Maurice James Craig

1919- ; b. Belfast, ed. Castle Park, Shrewsbury, and Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he occupied C. S. Parnell’s former rooms; completed Ph.D. at TCD; appt. Inspector of Ancient Monuments at Min. of Works [OWP/UK], 1952-70; served as advisor to An Foras Forbartha, 1971-75; received hon. FTCD and RIArchI; also MRIA; m. Trix, with sons incl. Michael (aka Michael Foreman), an illustrator; later long-term partnership with Agnes Birnelle [q.v.] from her separation from Sir Desmond Leslie to her death; lives at Strand Rd., Co. Dublin; issued Poems (2011). DIW OCIL FDA

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  • A Poem: Black Swans (Dublin: Gayfield 1941), 8pp. , ill. Sydney Smith [lino-cut];
  • Twelve Poems (Dublin: privately printed 1942), 16pp. [ltd. edn. of 100];
  • Some Way for Reason (London & Toronto: Heinemann 1948), viii, 61pp.
  • Poems (Dublin: Liberties Press 2011), 112pp.

See also Craig, ed., Cats and Their Poets (Dublin: Lilliput Press 2002), 144pp. [Browning, Dickinson, Eliot, Hardy, Hughes, MacNeice, Yeats & unpub. poems of Francis Stuart];

Chief works
  • The Volunteer Earl, being the Life and Times of James Caulfeild [sic], First Earl of Charlemont (London: Cresset Press 1948), x, 277pp.;
  • Dublin 1660-1860: A Social and Architectural History (London: Cresset Press 1952), 362pp., Do., hardback rep. edn. (Dublin: Allen Figgis 1969, 1980); Do. [another edn.] (Harmondsworth: Penguin 1992), pb. [new pref.], xxiii, 367pp., ill. [48pp. pls.]; rep. as Dublin 1660-1860: The Shaping of a City (Dublin: Liberties Press 2007), 432pp.
  • Classic Irish Houses of the Middle Size (London: Architectural Press; NY: Architectural Book Pub. Co. 1976), 170pp. [31cm.], and Do. [rep. edn.] (Dublin: Gayfield Press 2006), ix, 214pp., ill. [25cm.]
  • Architecture of Ireland from the Earliest Times to 1880 (London: Batsford 1982), 358pp. [?rep. 1989];
  • The Elephant and the Polish Question (Dublin: Lilliput Press 1990), essays [infra];
Sundry publications
  • with H. A. Wheeler, The Dublin City Churches: An Illustrated Handbook (Dublin: APCK 1948), 48pp., 22 phots.;
  • ed., The Legacy of Swift: A Bi-centenary Record of St. Patrick’s Hospital, Dublin (For the Governors at the Sign of the Three Candles 1948), xii, 70pp., ill. [see under Swift, infra];
  • Irish Bookbindings 1600-1800 [Irish Heritage Series No. 6] (London: Cassell 1954), x, 47pp., ill. [58pp. of pls.] [infra]; also Irish Bookbindings (Dublin: Eason & Co. 1976) [printed by Jarrold (London)], [28pp.], ills. [some col.], 25cm.;
  • The Personality of Leinster [Cultural Relations Committee] (Cork: Mercier Press 1961), 46pp.;
  • with Howard Colvin, Architectural Drawings of Sir John Vanbrugh and Sir Edward Pearce [Roxburghe Club] (Oxford: OUP 1964), lvi, 40pp., ill. [82pp. of pls., plans, ports.[30cm];
  • Intro. & annot., The Life of James Gandon […] Prepared for publication by […] Thomas J. Mulvany (London: Cornmarket Press 1969), xvi, 297pp., port.;
  • with the Knight of Glin, Ireland Observed: A Handbook to the Buildings and Antiquities (Cork: Mercier 1970), 118pp., ill., maps;
  • Intro. to Robert Pool & John Cash, Views of the Most Remarkable Public Buildings, Monuments and Other Edifices in the City of Dublin [rep. of 1st edn.] (Shannon: IUP 1970), ix, (1), xiv, 118pp., ill. [31 pls., map].
  • Intro. to The Neighbourhood of Dublin: its topography, antiquities and historical associations / by Weston St. John Joyce, intro. by P. W. Joyce, with a new introduction by Maurice Craig (Wakefield: S.R. Publishers 1971), vi, xx, 512pp., ill. 3 fold. lvs., maps; 22 cm.]
  • Ed. & intro., James Malton, Dublin Views in Colour (Mountrath: Dolmen Press 1981), xiv, [58]pp., ils. [21.2 x 28.2cm];
  • Intro. & annot., Charles Brooking, The City of Dublin, 1728 [Irish Architectural Archive] (Friends of the Library, TCD[ublin] 1983), 1 portfolio, 30cm.
  • intro. to Jane Meredith, Around and About the Custom House (Dublin: Four Courts Press 1997), 95pp.;
  • ed., Walter Savage Landor: One Hundred Poems (London: Merrion Press 1998), 120pp.
  • with Michael Craig [his son], Mausolea Hibernica (Dublin: Lilliput Press 1999), x, 118pp., ill. [another edn., Assoc. Editions [2010];
  • with Joseph Hone & Michael Fewer, The New Neighbourhood of Dublin: The Sights of County Dublin in 1948 & 2002 (Dublin: A. & A. Farmar 2002), 272pp. [incl. Hone’s unpublished MS, 1948].
  • contrib. to Benjamin Grob-Fitzgibbon, The Irish Experience During the Second World War: An Oral History (Dublin: IAP 2005), 304pp.
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Bibliographical Details

