A. P. Graves (1846-1931)

[Alfred Perceval Graves]; b. Dublin, son of Charles Graves [q.v.].; ed. England and TCD; Home Office clerk, 1869-75; asst. ed., Punch, Inspector of Schools, in Taunton and Southwark, 1875-1910; contrib Spectator; author of “Father O’Flynn”; on the death of first wife he married Amy von Ranke, gd.-neice of Leopold von Ranke; met and befriend Alfred Tennyson in Ireland, having met him swimming at the third pollock hole in Kilkee, Co. Clare; Songs of Killarney (1873); issued Irish Songs and Ballads (1880); Songs of Old Ireland (1883), an anthology, with Sir C. V. Stanford; also Father O’Flynn and Other Irish Lyrics (1889), including the celebrated poem of that title, first published in The Spectator and often invoked as stereotypically Irish;
ed., Songs of Irish Wit and Humour (1884); issued Songs of Erin (1892); ed., The Irish Song Book (1894); The Irish Fairy Book (1918), et al.; contrib. a memoir for J. S. Le Fanu’s posthumous Purcell Papers (1880); ed. Poems of William and Cecil Alexander (1930); wrote words to old Irish folk tunes from George Petrie’s collection; his best-known song, ‘Father O’Flynn’, is included in Songs of Old Ireland; with W. Magennis and Douglas Hyde he acted as gen. ed. of the Every Irishman’s Library, 12 vols. (Duffy 1914-18); he visited Trieste and afterwards collected money for the repair of Lever’s grave; d. Erinfa, Harlech, Wales. CAB ODNB PI JMC DBIV IF NCBE DIB DIW DIL BREF OCEL FDA ODQ OCIL

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  • Songs of Killarney (1873)
  • Songs of Old Ireland, a collection of fifty Irish melodies [with] music arranged by C. Villiers Stanford (London: Boosey [1882]), 1 vocal score, 135pp.
  • ed., Irish Song Book (1894)
  • The Irish Poems of Alfred Perceval Graves (Maunsel; printed by Falconer 1908), 143pp., and Do., rep. as Poems of A. P. Graves, with preface by Douglas Hyde [2nd edn.] (Dublin: Maunsel 1908), v-xii, 143pp [Contents, ix-xii]
  • Lyrics from “The Absentee”, an Irish play in 2 acts [1908], pp.15.
  • ed., The National Poetry Books [Book V-VII] (London: Pitman [1910])
  • Irish Fairy Book (London: Unwin 1909; Dublin: Talbot 1928), ill. G. Denham
  • A Celtic Psaltery ...For Irish and Welsh Poetry (SPCK 1917)
  • Irish Literary and Musical Studies (London: Elkin Mathews MCMXIII [1913]), 240pp.
  • ed. & intro., Poems of Sir Samuel Ferguson, (Dublin: Talbot; London: T. Fisher Unwin [1917]), 403pp. [intro. signed 1916; with bibl. dates of writings & index of first lines]
  • The Progenitors; or, Our First Parents: A Morality, an old Irish religious poem done into English verse by A. P. Graves, dramatised by M. Douglas (Oxford: Blackwell 1920)
  • Songs of the Gael (Dublin: Talbot 1925)
  • Irish Doric in Song and Story [selected from other works of A. P. Graves] (1926)
  • A Celtic Song Book [of] Six Celtic Nations (1928); Lives of the British Saints [1934].
  • ‘James Clarence Mangan, Poet, Eccentric, Humorist, in Cornhill Magazine, 3rd ser. 4 (1898), q.pp.
  • ‘Anglo-Irish Literature,’ in the Cambridge History of English Literature, ed. A. W. Ward & A. R. Waller (Cambridge UP 1916), XIV, pp.302-30.

