A Celebration 
of Women Writers

"Mrs. Seumas MacManus" by Justin McCarthy
From: Irish Literature Vol. 6, edited by Justin McCarthy. Bigelow, Smith and Co., NY, 1904.

Editor: Mary Mark 



Mrs. MacManus ("Ethna Carbery") was born in Ballymena, Dec. 3, 1866. She lived nearly all her life in Belfast, till her marriage with the well-known novelist in 1901. To the great grief of all who knew her, and to the abiding loss of Irish literature, in the flower of her youth and the blossoming of her genius, she closed her eyes on the Ireland of her heart's love April 21, 1902. She wrote much prose and verse, and began publishing when she was about fifteen. Her first poetry was published over the name of "Ethna Carbery." She contributed to most of the Irish magazines and newspapers of her time, and to Harper's Magazine, the New York Criterion, The Century, and other American periodicals.

Since her death her poems have been collected and published in one volume, entitled 'The Four Winds of Eirinn.' The collection, which was begun in her lifetime, was finished and edited by her husband; the book was immediately successful, no less than nine editions having been sold within a year of its appearance. In the very beautiful introduction of this little volume we are told that "From childhood till the closing hour, every fiber of her frame vibrated with love of Ireland. Before the tabernacle of poor Ireland's hopes she burned in her bosom a perpetual flame of faith. Her great warm heart kept the door of its fondest affection wide open to all who loved Ireland–and lived for Ireland, and strove for Ireland–and in her heart of hearts was sacredly cherished the memory of the holy dead who died for Ireland.

"Our Motherland has had daughters as noble, as brave, as faithful and loving as Anna Johnston, but never was gathered to the Mother's breast one more noble-souled, upright, courageous of heart, or one more passionately faithful, than she."

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

Thanks go to Patricia Casey and Soinbhe Lally for providing this information about Ethna Carbery and some selections from her work, which are part of the on-line edition of 'The Four Winds of Eirinn.'

Editor: Mary 
Mark Ockerbloom