Dorothy Macardle


1889-1958; [var. MacArdle; occas. pseud. “Margaret Callan”]; b. Dundalk, to the brewing family of that name, her mother being English and Unionist; res. Brookville [Hse.], Ardee Rd.; ed. Alexandra College, Dublin, and UCD; visited the continent and England in childhood, passing the First World War mostly in London; Kenneth, her br., died at the Front; wrote Atonement (1918), a play about military self-sacrifice; taught English at Alexandra College; became acquainted with Yeats, Edward Martyn, Con Markievicz and Maud Gonne - with whom she shared a flat on St. Stephen’s Green; active in Gaelic League and Sinn Féin;
arrested in her classroom for Sinn Féin membership, 9 Nov. 1922, with 6 other women at an Anti-Treaty office on Suffolk St.; served 6 months [without trial] in Mountjoy, 1922-23; shared a cell with Rosamund Jacob; kept six diary-journals of which 3 survived wrote Earth-Bound (1924), a play; issued further plays, Ann Kavanagh (1922), and The Old Man (1925); acted as a journalist at League of Nations, Geneva, between the wars; became a confidante of Eamon de Valera; issued a semi-official history of the formation of the state as The Irish Republic: A Documented Chronicle [... &c.] (1937) dealing with events of 1916-1923; the book contains an early reprinting of the text of the 1916 Proclamation; lived in London during World War II working with the BBC; and produced documentary, Children of Europe [... &c] (1949), on supported refugee children whose case she promoted;
returned to Dublin; worked as journalist and theatre reviewer; prominent mbr. of the Womens Writers’ Club; buried with Church of Ireland rites and a tricolour accorded by the state at St. Fintan's Cemetery, nr. Howth Hill; though disenchanted with the anti-feminism of the Irish state she left the royalties of The Irish Republic (1937) to de Valera in her will; there is a Dorothy Macardle archive at Alexandra College and a short biography by Nadia Clare Smith of Boston College (2007); her Prison Journals dramatised by Sharon McArdle and Dermot Gorman, 2019. IF DIB DIW DIH DIL ATT

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  • Tragedies of Kerry, 1922-23 (Dublin: Emton 1924; [5th edn.] 1937); Do., [14th edn.] (Dublin: Irish Freedom Press 1988), 63pp., and Do., [16th edn.] (Dublin: Irish Freedom Press 1998), 72pp.;
  • The Irish Republic: A Documented Chronicle of the Anglo-Irish Conflict and the Partitioning of Ireland, with a Detailed Account of the Period 1916-1923 [preface by Eamon de Valera] (London: V. Gollancz 1937; rep. 1938), 1,072pp. [reprints as infra];
  • Children of Europe: A Study of Liberated Countries, Their War-Time Experiences, Their Reactions and Their Needs, with a Note on Germany (London: Gollancz 1949; rep. 1951), [ill. Kalman Landau], 349pp.
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  • Earth-Bound: Nine Stories of Ireland (Worcester, MA.: Harrigan; Dublin: Emton 1924);
  • Uneasy Freehold (London: Peter Davies 1942 [var. 1941]), 304pp., rep. as The Uninvited (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Doran 1942), Do . (London: Corgi 1966);
  • The Seed was Kind (London: Peter Davies 1944);
  • Fantastic Summer (London: Peter Davies 1946), Do ., as The Unforeseen (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran 1946), Do. ([London]:Transworld Publishers 1953), 277pp.;
  • Dark Enchantment (London: P. Davies 1953).
  • Witches Brew: A Drama in One Act (London: H.F.W. Deane; Boston: Baker International Play Bureau 1931), 19pp.; A
  • nn Kavanagh (NY: Samuel French 1937);
  • The Children’s Guest (London: [] 1940) [for children]; The Loving-Cup (London: Nelson 1943), [for children].
  • ‘The Dramatic Art of T. C. Murray’ in The Dublin Magazine, 2 (Jan 1925), pp.393-98;
  • Without Fanfares: Some Reflections on the Republic of Eire (Dublin: Gill 1946) [pamphlet];
  • Shakespeare, Man and Boy, ed. George Bott (London: Faber 1961), 260pp.