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Bibliographical details
The Irish Fairy Book ([London:] A & C Black 1938; facs. rep. Twickenham: Senate 1994), ), ill. George Denham; CONTENTS: Patrick Kennedy, “The Three Crowns” [1]; Patrick Kennedy, “The Grateful Beasts” [15]; William Allingham, “The Lepracaun”, [21]; William Maginn, “Daniel O’Rourke” [25]; Lady Gregory, “Cuchulain of Muirthemne” [36]; Standish O’Grady, “The Boyhood of Cuchulain” [44]; T. Crofton Croker, “The Legend of Knockgrafton” [52]; W. B. Yeats, “The Stolen Child” [60]; Michael Comyn, “The Land of Youth”, trans. Brian O’Looney [63]; Patrick Kennedy, “The Adventures of Gilla na Chreck” [79]; Juliana Horatia Ewing, “The Hillman and the Housewife” [91]; Letitia Maclintock, “Jamie Freel -and the Young Lady” [94]; William Carleton, “A Legend of Knockmany” [104]; Samuel Lover, “The White Trout” [121]; Patrick Kennedy, “The Wonderful Cake” [126]; Samuel Lover, “The Legend of the Little Weaver” [128]; Alfred Perceval Graves, “Mor of Cloyne” [142]; Jeremiah Curtin, “Lawn Dyaffig”, from Hero Tales of Ireland [143]; Lady Wilde, “The Horned Women” [161]; Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, “The Quare Gander” [165]; James Clarence Mangan, “The Fairies”Passage” [178]; Douglas Hyde, “The King of the Black Desert” [182]; Douglas Hyde, “The Piper and the Púca” [201]; Eleanor Hull, “The Talking Head of Donn-Bo” [206]; Lady Wilde, “The Demon Cat” [210]; W. Larminie, “Morraha” [213]; Patrick Kennedy, “The Kildare Pooka” [231]; Eleanor Hull, “Murtough and the Witch-Woman” [236]; Samuel Lover, “King O’Toole and St. Kevin” [251]; Patrick Kennedy, “The Corpse Watchers” [260]; William Carleton, “The Mad Pudding” [264]; Alfred Tennyson, “The Voyage of Maeldune” [282]; Standish James O’Grady, “The Coming of Finn” [293]. Epilogue [307] Note previous imprints 1918, &c.

Irish Literary & Musical Studies [by] Alfred Perceval Graves, [Pres. Ir. Lit. Society of London; fnr. mbr. Folk Song Soc.] (London: Elkin Mathews, Cork St. MCMXIII [1913]), 240pp.; preface addressed from Erinfa [home], Harlech, Wales; CONTENTS, Tennyson in Ireland [1]; The English Spoken in Ireland [12]; ‘James Clarence Mangan’ [19]; Sir Samuel Ferguson’ [36]; Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’ [51]; William Allingham [70; Early Irish Religious Poetry [101]; Celtic Nature Poet [128]; The Preternatural in Early Irish Poetry [143]; Dr Joyce’s Irish Wonder Book [166]; Folk Song [175]; Edward Bunting [191]; George Petrie as an Artist and a Man of Letters [200]; George Petrie as an Antiquarian [214]; George Petrie as a Musician and Amongst His Friends [231]. DEDICATION, Essays on Irish and Celtic poetry and Music ... reminiscences of ... Mangan, Bunting, Petrie, J. S. Le Fanu, Sir Samuel Ferguson and William Allingham, Tennyson [to whom my uncle, Robert P. G., had been host at Windermere, and to whom I was guest at Kilkee) and P. W. Joyce. PREFACE, lectures to various societies and articles in various magazines. Verse trans. from Irish also appearing in Harpstrings of the Irish Gael, with cover design by George Morrow [1913]. Erinfa, Harlech, N Wales. [Note, A. P. Graves, son of Anglican Bishop of Limerick and Pres. of RIA; see p. 204]. (For extensive extracts, see RICORSO Library, “Criticism”, infra.)

Note also an unpublished biography of William Vincent Wallace discovered by Robert Phelan on icompletion of his own life of Wallace (1995); see further under Wallace [infra].

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George Birmingham: ‘Father O’Flynn remains for the world the typical Irish priest, though he bears little resemblance to the fighting curates of the Land League days …’. (Introduction to Recollections of Jonah Barrington, [1918]; further under Birmingham, supra.]

