Christmas In The Archives

SPECIAL COLLECTIONS & ARCHIVES CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS

By Emma Doran, Special Collections & Archives, JPII Library.

 

title page
Cover Page of the pamphlet The Irish Christmas, published by the Three Candle Press in 1917.

“Who can bring back the magic of that story, the singing seraphim,   the kneeling Kings, the starry path by which the Child of Glory ‘mid breathless watches and through myriad wings came.”

 

The Descent of the Child – by Susan L. Mitchell (1866-1926)

Keeping in toe with the festive spirit this month our Special Collections blog will bring to light a beautiful Irish produced pamphlet, filled with various poems and imagery composed around the idea of Christmas. The pamphlet, called The Irish Christmas was published originally in 1917 by the Three Candle Press in Dublin. The copy located here is a first edition printed in 1917 and inscribed by the original owner ‘ for ” Ginette” from her loving little cousin Simon Donnlevy Campbell. Christmas 1917’.

The poems published in this pamphlet are penned by a number of poets who sympathized with or had links to the Irish cause at the time.  The pamphlet also provides ties closer to home here at Maynooth University as Fr. Tomás Ó Ceallaigh, the author of the first poem listed studied at Maynooth. Altogether there are six works listed in total written in both the English and Irish language. While the illustration work included is that of the artist and cultural activist Sadhbh Trinseach (Ceasca Trench).

 

Sadhbh Trinseach

ceasca
Illustration by Sadhbh Trinseach , printed in the pamphlet The Irish Christmas, published by the Three Candle Press in 1917.

 

Born in 1891, she developed nationalist sympathies from the early age of fifteen. She joined the London branch of the Gaelic League in 1908. Through her attendance at Irish-language she became acquainted with many prominent Gaelic Leaguers, including Pádraig Pearse. In 1913-1918 she began designing publicity posters and postcards for the Gaelic League. She was an executive member of Cumann na mBan and an active member of Craobh na gCúig gCúigí. For those wishing to learn more about Ceasca, some sketchbooks and her papers are now available in the National Library of Ireland.

 

 

Fr. Tomás Ó Ceallaigh

Fr. O Kelly
An image of Fr. Tomás Ó Ceallaigh. Taken from NUI Galway’s History of the School of Education.  http://www.nuigalway.ie/colleges-and-schools/arts-social-sciences-and-celtic-studies/education/events/history-school-of-education/

The first professor of Education in NUIG was born in 1879. In 1897, he attended Maynooth College as a clerical student and was ordained a priest in 1903. Fr. Ó Ceallaigh’s love of all things Irish further flourished in Maynooth College under the tutelage of Fr. Eoghan Ó Gramhnaigh, who had been appointed the professor of Irish in the College in 1891. Fr. Ó Ceallaigh was one of the founders of Irishleabhar Mhuighe Nuadhad and Cuallacht Chuilm Cille. He also edited Irisleabhar na Cuallachta. Having chosen a very interesting example of our archive collection to investigate in this month’s blog it is wonderful to discover that one of the works included was written by an alumnus of the college.  The piece had previously been published in the Christmas edition of An Claideam Soluis in 1907 under the editorial eye of Pádraig Pearse. While continuing to work in education and further his studies Fr. Ó Ceallaigh was still an avid composer and writer as seen by the text of twenty-two poems, six plays and five ceol-dramaí published in his biography An tAthair Tomás Ó Ceallaigh agus a Shaothar, by An tAthair Tomás S. Ó Laimhin (Gaillimh 1943).

 

 

 

Other works included in the pamphlet are:

I Follow a Star by Joseph Campbell

Christmas and Ireland by Lionel Johnson

The Crib by Susan Mitchell

The Descent of the Child by Susan Mitchell

Ho Ri, Ho Ri by Sean Duan Albanach

 

 

Joseph Campbell
Poem by Joseph Campbell, printed in the pamphlet The Irish Christmas, published by the Three Candle Press in 1917.

Joseph Campbell

Born in 1879, is best known as a poet and republican. Circa 1900 he joined the Gaelic League and became a fluent Irish speaker. Campbell is known to have frequently submitted poems to Arthur Griffith’s United Irishmen publications and as a great admirer of W.B Yeats’ poetry. He is also known for producing lyrics for many Ulster traditional airs leading to Campbell’s’ reputation as a lyrical poet. Campbell was known to be a friend of Pádraig Pearse, and taught Irish History in St. Enda’s.

 

 

Lionel Johnson

Born in 1867, is best known as a poet and critic. Johnson was an acquaintance of Oscar Wilde and a well-known friend of W.B Yeats. He was a founding member of the Irish Literary Society in London 1892 and composed many propagandist poems set in Ireland focusing on the theme of martyrdom and persecution. In April 1894, Johnson came to Dublin to lecture on the topic of ‘poetry and patriotism’ supporting the ideals of Yeats. It was also Johnson who arranged the first meeting between Olivia Shakespear and W.B Yeats.

 

Susan Mitchell

Susan Mitchell
Poem by Susan Mitchell, printed in the pamphlet The Irish Christmas, published by the Three Candle Press in 1917.

Born 1866, Mitchell is most recognized as an essayist, poet and supporter of Home Rule. A close friend of the Yeats family and in particular W.B Yeats. When recovering from illness, Mitchell stayed with the Yeats family in London in 1899 and had her portrait painted by John Butler Yeats.  She was a lifelong friend of George Russell, who encouraged Mitchell to publish a number of poetry anthologies such as A Celtic Christmas, The Living Chalice, Aids to Immortality of Certain Persons in Ireland and Frankincense and Myrrh. She was a founding member of the United Irish Countrywomen’s Association, known today as the Irish Countrywomen’s Association. After the 1916 rising she took care of the personal affairs of Countess Markievicz. Her portrait painted by John Butler Yeats is available to view in the National Gallery of Ireland.

The pamphlet, The Irish Christmas can be viewed by request in the John Paul II Special Collections & Archives, Reading room.

Opening Times: Monday, Wednesday & Thursday Mornings – 10AM-1PM

Tuesday 10 AM-5PM. Closed for Lunch 1PM-2PM

Special Collections is closed on Fridays

Images

Fr. Tomás Ó Ceallaigh:

Ó Héideáin, Eustás, TAthair. (2001). History of the School of Education. Retrieved November 21, 2017, from http://www.nuigalway.ie/colleges-and-schools/arts-social-sciences-and-celtic-studies/education/events/history-school-of-education/

 

References:

Patrick Maume (2015). Trench, Cesca (Trinseach, Sadhbh).
In James McGuire, James Quinn (ed.),  Dictionary of Irish Biography.
Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
(http://dib.cambridge.org/viewReadPage.do?articleId=a9809)

Ó Héideáin, Eustás, TAthair. (2001). History of the School of Education. Retrieved November 21, 2017, from http://www.nuigalway.ie/colleges-and-schools/arts-social-sciences-and-celtic-studies/education/events/history-school-of-education/

James Quinn (2009). Campbell, Joseph.
In James McGuire, James Quinn (ed.),  Dictionary of Irish Biography.
Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
(http://dib.cambridge.org/viewReadPage.do?articleId=a1426)

Desmond McCabe (2009). Johnson, Lionel Pigot.
In James McGuire, James Quinn (ed.),  Dictionary of Irish Biography.
Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
(http://dib.cambridge.org/viewReadPage.do?articleId=a4293)

Patrick M. Geoghegan (2009). Mitchell, Susan Langstaff.
In James McGuire, James Quinn (ed.),  Dictionary of Irish Biography.
Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
(http://dib.cambridge.org/viewReadPage.do?articleId=a5841)

 

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