Patrick Kennedy (1801-73)

[occas. “Patrick Whitney”] b. Co. Wexford; settled in Dublin, 1823; owned a bookshop at Angelsea Place [var. St.]; wrote literary and historical anecdotes as well as a staple of Irish folklore; made regular contributions to Dublin University Magazine under pseud. “Harry Whitney”, later published as Legends of Mount Leinster (1855); reviewed Sheridan Le Fanu’s serialised novels in Dublin University Magazine for The Warder and encouraged by him to publish folklore in the DUM;
issued Fictions of Our Forefathers (1860) and Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts (1866, 1892), his best known work, which incls. “The Enchantment of Geroidh Iarla”, which J. S. Sheridan adapted as “The Magician Earl” and Yeats reprinted in Fairy and Folk Tales (1888); other works incl. The Banks of the Boro [a chronicle of Co. Wexford] (1867); Evenings in the Duffrey (1869); The Fireside Stories of Ireland (1870), The Bardic Stories of Ireland (1871);
his Irish Book of Modern Anecdotes, Humour, Wit and Wisdom (1872) contains stories of James II and William III at the Boyne and Aughrim along with numerous anecdotes on Swift, Steele, Faulkner, Buck Whaley, Barrington, Francis Higgins, John Giffard, Theophilus and Deane Swift as well as Dr. Burrowes, Jacky Barrett, Thomas Moore, R. B. Sheridan, J. P. Curran, Jemmy O’Brien, Major Sirr, et. al., mostly gleaned from W. J. Fitzpatrick’s The Sham Squire (1866), Barrington’s Personal Sketches (1827), and other sources incl. Master-of -the-Rolls Edward Walsh (Ireland Sixty Years Ago, 1847);
chiefly published by M’Glashan in association with M. H. Gill; Kennedy’s method was to pass of Irish stories as ‘grotesque, extravagant’ but amusing; most of his works were published by McGlashan, often in association with Gill, but the most successful, The Irish Book of Modern Anecdotes, Humour, Wit and Wisdom ([1872]), came out from Routledge & Sons in a series devoted to the humour of the constituent nations of the United Kingdom. CAB ODNB PI JMC DIB DIW DIH IF MKA RAF OCIL WJM

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  • Legends of Mount Leinster: Tales and Sketches, by Harry Whitney [pseud.] (London: Lambert & Co. [1855]), 283pp. Fictions of Our Forefathers (1860).
  • The Irish Book of Modern Anecdotes, Humour, Wit and Wisdom (London: Routledge & Sons [1872]), 192pp. [see details].
  • Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts [1866] (London: Macmillan 1891), xiv, 352pp. [see details].
  • The Banks of the Boro (Dublin: M’Glashan and Gill; 1867), viii, 372, 3 p. [8°]; co-pub. with Simpkin, Marshall & Co. (London); Burns, Oates & Co. (London); and Do. [another edn.] (Dublin: M’Glashan & Gill 1875).
  • Evenings in the Duffrey (Dublin: M’Glashan & Gill 1869], 396pp.
  • The Fireside Stories of Ireland (Dublin: M’Glashan & Gill 1870), 162pp.
  • The Bardic Stories of Ireland (Dublin: M’Glashan & Gill [1871]), xii, 231pp. [co-publ. with London: Simpkin, Marshall, & Co.; Burns, Oates & Co.; Edinburgh: John Menzies & Co.]
  • The Irish Book of Anecdotes: Humour, Wit and Wisdom (London: George Routledge & Sons [1872]), 192pp., with index, and Do., [rep. edn.] (Dublin: Gill, 1913)
  • Household Stories (1891).
  • [As Harry Whitney,] ‘Fictions of our Fore-fathers’, in Irish Quarterly Review, No. XXXV [Transactions of the Ossianic Society; Oct. 1859] (DublinM'Glashen and Gill; James Duffy; W. B. Kelly; P. Kennedy London: Burns & Lambert [1859]), 82pp.[MS 282 [offprint] in Madden Papers, Gilbert Collection, Pearse St. Public Library, Dublin].
  • ?Patrick Kennedy, ‘Early Irish Buildings and the Architects’, in Dublin University Magazine, no. 421, Jan. 1868, pp.106-15.
  • “The Enchantment of Geroidh Iarla”, rep. in W. B. Yeats, Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry (London: Walter Scott 1888), p.265.

