T. D. Sullivan


Life
[Timothy Daniel Sullivan;] b. Bantry, in May; ed. Bantry schools; contributed to the Nation and assisted his br. in editing it from date of purchase in 1855; supported Home Government Association, and Home Rule League; published ‘God Save Ireland’ in the Nation, under the proprietorship of his brother, in 1867; also ‘Song of the Canadian Backwoods’ or ‘Ireland, Boys, Hooray’, sung on both sides at Fredericksberg; took over The Nation editorship from his brother in 1876, closing it under pressure of sales from The Freeman’s Journal, 1891; Home Rule M. P. for Westmeath, 1880-85; subsequently for Dublin, 1885-92, and West Donegal, 1892-1900; prosecuted and acquitted with Parnell and others, 1880-1881; Mayor of Dublin 1886-87; supported Plan of Campaign and imprisoned under Coercion Act, 1888;
 
he wrote at that time his Lays of Tullamore Prison (1888); sole member of American fund-raising mission to repudiate Parnell on hearing news of his divorce and condemnation as political partner by Gladstone; his poems incl. “God Save Ireland” for Manchester Martyrs and based on the exclamation of Edward Condon in the dock; “Song of the Canadian Woods” [‘Ireland Boys Hurray’], often collected and anthologised; vols. include Dunboy and Other Poems (1861); Green Leaves, A Collection of Irish Verse (1879); Songs of the Canadian Backwoods; Lays of the Land League (1887); Poems (1888); also Speeches from the Dock, ed. with A. M. Sullivan; and a memoir, Recollections of Troubled Times in Ireland 1843-1904 (1905). CAB PI DIB DIW DIL MKA FDA OCIL

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Works

Verse
  • Dunboy, and Other Poems (1861);
  • Songs from the Backwoods (?1865);
  • Green Leaves: A Volume of Irish Verses (1875);
  • Ode ... at the tomb of William Smith O’Brien (1876);
  • Lays of the Land League (1887);
  • Poems (1888);
  • Prison Poems, or Lays of Tullamore (Nation Office, ca.1889);
  • Songs and Poems (1890);
  • Blanaid and Other Irish Historical and Legendary Poems from the Gaelic (Eason 1891);
  • A Selection from the Songs and Poems of T. D. Sullivan (1899);
  • Evergreen: A Volume of Irish Verses (Dublin: Sealy, Bryers & Walker 1907), viii, 195pp. [8o];

Also ed., Irish National Poems by Irish Priests (1911).

Prose
  • Recollections of Troubled Times in Irish Politics (1905).

Also A Letter to ... John Bright (1887), 44pp.

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Criticism
Matthew Russell (Irish Monthly 1880); Obituary, in Irish Book Lover 5 (1914), and see also Irish Book Lover Vol. 3; ‘Bibliography of the Brothers Sullivan’, in Bibliography Society of Ireland, Publ. 3 (1926).

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Commentary
W. P. Ryan, The Irish Literary Revival (1894), [Sullivan] a sunnyhearted minnesinger finding his way by troublous paths and stormy political windings. I doubt if any Irish singer is more popular than he by the Irish peasant’s chimney corner. Epics have died while ‘Deep in Canadian Woods’ is as popular as ever. [10]

W. B. Yeats, in Irish Literature ed. J. McCarthy (Washingon 1904): ‘The agrarian movement that followed produced little poetry, and of that little all is forgotten but a vehement poem by Fanny Parnell and a couple of songs by T. D. Sullivan, who is a good song-writer, though not, as the writer has read on an election placard, “one of the greatest poets who ever moved the heart of man.”’ (Vol. 3, p.xii.) See his further remarks on Nationalist verse in relation to ‘exacting conscience’.

Joseph Lee, The Modernisation of Ireland (1973): ‘The execution of the Manchester Martyrs (enthusiastically hanged for the accidental killing of a policeman in the attempt to rescue Kelly from the prison van) roused Irish public opinion to an extraordinary fervour. T. D. Sullivan wrote “God Save Ireland”, which served as the national anthem for fifty years, while the 23 November, the “feast” of the “martyrs”, soon superseded St. Patrick’s Day as the national political Feastday.’ (p.57.)

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Quotations
God Save Ireland!” said the heroes, / “God Save Ireland!” said they all./ “Whether on the scaffold high/Or on the battlefield we die,/O, what matter when for Ireland dear we fall!”’ The song was written in response to the execution of the Manchester Martyrs and based on the exclamation of Edward Condon in the dock. There is a parody of it in the 4th Book of Finnegans Wake (Viz., ‘Goldsafe firelump’, &c.)

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References
Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction: A Guide to Irish Novels, Tales, Romances and Folklore [Pt. I] (Dublin: Maunsel 1919), retells the story of Conor MacNessa, how a brain-ball starts in his head on hearing of the death of Christ, finely told in verse by T. D. Sullivan [QRY]; and see also Kuno Meyer The Death Tales of the Ulster Heroes [Todd Lect. Ser. XIV] (1906).

Brian McKenna, Irish Literature, 1800-1875: A Guide to Information Sources (Detroit: Gale Research Co. 1978), p. 327, Contrib. Nation [joined staff in 1855]; ed. and prop. from 1884-1900 [err.]; he also owned Weekly News, Young Ireland, and Zozimus; published War Summary, during Franco-Prussian war, with A. M. Sullivan; [?]Taylor selects 4 poems incl. ‘God Save Ireland’ and ‘Dear Old Ireland’.

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Justin McCarthy, ed., Irish Literature (Washington: Catholic Univ. of America 1904), apparently gives no specimens [neither listed author-alphabetically, and only remarks in Gen. Index]; rems. as follows, ‘Irish National Land League, with Davitt as leader; Govt. attempted to break up, imprisoning 14 members, incl. Parnell, Dillon, Biggar, Sexton, and TD Sullivan.

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 2, prints ‘God Save Ireland’, 106 [though Index marks it anon.]; also 77, [207, in biog. AMS]; [cited by Frederick Ryan, 999].

Donald T. Torchiana, Backgrounds for Joyce's Dubliners (Boston: Allen & Unwin, 1986), cites T. D. Sullivan, A Guide to Dublin (Dublin: A. M. Sullivan n.d.).

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Belfast Public Library holds Bantry, Bereha[v]en, and the O’Sullivan (1908); Blanaid (1891); Evergreen (1907); Green Leaves (1907); Irish Readings, Vol. I (1895); National Songs (n.d.); Poems (n.d.); Prison Poems (1888); Recollections of Troubled Times in Irish Politics (1905); Selections for Reading and Recitation (1874); Selections from his Songs and Poems (1905); ed., with others, Speeches from the Dock, or Protests of Irish Patriotism (1868, 1905). MORRIS holds Penny Readings for the Irish People [Vol. 4], compiled by the Editor of the “Nation” (Dublin [90 Abbey St.], T. D. Sullivan 1885)

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Notes
Sean O’Faolain, The Irish (1947) cites a letter from T. D. Sullivan to William Daunt O’Neill complaining about the few priests who had so far joined the Home Rule Movement. (p.122; see O’Neill, supra.)

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