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Irish Women'S Writing, 1878-1922Advancing the Cause of Liberty$

Anna Pilz and Whitney Standlee

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780719097584

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719097584.001.0001

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‘The Red Sunrise’: gender, violence, and nation in Ella Young’s vision of a new Ireland

‘The Red Sunrise’: gender, violence, and nation in Ella Young’s vision of a new Ireland

Chapter:
(p.191) 11 ‘The Red Sunrise’: gender, violence, and nation in Ella Young’s vision of a new Ireland
Source:
Irish Women'S Writing, 1878-1922
Author(s):

Aurelia Annat

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719097584.003.0012

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter indicates the possibilities inherent in close examination of texts produced by Ella Young between 1900 and 1925. It focuses on how she absorbed and adapted contemporary discourses of gender, violence, and nation in her reworking of Irish myth and mysticism in order to generate a vision of a new Ireland that was both particular and powerful: particular, because it was characteristic of Young’s singular politics and spirituality; powerful, because it influenced Young’s immediate social milieu and, through notable friends such as Maud Gonne, found wider audiences.

Keywords:   Ella Young, Maud Gonne, Mysticism, Republicanism, Nationalism, Feminism

UNTIL recently, Ella Young’s part in the transformation of Irish politics and culture between 1891 and 1922 had been largely forgotten. This is unsurprising as, despite her integration into fin-de-siècle nationalist and Revivalist circles and close association with some of the most well documented personalities of early twentieth-century Irish history, only a faint impression of her life has remained in the written record, particularly for the years before 1900. Recently, however, works such as Rose Murphy’s popular biography, Dorothea McDowell’s book on Young’s work, and an edition of Young’s collected writings edited by John Matthews and Denise Sallee demonstrate resurgent interest in her life and literature.1 Furthermore, the growing body of scholarly research on the 1916 generation increasingly acknowledges the significance of marginal and marginalised individuals, including Irish women and their writings.2 This chapter indicates the possibilities inherent in close examination of texts produced by Young between 1900 and 1925. It focuses on how she absorbed and adapted contemporary discourses of gender, violence, and nation in her reworking of Irish myth and mysticism in order to generate a vision of a new Ireland that was both particular and powerful: particular, because it was characteristic of Young’s singular politics and spirituality; powerful, because it influenced Young’s immediate social milieu and, through notable friends such as Maud Gonne, would find wider audiences.

Ella Young was born in 1867 in the Presbyterian parish of Ahogill, in Co. Antrim, on the northern coast of Ireland, but spent the latter part of her childhood and education in Dublin, eventually studying history, jurisprudence, and political economy at the Dublin Royal University.3 By the early 1900s she was integrated into the prominent intellectual and political nationalist circles of Dublin. She actively bonded elements of this broad movement together, hosting regular open evenings, and engineering introductions.4 These years saw her emerge as a writer, encouraged (p.192) and supported by key literary figures including Standish O’Grady, George Russell (‘Æ’), Padraic Colum, and Seamus O’Sullivan. By 1900 her work was appearing in O’Grady’s journal, the All Ireland Review, and in 1904 five of her poems were included in Æ’s important collection, New Songs.5

Young’s writings in the early twentieth century were integral to her construction of a personal identity that rejected her Protestant unionist northern background and reflected her association with Dublin’s exciting subcultures and the alternative Ireland that they seemed to promise. In particular, her poetry and prose are evocative expressions of her immersion in the Irish Literary Revival, particularly in its Celtic Twilight aspect. Young’s resistance to the modernist and realist literary trends that came to supplant the Celtic Twilight as the twentieth century progressed are part of the explanation for the limited success of her literary career, and she experienced some difficulty finding publishers for her later poetry.6 She was also unfortunate in her publisher, Maunsel & Company of Dublin. Although it played a central part in the Irish Renaissance, and her association with it affirmed her position among leading Irish authors, she endured a fraught relationship with its director, George Roberts.7 Nonetheless, Young won sufficient literary acclaim in Ireland to enable her to survive, albeit frugally, as a writer and lecturer for the rest of her life. It was her reputation in Ireland that carried her to America on a lecture tour in 1925 and later gained her the Phelan Lectureship in Celtic Mythology and Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. Although she remained in America until her death in 1956, her literary output, which mostly consisted of children’s tales based on Celtic myths, remained rooted in visions of Ireland, its history, and its landscape.

