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Periodical Literature, Ireland

Periodical Literature — Ireland

Owing to the ferocity of the penal laws, such a thing as Catholic periodical literature was impossible in Ireland during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It was not until 1793 that any notable relaxation was made in the disabilities under which Irish Catholics laboured, and the only form of literature, even in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, was polemical. The sporadic pamphlets issued by the leaders of the Catholic Committee, especially in regard to the Veto question and the Quarantotti rescript, can scarcely be regarded as periodical literature, nor yet the able series of "Letters of Hierophilus" (1820-23) by Bishop Doyle. After Catholic Emancipation (1829), Irish Catholics began to use the power of the press. In 1834 the "Catholic Penny Magazine" was started as a weekly, published by Caldwell of Dublin. The first number was issued in February, 1834, and the last in December, 1835. A new era opened with the foundation of the "Dublin Review" in May, 1836, a journal Irish in more than name, its founders being Dr. Nicholas Wiseman and Daniel O'Connell. Twice subsequently O'Connell made a personal appeal on its behalf. The first editor, to whom Cardinal Wiseman gives the original credit of the project, was W. Michael Quin (q. v.). In a short time it came under the control of W. Henry R. Bagshawe, but he was rather subeditor with ample authority under Dr. Wiseman. The history of the "Review" belongs to the English section of this article, but Ireland can claim a great share in this arduous enterprise. At least one-half, often much more, of the literary matter of the original series was produced in Ireland; and Irish topics, political, social, educational, or literary, constituted a large part of the contents. Dr. C. W. Russell of Maynooth was the chief support of Dr. Wiseman who, writing in January, 1846, calls him editor. When Dr. W. G. Ward became proprietor, the editorial work was done by another Irishman, John Cashel Hoey. An Irish editor of a later date was Mgr Moyes. A number of influential Ulster Catholics established the Belfast "Vindicator", in 1839, with Charles Gavan Duffy as editor, whose successor in 1842 was Kevin T. Buggy. This, though an able weekly, ceased soon after 1844. In 1840, a magazine, entitled "The Catholic Luminary", was established in Dublin, which appeared every alternate Saturday, was managed by a committee of priests and laymen, the subscription price being eight shillings yearly, and lasted from 20 June to 19 December, 1840.

Its successor was the "Catholic Magazine", published by James Duffy in 1847, a monthly journal devoted to national literature, arts, antiquities, etc. Although ably conducted by Denis Florence MacCarthy, Richard D. Williams, and Father Kenyon, it declined in 1848, owing to political excitement, and ceased publication in the following December. A weekly paper, entitled "Catholic Advocate", was issued in 1851, but only one number was published. James Duffy ventured on another monthly, called "Duffy's Fireside Magazine", which ran from 1851-54. He also published a weekly magazine "The Catholic Guardian", devoted to national and religious literature, but it ceased after forty-three numbers, the last issue being dated 20 Nov., 1852. Frederick Lucas, a convert from Quakerism, had founded the "Tablet", the first number of which appeared 16 May, 1840. After some years he came to know Irishmen like Gavan Duffy and John O'Hagan; and, as he was dissatisfied with the support given by English Catholics he transferred the "Tablet" to Dublin at the end of 1849. After his death (1855) it was transferred back to London. The "Catholic Layman", a monthly polemical magazine, price one shilling, ran from 1852 to 1854. The "Catholic University Gazette", a weekly paper under the auspices of Cardinal Newman, had a brief existence from June, 1854, until the end of August, 1855. Its price was but one penny. Another weekly, the "Irish Catholic Magazine", edited by W. J. O'Neill Daunt, ran from January to August, 1856. The "Harp", edited by M. J. McCann, was issued in 1859. It was an excellent Catholic monthly, but had a sporadic existence under varying titles, and finally disappeared in February, 1864. Among its contributors were Canon O'Hanlon, Dr. R. D. Joyce, Dr. Sigerson, Dr. Campion, and John Walsh. McCann, still remembered as the author of the song "O'Donnell Abu", died in London in 1883. In July, 1860, James Duffy founded the "Hibernian Magazine", edited by Martin Haverty, a distinguished alumnus of the Irish College, Rome. It was a monthly, price eight pence, and ran for two years. The contributors included Father C. P. Meehan, Prof. Kavanagh, D. F. MacCarthy, Dr. O'Donovan, William Carleton, D'Arcy Magee, and W. J. Fitzpatrick, and the articles were all signed. It ceased after two years, but a second series was started in 1862, with Father Meehan as editor, which extended to six volumes and ended in June, 1865. A higher-class magazine was "Atlantis" the official literary organ of the Catholic University of which four volumes appeared between the years 1859 and 1861, the contributors being Cardinal Newman, O'Curry, John O'Hagan, and others. In 1870 Father Robert Kelly, S.J., founded the "Monitor", a small penny monthly, mainly as a temperance organ. Its success was so great that he issued it in an enlarged form as the "Illustrated Monitor" in 1873. Father Kelly died 15 June, 1876, but the publication was continued by the publisher, Joseph Dollard. It steadily declined in 1877, and came to an abrupt end in 1878. In June, 1906, Mgr O'Riordan edited a really high-class quarterly, the "Seven Hills Magazine", published by Duffy of Dublin, but it also ceased with the issue of September, 1908.

