T[homas] ONeill Russell
1828-1902 [pseud. “Reginald Tierney”]; b. Lissonode, Moate,
Co. Westmeath, son of Joseph Russell, a Quaker farmer; ed. National School;
commerical traveller for Jacobs biscuits; learned Irish and contrib.
The Irishman urging language-revival from 1858; emig. to USA fearing
arrest because of his assocation with the IRB, 1867; worked there as commercial
traveller; travelled to Ireland and became fnd. mbr of the Gaelic League,
31 July 1893; settled in Ireland, 1895; contrib. articles on historic
Irish places in Freemans Journal (Autumn 1895); and Féis
Ceol, 1897; wrote Dick Massey, A Tale of Irish Life (1860), a tale
of the 1814 famine and subsequent emigration, ran into many editions;
True Hearts Trials (1910), set in Cavan-Westmeath and USA
backwoods (Albany), with scenes of the life of Irish squireens and American
colonists and lovers trials; a play, The Last Irish King
(1904) plays in blank verse; edited Moores Irish Melodies;
d. 15 June, Synge St.; bur. Mount Jerome; he is cited in Ulysses (though
already deceased in 1904). PI IF ODNB DIB DIW DIH MKA SUTH OCIL
[as Reginald Tierney,] The Adventures of Dick Massey, or the Battles
of a Boy (Dublin: James Duffy 1860; Gill, new ed. 1908); True Hearts
Trials, a Tale of Ireland and America (Dublin: M .H. Gill 1872; rep.
1910); (1904); Red Hugh, Or the Life and Death of Hugh Roe ODonnell,
Lord of Tyrconnell (Dublin: M. H. Gill 1905). Miscellaneous, Gaelic
Letters, in Gaelic Journal, vol. 2 (1882-83), p.292[ff].
James Coleman, Bibliography, Bibliographical Society of
Ireland Publication, 1, 4 (1919); Hester Piatt, Memories, Catholic
Bulletin, 9 (1919), pp.647-48.
Daly, The Young Douglas Hyde (1974): Thomas ONeill Russell,
1826-1908; native of Co. Westmeath, many years in America as travelling
salesman (jolly pedlar, &c); tireless worker for the Irish
language; Hyde describes him as rather obstinate; a correspondent
of Hydes calls him the Prince of Cranks, while Tim Healy,
in a letter to his brother Maurice, wrote, I think Russell the most
delightful human animal I have ever known, his honesty, sincerity, enthusiasm,
and love of Ireland and Celtic things, in a man of his years and Protestant
training, are marvellous. (Hyde, Mise agus Connradh, p.162ff.;
Russell appears to have taken Hyde to the RIA, as to his house where Hyde
met his (Russells) French wife acc. Hydes diary, 19-21 June
1877. (n., 198; p.33.)
Vivian Mercier, ‘John Eglinton as Socrates: A Study of “Scylla and Charybdis” , in James Joyce: An International Perspective, ed. Suheil Bushrui & Bernard Benstock (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1982): No doubt Professor [Weldon] Thornton is weary of being chided for his scepticism about the existence of ONeill Russell: see Allusion in Ulysses, N. Carolina UP 1968, p.172. There is a delightful sketch of the ageing Celtic enthusiast by George Moore in Hail and Farewell: Ave, Salve, Vale, ed. Richard Allen Cave (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, 1976), ppp.319-20.
Public Library holds Adventures of Dick Massey (1861); Beauties and
Antiquities of Ireland (1897); Is Ireland a Dying Nation (1906); The Last
Irish King (1904); The True Harp of Erin (1900).
D. J. ODonoghue, The
Poets of Ireland: A Biographical Dictionary (Dublin: Hodges Figgis
& Co 1912); The Last Irish King, drama in blank verse (Dub.
1904); Red Hugh, a drama (Dublin 1905); novel, Dick Massey
(v. successful); The Beauties and Antiquities of Ireland
(1897), Is Ireland a Decaying Nation?; ed. Moores Melodies in Ireland. McKenna (Irish Literature, 1978), Bibl., The
Struggles [sic ?err.] of Dick Massey, or the Battles of a Boy,
by Reginald Tierney [pseud. Russell] (Duffy 1860); True Hearts
Trials, a Tale of Ireland and America (Gill 1872); drama, The Last
Irish King (1904); Red Hugh, or life and death of Hugh Roe ODonnell,
Lord of Tyrconnell (1905); also ed. Moores Melodies,
books on Irish language and antiquities; commentaries by James Coleman,
Bibliography .., in Bibl. Soc. of Ireland Pub., 1,
4 (1919); Hester Piatt, Memories, in Catholic Bulletin 9
James Joyce: Ulysses (1922) contains a reference: ONeill
Russell? O, yes, he must speak the grand old tongue (Ulysses,
Bodley Ed., p.246).