Lynn C. Doyle (1873-1961)


Life
[pseudonym of Leslie Alexander Montgomery - a comic homophone of ‘linseed oil’; later without the “C.”] b. Downpatrick, Co. Down; worked as a branch bank-manager in Cushendall, Co. Antrim; also in Keady, Co. Armagh, and latterly in Skerries, Co. Dublin; he published Ballygullion (1908 and edns.), the first of thirteen volumes of fiction while a banker in Dublin, 1908, to be followed 14 other comic titles in Hiberno-English, ending with The Ballygullion Bus (1957) and Mr Anthony of Ballygullion (1979), mixing nationalist and Orange characters - the last being the local solicitor (‘as decent a wee man as iver stepped’);
 
Ballygullion is a fictional locale in the Slieve Gullion region of Co. Down where he passed his early years, as well as in nearby Dundalk and which he describes in the autobiography as An Ulster Childhood (1921); in the late 1920s he wrote some dramatic pieces for the Ulster Theatre (The Lilac Ribbon; Love and Land; Turncoats; Persevering Pat) - also as Lynn Doyle; his poetry was gathered as Ballygullion Ballads (1936) while some some essays and sketches appeared as Not Too Serious (1946);
 
he was appointed in his own person to the Irish Censorship Board, 1929, but resigned in 1938 in protest at the practice of banning without due reading; issued The Spirit of Ireland (1935), in the Batsford series; settled at Malahide, Co. Dublin, to play his much-love golf; later edns. of his books were illustrated by William Conor; some of his manuscripts are held in the Belfast Central Library Irish Collection; nowadays considered ‘deplorably facetious’ (Patricia Craig); a son Alan worked on The Irish Times. DIB DIL DIW IF2 OCIL DUB

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Works
Summary listing
Fiction  
Ballygullion (1908);
Mr. Wildridge of the Bank (1916);
Lobster Salad (1922);
Dear Ducks (1925);
Me and Mr. Murphy (1930);
Rosabelle and Other Stories (1933);
Fiddling Farmer (1937);
The Shake of the Bag (1939);
Yesterday Morning (1944);
A Bowl of Broth (1945);
Green Oranges (1947);
Love and Roberta (1951);
Back in Ballygullion (1953);
The Ballygullion Bus (1957);
Mr. Anthony of Ballygullion (1979);
Drama Poetry
The Lilac Ribbon [q.d.];
Love and Land
(1927);
Turncoats (1928);
Persevering Pat (1928);
Ballygullion Ballads (1936)
Autobiography Essays & Sketches
An Ulster Childhood (1921) Not Too Serious (1946)

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Bibliographical details
Fiction
  • Ballygullion (Dublin: Maunsel 1908; eds. 1914, 1917), and Do. [rep. edn.] (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1979);
  • Mr. Wildridge of the Bank (London: Duckworth 1916; 1917; 1928), [x]+308pp.;
  • Lobster Salad (London: Duckworth 1922; 2nd imp. 1925), 320pp.;
  • Dear Ducks (London: Duckworth 1925);
  • Me and Mr. Murphy (London: Duckworth 1930), viii, 9-286pp.;
  • Rosabelle and Other Stories (London: Duckworth 1933);
  • Fiddling Farmer (London: Duckworth 1937);
  • The Shake of the Bag (London: Duckworth 1939);
  • Yesterday Morning (London: Duckworth 1944);
  • A Bowl of Broth (Lon, Duckworth 1945);
  • Green Oranges (London: Duckworth 1947);
  • Love and Roberta (Belfast: H. R. Carter 1951);
  • Back in Ballygullion (London: Duckworth 1953);
  • New Stories ([Duckworth] 1957);
  • The Ballygullion Bus (London: Duckworth 1957; rep. Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1983) [omnibus];
  • Mr Anthony of Ballygullion (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1979).
Plays
  • Turncoats: A Play in One Act (Dublin: Talbot 1928);
  • Land or Love; or, Persevering Pat: A Play in Four Acts [Talbot Press Plays] (Dublin: Talbot Press 1928), 128pp.
Poems
  • Ballygullion Ballads (London: Duckworth 1936), ill. William Conor.
 
Autobiography
  • An Ulster Childhood (Dublin: Maunsel & Roberts 1921; Duckworth 1927), and Do. [facs. of 1927 Edn.] (Belfast: Blackstaff 1985);
Miscellaneous,
  • Not Too Serious: Essays and Sketches (London: Duckworth 1946), [vi], 7-192pp.;
  • The Spirit of Ireland (London: Batsford 1935), 115pp., ill. [photographs with engravings by Brian Cook [e.g., “Bishop Gate Londonderry”, p.115].
  • Foreword to Rev. W. MacNeill, His Reverence Listens Again (Talbot n.d.), pp.104.

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Criticism
Loreto Todd, The Language of Irish Literature (1989), p.149f. [linguistic analysis of “A Wild-Goose Chase”, from Lobster Salad (London: Duckworth 1922).

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References
Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction: A Guide to Irish Novels, Tales, Romances and Folklore [Pt. I] (Dublin: Maunsel 1919), lists Ballygullion ([1908]; Dublin: Maunsel; 1917), 259pp., new edn. ill. William O’Connor [twelve stories]; Mr. Wildridge of the Bank ([1916] London: Duckworth 1917) [n.pp]; Ballygullion introduces the character of Mr. Pat Murphy who narrates so many of the stories. In one, the Department Inspector fails to make butter from whitewash during a swoop on the Creamery Society; in others, Nationalists and Orangemen are mingled comically, and mediated by Father Connolly’s ‘famous speech’. ‘Father Con’s Card Table’ is condemned by Brown.

