MacGill was born in Glenties, County Donegal. A statue in his honour is on the bridge where the main street crosses the river in Glenties. He had three children, Christine, Patricia and Sheila MacGill.
During the First World War, MacGill served with the London Irish Rifles (1/18th Battalion, The London Regiment) and was wounded at the Battle of Loos on 28 October 1915. He was recruited into Military Intelligence, and wrote for MI 7b between 1916 and the Armistice in 1918. - See "MI 7b - the discovery of a lost archive of propaganda from the Great War". MacGill wrote a memoir-type novel called "Children of the Dead End".
In early 2008, a docu-drama starring Stephen Rea was made about the life of Patrick MacGill, which was released in Ireland in 2009 as "Child of the Dead End." One of the film's locations was the boathouse of Edinburgh Canal Society at Edinburgh on the Union Canal, and one of its rowing boats.
An annual literary summer school is held in Glenties in mid July each year in his honour.
- Patrick MacGill, "The Big Push", in introduction written by Brian D Osbourne
- "Children of the Dead End, The Autobiography of a Navvy", Herbert Jenkins, 1914
- Official Patrick MacGill website
- Works by Patrick MacGill at Project Gutenberg
- Children of the dead end at Internet Archive
- Songs of the dead end at Internet Archive
- MacGill Summer School