P. D. (“Pat”) Kenny

Life
1862-1944 [Patrick Dermott Kenny; “Pat”], social critic, born Aughamore, Co. Mayo, son of a small farmer; emigrated to Lancashire 1882 as a labourer; obtained an education and studied political economy at Manchester University; worked as journalist in Glasgow early 1890s, edited Newcastle Daily News, 1896-97, then worked as West End journalist and theatre critic; issued How To Stop Strikes (1896); returned to Ireland on father’s death to over family holding, 1901; lived in a tent for 2 years while writing Economics For Irishmen (1906), first serialised in Irish Rosary, shorn of a chapter criticising economic influence of the clergy; issued Connaught Ranging: I. How We Drink; II. How We Think (1903), temperance pamph.; occas. contrib. to The Leader, 1902-05; with T. M. Kettle and Francis Sheehy-Skeffington, co-ed. weekly Nationist (1905); associated with Michael Davitt, 1905-06;  ed. Irish Peasant, 1904-5; dismissed for anti-clericalism but continued to write regular column “Patriana” under W. P. Ryan; present at Playboy riot (Abbey Th.), 1907; contrib. pro-Playboy article in Irish Times and chaired Abbey debate on the play; self-proclaimed Unionist from mid-1907; contrib. articles incl. “The Sorrows Of Ireland” (1907) to wrote for Saturday Review; contrib. London Morning Post; collab. with Walter Long on article on Ireland in Saturday Review “Handbook for Unionist Candidates”, 1909; reg. contrib. to London Outlook, 1911-14; wrote extensively on self-help and agricultural techniques; issued (‘the Irish people are the only civilised race driven off the land by their own cattle'); issued My Little Farm (1915); lived reclusively on his farm during World War I; remained pro-Unionist; issued Five Years Of Irish “Freedom” (1926); contrib. to English Review, 1927-31; attempted to found new Land League (1929-31); non-practising Catholic for most of later life, on bad terms with priests and neighbours; last known article in Ireland To-Day (March 1937), attributing the decline of the Abbey Th. to ‘neo-druidic despotism'; d. 21 July, of heart attack; given Catholic funral by eccentric curate despite local objections; called ‘an Irish Luther who came too soon' by Joseph Hone (Irish Bookman , Sept. 1946; funerary monument erected 1994; annual Pat Kenny/Bill Naughton autumn gathering, Aghermore.

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Criticism
Adrian Kenny ‘The Life and Works of P. D. Kenny’ in Joe Byrne, ed., Pat Kenny/Bill Naughton Lectures 1993 (Aghamore 1994); Patrick Maume, ‘Between Fleet Street and Mayo: P. D. Kenny and the Culture Wars of Edwardian Ireland’, in Bullán : A Journal of Irish Studies, VI, 2 (q.d.), pp.21-41; Lionel Pilkington ‘The Most Unpopular Man in Ireland: P.D. Kenny, J.M. Synge and Irish Cultural History', in Irish Review, 29 (2002) pp.51-57. See also allusion in F. J. Biggar (‘Pat has priests on the brain’) and Stephen Gwynn (‘a journalistic renegade engaged in the profitable task of fouling his own nest’).

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Notes
The above entry and information supplied by Patrick Maume, QUB (July 2004).

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