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Desmond Clarke, Ireland in Fiction: A Guide to Irish Novels, Tales, Romances and Folklore [Pt. 2] (Cork: Royal Carbery 1985) [IF2], lists An Ulster Childhood (Dublin: Maunsel 1921), tells of early days in Down and Dundalk. IF2 lists Lobster Salad (London: Duckworth 1925), 320pp.; Dear Ducks (London: Duckworth 1925), 276pp.; Me and Mr. Murphy (London: Duckworth 1930), 286pp.; Rosabelle and Other Stories (London: Duckworth 1933), 310pp.; Fiddling Farmer (London: Duckworth 1937), [n.pp.]; The Shake of the Bag (London: Duckworth 1939), 319pp., Yesterday Morning (London: Duckworth 1943-4), 252pp.; A Bowl of Broth (London: Duckworth 1945), 214pp.; Not Too Serious (London: Duckworth 1946), [n.pp.]; Green Oranges (London: Duckworth 1947), 238pp.; Love and Roberta (Belfast: Carter 1951), 139pp.; Back in Ballygullion (London: Duckworth 1953), 224pp.; The Ballygullion Bus (London: Duckworth 1957), 420pp.

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Brian Cleeve & Ann Brady, A Dictionary of Irish Writers [rev. 1 vol. edn.] (Dublin: Lilliput 1985): 1872-1961; exponent of ‘pawky Northern humour’; b. Downpatrick, ed. Dundalk, bank-manager; plays incl. Love and the Land (1927), but remembered for stories of Ballygullion and its inhabitants; Ballygullion (1908); Lobster Salad (1922); Dear Ducks (1925); Me and Mr. Murphy (1930); Rosabelle (1933); The Shake of the Bag (1939); A Bowl of Broth (1945); Green Oranges (1947); Back to Ballygullion (1953); New Stories (1957), and a collection called The Ballygullion Bus (1957; Blackstaff rep. 1983) [‘big gather-up of all the auld stuff that has run out of print’; Doyle’s favourite stories over fifty years]; New Stories (also 1957). ‘Pawky northern humour, more astringent and less condescending that Somerville and Ross, in stories such as ‘The Rapparee’ he shows a more serious talent and historical insight’. Appointed to Censorship Board, he resigned 1939. [DIW, Ballygullion, err. 1908].

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A. N. Jeffares, Anglo-Irish Literature (London: Macmillan 1980), p. 216: a banker born in Co. Down, created the fictional village of Ballygullion as locale for dialect stories; these are, however, less subtle than Birmingham’s in their comedy and have at times a heavyhandedness about them. Doyle wrote several plays for the Ulster Literary Theatre.

Patricia Craig, ed., Rattle of the North (Blackstaff 1992) dismisses the ‘deplorably facetious Lynn Doyle’.

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Cathair Books Catalogue [q.d.] lists Mr Wildridge of the Bank (Duckworth 1916; rep. 1917); Hyland Books (Cat. 214) lists The Spirit of Ireland (US 1st ed. 1936).

British Library adds Turncoats, A Play in One Act (Dublin: Talbot 1928); Persevering Pat, A Play in Four Acts (Dublin: Talbot 1928), also Babel Babble, an extravaganza (1945); ‘trans. from Assyrian’ [pseud.]; Shake of the Bag and Other Stories (London: Duckworth 1939), 319pp.

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Desmond Clarke, Ireland in Fiction: A Guide to Irish Novels, Tales, Romances and Folklore [Pt. 2] (Cork: Royal Carbery 1985), notes a foreword to Temple Lane, The Trains Go South (1938).

Blackstaff Press (Reprints), Mr Anthony of Ballygullion ([1st ed.?]Belfast: Blackstaff (1979); Ballygullion (Belfast: Blackstaff 1979).

Ulster Libraries: Belfast Public Library holds 16 titles incl. Babel Babble, an extravaganza (1945); Ballygullion (1913) Ballygullion Ballads (n.d.); Back to Ballygullion (1953) Lobster Salad (1922); Love and Roberta (1951), some fiction and some poetry. University of Ulster Library, Morris Collection holds The Spirit of Ireland (1936).

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Quotations
The Spirit of Ireland (Batsford 1935), prefatorily addressed to better class of English tourist since the others who visit would need no formal introduction to ‘the ordinary Irish’, described as ‘travell[ing] steerage in every relation to life’. [on a certain type of Irish-Irelander and language enthusiast], ‘They cannot love the Irish language without depreciating the English language; and forget that it is paying the Irish people no compliment to prove that eight hundred years they were held down by a nation of nincompoops’ [78]

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Notes
C. E. B. Brett: in ‘Architecture’, Causeway: The Arts in Ulster (1971), Brett builds a constructed image of the architecture of an ‘imaginary’ Ulster town called ‘Ballygullion’, without explicit (or implied) allusion to Lynn Doyle; the personages of the ‘village’ include ‘wee Mr Anthony the solicitor’ (p.15).

An Ulster Childhood (Dublin: Maunsel & Roberts 1921; Duckworth 1927; rep. Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1985), autobiography; includes a chapter on ‘Odium Theologicum’, dealing with religion and education in Co. Louth.

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