In regard to existing periodicals, there is no distinctively Catholic daily paper in Ireland, but the "Freeman's Journal" is frankly Catholic in tone, and gives prominence to Catholic topics. As to the weeklies, there is but one, the "Irish Catholic", founded by T. D. Sullivan in 1888. Its first editor was Robert Donovan (now professor in the National University), who after five weeks was replaced by W. F. Dennehy in August of the same year. It may be described as a Conservative-National organ, supporting the Irish hierarchy in their corporate decisions on all religious and political matters. In 1890 at the time of the Parnell "split", it loyally stood by the bishops. In 1891, the "Nation" was merged into the "Irish Catholic" and in 1897 it became a daily. Though the "Daily Nation" ceased in 1900, the "Irish Catholic" continued as a weekly, with Mr. Dennehy as editor and publisher. It remains unconnected with any of the existing political parties, but is markedly opposed to any union with British Liberalism and Radicalism. The paper has a circulation throughout Great Britain, America and the colonies. Among monthlies the "Irish Ecclesiastical Record" can claim premier place. Founded in March, 1864, by Cardinal Cullen, who appointed Rev. Dr. Conroy and Rev. Dr. Moran as editors, it was to be a link between Ireland and Rome, and its policy was expressed in its motto: "Ut Christiani, ita et Romani sitis". In 1871, both of the editors were raised to the episcopate, Dr. Conroy to Ardagh, and Dr. Moran (now Cardinal Primate of Australia) to Ossory. Dr. Verdon and Dr. Tynan edited it for over four years, and Dr. Walsh took charge of it for the last six months of 1876, when it was allowed to lapse. A third series was started in 1880, with Dr. Carr (now Archbishop of Melbourne) as editor, and published from Maynooth College. Dr. Healy (now Archbishop of Tuam) was editor from 1883 to 1884, after whom came Dr. Browne (Bishop of Cloyne), who worked zealously for ten years. In 1894, Rev. Canon Hogan became editor. A mere glance at the twenty-nine volumes of the "Record" is sufficient to vindicate its long existence, and the list of contributors includes some of the greatest names in theology, liturgy, canon law, Church history, Scripture, etc. The "Irish Monthly", founded in July, 1873, can boast the longest continuous existence of any Irish Catholic magazine, and, moreover, it enjoys the unique distinction of having had but one editor in thirty-eight years, namely Rev. Matthew Russell, S.J. It is not too much to say that Father Russell's personality has been the secret of the popularity of this magazine, and the list of contributors includes Lady Fullerton, Sir C. Gavan Duffy, Judge O'Hagan, Aubrey de Vere, D. F. MacCarthy, Rev. Dr. Russell, Rev. Dr. O'Reilly, S.J., Rev. Ignatius Ryder, Father Bridgett, C.SS.R., Mother Raphael Drane, Lady Gilbert (Rose Mulholland), Rev. T. A. Finlay, S.J., Archbishop Healy, Rev. D. Bearne, S.J., and a host of others. Among the writers discovered by the "Irish Monthly" are: Oscar Wilde, "M. E. Francis", Lady Gilbert, Katherine Tynan, Hilaire Belloc, Alice Furlong, and Francis Wynne, author of "Whisper Intended for lay readers, it is always bright, readable, and healthy. The "New Ireland Review", founded March, 1894, is a purely literary monthly, the successor of the short-lived "Lyceum", founded and edited by Rev. T. A. Finlay, S.J., in 1890. Its contributors included the most distinguished clerical and lay writers, and it continued as a powerful Catholic organ, with special reference to history and economics — under the able editorship of Father Finlay — until it ceased with the February number, 1911. "The Irish Rosary", founded in April, 1897, as a small magazine, edited by the Irish Dominicans, was enlarged to eighty pages in 1901, and its scope widened. Father Ambrose Coleman, O.P., who became editor in 1903, added a certain journalistic tone to it, thus making it bright and up-to-date. The present editor is Father Finnbar Ryan, O.P. Among its contributors are many able Dominican writers, well-known laymen like Professor Stockley, Dr. Fitzpatrick R F. O'Connor, Shane Leslie, Jane Martyn, S. M. Lyne, Sister Gertrude, and Nora O'Mahony. The only quarterly is the "Irish Theological Quarterly", founded in January, 1906, by six Maynooth professors, one of whom (Dr. McKenna) has since become Bishop of Clogher. Ably conducted, it keeps thoroughly abreast of all theological and Scriptural matters.

POWER, Irish Literary Enquirer (London, 1867); FLOOD, Irish Catholic Periodicals (MS.); CASARTELLI in Dublin Review (April, 1896).


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