Katherine Frances Purdon

1858-1918 [var. 1920]; b. Hotwell (‘Ardenoo’ of her fiction), Enfield, Co. Meath, dg. farmer; and lived there; ed. England and Alexandra Coll., Dublin; contrib. Irish and English periodicals, her first appearing in Irish Homestead; published The Folk of Furry Farm (1914), an affectionate account of local kindness and eccentricity displaying great love of animals; also a play, Crib and Candle (1914), produced at the Abbey in 1918; her stories were illustrated by Jack B. Yeats; George Russell thought she wrote perfect English. IF IF2 OCIL


Candle and Crib
(Dublin: Maunsel 1914), ill. Beatrice Elvery, 42pp.; The Folk of Furry Farm (London: Nisbet 1914), and Do. [new edn.], intro. by Susan L. Mitchell (Dublin: Talbot Press; London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co. [1926]), pp.xii, 315, [1]pp.; Denny of the Doorstep (Dublin: Talbot Press 1918), viii, 253pp.


Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction (Dublin: Maunsel 1919), lists Candle and Crib (Maunsel 1914), ill. Beatrice Elvery, 42pp. [Christmas idyll, the strange way Art Moloney brought his new wife to Ardenoo]; The Folk of Furry Farm (Nisbet 1914), repf. George Birmingham, 315pp. [life at Ardenoo, midlands, kindliness of people; told in dialectic, qua shanachie; accurate knowledge of home life, small farmer class her chief chars; matrimonial affairs of Michael Heffernan and sharp-tongued sister Julia; specialist in tramps]; Dinny of the Doorstep (Dublin: Talbot Press 1918)[two Dublin slum children, not unduly idealised; dublin idiom high and low faithfully reproduced.]

Desmond Clarke, Ireland in Fiction: A Guide to Irish Novels, Tales, Romances and Folklore [Pt. 2] (Cork: Royal Carbery 1985), adds Spanish Lily, or Only An Ass (Dub, Educ. Co., n.d.), 92pp.story of an ass, a children’s reader; Kevin and the Cats (Lon, SPCK [1921]) [told by a cat named Scutaun; little boy Kevin recovers from operation, prevents the killing of fox refuging in his father’s garden during an Irish hunt].

Belfast Central Public Library holds The Folk of Furry Farm (1914); Candle and Crib (1914).


Book Notice appended to St. John Ervine, Mrs. Martin’s Man, pop. edn. 1915: Candle and Crib, by K. P. Purdon, author of The Folk of Furry Farm, ill. by Beatrice Elvery, ‘written in the sweet, plaintive, blarneying English as it is spoken in Southern Ireland; smell of peat-reek [sic] about it; mother-love and piety, and the humours of peasant life are the stuff of it. A small thing, but perfect of its kind’ (Irish Times), and called ‘true successor of The Christmas Carol, perhaps a little short than its prototypes, it lacks no merit but that of length’ (The Outlook).

A. N. Jeffares remarks on Irish slum novels, Denny of the Doorstep (1918) [letter to compiler]. Note also lines by Susan Mitchell (“Dublin Tenements”), quoted as epigraph in Kevin C. Kearns, Dublin Tenement Life, An Oral History (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1994).

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