Also in Tom Hood [1835-74], ed., The book of Modern Anecdotes: Humour, Wit, and Wisdom, English, Irish, Scotch [Routledge Standard Library] (London: George Routledge & Sons [1873]), iv, 570, [6]pp.

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Bibliographical details
The Irish Book of Modern Anecdotes, Humour, Wit and Wisdom (London: Routledge & Sons [1872]), 192pp. [Irish Proverbs, p182; Index, p.189], undated imprint of Routledge of London and part of a series that incls. “English, American, Scotch, Theatrical, and Legal, Modern Anecdotes”. [See extract.]

[ COPAC lists 1481 titles by bearers of the name Patrick Kennedy in different times and places - including those written by author treated here and identified by his dates 1801-1873.]

Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts, collected and narrated by Patrick Kennedy (London & NY Macmillan 1891), xiv, 352pp., ill. [front.]; ded. epistle to Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu [‘.. your high position among English writers ... a truly good man ... encouragement of my own literary efforts ...’], dated Piasta Cottage, Laragh, Feb. 1897 [sic]; Pt. I, Household Stories; Pt. II, Legends of the Good People; Pt. III, Witchcraft, Sorcery, ghosts and Fetches; Pt. IV, Ossianic and Other Early Legends; Pt. V, Legends of the Celtic Saints; with glossary. Endpapers contain 56pp. catalogue of Macmillan books. [Cited as juvenile literature in COPAC.]

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Ann Cahill, ‘Irish Folktales and Supernatural Literature: Patrick Kennedy and Sheridan Le Fanu’, in Bruce Stewart, ed., That Other World: The Supernatural and the Fantastic in Irish Literature (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1998), Vol. 1, pp.307-18.

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W. B. Yeats, Fairy and Folktales of the Irish Peasantry (1899), Introduction: ‘[…] Kennedy, an old bookseller in Dublin, who seems to have had something of a genuine belief in fairies, came next in time [after Carleton]. He has far less literary faculty, but is wonderfully accurate, giving often the very words the stories were told in.’ (Fairy and Folk Tales of Ireland [1888] London: Pan Books 1979, pp.6-7; cited in Ann Cahill, ‘Irish Folktales and Supernatural Literature: Patrick Kennedy and Sheridan Le Fanu’, in Bruce Stewart, ed., That Other World: The Supernatural and the Fantastic in Irish Literature [Transactions of Princess Grace Irish Library Conference; Monaco, Whitsun 1998], Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1998; also in Maria Pulida, paper contributed to the same collected.

Charles Welsh, “Irish Fairy and Folk Tales” [intro. essay], in Irish Literature, gen. ed. Justin MacCarthy, Vol. III, (Philadelphia: John Morris & Company 1904): ‘Patrick Kennedy, a Dublin bookseller, printed about one hundred folk and hero tales and drolls in his Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts, 1866; Fireside Stories of Ireland, 1870; and Bardic Stories of Ireland, 1871.’ (p.xxii.)

Joseph Jacobs, Celtic Fairy Tales (London: Nutt 1892): ‘[...] The Irish Grimm, however, was Patrick Kennedy, a Dublin bookseller, who believed in fairies, and in five years (1866–71) printed about 100 folk- and hero-tales and drolls (classes 2, 3, and 4 above) in his Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts, 1866, Fireside Stories of Ireland, 1870, and Bardic Stories of Ireland, 1871; all three are now unfortunately out of print. He tells his stories neatly and with spirit, and retains much that is volkstümlich in his diction. He derived his materials from the English-speaking peasantry of county Wexford, who changed from Gaelic to English while story-telling was in full vigour, and therefore carried over the stories with the change of language.’ (q.p.) [See Jacobs [q.v.] and details of Celtic Fairy Tales incl. t.p., Contents, and full-text copy of Notes & References [as attached.]

Seán O’Sullivan, Folktales of Ireland (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul 1966): ‘The Legendary Fictions is a seminal work, parts of which [his] other two works] expand. Where Croker had noticed one segment of Irish tale-telling, Kennedy now illuninated the spectrum of oral prose traditions in Ireland. His five sections covered substantial and distinct veins of follk narrative. (Household stories - Legends of the Good Peole - Witchcraft, Sorcery, Ghosts - Ossianic and Other Early Legends - Legends of the Celtic Saints). Few forms of folk narrative escaped Kennedy. One was the humourous anecdote; he did actually compile some for his final work, A Book of Modern Irish Anecdotes (1872), but it was drawn from printed sources. Another strand that he missed was folk history, still largely a folklore orphan.’ (p.ix; quoted in Gaïd Girard, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu: Une écriture fantastique, Paris Honoré Champion 2005, p.39).

