Margaret Barrington

Life
1896-1982; b. 10 May, Malin, Co. Donegal; dg. district inspector in the Royal Irish Constabulary; ed. Alexandra College, Dublin; a school in Normandy, France and TCD; married historian Edmund Curtis, 1922; then Liam O’Flaherty, 1926, with one child; separated 1932; moved to England in 1930s; contrib. to Tribune woman’s page; organised support for Republican side in Spanish Civil War; helped refugees from Nazi Germany; acclaimed novel, My Cousin Justin (1939), based on her relationship with O’Flaherty; moved to West Cork where she wrote articles and short stories; d. 8 March; collection short stories David’s Daughter, Tamar (1982) published postumously. IF2 ATT DIL

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Works
My Cousin Justin (London: Jonathan Cape 1939), and Do. [rep. edn.] (Belfast: Blackstaff 1990), 288p.; William Trevor, intro., David’s Daughter Tamar (Dublin: Wolfhound 1982), short stories.

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References
Desmond Clarke, Ireland in Fiction [Pt. II] (Cork: Royal Carbery 1985) summarises My Cousin Justin (1939), in which Loulie and her cousin Justin are brought up together in an old Huguenot mansion in Donegal; Loulie goes on to attend TCD; Justin enlists in 1914; Loulie saves a rebel in 1916 and marries him; she discovers that she cannot identify with the new Ireland; it is a mismatch; Justin does something the same; the cousins come together and return to the old mansion. See also Mary Campbell, review of 1990 rep. edn. of same, in Books Ireland (Summer 1991).

Ann Owens Weekes, Attic Guide to Published Works of Irish Women Literary Writers (Dublin: Attic Press 1994), writes that My Cousin Justin deals with Donegal life in WWI period, and the arrival of prejudice in children’s world. Describes Ulster Volunteer movement as arising out of fear, ‘fear of the native Catholic Irish, oppressed for centuries and now since the days of Parnell asserting themselves more and more, and the more tangible fear of the workers. As usual it was the less real fear that was emphasised. The factory-owners, the ship builders, the newspapers and the bourgeoisie declared with every breath they took that Home Rule was Rome Rule, and the worker was for the hundredth time deceived.’ (My Cousin Justin, pp.78-79.)

Katie Donovan, A. N. Jeffares & Brendan Kennelly, eds., Ireland’s Women (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1994) contain extracts from Ferocious Irish Women (1991); also in My Cousin Justin (Belfast: Blackstaff 1990).

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Notes
Liam O’Flaherty (1897-1984) dedicated his novel Spring Sowing (London: Jonathan Cape 1924) to Margaret Barrington, while their relationship is the subject of a novel cited but not named by reviewer of O’Flaherty’s Letters, ed. A. A. Kelly (Books Ireland, May 1997, p.127.).

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