Prosperous is founded by Sir Robert Brooke in 1780 as a village for processing cotton produced in the Americas. When a rebellion spearheaded by the United Irishmen breaks out against British rule in Ireland, rebel forces led by John Esmonde make plans to capture Prosperous. Esmonde has 200 rebels under his command, while Prosperous is garrisoned by elements of the Royal Cork City Militia under the command of Captain Richard Swayne and reinforced by detachments of a Welsh mounted fencible regiment, the Ancient British Regiment of Fencible Cavalry Dragoons (also known as the Ancient Britons), numbering 150 men in all.
On May 24, 1798, Esmonde leads his forces to attack Prosperous. Their entry is preceded by the infiltration of a small rebel vanguard, who with the possible help of female sympathisers residing in Prosperous, scale the walls of the town’s barracks, kill the sentries and open the town gates. The barracks are quickly surrounded and attacked by the rebels who repulse an attempt by the garrison to break out. “Swayne himself was surprised in bed, shot and piked to death and his body burned in a tar barrel.” The remainder of the garrison are trapped in the upper floors of the barracks which is set on fire by the rebels, causing them to jump in desperation onto the ground below, where they are summarily executed with pikes. While the rebels suffer no known casualties, approximately 40 members of the garrison are killed in the battle.
Van der Flier’s preferred position is flanker, but he can play other positions if needed. He is commonly referred to amongst Leinster Rugby circles as “The Dutch Disciple.”
Van der Flier begins his professional career with the Leinster academy. During his time at the academy, he plays with the Leinster senior team, making his debut in October 2014 against Zebre Parma. It is announced in April 2015 that he has been awarded a senior contract with Leinster.
Van der Flier is named as the Ireland men’s XVs Players’ Player of the Year at the 2022 Rugby Players Ireland awards. He also wins the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland men’s player of the year award for the 2021-22 campaign.
Maud Gonne conceives a child, Georges, with her French Boulangist lover Lucien Millevoye. When the baby dies, possibly by meningitis, she is distraught, and buries him in a large memorial chapel built for him with money she had inherited. She separates from Millevoye after Georges’ death, but in late 1893, she arranges to meet him at the mausoleum in Samois-sur-Seine and, next to the coffin, they have sex. Her purpose is to conceive a baby with the same father, to whom the soul of Georges would transmigrate in metempsychosis. Iseult is born in France as a result on August 6, 1894. She is educated at a Carmelite convent in Laval, France. When she returns to Ireland she is referred to as Maud’s niece or cousin rather than her daughter.
In 1903, Maud Gonne marries John MacBride. Iseult’s half-brother Seán MacBride is born in 1904. The couple separates in 1905. With Gonne fearing that Seán’s father will seize him from her, her family mostly lives in France until John MacBride’s death in the 1916 Easter Rising. In a separation settlement, MacBride is granted a month’s summer custody, however, he returns to Ireland and never sees his child again. Iseult’s relationship with her stepfather is tainted by an allegation by William Butler Yeats, who writes to Lady Gregory in January 1905, the month MacBride and Maud separate, that he had been told MacBride had molested Iseult, who at that time was ten years old. However, many critics have suggested that Yeats may have fabricated the event due to his hatred of MacBride over Maud’s rejection of him in favour of MacBride. The divorce papers submitted by Gonne make no mention of any such incident – the only charge against MacBride that is substantiated in court is that he was drunk on one occasion during the marriage and Iseult’s own writings make no mention of the allegation.
In 1913, Iseult meets Rabindranath Tagore. Inspired by his poetry, she begins to learn Bengali in 1914, tutored by Devabrata Mukerjea. Together, in France, they translate some of Tagore’s The Gardener into French directly from the Bengali. Tagore leaves it to Yeats’ discretion to decide the merit of the work, but Yeats does not feel sufficiently fluent in French to judge them. The translations are never published. Iseult is widely considered a great beauty, and temperate, able to speak her mind. She attracts the admiration of literary figures including Ezra Pound, Lennox Robinson and Liam O’Flaherty. Her most infamous association is with Yeats, who had long been in love with her mother. In 1916, in his fifties, Yeats proposes to the 22-year-old Iseult who refuses his advances. He had known her since she was four and often referred to her as his darling child. Many Dubliners suspected that Yeats is her father.
