the Dead End (1914), notices, The central character, called Dermod Flynn, reunites in Scotland with Norah Ryan, the central character of The Rat-Pit, on her death-bed.

Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction [Pt. I] (Dublin: Maunsel 1919), b. Glenties, Co. Donegal 1891; London Irish Rifles; has written The Amateur Army (Lon, Herbert Jenkins 1915); The Brown Brethren; The Great Push, An episode in the Great War (Jenkins 1916); poems include Gleanings from a Navvy’s Scrapbook (Derry Journal 1911); Songs of the Dead End (Windsor 1911) and Songs of the Dead End (London: Year Book Press 1912). A novel [perhaps his most enduring], Children of the Dead End (London: Herbert Jenkins 1914); The Amateur Army (Jenkins 1915). Brown lists Children of the Dead End (1914), 305pp. [many eds.]; The Rat Pit (Jenkins 1915), 308pp.; Glenmornan (1918), 318pp. [date sic]. All local traditions and folk memories, cast as fiction. IF2 cites Gleanings from a Navvy’s Scrap Book; Songs of a Navvy; Songs of the Dead End; The Rat Pit; The Amateur Army; The Red Horizon; Soldiers [sic] Songs; Songs of Donegal; The Brown Brethern; later publications, Glenmoraan [sic] (1918); Maureen (1919); Moleskin Joe, play [sic] (1921); Fear (1921); Lanty Hanlon (1922); The Carpenter of Orra (1924) [Christlike hero]; Sid Puddiefoot (1926); Una Cassidy (1928); Tulliver’s Mill (1933) [novel based on Mill on the Floss]; The Glen of Carra (1935) [but lists Cabra, infra]; IF2 lists Maureen (Jenkins 1920), 320pp. [illegimate Donegal peasant girl; ends in horrible tragedy as relentless fate of a grim life closes on her]; Lanty Hanlon: A Comedy of Irish Life (Jenkins 1922), 320pp. [barefoot Barry Lyndon type, for a moment the greatest man in Ireland as his fraud scheme verges on success; called ‘caricature’]; . [gombeen type, Bonar petty tyrant of Dooran, Co. Donegal; Una Cassidy, in love with his son Kevin; works in London, and aided by rich American returns to marry him]; The Glen of Cabra [sic] (Jenkins 1935) [sic], 309pp. [IF2 cites IBL, ‘hardly worth writing, not worth reading’; Donegal, mid-nineteens; young Englishman visits and falls in love and involves himself in agrarian reprisals and adventures]; Helen Spenser (NY: McClelland; London: Jenkins 1937), 324pp. [simple love story of Donegal farm life].

Note: Brown also cites Mrs Patrick MacGill, niece of Cardinal Gibbons [of Baltimore], wife of novelist, The Rose of Glenconnell (Jenkins 1918) [a trite story set in Donegal]; remarks on ‘unhappy gibe[s] at the P.P.’ and ‘needless sneers at the priests’ (Idem.)

The Irish Book Lover, Vol. 5 (1914), contains remarks on the prodigious sale of copies of Children of the Dead End (p.179).

Alan Titley, An tÚrscéal Gaeilge (1991), lists Joe Mulholland, intro., Pat [sic] MacGill, Children of the Dead End (1971) [?err 1982]. Also, Pamela Ann Fox, ‘Recovering the “narrow plot of acquisitiveness and desire”: reproduction, resistance, and British working class writing, 1890-1945’, PhD, Washington, 1990.

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 2, lists titles as above; also Caliban reps. of Children of the Dead End, The Rat-Pit [1982 edn. UUC], Lanty Hanlon, Moleskin Joe, Glenmornan (all as 1983); as well as Red Horizon, The Great Push, An episode of the Great War, as well as Patrick MacGill, The Navvy Poet, containing the bulk of his verse (all in 1984). FDA2 selects The Rat-Pit (1915), the story of the Ryans, a poor family on the Donegal seaboard, torn between starvation at home and emigration as tatie-hokers; Norah Ryan makes a pitiable return through poverty and prostitution, to death [1118-27]; unromantic account of boating disaster in The Rat-Pit contrasts sharply with Peadar O’Donnell’s dashing description of a hazardous sea-crossing in Islanders 1025; BIOG, 1220 [as supra]. NO COMM, FDA.

Brian M. Walker, et al. eds, Faces of Ireland (Belfast: Appletree 1992) selects ‘Run Down’; from Songs of the Dead End (London 1913); joined London Irish Rifles, etc; Play, Suspense, published in London 1930. Poetry vols. immediately popular.

