William Kenealy


1828-1876 [pseud. “William of Munster” in the Nation and Duffy’s Fireside Magazine]; b. Cloyne, Co. Cork, 1 July 1828; son of blacksmith and farmer; became headmaster of Churchtown school; dismissed on publ. of a political pamplet; employed at diocesan college at behest of Bishop William Maginn; ed. The Lamp (City of York) and resided in Leeds - where he prob. met Edward Hayes [q.v.]; returned to Ireland in 1855 and appt. ed. of the Tipperary Leader; fined £2,000 for calumny-libel on refusing to supply the name of the writer of a piece concerning a local Protestant clergyman; wrote “The Moon Behind the Hill” (Nation, 20 Dec. 1856; also in Citizen, NY) - often anthologised and later made famous as a Christy Minstrel ballad - while in jail for non-payment;
appt. editor of the Kilkenny Journal on his release, having applied from prison, beating Charles Kickham to the post; m. Rosa Maxwell, dg. of the proprietor Mary Anne Maxwell and her husband Cornelius, 1858, and thereby made owner of half-share; fnd.-mbr of Tenant Association; share-holder in Kilkenny Circulating Library; and mbr. of Kilkenny Corporation; he sent aid to the wounded in Franco-Prussian War and received honours from the French Red Cross afterwards; author of the anon. introduction to Hayes’s Ballads of Ireland (1855); elected Mayor of Kilkenny; d. 3 Sept 1876. PI RIA

[The entry in Dictionary of Irish Biography (RIA 2009) is by Sinead Sturgeon and Frances Clarke - online. ]

Note: Kenealy’s authorship of the introduction to The Ballads of Ireland, ed. Hayes (1855) is mentioned by D. J. O"Donoghue in Poets of Ireland (1912) ] and also noticed on the title-page of the Duffy edition of 1867. (See Edward Hayes - supra.)