Irish Bookbindings (Dublin: Eason & Co. 1976) [printed by Jarrold (London)], [24pp.], ills. incl. The Statutes of the Kingdom of Ireland, vol. VII, Dublin: Boulter Grierson 1765; Don Quixote, trans. Shelton and Blunt, Dublin: Hyde, Dobson and Owen 1733 [1 of 4 vols.]; James Ussher, Britannicarum Ecclesiarum Antiquitates, Dublin 1637 [Gilbert Libr. Pearse St. Dublin]; and Irish Bookbindings (Dublin: Eason & Co. 1976) [printed by Jarrold (London)], [24pp.], ills.; Andrew Crooke, Almanac, Dublin 1711; Samuel Clarke, Paraphrase on the Gospels, Dublin: Powell for Exshaw 1737; Plato’s Dialogues, Dublin Univ. Press 1738; Journals of the House of Lords 1745 [destroyed in Public Record Office, 1922]; Thomas Wilson [Bish. of Sodor and Man], Instructions for the Lord’s Supper, Dublin: Exshaw 1749; The Book of Common Prayer, Dublin: Crooke and Tooke 1680; Aesopi Phrygis Fabulae, Dublin: Ewing 1751; MS Journals of the House of Lords 1753 [destroyed in Record Office House, 1922]; MS Journals of the House of Comons 1755 [destroyed in Record Office, 1922]; Michael Wills, c.1750-60, MS Vitruvius [Chester Beatty Libr.]; Thomas Leland, trans., All the Orations of Domostenes, Dublin Univ. Press 1756 [coll. of Lady Celia Milnes-Coates; Milton’s Poetical Works, Birmingham: John Baskerville 1760; The Book of Common Prayer, Cambridge: John Baskerville [contemp. binding prob. by Parl. Binder B]; The Book of Common Prayer, Dublin: Boulter Grierson 176; Richard Lewis, The Candid Philosopher, Dublin: Byrn and Son 1778 [Gilbert Libr.]; MS Journals of the House of Lords 1793 [bound by Abraham Bradley King; destroyed in Public Record Office, 1922]; Earl of Castlehaven, Memoirs of the Irish Wars, Dublin: George Mullens [sic] 1815 [bound and signed by George Mullen]; also doublure of preceeding; The Holy Bible, Cambridge: John Baskerville 1763 [bound prob. William Hallhead, Dublin 1770; coat of arms of Sir Richard Cox of Damanway, Co. Cork]; Bibl., Desmond Clarke and T. P. O’Neill, ‘Bookbinding in Ireland’, in An Leabharlann, Vol. XII, No. 1 March 1955; Maurice Craig, Irish Bookbindings 1660-1800 (London 1955); Craig, ‘Irish Bookbinding’, in Apollo (Oct. 1966); Colm O’Lochlainn, ‘Book-binding in Ireland’, in Progess in Irish Printing, ed. F. R. Higgins (Dublin: Thom 1936); Sir Edward Sullivan, ‘Decorative Book-Binding in Ireland’, rep. from Opuscula (1914) in Quarterly Bulletin of the Irish Georgian Society, Vol. XVII, Nos. 3 & 4 (July-Dec. 1974).