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Libraries catalogues
Belfast Central Public Library holds Black Bonar (1928); The Brown Brethern (1917); Children of the Dead End; Fear (1921); Gleanings from a Navvy’s Scrapbook (1911); The Glen of Cana (1934) [title sic]; Glenmornan (1919); The Great Push (1916); Lantry Hanlon (1922); Maureen (1920); Moleskin Joe (n.d. [FDA: Jenkins 1923]); Soldier Songs (1917); Songs of a Navvy (n.d.); Songs of Donegal (1917); Songs of the Dead End (1913, 1920); Suspense (1920); Tulliver’s Mill (1934); MORRIS holds Songs of the Dead End (1916).

Books in Print in 1994 (UU & BNB): b.1890 [sic all listings], Children of the Dead End, The Autobiography of a Navvy (Jenkins 1914); The Rat Pit (Herbert 1915), 308pp., do. rep (Caliban 1982 [sic]), viii, 308pp.; The Amateur Army (London: Herbert Jenkins 1915); Songs of the Dead End (Year Book Press 1916), 167pp. [MOR]; The Great Push, An episode in the Great War (Jenkins 1916), 254pp.; The Red Horizon (Jenkins 1916); Glenmornan ([Jenkins 1919]; London: Caliban 1983), 318pp.; The Diggers, The Australians in France, with intro. by W. M. Hughes (1919), 121pp.; Maureen (Jenkins 1920), 4+9-391pp.; Songs of Donegal (Jenkins 1921), 121pp.; Lanty Hanlon, A Comedy of Irish Life (Jenkins 1922); Moleskin Joe (Jenkins 1923), 320pp.; do. rep. (Caliban 1983); Carpenter of Orra (Jenkins 1924); The Carpenter of Orra (1924); Glen of Cana (Jenkins 1934), 309pp.; The Navvy Poet, Collected Poetry of Patrick MacGill (Dingle: Brandon 1984), 118pp. [complete reprint of Songs of Donegal, Songs of the Dead End, and Soldiers’s Songs]; The Rat Pit (Caliban 1992), 376pp. [in Working-class autobiog. series]. BNB lists reprints by New English Library (1977), and Caliban (1980-84).

Books in Print in 1994 (BNB & WHITAKER), Children of the Dead End, The Autobiography of a Navvy (London: Herbert Jenkins 1914; Caliban 1980, 1982) [0 904573 74 5]; The Rat-Pit (London: Herbert Jenkins 1915; rep. (Dingle: Brandon; London: Caliban 1983, 1994) [0 90457 383 4]; The Red Horizon (London: Herbert Jenkins 1916; Caliban 1984, 1985) [1 85066 002 6]; The Great Push (London: Herbert Jenkins 1916; Caliban 1984, 1985) [1 85066 000 X]; Glenmornan (London: Herbert Jenkins 1919), rep. Dingle: Brandon; London: Caliban 1983, 1984) [0 904 57388 5]; Maureen (London: Herbert Jenkins 1920; Caliban 1984) [0 90457 391 5]; Lanty Hanlon, A Comedy of Irish Life (London: Herbert Jenkins 1922; Caliban 1983, 1984, 1994) [0 90457 580 X]; Moleskin Joe (London: Herbert Jenkins 1923; Dingle: Brandon; London: Caliban 1982, 1984, 1994) [0 90457 387 7]; BNB 1985 lists cased collection of MacGill titles, viz., The Navvy Poet; Songs of Donegal; Soldier’s Songs; Songs of the Dead End [all Caliban 0 904573 99 0]; also cased, The Great Push, and Red Horizon.

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Notes
Children of the Dead End: The Autobiography of a Navvy (1914): Born in Glenmornan Co. Donegal, Dermod Flynn is sent to the hiring fair at twelve to be taken on by farmers, good and bad alike, during successive seasons as a potato-picker in rural Scotland. With him goes his childhood sweetheart Norah Ryan from whom he is soon separated. In ensuing chapters he tramps the length of Britain with his companion Moleskin Joe. On the way, he becomes a railway worker, a down and out and a thief; a navvy, a moors shepherd, a wrestler and a gambler (‘the devil’s prayer book’, ‘the gospel ’o Chance’) - but also a thinker and a socialist, a poet and a writer and finally a journalist in London. On her side, Norah is seduced by Alec Morrison, a bank clerk who abandons her. Her child by him dies as she plunges into poverty and prostitution in Glasgow. Dermod searches whenever he can and finally eventually meets up with her on her death-bed after she has been badly beaten by a gang of youths. She too has been longing for him, and even named her child after him. An atmosphere of mutual forgiveness prevails at the sentimental conclusion and Moleskin Joe is also reunited with his girl Gourock Ellen. (Supplied by Danielle Friel, UU, PhD, 2009.)