W. P. Ryan, The Irish Literary Revival (1894), literary sketch of A. P. Graves, simplehearted; has written so lovingly and happily of the Irish peasantry ... The work is not of uniform good; a man who had so many business and official burdens as Mr Graves could not always be himself and strike his true note ... careful to keep in touch with rural Ireland, and not many men are able to make as much as he of an Irish holiday. [98-100]

George A. Greene, note on A. P. Graves in Brooke and Rolleston, Treasury of Irish Poetry in English (1900), beginning: ‘There is a story current according to which Mr AP Graves was once informed by a young gentleman when he had casually met in a club-room that ther was no none now living who could write really good and racy Irish songs - “such songs, for instance, as Fr. O’Flynn.”

The Irish Book Lover: See Vols. 1-9 incl.; also 14, 17, 18. Also, Omniana, Autobiography of an Irish Octogenarian (1916?), in which the original Father Flynn is depicted, one Father Walsh (Irish Book Lover, viii.)

Keith Jeffrey, ‘Irish Culture and the Great War’, in Bullán (Autum 1994), p.92, cites Graves’s song “With the Dublin Fusiliers”, published by Cramer & Co. in 1924, celebrating the time when ‘Irishmen together band/In arms to aid a sister land/ … Till all along old Dublin’s shore / Rang out a shout of welcome’; remarks that Graves was disinterested in politics to judge by his autobiography, but that the sone was ‘so far out fo kilter from what we believe to have been the case in Dublin opinion in the aftermath of the Great War as to be literarlly incredible.’ (Jeffrey, p.93.)

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“Father O’Flynn”

Of priests we can offer a charmin’ variety,
Far renown’d for larnin’ and piety;
Still, I’d advance ye without  impropriety,
Father O’Flynn is the flow’r of them all.
Here’s a health to you, Father O’Flynn,
Slainthe, and slainthe, and slainthe agin;
Powerfullest preacher, and tenderest teacher,
And kindliest creature in ould Donegal.*

Don’t talk of your Provost and Fellows of Trinity,
Famous for ever at Greek and Latinity,
Faix, and the divil and all at Divinity,
Father O’Flynn ’d make hares of them all!
Come, I venture to give ye my word,
Never the likes of his logic was heard,
Down from Mythology into Thayology,
Troth I and Conchology, if he’d the call.

Och! Father O’Flynn, you’ve a wonderful way wid you,
All the ould sinners are wishful to pray wid you,
All the young childer are wild for to play wid you,
You’ve such a way wid you, Father avick!
Still for all you’ve so gentle a soul,
Gad, you’ve your flock in the grandest control;
Checking the crazy ones, coaxing onaisy ones,
Lifting the lazy ones on with a stick.

And though quite avoidin’ all foolish frivolity,
Still, at all seasons of innocent jollity,
Where was the play-boy could claim an equality
At comicality, Father, wid you?
Once the Bishop looked grave at your jest,
Till this remark set him off wid the rest:
“Is it lave gaiety to the laity?
Cannot the clargy be Irishmen too!”


*‘Slainte .. &c.’ sometimes given as chorus.


“Fan Fitzgerl”

Wirra, wirra! ologonel Can’t ye lave a lad alone,
Till he’s proved there’s no tradition left of any other girl
Not even Trojan Helen,
In beauty all excellin’ -
Who’s been up to half the divilment of Fan Fitzgerl?

Wid her brows of silky black
Arched above for the attack,
Her eyes they dart such azure death on poor admiring man;
Masther Cupid, point your arrows,
From this out, agin the sparrows,
For you’re bested at Love’s archery by young Miss Fan.

See what showers of goolden thread
Lift and fall upon her head,
The likes of such a trammel-net at say was never spread;
For, whin accurately reckoned,
‘twas computed that each second
Of her curls has cot a Kerryman and kilt him dead.

Now mintion, if you will, Brandon Mount and Hungry Hill,
Or Mag’llicuddy’s Reeks, renowned for cripplin’ all they can;
Still the country-side confisses
None of all its precipices
Cause a quarther of the carnage of the nose of Fan.

But your shatthered hearts suppose,
Safely steered apast her nose,
She’s a current and a reef beyand to wreck them roving ships.
My meaning it is simple,
For that current is her dimple,
And the cruel reef ‘twill coax ye to’s her coral lips.

I might inform ye further
Of her bosom’s snowy murther,
And an ankle ambuscadin’ through her gown’s delightful whirl;
But what need when all the village
Has forsook its peaceful tillage,
And flown to war and pillage all for Fan Fitzgerl!