The Elephant and The Polish Question (Dublin: Lilliput Press 1990), pp.264. The work contains autobiographical essays, numerous pointed comments on the maintenance of language and other chapters of educated and erudite speculation, including section elucidating his enthusiasm for steamships and dogs. The Index contains references to, Akmatova; Albert Hall; Alexandrianism; Annamagherrig; [many architectural matters]; Auden; awe, feeling of; Bach; Baedeker; Ballynahinc Spa, Co. Down; Arnold Bax; Sir Chester Beatty; Beckett; Beethoven; Behan; Belfast [&c]; Isiaih Berlin; Peter Birch, Bishop of Ossory; book production and related matters; Bossi; Eliz. Bowen, book; British [as opposed to English (reserved for things ‘I love and admire’), also UK and Britain [237, not indexed]; Margaret Burke-Sheridan; Hubert and Peggy Butler; Carlyle; ... Gavan Duffys; Tyrone Guthrie; Fred. Hervey, Lord Bishop; Hispano-Suiza (the car); Holy Ghost as lit. critic; pronoun I; Denis Johnston [‘tempted to give his nationality as Dublin’]; Joyce [25, 28, 57, 60 (‘asked [in Paris] could I track down text of “May God in his Mercy be kind to Belfast”), 80]; W. S. Landor, admiration for, &c.; Sir Hugh Lane [140-41]; Konrad Lorenz 106, 159]; McConigal Bros.; Francis MacNamara; George Moore; H[arry] L. Morrow; Conor Cruise O’Brien [‘once told me ...’]; G. N. Count Plunkett; ... Micheal Sadleir [‘collection of 19th c. fiction made possible analysis of travelling habits and composition of Vict. reading public’]; Shakespeare on crocodiles, &c; sheer, in ships; Tichborne Case; ‘tidying’ [women]; Tollund Man; Trollope [45, 160]; Ulster [237, see British, supra]; Vatican Council, 1870; Wellington; Yeatses. Quotes Strachey, ‘the value of words depends in part upon the obscure influence of popular usage, and in part upon the fiat of poets and masters of prose.’

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E. Agnes Birnelle, ed., Decantations: A Tribute for Maurice Craig (Dublin: Lilliput Press 1993); Rory Brennan, review of Classic Irish Houses of the Middle Size, and Dublin 1660-1860 [2006 reps.], in Books Ireland (April 2007), pp.78-79.

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Patricia Hutchins, James Joyce’s World (1957), p.3: ‘When I visited William Magee [John Eglinton] at his home in Bournemouth, he had already contributed to the collection [of Joyce’s letters] but told me how Joyce had remarked that each city had a characteristic ballad and asked for information about the lines, “The Lord in his mercy be kind to Belfast / Which sheltered the exile / When through it he passed”.’ [and see ftn.: ‘perhaps a reference to Wolfe Tone on his way to America’.] Note that Craig wrote a poem that employs the first line as a refrain and which has subsequently been taken for the original.

Robert Greacen, review of The Elephant and the Polish Question (Books Ireland, Feb 1991), notes that James Joyce asked Craig to find for him the text of a poem containing the lines ‘May God in his mercy be Kind to Belfast’. He did trace the poem but considered the borrowed line [see Ballad to a Traditional Refrain] was the only good one. Craig tells us that his Ballad containing the borrowed line has been sung in pubs as folk-poetry, reprinted countless times, and even quoted in the House of Commons. Jeffares, ‘whose native Belfast is ironically apostrophised in ‘A Ballad to a Traditional Refrain’. (Anglo-Irish Literature, p. 294). [Note Patricia Hutchins, supra, was married to Robert Greacen.] (Books Ireland, Feb. 1991, p.7.)

John Hume, article in Foreign Affairs (Winter 1979/80), makes use of the verse:‘To Hell with the future and long live the past / May God in His mercy look down on Belfast’. (Quoted in rep. in The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, gen. ed. Seamus Deane, Derry 1991), Vol. 3, pp.779-86; see also note, glossing the verses as a variant on Maurice Craig’s “Ballad to a Traditional Refrain”, produced here correctly: ‘It’s to hell with the future and long live the past, / May God in His mercy be kind to Belfast.’

Rory Brennan, review of Classic Irish Houses of the Middle Size, and Dublin 1660-1860 [2006 reps.], in Books Ireland (April 2007), cites ‘Craig’s scathing dismissal of unionism, where he refers to that faction as contribjuting to the ruin of their country under the guise of protecting it. Again when discussing eighteenth-century Dublin and the exclusion of Catholics from power and prestige he remarks that an almost similar situation prevails in late nineteen-forties Belfast. These darts are all the more lethal for being flung with nonchalence.’ (p.79.)