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Dictionary of National Biography quotes Kennedy in Dublin University Magazine: ‘the greater part of the stories and legends in this volume are given as they were received from the story-tellers with whom our youth is familiar’.

Patrick Rafroidi, Irish Literature in English, The Romantic Period, 1789-1850 (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1980), Vol. 2; notes that he shares pride of place with T. C. Croker among 19th c. Irish folklorists, and lists works after 1850 only.

Justin McCarthy, gen. ed., Irish Literature (Washington: University of America 1904) gives extracts from Fireside Stories of Ireland and Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts.

Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction (Dublin: Maunsel 1919), quotes a review by Douglas Hyde: ‘many of his stories appear to be the detritus of genuine Gaelic folk-stories filtered through an English idiom and much impaired and stunted in the process. He appears, however, not to have adulterated them very much’; also cites author’s remarks from preface of Evenings in the Duffrey [McGlashan & Gill 1869], 396pp., ‘there is not a fictitious character, nor incident in the mere narrative, nor legend related, nor ballad sung, which was not current int he country half a century since. The fireside discussion were really held, and the extraordinary fishing and hunting adventures detailed, as here set down’; other works listed are, Legends of Mount Leinster ([] 1855), 283pp. [several fire-side stories told in Wexford, and historical tales incl. Sarsfield, Brian Boru, and priest-hunting Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts (Macmillan 1891, and eds.) [hundred stories ‘as they were received from story-tellers with whom our youth was familiar’]; The Banks of the Boro (M’Glashan & Gill [1867], new edn. 1875), 362pp. [quiet country life in NW Wexford with wealth of information on local customs and traditions]; The Fireside Stories of Ireland (McGlashan & Gill (1870), 162pp. [fifty examples of fairy and folklore; Hyde calls it ‘a good book’] The Bardic Stories of Ireland (M’Glashan & Gill [1871]), 227pp [58 stories on pagan myth and history of great families, told with humorous naiveté]; The Book of Modern Irish Anecdotes [Humour, Wit and Wisdom] [new edn.] (Dublin: Gill 1913), 192pp. [6d.]. Most works published by or in assoc. with Gill.

British Library holds [1] The Book of Modern Anecdotes. Humour, Wit, and Wisdom. English-Irish-Scotch. Edited by T. Hood, P. Kennedy, and J. A. Mair.. London [1873.] 8o. [2] Evenings in the Duffrey. Dublin, 1869. 8o. [3] Irish fireside folktales ... Edited and selected by Karin von der Schulenburg.. Cork: Mercier Press, [1969]. pp. 128. 19 cm. [5] Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts. Collected and narrated by P. K.. London, 1866. 8o. [6] The Banks of the Boro: a Chronicle of the County of Wexford.. London, Dublin [printed], 1867. 8o. [7] The Bardic Stories of Ireland.. Dublin, 1871. 8o. [8] The Book of modern Irish anecdotes, humour, wit and wisdom.. London, [1872.] 8o. [9] Journal up the Illinois River, &c.

Brian McKenna, Irish Literature, 1800-1875: A Guide to Information Sources (Detroit: Gale Research Co. 1978), works included Fictions of our Forefathers ... (McGlashan and Gill 1859); The Fireside Stories of Ireland (1870); and The Book of Modern Irish Anecdotes (ca.1872); commentary incls. J. Sheridan Le Fanu, in Dublin University Magazine, 81 (1873), pp.581-82 ; and James Delaney, in Past 7 (1964) pp.9-87.

Booksellers; Cathach Books (1996/97) lists The Book of Modern Irish Anecdotes, Humour, Wit and Wisdom [new edn.] (Dublin: Gill 1913), 192pp. Hyland Books (Cat. 235) lists The Book of Modern Irish anecdotes: Humour, Wit, and Wisdom [2nd edn. (?1872).

