R. J. Martin

Life
1856-1905; b. 16 June, Ross, Co. Galway; br. of Violet Martin (vide Somerville & Ross); worked as London journalist, humorist and stage-Irish entertainer (as name “Ballyhooly”); author of Days of the Land League (1882, enl. 1884), a collection of pro-landlord topical verse; also issued Bits of Blarney by Ballyhooly (1899); a ballad “Ballyhooly”, dealing with a band whose temperance drink is whiskey punch, is cited in James Joyce’s Ulysses; wrote pro-Union pantomimes Faust and Aladdin, the former portraying Gladstone in the title-role; denounced by Arthur Griffith as ‘a thing called Robert Martin, which has done more to slander Ireland than any man alive’; d. 13 Sept.

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Criticism
Patrick Maume ‘Music hall Unionism: Robert Martin and the politics of the stage-Irishman’, in Peter Gray, ed., Victoria’s Ireland?: Irishness and Britishness, 1837-1901 [Society for Study of Nineteenth-Century Ireland] (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2004) pp.69-80.

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Reference
Belfast Central Public Library holds Days of the Land League (1882).

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Notes
Frank Hugh O’Donnell compared the portrayal of the peasants in Yeats’s The Countess Cathleen to characters in Martin’s “Ballyhooly”. (Information on this page supplied by Patrick Maume.)

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