At home in Ireland the name of Gray is inseparably associated with the Freeman’s Journal. Under the direction of Dr. John Gray this newspaper became in the sixties and seventies the most powerful organ of public opinion in Ireland; and in the eighties it was raised still higher in ability and influence by his son and successor, Edmund Dwyer Gray. In the south of Ireland the most influential daily newspaper is the Cork Examiner, which was founded in 1841 by John Francis Maguire, who wrote in 1868 The Irish in America. It is doubtful whether any country ever produced a more militant and able political journal than was United Ireland in the stormy years during which it was edited by William O’Brien as the organ of the Land League.
The Irish mood is gregarious, expansive, glowing, and eager to keep in intimate touch with the movements and affairs of humanity. That, I think, is the secret of its success in journalism.
Madden: Irish Periodical Literature (1867); Andrews: English Journalism (1855); North: Newspaper and Periodical Press of the United States (1884); MacDonagh: The Reporter’s Gallery (1913).
By HORATIO S. KRANS, Ph.D.
In the closing decade of the nineteenth century and in the opening years of the twentieth, no literary movement has awakened a livelier interest than the Irish Literary Revival, a movement which, by its singleness and solidarity of purpose, stood alone in a time of confused literary aims and tendencies. Movements, like individuals, have their ancestry, and that of the Irish Literary Revival is easily traced. It descends from Callanan and Walsh, and from the writers of ’48. It is to this descent that the lines in William Butler Yeats’s “To Ireland in Coming Times” allude:
Know that I would
True brother of that company,
Who sang to sweeten Ireland’s wrong,
Ballad and story, rann and song.
With the passing of the mid-nineteenth-century writers, the old movement waned, and in the field of Irish letters there was, in the phrase of a famous bull, nothing stirring but stagnation. A witty critic of the period, commenting upon this unhappy state of affairs, declared that, though the love of learning in Ireland might still be, as the saying went, indestructible, it was certainly imperceptible. But after the fall of Parnell a new spirit was stirring. Politics no longer absorbed the whole energy of the nation. Groups of men inspired with a love of the arts sprang up here and there. In 1890 Yeats proved himself a real prophet when he wrote: “A true literary consciousness—national to the centre—seems gradually to be forming out of all this disguising and prettifying, this penumbra of half-culture. We are preparing likely enough for a new Irish literary movement—like that of ’48—that will show itself in the first lull in politics.”