Joseph Campbell (poet)

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Joseph Campbell (July 15, 1879 – June 1944) was an Irish poet and lyricist. He wrote under the Gaelic form of his name Seosamh Mac Cathmhaoil (also Seosamh MacCathmhaoil) Campbell being a common anglicization of the old Irish name MacCathmhaoil. He is now remembered best for words he supplied to traditional airs, such as My Lagan Love and Gartan Mother's Lullaby; his verse was also set to music by Arnold Bax and Ivor Gurney.


He was born in Belfast, into a Catholic and Irish nationalist family from County Down. He was educated at St Malachy's College, Belfast. After working for his father he taught for a while. He travelled to Dublin in 1902, meeting leading nationalist figures. His literary activities began with songs, as a collector in Antrim and working with the composer Herbert Hughes. He was then a founder of the Ulster Literary Theatre in 1904. He contributed a play and several articles to its journal Uladh edited by Bulmer Hobson.

He moved to Dublin in 1905, failed to find work and the following year (1906) he moved to London where he was involved in Irish literary activities while working as a teacher.[1] He married in 1910 Nancy Maude, and they moved shortly to Dublin, and then County Wicklow. His play Judgement was performed at the Abbey Theatre in April, 1912.

He took part as a supporter in the Easter Rising of 1916; he became a Sinn Féin Councillor in Wicklow in 1921. Later in the Irish Civil War he was on the Republican side, and was interned in 1922/3. His marriage broke up, and he emigrated to the United States in 1925.

There he lived in New York. He lectured at Fordham University, and worked in academic Irish studies, founding the University's School of Irish Studies in 1928, which lasted four years.[2] He returned to Ireland in 1939, settling at Glencree, County Wicklow.


  • Songs of Uladh (1904) with Seaghan Campbell
  • The Old Woman' by Joseph Campbell
  • The Little Cowherd of Slainge (1904) play
  • The Garden of the Bees (1905) poems
  • The Rush-Light (1906) poems
  • The Man-Child (1907) poems
  • The Gilly of Christ (1907) poems
  • The Mountainy Singer (1909) poems
  • Mearing Stones (1911) travel writing
  • Judgment: A Play (1912)
  • Irishry (1913) poems
  • Earth of Cualann (1917) poems
  • Orange Terror / The Partition of Ireland (1943, using pseudonym Ultach)
  • Collected Poems of Joseph Campbell (1963)
  • As I was Among the Captives: Joseph Campbell's Prison Diary (2001) edited by Eiléan Ní Chuileanain
  • I Will Go With My Father A-Ploughing

See also


  1. Saunders, Norah & A.A.Kelly, Joseph Campbell Poet and Nationalist 1879-1944, Dublin, Wolfhound Press, 1988. p.38
  2. In 1934, in conjunction with George Sherwood and George Lennon, Oglaigh na hEireann, he published a short lived magazine of Irish expression entitled "The Irish Review". "Entering Second Decade, Irish Institute Aims Higher", Inside Fordham March 16, 2007
  • Norah Saunders, 1988. Joseph Campbell: Poet & Nationalist 1879-1944, a Critical Biography, ISBN 0-86327-151-0

External links