Patrick Joseph McCall

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Patrick Joseph McCall (6 March 1861 – 8 March 1919) was an Irish songwriter and poet, known mostly as the author of lyrics for popular ballads. He was assisted in putting the Wexford ballads, dealing with the 1798 Rising, to music by Arthur Warren Darley using traditional Irish airs. His surname is one of the many anglicizations of the Irish surname Mac Cathmhaoil, a family that were chieftains of Kinel Farry (Clogher area) in County Tyrone.


He was born at 25 Patrick St, Dublin, the son of John McCall (1822-1902), a publican, grocer and folklorist from Clonmore near Hacketstown in County Carlow. He attended St. Joseph’s Monastery, Harold's Cross, a Catholic University School.[1]

He spent his summer holidays in Rathangan, County Wexford where he spent time with local musicians and ballad singers – his mother came from Rathangan near Duncormick on the south coast of County Wexford. His aunt Ellen Newport provided much of the raw material for the songs and tunes meticulously recorded by her nephew. He also collected many old Irish airs, but is probably best remembered for his patriotic ballads. Airs gathered at rural céilí and sing-songs were delivered back to the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin.

He contributed to the Dublin Historical Record, the Irish Monthly, The Shamrock and Old Moore's Almanac (under the pseudonym Cavellus).[2] He was a member of the group in Dublin which founded the National Literary Society and became its first honorary secretary.

In 1902 he was elected as a Dublin City councillor (defeating James Connolly) and served three terms. As a councillor he concerned himself with local affairs, particularly projects to alleviate poverty.[3]

He married Margaret Furlong, a sister of the poet Alice Furlong, in 1901. They lived in the suburb of Sutton, near Howth.


  • "In the shadow of St. Patrick's: A paper read before the Irish National Literary Society", April 27, 1893 (Carraig chapbooks ; 3), Dublin: Sealy, Bryers & Walker, 1894
  • Irish Noíníns (Daisies) (Dublin: Sealy & Bryers 1894)
  • The Fenian Nights' Entertainments (Dublin: T. G. O'Donoghue 1897)
  • Songs of Erinn (London: Simpkin, Marshall, 1899)
  • Pulse of the Bards (Cuisle na hÉigse): Songs and Ballads (Dublin: Gill 1904)
  • Irish Fireside Songs (Dublin: Gill 1911).
  • "In the Shadow of Christ Church" [Pt. III], in Dublin Historical Record, 2.3 (March 1940)

Popular ballads[edit]

His manuscript ballad collection is in the National Library of Ireland.


  1. ^ Boylan, Henry (1998). A Dictionary of Irish Biography, 3rd Edition. Dublin: Gill and MacMillan. p. 235. ISBN 0-7171-2945-4.
  2. ^ National Library of Ireland
  3. ^ Glory O! Glory O! The Life of PJ McCall by Liam Gaul, The History Press Ireland, 2011

External links[edit]