In 1920, Iseult elopes to London with 17-year-old Irish Australian Francis Stuart, who becomes a writer, and the couple later marries. Their first child, Dolores, dies in 1921 of spinal meningitis at three months old. The couple has two other children, Ian and Catherine.
Maud Gonne dies on April 27, 1953, and does not acknowledge Iseult in her will, possibly due to pressure from Séan who does not want to reveal Maud’s relation to Millevoye. Iseult dies at the age of 59 from heart disease less than a year later, on March 22, 1954. She is buried in Glendalough, County Wicklow.
Ó Dálaigh, one of four children, is born on February 12, 1911, in Bray, County Wicklow. His father, Richard O’Daly, is a fishmonger with little interest in politics. His mother is Una Thornton. His birth name is registered in English as Carroll O’Daly, which he uses during his legal career, and which is recorded by some publications.
Ó Dálaigh is a committed Fianna Fáil supporter who serves on the party’s National Executive in the 1930s. He becomes Ireland’s youngest Attorney General in 1946, under TaoiseachÉamon de Valera, serving until 1948. Unsuccessful in Dáil and Seanad elections in 1948 and 1951, he is re-appointed as Attorney General of Ireland in 1951. In 1953, he is nominated as the youngest-ever member of the Supreme Court by his mentor, de Valera. Less than a decade later, he becomes Chief Justice of Ireland, on the nomination of Taoiseach Seán Lemass. He is a keen actor in his early years, and becomes a close friend of actor Cyril Cusack. It is commonly stated that Ó Dálaigh and Cusack picketed the Dublin launch of Disney‘s Darby O’Gill and the Little People in 1959, for what they felt was the film’s stereotyping of Irish people. However, there is no known contemporary reference to this having occurred.
In 1972, Taoiseach Jack Lynch suggests to the opposition parties that they agree to nominate Ó Dálaigh to become President of Ireland when President de Valera’s second term ends in June of the following year. Fine Gael, confident that its prospective candidate, Tom O’Higgins, will win the 1973 presidential election, having almost defeated de Valera in 1966, turn down the offer. Fianna Fáil’s Erskine H. Childers goes on to win the election that follows.
When Ireland joins the European Economic Community (EEC), Lynch appoints Ó Dálaigh as Ireland’s judge on the European Court of Justice. When President Childers dies suddenly in 1974, all parties agree to nominate Ó Dálaigh to replace him.
Ó Dálaigh’s decision in 1976 to exercise his power to refer a bill to the Supreme Court to test its constitutionality brings him into conflict with the Fine Gael-Labour National Coalition. Following the assassination of the British Ambassador to Ireland, Christopher Ewart-Biggs, by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), on July 23, 1976, the government announces its intention to introduce legislation extending the maximum period of detention without charge from two to seven days.
Ó Dálaigh refers the resulting bill, the Emergency Powers Bill, to the Supreme Court. When the court rules that the bill is constitutional, he signs the bill into law on October 16, 1976. On the same day, an IRA bomb in Mountmellick, County Laois, kills Michael Clerkin, a member of the Garda Síochána, the country’s police force. Ó Dálaigh’s actions are seen by government ministers to have contributed to the killing of this Garda. On the following day, Minister for DefencePaddy Donegan, visiting a barracks in Mullingar, County Westmeath, to open a canteen, attacks the President for sending the bill to the Supreme Court, calling him a “thundering disgrace.”
Ó Dálaigh’s private papers show that he considered the relationship between the President (as Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces) and the Minister for Defence had been “irrevocably broken” by the comments of the Minister in front of the army Chief of Staff and other high-ranking officers. Donegan offers his resignation, but Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave refuses to accept it. This proves the last straw for Ó Dálaigh, who believes that Cosgrave had additionally failed to meet his constitutional obligation to regularly brief the President. He resigns from the presidency on October 22, 1976, “to protect the dignity and independence of the presidency as an institution.” He is succeeded as President of Ireland by Patrick Hillery.
