Francis A[rthur] Fahy

1854-1935 [F. A. Fahy; pseud. ‘An Dreolin’[the Wren]]; b. 29 Sept. Kinvara, Co. Galway; ed. national school; London civil service, 1873; contrib. to Nation, Weekly News, United Ireland, Young Ireland, and Weekly Freeman; author of “The Ould Plaid Shawl”, first printed in Shamrock, “The Irish Lullaby” and “Little Mary Cassidy”; fnd. Southwark Junior Literary Club, 1881, for children, and fnd. member and first President of Southwark Literary Club for adults, 4 Jan. 1883, with support from Charles Gavan Duffy, John O’Leary, John Redmond, R. Barry O’Brien, D. P. Moran, Justin McCarthy, Dr. Mark Ryan, and W. B. Yeats; from it grew the Irish Literary Society in 1892, publishing poems of J. F. O’Donnell; collaborated with D. J. O’Donoghue on biographical series on Irish authors in London for the Daily Telegraph; authored a history of Ireland for children in verse [q.d.], and a play, The Last of the O’Learys [q.d.]; there is a public house called The Old Plaid Shawl in Kinvara and a plaque on the house where he was born. PI JMC DBIV DIB DIH OCIL

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Poetry, Prose and Dramatic Works, Irish Songs and Poems (Dublin: M.H. Gill and Son; London: Simpkin, Marshall and Co. 1887), iv, 2-126pp.; The Irish Language Movement (London: [1901]), 20pp.; The Ould Plaid Shawl, and Other Songs, preface by P. S. O’Hegarty (Dublin: At the Sign of the Three Candles [1949]), xii, 98 pp. port.; The Last of the O’Learys [q.d.]. Miscellaneous, with D. J. O’Donoghue, et al., Ireland in London (1889), 172pp.

Translations & Scored Musical Arrangements, Walter Battison Haynes, The Ould Plaid Shawl: Song, words by F. A. Fahy, arranged by W. B. Haynes (London: Novello 1896), 7pp.; Alicia Adelaide Needham,The Coolin: Song From The Ancient Irish, trans. Francis A. Fahy, [ancient Irish air] arranged by A. A. Needham (London: Ascherberg, Hopwood & Crew [1909]), 1score, 7pp.; Henry Coleman, The Wild Hills Of Clare: Old Irish Air, words by F. A. Fahy, arranged [as part song for T.T.B.B.] by H. Coleman [Choral library B Series, No. 74] (London: Cramer [1957]), 8pp.; Havelock Nelson, Kitty Magee: Irish Folksong, words by F. A. Fahy, arranged [in two-parts] by H. Nelson (London: Ascherberg [1964]), 8pp.; The Fiddler: S.S.A. and Piano, words by F. A. Fahy, [Irish air] arranged H. Nelson (London: J. Curwen & Sons [1964]), 1 score, 4pp.

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W. P. Ryan, The Irish Literary Revival, Its History, Pioneers and Possibilities [facs. of 1894 first edn.] (NY: Lemma Publishing Corp. 1970), pp.11, 12, 14, 52, 102, 141; recounts that Francis A. Fahy, a young civil servant, born in Kinvara, Co. Galway, was author at an early age of an Irish drama [The Last of the O’Leary’s], and, with a few enthusiastic friends, began an Irish revival which led to many such awakenings in Great Britain [p.11] ... ‘Francis Fahy himself, and his young friends, were, I must admit, as ardent politicians as any. But they had far-reaching literary and educational projects as well’ [p.12]; Founded Southwark Junior Irish Literary Club, c.1880, Surrey Rooms, Blackfriars Road [p.14]; wrote child’s rhyming Irish history [p.14]; Fahy and Thomas Boyd prevented from attending [at Yeats’s house, 28th Dec. 1891, to initiate the Irish Literary Society] by insufficient notice [p.52]; Francis Fahy ‘not quite continued upon his Southwark lines. The sooner he is tempted to leave his poetic ‘Castle of Indolence’; the better for the racy element in our native literature’ [p.102]; quotes Fahy’s poetical rendering of Irish hospitality, ‘The cream of kindly welcome and the core of cordiality’. [p.141]

Gerry Adams writes on ‘Francis Fahy - A Serious Funny Man’ in Irish Voice (22 May 2001): ‘Francis who? says you. Francis Fahy. He composed Galway Bay, campaigned for Home Rule, was in the forefront of the Irish Revival Movement and even found time to compose a History of Ireland in rhyme for children. Today, Francis A. Fahy ’

D. J. O’Donoghue, Poets of Ireland (Dublin: Hodges Figgis & Co. 1912), lists Irish Songs and Poems (1887); Pres. of London Gaelic League, and other Irish Lit. Societies in London; collaborated with D. J. O’Donoghue on Ireland in London; author of “The Auld Plaid Shawl”, “The Irish Lullaby”, the former appearing in Shamrock; contributor to Nation, Weekly News, United Ireland and Young Ireland and Weekly Freeman; pseudonym “Dreoilin [the Wren]’; described by D. J. O’Donoghue as being ‘one of the raciest of Irish poets’.

Justin McCarthy, gen. ed., Irish Literature (Washington: Catholic Univ. of America 1904), selects prose, “How To Become A Poet” [ironically contesting ‘born, not made’; defines poetry in terms of rhyme, ‘the chief and only feature in modern poetry’; ‘get your endings to rhyme and you need trouble about little else’]. Also selects, “The O”Donovans”; “Irish Molly, O”; “The Ould Plaid Shawl”, and “Little Mary Cassidy”; McCarthy notes that he wrote a play, The Last of the O’Learys, which was performed in his native town, and says that whereas A. P. Graves sings of the pastoral and out-door life of the people, Fahy deals with their home-life.

John Cooke, Dublin Book of Irish Verse (Dublin: Hodges & Figgis; London: OUP 1909) selects “The Old Plaid Shawl”; “Little Mary Cassidy”.

Irish Book Lover, Vol. VI, p.162 [on Fahy].

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The O’ Donovans”: ‘If you would like to see the height of hospitality, / The cream of kindly welcome, and the core of cordiality: / Joyce of the olden time - you’re wishing to recall again?’ / Come down to Donovans, and there you’ll meet them all again. // Cead mile failte they’ll give you done at Donovans, / As cheery as the springtime and Irish as the cannawawn / The wish of my heart is, if ever I had any one- / That every luck that lightens life may light upon the Donovans’.

Irish Molly, O”: ‘Oh, fairer than the lily tall, and sweeter than the rose, / As modest as the violet in dewy dell that blows; / With heart as warm as summer noon, as pure as winter snow / The pride of Erin’s isle is she, dear Irish Molly O!’

The Ould Plaid Shawl”: ‘Not far from Kinvara in the merry month of May. / When birds were singing cheerily, there came across my way / As if from out the sky above an angel chanced to fall, / A little Irish cailín in an ould plaid shawl ... // She tripped along right joyously ... // ... I’ll seek her all through Galway, and I’ll seek her all through Clare, / I’ll search for tale or tidings of my traveller everywhere, / For peace of mind I’ll never find until my own I call / That little Irish cailín in her ould plaid shawl’.

Little Mary Cassidy”: ‘Oh, this little Mary Cassidy, the cause of all my misery, / The reason that I am not now the boy I used to be: / Oh, she bates the beauties all that we read about in history [...//...] I never would feel lonely with the two of us alone.’

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