David Power Conyngham

Life
1825-1883 [D. P. Conyngham]; b. Killenaule, Co. Tipperary; cousin of Charles Kickham, Fenian Rising of ‘48 and US Civil War; journalism, after US Civil War; Army Major, many works on Irish and American subjects. novels published in Boston and NY incl. Sarsfield (1871), and The O’Mahoney, Chief of the Comeraghs (1879). DIW IF OCIL

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References
Ireland in Fiction, ed. Stephen Brown (Dublin: Maunsel 1919); held LL.D.; lists Frank O’Donnell, a tale of Irish Life, ed. by ‘Allen H. Clington’ (Duffy 1861), about Tipperary in famine days, and orig. published by Duffy in the 1850s as The Old House at Home, or Surprising Adventures of Frank O’Donnell, ‘by a Tipperary boy’, and reissued in America as The O’Donnells of the Glen Cottage (NY: Kenedy 1871); Sarsfield, or the Last Great Struggle for Ireland (Boston: Donahoe [1871]) combines a love story of Hugh O’Donnell and heroine Eveleen, g.dg. of Florence McCarthy, interwoven with the narrative of Sarsfield’s life; The O’Mahoney, Chief of the Comeraghs (Sadleir 1879), a tale of Waterford in 1798, incl. a flogging at the cart’s tail and the execution of a priest by tyrannical Protestant landlords and their yeomenry; Rose Parnell, or the Flower of Avondale (Sadleir 1905), set in 1790-1800, the title character being ‘the embodiment of all the noble and patriotic qualities which have characterised the Parnell family’; strongly nationalist and Catholic viewpoint.

Irish Brigade and its Campaigns (1866). [title-page: ] ... with some account of [Col. Michael] Corcoran’s legion, and sketches of the Principal officers, Cpt. D. P Conyngham ADC, author of Frank O’Donnell; Sherman’s March, etc (Glasgow). ‘.. pride in tracing their progenitors to some old Celtic stock. It is only those who ‘have left their country for their country’s good’ that are low and snobbish enough to deny their native country. No true man denies his country.’ [p. 27]. The author served with Sherman in Georgia. Meagher’s Zouaves at Bull Run; his horse killed under him; Irish Brigade evolved from New York S. Militia 69th; draws link with ‘flower of Jacobite Army’ in continental service; at Fontenoy Louis publically thanked the brigade and created Count Lally a general on the field of battle; King George said, ‘Cursed be the laws that deprived me of such subjects.’ Generals in Union service, John Logan, Geary and Burney; Sweeny, Lalor, Doherty, Gorman, Magennis, Sullivan, Reilly, Mulligan, Stevenson, Meagher, Minty, Shields, Corcoran, PH Jones, Kieran. ‘The Irish soldier did not ask whether the coloured race were better off as bondsmen or freedmen; he was not going to fight for an abstract idea. He felt that the safety and welfare of his adopted country and its glorious constitution were imperilled; ... the Irish soldier was therefore a patriot not a mercenary.’ [Copy held in Belfast Central Library.]

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Notes
Nationalist fiction: Conyngham is cited by James Cahalan as one of those whose historical novels fed the growing nationalism of the late 19th century. (Irish Novel, p. 76.)

The O’Donnell’s of Glen Cottage (1903) is cited in Chris Morash, Writing the Famine (1995): ‘Writing for a Catholic Irish-American audience, the ‘religious obligations’ which suffering ‘stirs up’ in a Conyngham’s Catholic heroes allow them to triumph in a sectarian struggle agaist the evil Anglican landlord, Lord Clearall and his ‘souper henchman’, the Revd. Rob Sly’; Morash further refers to the ‘textual strategy of writing the Famine as a purifying crucible of faith which reuires a demonised sectarian Other’ (p.146).

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