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Glenmornan (1918): Doalty Gallagher, disillusioned with journalism seeks to return to this own people in Donegal, but encounters clerical tyranny and gombeenism. The priest, Fr. Devaney, in Glenmornan (1918), is based on Canon McFadden (1842-1917) who was prominent in the Land League, and author of pamphlets on the question of land tenure; he was imprisoned for advocating the withholding of rents in 1888, and during a second attempt to arrest him for the same (var. ‘in resistance to the landlord’s bailiff’s at Derrybeg’) on 3 Feb. 1889, a fracas broke out resulting in the death of District Inspector Martin; he was tried with 12 others, Tim Healy appearing in defence before [Judge] Peter ‘The Packer’ O’Brien, and was the beneficiary of a plea-bargain that saw him set free while the twelve were sentenced to thirty years; he retired to Iniskeel and abstained from agitation thereafter; known as An Sagart Mór for his overbearing manner with parishioners, he is harshly treated in MacGill’s narrative, where he appears as a as a gombeen priest, though there is a more generous allusion to him in Maureen, ‘Some priests will do the best that they can for the poor people, like Father McFadden iv [of] Gweedore, that’s now in prison because he stood up for the poor’ (p.71); he also collected money in America to build Letterkenny Cathedral. For biography, see Boylan, Dictionary of Irish Biography, 1988; also Dictionary of Irish History, ed. Hickey and Doherty, 1979.

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Maureen (1920): the eponymous heroine is illegitimate; she works for a Mrs Thornton in Co. Tyrone, who makes her living by ‘caring’ for work-house babies which she actually kills by starving and by leaving them on wet blankets; includes a sympathetic portrait of a parish priest, Father Dan. Lanty Hanlon (1922), narrated by Neddy MacMonagle, former gipsy-boy, concerns an enterprising character, though prone to drink, who forms the Ballykeeran Development Society, but meets the opposition of the local gombeen man.

Fear! ([1921]): ‘Henry Arthur Ryder, once hairdresser in the little village of Little Fobythe, now a private in the British Expeditionary Force ...’ decides to write a book, ending (after a period of desertion), with reflections on the inevitability of death and resolve to continue serving, ‘I’m going back to the firing line’; the last chapter titled ‘Written By Another Hand’; with prefactory material referring to the censor’s blue pencil having prevented MacGill’s searing account of the recent war; includes a discussion of the enthusiasm of old men for young men to go off to war. The Brown Brethern, written when he had been transferred to Intelligence (probably because the Army no longer wanted his disclosures after Loos) gives a fictitious account of the Somme in which the majority of the section of soldiers survive the action.

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War novels: The Red Horizon (1916), in form much like The Great Push, more prominently features the Cockney character Bill Teake [sic]. The Dough Boys (1919) encapsulates the American contribution to the end of the war.

Variants: Glen of Carra (1913), cited thus in DIL and FDA and IF2, but summarised as Glen of Cabra in same [item 883]; and as listed as Glen of Cana in Belfast Central Library and in the BNB Catalogue.

Kith & Kin: Margaret Gibbons [afterwards MacGill, 1915], neice of Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore; author of over twenty novels and short story collections; she opened a drama school in Los Angeles, and later in Florida. [See Kate Newmann, Dictionary if Ulster Biography, under Patrick MacGill - online.]

Margaret Gibbons [afterwards married MacGill as being married to Patrick MacGill], author of The Good-Night Stories (London: Year Book Press 1912), 87pp., ill. [by Gladys Thompson & Beryl Reid]; Hidden Fires (London: Herbert Jenkins 1921); Each Hour a Peril (London: Herbert Jenkins 1921); The Highest Bidder [Red Letter Novels, No. 20] (London: DV Thomson & Co. [1921]); The Bartered Bride (London: Herbert Jenkins 1921); The Flame of Life (London: Herbert Jenkins 1922), another ed., abridged (London: Mellifont Press [1942]); Shifting Sands (London: Herbert Jenkins 1922); His Dupe [Red Letter Novels, No.45 London: DC Thomson & Co. [1922]);The Rose of Glenconnel (London: Herbert Jenkins 1917), another ed. [Red Letter Novels, no. 36] (London: DC Thomson & Co. [1921]); An Anzac’s Bride (London: Herbert Jenkins 1918); Whom Love Hath Chosen (London: Herbert Jenkins 1920); Molly of the Lone Pine [Red Letter Novels, No.51] (London: DC Thomson & Co. [1922]); A Lover on Loan [Red Letter Novels, No.66] (London: DC Thomson & Co. [1923]); Her Undying Past (London: Herbert Jenkins 1924), 319pp.; Lone - and Carol (London: Herbert Jenkins 1925); Love’s Defiance [Red Letter Novels, No. 145] (London: DC Thomson & Co. 1926); Her Dancing Partner (London: Herbert Jenkins 1926); The Ukelele Girl (London: Herbert Jenkins 1927), another ed. [Red Letter Novels, NO.184] (London:: DC Thomson & Co. [1927); Dancers in the Dark (London: Herbert Jenkins 1929), another ed. as Ivy Stories No. 201 (London: J. Long & Co 1930); Painted Butterflies (London: Herbert Jenkins 1931); Hollywood Madness (London: Herbert Jenkins 1936). [Listed in COPAC - online.]

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