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The Elephant and the Polish Question (Lilliput 1990): ‘[...] Proselytism is a dirty word in Ireland. The reason is that the conversion of someone from his original religion to another religion, at a time when he was, to say the least of it, at a disadvantage, is seen as the taking away of something, and not as the giving of something. / [164] There is no doubt whatever that those who, during the nineteenth century, strove by fair means or foul to turn people away from the errors of popery, believed sincerely that they sought to give something of much greater value than what they sought to take away. To this day, the theoretical position of Irish Protestantism, especially in the North-East, is that if our fellow-countrymen could be converted to Protestantism all would be well, or at any rate much improved. It was to this end that the elaborate structure of the Church of Ireland, with, as an ideal, a parish church in every parish, and a complete organization, right up to the top where there were twice as many archbishops as in England, was set up and maintained. Even in the North-East, whenever and wherever individuals, whatever their origins, have embraced Protestantism, they are unaffectedly received and welcomed. The Protestants can continue to wish sincerely for the wholesale conversion of the Catholics only because they know that it is not going to happen. They would sincerely like to give each one of their benighted countrymen the greatest gift in their possession, provided they could be sure that they would not all accept at once. / If that were to happen they would no longer be a separate and identifiable power-group, and their occupation would be gone. For 250 years or so the de jure position in Ireland as a whole was that unless you were a Protestant you could not expect to get a significant share of the money and the power. In the Six Counties this is still, de facto, the case, which is why the Protestants are so reluctant to yield any ground whatever to the Catholics as a group, whatever about individuals. / Resurgent Islam is faced with a somewhat similar problem. Much of its message must consist in denunciation of the practices of the modern world, yet many of these practices must presumably be built into the structure of modern industrial society, to defeat which Islam must in part at least come to resemble. In theory, at least, Islam intends to take over the whole world, like all other universal religions. In practice, at present, it seems to be torn between denunciation of the gravy train and trying to climb on to it.’ (pp.163-64.)

See also “Machinery and Morals” [chap. title; sect. 1]: ‘[...] My life will hardly by itself engage a reader's attention, though my opinions may, particularly when they interact with experience. / A friend who has read the bulk of this work has complained that it is lacking in urbanity, a quality which he is good enoug to say he has found in my previous books. I think I can see why this is so. / Urbanity is the fruit of ease. When you are at ease with the subject-matter you can afford to be urbane. I have mastered it to the extent of thinking I know how it is or was and how I should present it in a coherent way. These subject has usually been a rather small one, at least by the standards of the [3] world at large. And, good or bad, my books have reflected, I hope not complacency, but at least some confidence that I had a package to deliver. / But now my attention as been turned to those discontinuities and contradictions, in myself and in the world at large, which have troubled me and which I want to explore and probe. [...]’ (pp.3-4.)

Yeats’s books: ‘Not very long after Yeats’s death I saw in Greene’s bookshop a copy of Coryat’s Crudities which had belonged to Yeats. It was the Glasgow edition of 1905. It was not expensive and I could have afforded it. But I do not much care for early twentieth-century “press-books” and I let it go. I now know that books from Yeats’s library are so rare as to be virtually unfindable.’ (The Elephant and the Polish Question, Dublin [Lilliput Press 1990, pp.86-87; quoted in ‘The Library of William Butler Yeats: Guide for Readers’ - online at National Library of Ireland [PDF] and in RICORSO [as attached].)

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Donagh MacDonagh, ed., Poems From Ireland, with an intro. preface by R. M. Smylie (Dublin: The Irish Times 1944); notes that he occupied the same room in college as Parnell and has just completed a large and as yet unpublished study of W. S. Landor.

University of Ulster Library holds Dublin 1660-1860 [1952]; the Morris Collection holds.The Architecture of Ireland from the earliest times to 1800 (1982).

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House of Commons: Dr. Craig donated the Journal of the Irish HOuse of Commons to Trinity College Library, viz., The journals of the House of Commons of ... Ireland, Published by order of the ... House (Dublin: Abraham Bradley, stationer to the King ..., and printer to the ... House of Commons, at the King’s Arms and Two Bibles), 22 vols., ill. [pls., tables (some fold.), fol. [21.8-28.8cm] (TCD Library Cat.).

Roy McFadden, reviewing Jon Stallworthy, Louis MacNeice in Fortnight (March 1995), notes ‘untitled snapshot of Maurice Craig looking like Lennox Robinson’.

Tony Parker has edited a collection of Belfast interviews as May the Lord in His Mercy Be Kind to Belfast (London: Jonathan Cape), 358pp.

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