Source: D. J. O’Donoghue, The Humour of Ireland (London: Walter Scott [1894), pp.341-44.

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Irish Songs of A. P. Graves (2nd ed. 1908), Preface: ‘If, as suggested by Dr. Hyde in his friendly introduction to my first volume, I have entered into this newly-opened lyrical field with success, it has been because I have not only had an Irish Countryside up-bringing and the advantage, therefore, of constantly having in my ears that translation into English of Irish idioms which renders the speech of the Kerry peasant so peculiarly poignant and picturesque, but because, in such works as Dr Hyde’s own delightful Love Songs of Connacht and Edward Walsh’s, Sir Samuel Ferguson’s, Mangan’s, and Sigerson’s translations and adaptations from the Irish, I have also had before me the best published examples of the Poetry of the Western Gael to ponder and to profit by. Moreover, since Moore’s time, there have been great gatherings of Irish Folk Songs by Petrie, Joyce, and others of a kind so illustative of the inner life of the Countryside as to give the greatest assistance to an Irish lyrical writer.’ [v-vi] Note that Graves uses the terms ‘Anglo-Irish dialect’ and ‘Hiberno-English’ interchangeably - viz: ‘I have had not a few heart searchings as to the spelling of my poems in HE, and the introduction into them of unusual words without explanation. / My friends of the Gaelic League may, perhaps, find fault with me on the former score; my non-Irish acquaintances may grumble with me on the latter. / But by those who will take the trouble to examine into these matters it will be found that my spelling has been carefully adapted to suit the exigencies suggested by rustic or romantic themes, and that, after all, a glossary would not be a more appropriate close to a book of Irish Poems than to a Scotch Novel. [vi-vii]. ... thank Messrs Boisey [?Boosey] and Novello for the use of many of the songs [&c.]; signed, with address at Red Branch House, Lauriston Road, Wimbledon, and date 22 July 1908. ‘Father O’Flynn’ is the first poem printed.

The Preternatural in Early Irish Poetry’ ( in Irish Literary & Musical Studies 1913),quotes Eleanor Hull, A Text-Book of Irish Literature (MH Gill & Son) on ‘the mingling of the actual and the purely imaginative ... the perpetual intrusion of fairy lore [and] the gravely historic importance which [the annalist] attaches to the genealogies and wars and settlements of the gods ... nor when Dr Geoffrey Keating comes to complie a connected history of Ireland in the seventeenth century, does he show much desire to sift the real from the unreal.’ [n.p.; cited 134]; also cites Mr Stopford Brooke’s ‘fine introduction to his son-in-law Mr T. W. Rolleston’s High Deeds of Finn’, on Tir n’ an Oge [sic] as ‘the invisible lands and peoples of the Irish imagination’. [144], and comments, ‘Clearly they are of the stock of the De Danaans, who, upon the Milesian invasion, descended into fairyland’, and follows it with his own versification of Kuno Meyer’s prose rendering of a lyric in the Book of Leinster, here called ‘The Fairy Host’ [145]. His version of ‘The Lament of the Old woman of Beare’, also after Meyer’s prose, is given on pp.156-59.

A Book Irish Poetry, Preface: ‘a compendium of political literature in the making, a history of the Irish poetry in the English tongue, as shown by examples of every variety of it deserving recognition.’ The anthology acknowledges a tradition extending from Carleton and Ferguson to Yeats and Eva Gore-Booth.

To Return to All That (1930 ed.); b. 12 Fitzwilliam Sq., Dublin, of Cromwellian stock; Windermere Coll., his f. Dean of Chapel Royal, Dublin Castle, 1860; anecdotes of Bishop Whateley (p.59); Le Fanu’s later life in Merrion Sq (p.134); friendship with Pre-Raphaelites; Ruskin, Millais; HM Inspector of Schools; ‘Tennyson in Ireland’, set at Kilkee, and attributing to the English poet ‘a rich Lincolnshire burr;’ his popular Irish poem, “Tomorrow”.