Ó Dálaigh dies of a heart attack on March 21, 1978, less than two years after resigning the presidency. He is buried in Sneem, County Kerry.
Molloy is the fifth in a family of five boys and three girls. Two other children die at birth. He is educated at Milltown national school and St. Jarlath’s College, Tuam, County Galway, from 1927 to 1931. His father dies when he is six years old and his uncle, Sonny Tucker, becomes an important influence, encouraging his life-long habit of extensive reading. In 1931 he goes to St. Columba’s Seminary at Dalgan Park, Shrule, County Mayo, but discontinues his studies for the priesthood when he contracts tuberculosis. He undergoes several operations, has to use crutches for three years, and is left with a permanent limp. While under the care of the sanatorium in Newcastle, County Wicklow, in the late 1930s, he is encouraged by a friend to attend a performance of two plays by George Bernard Shaw, Candida and Village Wooing, at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. He becomes a regular playgoer and is inspired to begin a career as a dramatist.
Having lived in the family home at Milltown until 1955, he takes up residence at a nearby farmhouse on the marriage of his brother Christy. Despite his handicap, he works the small farm for the rest of his life to supplement the irregular income from his plays. He never marries and is attended by his housekeeper, Agnes Johnston. He is a familiar sight as he travels around his local area on the high bicycle he had fitted with one fixed pedal. The purpose of these journeys is to collect folklore, which provides a rich body of material for his plays and which he gathers into a prose volume, though this remains unpublished and privately held.
Molloy has nine of his thirteen plays produced at the Abbey Theatre, from Old Road in 1943 to Petticoat Loose in 1979. His plays reveal him as a folklorist in the line of John Millington Synge and draw on the same mixture of Christian and pagan beliefs, but with a more sympathetic understanding of his characters’ Catholicism. There is also the same strong vein of grotesque physical humour. His accomplished one-act play The Paddy Pedlar (1953) is based on a folk tale about a man carrying the body of his dead mother around in a sack, and takes its bearings from an extraordinary amalgam of beliefs about the afterlife.
Molloy’s history plays re-create a world that shows the oppressions of colonialism on a subject race who respond with a wild anarchy mixed with subdued acceptance. His plays with a contemporary setting most often take emigration as their theme and are prophetic of later work by John B. Keane and Brian Friel. He writes in a heightened folk idiom, which only rarely loses touch with natural speech. Old Road wins an Abbey Prize and is staged in 1943 with Cyril Cusack as the young farm labourer trying to decide whether to emigrate to England or to stay in Ireland. Joseph Holloway gives a touching account of the shy author taking his curtain at this first production, who, though his lips move, is unable to say anything. The Visiting House follows in 1946, and dramatises a night of singing, dancing, and storytelling, peopled by a richly diverse cast of characters.
Molloy’s first masterpiece, The King of Friday’s Men, is launched in 1948. It takes the uncompromising theme of the droit du seigneur exercised by an eighteenth-century Anglo-Irish landlord on the most beautiful young women on his estate. His latest prey seeks to evade her fate by enticing the aged faction fighter, Bartley Dowd, to fight the landlord on her behalf. The play recreates that eighteenth-century world with colour, immediacy, and a strong sense of how the colonial system envelops all of the characters save the marginalised Bartley, who in the first production is played by the actor and author Walter Macken.
Molloy’s even greater The Wood of the Whispering follows in 1953 at the Queen’s Theatre, where the Abbey company is now playing. It is his most probing treatment of the effects of emigration, an issue of which Molloy, living in Galway, is only too aware. It is the most Beckettian of Irish plays, with its old tramp, Sanbatch Daly, and a host of older characters who are not so much eccentric as damaged in some profound way. At the play’s close Sanbatch feigns madness to gain entry to the asylum, though he is not in truth far from genuine madness. The various younger couples agree to stay and marry in Ireland rather than go their separate ways back to England. This idea of cultural renewal also underscores the importance Molloy places on the staging of his plays by amateur drama companies.