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Legendary Fictions: ‘These ancient fictions ... have been preserved by the peasantry ... in the worst taste, grotesque, extravagant.’ (Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts, Macmillan 1866, p.132; cited in Edward Hirsch, ‘“Contention Is Better Than Loneliness”: The Poet as Folklorist’, in Ronald Schleifer, ed., The Genres of Irish Literary Revival, Wolfhound 1980, p.16.)

Modern Irish Anecdotes (London: Routledge & Sons [1872])
‘The numerous collections of this kind extant, each heralded by its preface, agreeably removed from the present compiler any obligation of bespeaking his readers’ favour by an elaborate introduction. Like its predecessors, this Irish medley has no higher ambition - than that of agreeably occupying a leisure hour during quiet evenings at home, or periods of forced inaction in steamboat or railway carriage. If, when read out in a family circle, it interests and amuses its young and old hearers, the editor’s self-complacency will be still further augmented.
 The English and Scotch and the present Irish compilation, taken in combination with each other, must contribute to some extent in drawing the social bonds which unite the three peoples still closer. Every one of the compilers has had at heart to bring forward the more estimable qualities of his subjects, their ludicrous faults and failings serving merely as a shady background to enhance the brighter tints of the picture.
  It has entered into the present writer’s design to draw the attention of his readers to the principal events in the history of his country since the revolution of 1691, and to refresh [3] the portraits of the most remarkable characters who, well or ill, played out their allotted parts during the same period.
 The little prefatorial speech being now spoken, nothing remains to be done but to refer to the chief works from which materials have been borrowed. These are - Doctor R. R. Madden’s History of Irish Periodical Literature; Mr. W. J. Fitzpatrick’s Sham Squire, and its sequel, Ireland before the Union; Mr. J. T. Gilbert’s “Streets of Dublin”, from the The Irish Quarterly Review; Sir Jonah Barrington’s Personal Recollection; Papers by Mr. P. J. Murray in the Irish Quarterly Review; Recollections of Ireland, by Mr. M.; and the Bar Life of O’Connell, by Mr. J. R. O’Flanagan; and Ireland Sixty Years Ago, by the late Rt. Hon. Edward Walsh, Master of the Rolls.’
[Introduction,] pp.3-4.

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Thomas Furlong (letter in response to query): ‘Dear Sir, The only other writer in the Dublin and London I know anything of is Thomas Furlong author of the Doom of Derenzy, The Plagues (or woes I forget which) of Ireland and the little poems on common life you will find in the magazine. He was born near or in Scarawalsh, Co. Wexford, lived a long time in Dublin as Clerk in Jameson Distillery entertained (I fear) loose notions on religious matters. Died July 28th, 1827 and his remains lie in Drumcondra Church yard. He translated some of the poems from Hardiman’s Irish Minstrelsy. / The books mentioned are rare. I had the Doom of Derenzy and The Plagues. Further than this I know not except that a brother of his was married to a relation of mine. A nephew of his a tailor lived some years on the corner of Stephens Green and Cuffe Street. I met young Dr. M. yesterday who had like to wring my hand off great recompense for little merit. I am dear sir, Yours P. Kennedy.’ (Angelsea Rd., June 16th, 1864; Madden Papers, Gilbert Collection, MS 266; Pearse St. Library, Dublin; information supplied by Sean Mythen [UUC, PhD.])

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George-Denis Zimmerman cites Folk Songs of Britain and Ireland [q.d.], in ‘Thematique de l’amour dans les ballades traditionelle irlandaises’, Études Irlandaises, ed. Patrick Rafroidi, et al. (Université de Lille Presse 1979).

Sheridan Le Fanu called him ‘my quaint, kind and clerver little bookseller’ (se Amy L. Friedman, ‘Patrick Kennedy’ [entry], in W. J. McCormack, ed., The Blackwell Companion to Irish Literature (Oxford 1999; 2001)

W. B. Yeats refers to him as ‘Old Patrick Kennedy’, and calls him a second-hand Dublin bookseller, in ‘Irish Fairies, Ghosts, Witches, &c.’, article in Lucifer [Theosophical Magazine] (15 Jan. 1889); see John P. Frayne, ed., Uncollected prose of W. B. Yeats, 1970, p.130ff; p.134. Note that Mary Helen Thuente cites Kennedy as a source for Yeats’s Fairy and Folk Tales in Irish Booklore, 3, 1 (q.d.); see also Thuente, ‘W. B. Yeats and Nineteenth Century Folklore’, in Journal of Irish Literature, 6.3 (Sept. 1977).

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