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Justin MacCarthy, ed., Irish Literature (1904), vols. V-VI, p.1927, cites [and quotes] his preface to the Poems of [J. S.] Le Fanu; also The Purcell Papers, by the late Jospeh Sheridan Le Fanu [...] with a memoir by Alfred Perceval Graves [ed.], 3 vols. (London: Bentley 1880) [xxxi+236pp.; 273pp.; 289pp.]. Selects songs incl. ‘Father O’Flynn’ and ‘I Shall not Die for Love of Thee’; BIOG [copies CAB], b. Dublin 1846, ed. TCD, double first in classics and English (1870); Undersecretary to British Dept. of Education, under Winterbotham; School Inspector; first poem in Dublin University Magazine at 16 or 17; contrib. Fraser’s, Spectator, and Punch; Songs of Killarney (1872), well received; [aiming to convey the] humour and pathos of the Irish character ... [and to express these ‘passions’ in] the simplicity of form in which the Irish people would themselves clothe them; Irish Songs and Ballads (1880); Fr O’Flynn and Other Lyrics (1889); Songs of Old Ireland, arranged by C. Villiers Stanford/ the words by Alfred Perceval Graves, the music arranged by C. Villiers Stanford, et al.; ed. Songs of Irish Wit and Humour; ed. The Purcell Papers, and The Irish Song Book [1894]; Hon. Sec. Irish Lit. Soc. (London). Praised by George [sic] A. [Stopford] Greene for authentic sentimental and rollicking spirit of Irish song. BIBL, ‘Father O’Flynn’ and Other Irish Lyrics (London 1889).

D. J. O’Donoghue, Poets of Ireland: A Biographical and Bibliographical Dictionary of Irish Writers of English Verse (Dublin: Hodges Figgis & Co. 1912), lists Songs of Killarney (Lon. 1873); Out of the Frying-Pan, com; Irish Songs and Ballads (1880), anthology; Songs of Old Ireland (Lon. 1883), with words by Stanford; Father O’Flynn etc (Lon. 1889), The Irish Poems of A. P. Graves, 2 vols. (Dublin 1908); ed. Songs of Irish Wit and Humour (Lon. 1884); ed., The Irish Songbook (1894); some poems appear in Lays and Lyrics of the Pan-Celtic Society; ‘one of the most popular of Irish poets’. Ed. Le Fanu’s Purcell Papers.

D. J. O’Donoghue, ed., The Humour of Ireland (London: Walter Scott [1894), selects “Fan Fitzgerl” and “Father O’Flynn”.

Oxford Dictionary of Quotations selects “Father O’Flynn”: ‘Of priests we can offer a charmin’ variety / Far renowned for larnin’ and piety’; ‘Powerfulest preacher and tinderest teacher / and kindliest creature in ould Donegal’; ‘Checkin’ the crazy ones, coaxin’ the onaisy ones / Liftin’ the lazy ones on wid the stick.’

Irish Book Lover, Vvol. VIII, the orig. of Fr. O’Flynn, a Cork priest, cited Omniana, Autobiography of an Octogenarian (1916).

Colm O’Lochlainn, Anglo-Irish Song Writers (Dublin: Three Candles Press 1950), lists titles associated with Alfred Perc[e]val Graves: Songs of Old Ireland (Graves-Stanford); Irish Folk Songs (do.); Songs of Erin (do.); Thirty Irish Songs and Ballads (do.).