From the 1960s onwards Molloy’s plays are less readily accepted by the Abbey Theatre and a Dublin audience, but they still find a ready reception in his native place. In later works, such as Daughter from Over the Water (1963), the older characters retain their exuberance, but the younger ones seem beyond his reach. His last play, The Bachelor’s Daughter, is given its first performance by the Tuam Theatre Guild on March 3, 1985. The revival by Galway’s Druid Theatre of The Wood of the Whispering in 1983, which Molloy lives to see, is a revelation, and a reminder to the wider theatrical and academic world of the continuing importance of this playwright, not just as the ‘missing link’ between Synge and Keane but as an original in his own right.
In later years Molloy is a member of Aosdána. He dies of aortic aneurysms at Galway Hospital on May 27, 1994. He remains a committed Catholic all his life and his tombstone reads: “Woe to those who call evil good and who call good evil” (Isaiah, 5: 20).
(From: “Molloy, Michael Joseph” by Anthony Roche, Dictionary of Irish Biography, http://www.dib.ie, October 2009)
After some years as curate at St. Paul’s Church, Dublin, Murray is transferred to Arklow, and is there in 1798 when the rebellion breaks out. The yeomanry shoot the parish priest in bed and Murray, to escape a similar fate, flees to the city where for two years he serves as curate at St. Andrew’s Chapel on Hawkins Street. As a preacher, he is said to be particularly effective, especially in appeals for charitable causes, such as the schools. He is then assigned to the Chapel of St. Mary in Upper Liffey Street where Archbishop John Troy is the parish priest.
Murray is an uncompromising opponent of a proposal granting the British government a “veto” over Catholic ecclesiastical appointments in Ireland, and in 1814 and 1815, makes two separate trips to Rome concerning the controversy.
Murray becomes Archbishop of Dublin in 1825 and on November 14, 1825 celebrates the completion of St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral. He enjoys the confidence of successive popes and is held in high respect by the British government. His life is mainly devoted to ecclesiastical affairs, the establishment and organisation of religious associations for the education and relief of the poor. With the outbreak of cholera in the 1830s, in 1834 he and Mother Aikenhead found St. Vincent’s Hospital. He persuades Edmund Rice to send members of the Christian Brothers to Dublin to start a school for boys. The first is opened in a lumber yard on the City-quay. He assists Catherine McAuley in founding the Sisters of Mercy, and in 1831 professes the first three members.
Edward Bouverie Pusey has an interview with Murray in 1841, and bears testimony to his moderation, and John Henry Newman has some correspondence with him prior to Newman’s conversion from the Anglican Church to the Roman Catholic Church in 1845. A seat in the privy council at Dublin, officially offered to him in 1846, is not accepted. He takes part in the synod of the Roman Catholic clergy at Thurles in 1850.
Towards the end of his life, Murray’s eyesight is impaired, and he reads and writes with difficulty. Among his last priestly functions is a funeral service for Richard Lalor Sheil who had died in Italy, and whose body had been brought back to Ireland for burial. Murray dies in Dublin on February 26, 1852, at the age of eighty-four. He is interred in the St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, where a marble statue of him has been erected in connection with a monument to his memory, executed by James Farrell, president of the Royal Hibernian Academy of Fine Arts.
(Pictured: Portrait of Daniel Murray, Archbishop of Dublin, by unknown 19th century Irish portrait painter)
King is the son of Henry King, businessman, of Rathdrum, and Susan King (née Crowe). He is educated at the Church of Ireland Ranelagh School, Athlone, and at Mountjoy School, Clontarf, Dublin (1936–39). Subsequently he joins the printing firm of W. & S. McGowan in Dundalk, where he goes on to become a director. During the 1940s his interest in amateur drama leads him to take classes at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, where his fellow students include Milo O’Shea and Eamonn Andrews. Around this time, he is also involved in An Óige (the Irish Youth Hostel Association), in which he serves as honorary national secretary and honorary treasurer. This involvement leads him to travel extensively from the late 1940s around Europe, where he visits many major art museums and galleries.
