Ethna Carbery

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Anna Johnston MacManus
Born (1866-12-03)3 December 1866
Ballymena, County Antrim, Ireland
Died 21 April 1902(1902-04-21) (aged 35)
County Donegal, Ireland
Occupation Journalist
Language English
Nationality Irish
Period Victorian era
Literary movement Irish Literary Revival
Notable works The Four Winds of Eirinn, In the Celtic Past
Spouse Seumas MacManus (1869–1960)

Ethna Carbery (born Anna Johnston, 3 December 1866 – 21 April 1902) was an Irish journalist, writer and poet. She is best known for the ballad Roddy McCorley and the Song of Ciabhán; the latter was set to music by Ivor Gurney. Along with Alice Milligan she published two Irish nationalist magazines.

Life[edit]

Anna Johnston was born in Ballymena, County Antrim. Her father was Robert Johnston, a timber merchant and prominent Fenian organizer. Her mother came from County Donegal.[1]

From the age of fifteen, when she had her first piece published, she contributed poems and short stories to a number of Irish periodicals, including United Ireland, Young Ireland, the Nation and the Catholic Fireside.[2]

She participated in the nationalist commemorations of the 1798 Rising and with Alice Milligan, Maud Gonne and others toured the country delivering lectures on the United Irishmen. In 1900 she was a founder-member of Inghinidhe na hÉireann, the revolutionary women's organisation led by Maud Gonne. She was elected a vice-president of the association, along with Jenny Wyse Power, Annie Egan and Alice Furlong.[3] She and Milligan wrote and produced plays as part of its cultural activities.[2]

She and Alice Milligan published two nationalist publications, The Northern Patriot and (later) The Shan Van Vocht, which was published from 1896 monthly until 1899. Its contributors included Katherine Tynan, Nora Hopper, Seumas MacManus and Alice Furlong, and it contained some early writings of James Connolly.[2]

In 1901 she married poet and folklorist Séamus MacManus (1869–1960) and moved with him to Revlin House in County Donegal. It was then that she began writing under the pen name of Ethna Carbery because once she took the last name of MacManus she didn't want to be confused with her husband (also a writer). She died in Revlin House of gastritis the following year, aged 35. Her husband, who was three years her junior, outlived her by 58 years.[1] Although MacManus and Johnston were only married for one year her impact on his life ran deep. Seamus MacManus never remarried in his 58 years after Anna and even wrote a memoir dedicated to her.[4]

Her poetry was published by her husband after her death in the The Four Winds of Erin, which was phenomenally successful over the next few years. Some further volumes followed.[1]

Works[edit]

  • The Four Winds of Eirinn (1902) - poems
  • The Passionate Hearts (1903) - stories
  • In the Celtic Past (1904) - hero tales
  • We Sang for Ireland: Poems of Ethna Carbery, Séamus MacManus, Alice Milligan (1950) - poetry

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c McGuire, James; Quinn, James (2009). Dictionary of Irish Biography. Volume II. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy-Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-63331-4. 
  2. ^ a b c Boylan, Henry (1998). A Dictionary of Irish Biography, 3rd Edition. Dublin: Gill and MacMillan. p. 58. ISBN 0-7171-2945-4. 
  3. ^ Coxhead: Daughters of Erin, Five Women of the Irish Renaissance. p. 44
  4. ^ http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/carbery/carbery.html, Retrieved 09-19-2001

External links[edit]