Jonathan Cape (biographical notice in brochure attached to Return to All That (7/6d.), notes: Graves family from Mickleton, Gloucestershire in Cromwellian or pre-Cromwellian times; Lord Graves, Nelson’s colleague at battle of Copenhagen; brother deans, one famous for a work on Pentateuch, the other, Alfred’s father, an antiquarian, becoming Bishop of Limerick, and formerly a TCD Don, when Alfred was sent with his brother Arthur (later an educationalist) to Windermere where his uncle Robert Perceval Graves, Wordsworthians intimate friend, was curate; later educated under tutors at Dublin Castle where his father was Dean of the Chapel Royal; boyish freaks at Parknasilla, Co. Kerry; stories of James Anthony Froude, Parson Watson, his father’s Orange steward, recollections of Father Walsh the original of Father O’Flynn; Sir John Mahaffy at TCD; Graves became clerk and then private sec. in Home Office; Songs of Killarney well reviewed by Richard Holt Hutton in Spectator; regular contributor to same; friend of Edmund Gosse and contributor to Punch and Fraser’s Magazine; friends with the dramatic critics [sic] and the pre-Raphaelites; ate strawberries with Ruskin on Denmark Hill, and helped find a lock of Milton’s hair; heard William Morris answer Swinburne’s attack on Robert Buchanan for his article on the ‘Fleshly School’ with ‘But we are the Fleshly School!’; m. Jane Cooper of Cooper Hill, Limerick, with generous help of an uncle; Inspector of Schools Manchester, commended in Parliament by his Chief Mr Mundella; invited to become parliamentary representative of National Union of Elementary Teachers; transferred to Huddersfield then Somerset; first wife dies, remarries happily after six years, to grand-niece of Leopold von Ranke; HMI for Southwark, London, and later greater part of S. London; Chairman of Representative Managers of LCC Schools on retirement in 1909; helped run Irish Literary and Folksong societies, originating the latter; collaborated with Sir Charles Stanford on words of songs, best known being Fr. O’Flynn; served on Fighting Forces Book Council;furthered Belgian cause with his wife and Lord Carson in Harlech, Wimbledon, and Ireland; post-war lectures to Australian troops at Wilton and troops in garrison in Ireland in 1919, for whom he gave 48 lectures in 6 weeks, being driven to them by a tyro motor-cyclist; in his eighties organised three Harlech historical pageants; in charge of preparation of play-grounds and playing fields of North Wales; 10 children, only Robert giving an account of war experience.The following anthologies associated with Graves listed in Colm MacLochlainn, Anglo-Irish Ballads (?1958), p.13, Songs of Old Ireland (Graves-Stanford); Irish Folk Songs (Graves-Wood); Songs of Erin (Graves-Stanford); Thirty Irish Songs and Ballads (Graves-Stanford).

Brian McKenna, Irish Literature (1978, p.53), Bibl., cites ‘Anglo-Irish Literature,’ in the Cambridge History of English Literature, ed. A. W. Ward & A. R. Waller (Cambridge UP 1916), XIV, pp.302-30, and remarks: ‘Graves is at his most interesting when discussing the Gaelic background and nineteenth century writers.’ See also Alfred Percival Graves, ‘James Clarence Mangan, Poet, Eccentric, Humorist, in Cornhill Magazine, 3rd ser. 4 (1898) [some of his poems will survive ‘through their perfection of colour, form and music.’]

Brian de Breffny, ed., Ireland: A Cultural Encyclopaedia (London: Thames & Hudson 1982), calls him a prolific writer of poems that employed Irish material incl. Songs of Killarney (1837 [sic err.]); Father O’Flynn and Other Irish Lyrics (1889); An Irish Faery Book (1909; [rep. 1928]), and The Book of Irish Poetry (1914), called ‘a surprisingly good anthology’.

Margaret Drabble, ed., The Oxford Companion to English Literature (OUP 1986) calls him inspector of schools with many volumes of Irish songs and ballads and an autobiography, To Return to All That (1930); ‘Father O’Flynn’ first published in Spectator.

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 2, offers a sole reference, viz., ‘The sentimentalizing and bowdlerizing process might have continued unchecked, aided by those who, like A. P. Graves, sincerely believed they were still involved in a rescue mission, had not Carl Hardebeck and the Gaelic League arrived on the scene’ (FD2, p.76; see Hardebeck, q.v.)

University of Ulster (Central Library) holds Graves, ed. Poems of Le Fanu (1896).

Belfast Linenhall Library holds ‘Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’ (in Irish Literary and Musical Studies, 1913); Rafroidi lists Irish Literary and Musical Studies (Lon, Elkin Mathews, 1913).

Belfast Central Library holds under Graves, A. P. The Book of Irish Poetry (n.d.; also UUC LIB); Fairy Tale (1898); Father O’Flynn and other Lyrics (1889); Irish Doric (?n.d.); Irish Song Book (1902); Irish Songs and Ballads (1880); Cong Retreat and Other Doggerels (1915); Lyrics from The ‘Absentee’ (n.d); Memoir of Joseph L Fanu (1880); Progenitors (1929); Reciters Treasury [or Songs] of Irish Wit and Humour (1884); Songs of Killarney (1873); Songs of Old Ireland (1903); Progenitors (1929); Return to All That (1930).

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