King begins to acquire works of art, by both European and Irish artists, and by the mid-1950s he has amassed one of the most important collections of modern art in Ireland. Around 1954 he himself begins to paint, under the guidance of Barbara Warren and the English artist Neville Johnson. In his early work he focuses on urban scenes, often based on the area of Ringsend, Dublin, where he uses subdued tones to produce poetic images of a sombre mood. Even here his interest in the formal qualities of painting – such as the flatness of the picture surface and the juxtaposition of areas of colour on it, which becomes a defining feature of his art – is evident. In 1964 he leaves his successful business career behind in order to devote himself entirely to art, a bold move considering the limited audience for modern art that exists in Ireland at the time. In his own words he recalls how “Painting was what I wanted to do, I realised I didn’t need a car. I could do without an awful lot of things.” (Sunday Independent, November 7, 1982)
By this time, King is working in a fully abstract style. However, he still draws his inspiration from the external world, particularly the milieu of the circus. A painting such as Trapeze (1976; Allied Irish Bank collection) shows how he responds to acrobatic performance, not in any literal or figurative sense, but to the tensions and balances inherent within it. The overall effect is to convey to the viewer the essence of anticipation of the performance. Indeed, his works can create an almost physical sense of involvement on the part of the viewer. This is especially true of his Berlin Suite, a series of screen-prints produced as a result of a visit to East Berlin and published by Editions Alecto of London (1970). He is also inspired to produce a number of paintings on this theme of the claustrophobia of the divided city. Ultimately, he aspires to create works which, with their economy and restraint, achieve a meticulously balanced harmony. This concern leads him, in such works as the Baggot Street Series, to move away from even the most veiled figurative references, evidence for the fact that he constantly strives to further his artistic explorations.
King often works seven days a week. This quiet determination contributes in no small part to the international standing he soon achieves, as does his prolific record as an exhibitor. Writing a foreword to an exhibition of his work at Kilkenny in 1975, the critic William Packer finds that King’s art “confounds the expectations we might have of Irish art, for it is far from local in ambition, accomplishment, and seriousness.” He mounts over twenty-five one-man exhibitions and contributes to a large number of group shows in Ireland and abroad. A significant proportion of his output is to be found in galleries in Europe and the United States, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Tate Gallery, London. He is also represented in the major public and corporate collections in Ireland, such as the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Ulster Museum, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Crawford Municipal Gallery, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, Arts Council, Aer Lingus, Bank of Ireland, Allied Irish Bank, and ESB. In fact, King, with his hard-edge abstract style, is one of the very few artists working in Ireland at the time whose work is comparable to that of the major (principally American) international exponents of abstraction. The term “hard-edge,” applied to King’s style, may however belie the subtlety he could achieve in terms of his handling of colour and texture. This is particularly true of his works in the media of pastel and tapestry, while his last paintings show a tendency towards more expressive brushwork and a more complex approach to colour.
King enjoys a happy relationship with Oliver Dowling from 1960 to the time of his death, at Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin, on April 7, 1986, having suffered a heart attack just three days before an exhibition of his work is due to open in Dublin at the Oliver Dowling Gallery. His legacy is not alone artistic: he also makes a significant contribution to the promotion of modern art in Ireland in his capacity as a member of the organising committee for the Rosc exhibition since its inception in the 1960s, where his wide knowledge of international art is much respected. A member of Aosdána, he twice serves as commissioner for the Department of Foreign Affairs cultural committee. He is also generous in his encouragement of young artists, whose work he regularly adds to his own collection.
(From: “King, Cecil” by Rebecca Minch, Dictionary of Irish Biography, http://www.dib.ie, May 2012 | Pictured: Abstract, Oil on Canvas by Cecil King)
Christian is considered one of the best Irish lawyers of his time, but as a judge, he regularly courts controversy. His bitter and sarcastic temper and open contempt for most of his colleagues leads to frequent clashes both in Court and in the Press. Though he is rebuked for misconduct several times by the House of Commons, no serious thought seems to be given to removing him from office.