The Irish Republic [4th edn.] (Dublin: Irish Press 1951), Do. (NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux [1965]), 1045pp., Do., [rev. edn.] (London: Corgi 1968), 989pp.; Do. (Dublin: Wolfhound Press 2002, 2004, 2005), 1,046pp. [hb].

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  • Nadia Clare Smith, Dorothy Macardle: A Biography (Dublin: Woodfield Press 2007), 164pp.;
  • Cathy Leeney, ‘The Spaces Outside: Images of Women in Plays by Eva Gore-Booth and Dorothy Macardle’, in Women in Irish Drama: A Century of Authorship and Representation, ed. Melissa Sihra (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2007), q.pp.
  • D. A. J. MacPherson, ‘From Dundalk to Dublin: Dorothy Macardle’s Narrative Journey on Radio Éireann’, in The Irish Review, 42 (Dec. 2010), q.pp.
  • Cathy Leeney, ‘Dorothy Macardle: Revolution and Consolidation - Betwixt and Between’, in Irish Women Playwrights - 1900-1939 (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 2010), pp.97-126.
Note: For Nadia Clare Smith on Signe Toksvig, see under Francis Hackett - supra.

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Luke Gibbon, writing of Man of Aran (1934): ‘As Dorothy Macardle, the reviewer most sympathetic to official government thinking, expressed it, here we had an alternative to the traditional caricature [...], “I have never seen a film which produced so complete an illusion, the taste of brine came on one’s lips ... we had a real share in their pride, real because these are our countrymen and their actual, constant achievements are no less than these ... We have become almost resigned to being traduced in literature, whether under the guise of the comic ‘Paddy’ of Victorian music halls, or the drunken swindler of some Irish farces or the ‘gunman’ of more sombre writers to-day. Not three generations of protesting could do as much to rehabilitate the Irish people in the imagination of the peoples of other countries as this faithful and beautiful motion picture will do (Irish Press, 7 May 1934).”’ See also ftn.: ‘Macardle was confidante of Eamon de Valera and author of monumental history of the War of Independence, The Irish Republic (1937)’.

Rory Brennan, review of Nadia Clare Smith, Dorothy Macardle, in Books Ireland (Feb. 2008), remarks that it is uncertain if she ever had sexual relationships with either sex and was certainly upset by Roasmund Jacob’s relationship with Frank Ryan. (p.10.)

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Desmond Clarke, Ireland in Fiction [Pt. II] (Cork: Royal Carbery 1985), lists Earth Bound, stories (1924); The Seed was Kind (1940); Fantastic Summer (1946); ‘James Connolly and Patrick Pearse’, in Conor Cruise O’Brien, ed., The Shaping of Modern Ireland (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul 1960); also a work on Civil War atrocities in Kerry. Uneasy Freehold (1942), ‘a novel of women under stress and how supernatural forces act on them’, according to A. N. Jeffares in Anglo-Irish Literature (1982).

Anne Owen Weekes, ed., Attic Guide to Irish Women Writers (Dublin: Attic Press 1993) attributes to her imprisonment in 1916 [aetat. 17], in prob. confusion with the events of 1922; cites also de Valera’s prefatory comments to her Republic, ‘... Her intimate knowledge of the period enabled her to see where close detail was essential ... Her interpretations and conclusions are her own. They do not represent the doctrines of any party. In many cases they are not in accord with my own views.’

Janet Madden-Simpson, ed., Woman’s part, An Anthology of Short Fiction by and about Irishwomen, 1890-1960 (Dublin: Arlen House 1984) [the source of the extract in Attic Guide, supra].

Eggeley Books (Cat. 44) lists Tragedies of Kerry 1922-1923 (Irish Book Bureau 193?) (vi), [7]-60pp.

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Thomas MacGreevey : MacGreevey remarked on the ‘Dorothy MacArdle [sic] kind of Catholicism’ which he finds ‘contemptible’ in Francis Stuart’s 1932 novel A Coloured Dome (quoted in Geoffrey Elborn, Francis Stuart - A Life, Dublin: Raven Arts Press 1990, p.94; see under MacGreevey, infra).