Christian’s early years at the Bar are not successful, and he admits to being near to despair at times about his prospects. His practice lays in the Court of Chancery (Ireland). Chancery procedures are extremely complex and he finds them at first almost unintelligible. Gradually he masters the intricacies of Chancery practice and becomes a leader of the Bar, taking silk in 1841. It is said that his expertise in Chancery procedures leaves even the Lord Chancellor himself quite unable to argue with him.
Christian is appointed Law Adviser to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, an influential post which involves assisting the Attorney General and Solicitor General in advising the Crown in 1850, but resigns after only a few months, on the ground that it interferes with his private practice. He is appointed Third Sergeant later the same year but resigns in 1855, allegedly because he is disappointed at not receiving further promotion. Promotion does in time come his way. He is appointed Solicitor General the following year and a judge of the Court of Common Pleas in 1858. He is unusual in having no strong political loyalty. It is said that his political allegiance is known only to himself.
As a judge of the Court of Common Pleas, Christian gets on well with his colleagues, and any dissenting judgements he writes are short and courteous. It is after his appointment as a Lord Justice of Appeal in Chancery in 1867 that his behaviour begins to attract unfavourable comment, as he goes out of his way to court controversy on a wide variety of topics.
Christian develops a deep contempt for the Irish Reports, castigating them in open Court as “nonsense,” “worthless rubbish” and “disjointed twaddle.” All attempts by colleagues to get him to moderate his language fail. He threatens to refuse to let his judgements be reported, and in his last years, his relations with the law reporters are so bad that they simply publish their uncorrected notes of his decisions rather than sending them to the judge for revision.
In 1867 a new office of Vice-Chancellor for Ireland is created. It is filled throughout its existence by one man, Hedges Eyre Chatterton, who retires in 1904. Despite his length of service, he is not considered a judge of the first rank, and Christian evidently combines feelings of professional contempt with a personal dislike for him. Christian usually votes on appeals to overturn his judgments, and frequently adds personal attacks on Chatterton, despite protests from his colleagues. The feud between the two judges reaches the Press in 1870 when The Irish Times, without naming them, quotes one judge’s opinion that another is “lazy, stupid, conceited and dogmatic.” Although Christian denies it, it is universally believed that he is the author of the remarks, which are aimed at Chatterton. Chatterton is fortunate in enjoying the support of the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, Thomas O’Hagan, 1st Baron O’Hagan, who is also on bad terms with Christian.
Christian had worked well with Abraham Brewster, O’Hagan’s predecessor, whom he respected. For O’Hagan on the other hand, he feels the same dislike and contempt which he felt for Chatterton. Although they served together in the Court of Common Pleas without any obvious conflict, Christian considers O’Hagan’s appointment as Lord Chancellor to be a purely political act, and that he is unfit to be either head of the judiciary or an appeal judge in Chancery. He also complains of what he sees as O’Hagan’s laziness, which puts an extra burden on him. During O’Hagan’s first term as Chancellor, Christian subjects him to constant criticism. Unwisely he does not confine these attacks to the Courtroom but publishes numerous pamphlets, which is widely seen as improper conduct in a judge. When O’Hagan becomes Chancellor for the second time, a friend congratulates him on escaping from “the misnamed Christian” who had retired two years earlier.
It is probably Christian’s feud with O’Hagan which leads to his extraordinary decision to publicly attack the House of Lords for reversing, by a majority including O’Hagan, his judgment in O’Rorke v Bolingbroke. In a letter to The Times in 1877, whose content has been described as “astounding,” he questions the Law Lords knowledge of equity. While he singles out Lord Blackburn for criticism, it is likely that he also intends to harm O’Hagan’s reputation.
A major source of contention between Christian and O’Hagan is the Landlord and Tenant (Ireland) Act 1870, which O’Hagan steers through Parliament. The Act provides for compensation for tenants in the event of eviction. Christian, though he is not a landowner and is not as a rule much interested in politics, objects strongly to the policy of the Act, which he believes to be most unjust to landlords. His attacks from the Bench on the Act lead to serious rebukes both from the House of Commons and from the Press, which comment on the impropriety of a judge attacking an Act of Parliament, which it is his duty to enforce.
O’Hagan’s retirement does nothing to lessen Christian’s ill-temper. Other judges come in for attack, including Lord Chief Justice of IrelandJames Whiteside, whom he accuses of speaking constantly on matters of which he is ignorant. In his later years, he seems to be a lonely and isolated figure. His vigorous opposition to the Supreme Court of Judicature (Ireland) Act 1877 is entirely unsuccessful. A feeling of isolation may partly explain his decision to retire, though certainly his increasing deafness also plays a part.
V.T.H. Delaney praises Christian as a great master of equity, a man of great learning and a judge with a great desire to see justice done, but he does not deny that Christian loved controversy. Even his supporters spoke of “arrows too sharply pointed.” Critics spoke of his “spirit of personal sarcasm, cold, keen and cynical.” No doubt Christian was genuinely concerned to uphold high standards of judicial conduct, but as Daire Hogan points out, his own conduct struck most observers as far more improper than anything he complained of in others.
Kiernan is born to Peter Kiernan and Bridget (née Dawson). She is educated at Loreto Convent, County Wicklow. Hers is a very comfortably-off merchant family with five sisters and one brother. Her parents enjoy a happy marriage, and life in the Kiernan home is joyous until Kitty reaches her teens. On November 27, 1907, her sister, Elizabeth Mary (a twin), dies at the age of eighteen of pulmonary tuberculosis, while Elizabeth’s twin sister, Rose, apparently dies the same year in Davos, Switzerland, which would also indicate tuberculosis as a cause of death. Her mother dies on November 29, 1908 of apoplexy, while her father dies almost exactly a year later, on November 9, 1909, of pneumonia. The Kiernan family owns the Greville Arms Hotel in the town, as well as a grocery shop, a hardware store, a timber and undertaking business and also a bar. Around the corner from the hotel they operate a bakery which supplies the town and most of the surrounding countryside. All the family works in one capacity or another.
Michael Collins, one of the principal founders of the independent Irish state, is introduced to the vivacious Kiernan sisters by his cousin Gearóid O’Sullivan, who is already dating Maud Kiernan. Collins initially falls for the captivating Helen Kiernan, but she is already engaged to someone else. He then turns his interests to Kitty, who has already captured the interest of Collins’ friend Harry Boland. However, it is Collins to whom Kitty becomes engaged, with plans to marry Collins in a November 1922 double ceremony to include the nuptials of Maud and Gearóid. Collins’ assassination four months earlier, on August 22, 1922, near Béal na Bláth, County Cork, results in a single wedding taking place.
Kiernan dies, aged 52, of a cerebral hemorrhage on July 24, 1945, and her grave is close to that of Collins. Felix Cronin dies suddenly on October 22, 1961, while playing golf at Woodbrook Golf Club and is also buried in Glasnevin.
Kiernan and Michael Collins keep up a lengthy correspondence and while Collins is in London during the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations, he writes to her every day. The bulk of these letters are written between 1919 and 1922, and through their almost daily contact emerges a picture of the dreams and aspirations of the man often called Ireland’s “lost leader” and the woman with whom he wanted to share a “normal” life. These letters are the subject of a book written by Leon Ó Broin entitled In Great Haste. In 2000, some of the 300 letters sent by Kiernan and Collins to each other go on permanent display at the Cork Public Museum. These letters give a great insight into her attitude to life and into the political events of this time.
Former Fine Gael minister Peter Barry donates his collection of historic letters to the Lord Mayor of Cork, on behalf of the municipal museum. The collection, purchased from the Cronin family in 1995, is conserved at the Delmas bindery at Marsh’s Library in Dublin. The letters are also catalogued and then returned to the Cork Public Museum. The Peter Barry collection also contains letters from Harry Boland, a friend of Collins and former suitor of Kiernan.
In the 1996 film Michael Collins, Kiernan is played by American actress Julia Roberts though some reviewers are critical of the character’s development.
Clare Marsh, still life and portrait artist, is born Emily Cecil Clare Marsh on January 13, 1875, at New Court, Bray, County Wicklow, the house of her maternal grandfather, Andrew McCullagh, a wine merchant.
Marsh’s parents are Arthur and Rachel Marsh (née McCullagh). She has four siblings. Her family is descended from the Anglo-Irish aristocracy, specifically from Francis Marsh of Edgeworth, Gloucestershire, with his wife the great-aunt of James II‘s first wife. The family later moves to Raheen, Clondalkin, and later to Cappaghmore, Clondalkin. There is little information about her early life although she is involved in the suffrage movement.
Marsh meets Mary Swanzy at Mary Manning‘s art classes, with Swanzy remembering Marsh as being from “a background of impecuniosity, which did not apparently worry them in spite of a more affluent upbringing.” She is influenced artistically by her aunt and John Butler Yeats, with whom she becomes close friends. In the summer of 1898, Yeats paints Marsh’s portrait at Manning’s studio. She is more drawn to the work of Yeats than of his son, Jack, and models her portraits on that of the older Yeats. He mentors her, encouraging her to see other artists’ work as much as possible and saying “to produce a picture will force you to think.” He urges her to paint more industriously. She exhibits with the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) for the first time in 1900 with East wind effect and Roses. Yeats later claims that Marsh helped him with “line drawing or sketching, by putting him on the track of bulk drawing.”
Alongside Manning’s classes, Marsh takes night classes in sculpture with John Hughes and Oliver Sheppard at the Metropolitan School of Art. Aside from a trip to Paris in 1910 or 1911, she is taught exclusively in Dublin throughout her 20s. She takes a course at Norman Garstin‘s studio in Penzance, and stays in North Wales in 1914, painting two Trearddur Bay scenes. She paints still life and portraits, including one of Lily Yeats. It appears that her portraits of children and dogs are popular based on her submitted works to the RHA, exhibiting without a break from 1900 to 1921. The Hugh Lane Gallery holds her portrait of Lord Ashbourne, which demonstrates her painting style of loose brush strokes with an air of informality. Yeats suggests that she spend some time in the United States, where he is living at the time. She spends two months in New York City, staying with cousins at White Plains and then moves into a room neighbouring that of Yeats in Petitpas. Her uncle strongly disproves of this living arrangement, so she leaves and returns to Ireland in January 1912, which upsets Yeats greatly.
Upon her return from New York, Marsh starts holding classes at her studio at South Anne Street which Swanzy recalls are “well liked and always full,” with Susan Yeats becoming a pupil. She becomes the Professor of Fine Arts at Alexandra College in 1916. In the same year, she paints the fires and destruction of the 1916 Easter Rising. She paints a portrait of Jack Butler Yeats in 1918, which is now held by the Highlanes Gallery. John Butler Yeats later sympathises with her in a letter that she and other women are not elected members of the RHA. Knowing that Yeats is in financial difficulty, she sells some of his drawings and sends the money to him. It appears that over time, she works more with colour, as demonstrated in her portrait of Susan Yeats. Her final paintings are night studies, some of which show a possible influence from Swanzy with whom she shares a studio in the autumn of 1920. She is also believed to be one of the founding members of the Society of Dublin Painters.
Marsh dies on May 5, 1923. A posthumous exhibition of her work is held in October 1923. Due to her early death, she largely falls into obscurity until one of her works is included in the 1987 “Irish Women Artists from the Eighteenth Century to the Present Day” exhibition and publication from the National Gallery of Ireland. The National Gallery of Ireland holds a selection of sketches and paintings by Marsh, and a sketch of her by Swanzy. She is included in an exhibition of art by women artists at the Highlanes Gallery in 2012.
(Pictured: “Self-Portrait” by Clare Marsh, oil on canvas, circa 1900, National Gallery of Ireland)