As evidence of her political activity, Young’s writings reveal something of the more opaque agents shaping early Irish nationalism. This is because Young’s perspective reflects the unconventionality of the woman herself. Her standards, as one friend put it, differed ‘widely from the average’.8 As well as being a poetess and a republican, she was an occultist and probably a lesbian. Young did not operate within the confines of political, cultural, or social consensus. She consequently gives us access to radical aspects of early twentieth-century Irish nationalism that have been displaced by subsequent historical narratives. Through her we are given a glimpse of how dominant discourses were internalised and repurposed to meet both personal and wider political agendas by those who worked on the fringes of the nationalist movement. This chapter explores her appropriation of concepts of gender and nationalism in her writings by analysing the unorthodox roles she adapted for herself from her vision of an ancient Celtic pagan past: druidess, poet, and warrior. It will be argued that, while elements of Young’s construction of Ireland appear emulative, taken as a whole they (p.193) amount to a strikingly coherent and particular projection of the spirit of the land. This is because her writings were shaped not only by contemporary conventions of feminised and nationalist imagery but also by her personal imperatives. In Young’s texts, what emerges is a consistent and lucid image of Ireland that is given substance and purpose by her spiritual practice.

Druidess

YOUNG’S spirituality was the bedrock of her politics. In the years between 1900 and 1925, she was actively engaged in esoteric activities that were intended to reawaken Ireland and bring about its sovereignty. We cannot fully understand the significance of Young’s writing without recognising this other side of her work; the two were different aspects of the same impulse, expressive of her fusion of gender, mysticism, and nationalism.

Young had originally become interested in the esoteric through theosophy. The Theosophical Society, founded in 1875, had gained thousands of converts worldwide, especially in India, by the time a Dublin branch was established in 1889. But the society had specific significance for late-nineteenth-century Ireland. Selina Guinness has argued persuasively that in fin-de-siècle Ireland, theosophy seems to have offered a spiritual escape from sectarianism and the opportunity to construct a nationhood unconstrained by religious difference.9 Young conforms to this model, and it is likely that theosophy secured her flight from her northern Protestant background. She joined the Dublin branch in the 1890s, having been impressed by Æ, who was one of the leading figures in Dublin theosophy.10 Later, she followed him into his Hermetic Society.11 By the turn of the century, Young was knowledgeable about various esoteric doctrines and was a practised occultist. Yeats respected her sufficiently to engage in correspondence in 1903 on arcane subjects, although his relationship with her deteriorated subsequently.12 By 1906 he was referring to her as one of the ‘imitative and subjective and sentimental’ group that surrounded Æ, and in Autobiographies he represented her as the ridiculous ‘Miss A-B-’, the epitome of Æ’s ‘fluid, tenuous, flimsy-minded’ Dublin Theosophists.13

Yet it would seem that at this time Young was no mere theosophist acolyte. Instead, she was intent on creating a distinctly different esoteric group along the lines of Yeats’s own Celtic Mystical Order. In the 1890s, Yeats, Gonne, and Æ, among others, had planned a ‘Druidic’ Order for the ‘revitalisation of the Western religious tradition’ by synthesising paganism and Christianity.14 Gonne later remembered that she and Yeats had hoped to help free Ireland by making ‘contact with the hidden forces of the land’ (p.194) through this Celtic Mystical Order.15 If not familiar with the Order itself, Young would have been indirectly influenced by it through her friendships with Æ and Gonne. According to Gonne, Young left the Hermetic Society, ‘feeling that Eastern mysticism was not suitable for Ireland’s needs’, and founded her own company, called the Fine, in 1900.16 Gonne records that Young’s aim for this group was ‘to draw together for the freeing of Ireland the wills of the living and of the dead in association with the earth and the elements which to her seemed living entities’.17 It was therefore a means of using occult practice to awaken both Ireland’s landscape and people (living and historical) in order to effect a political and cultural transformation of Ireland that would liberate its true identity. The group appears to have been made up of women and to have been active well into the twentieth century, for Gonne was writing about it to Yeats as late as 1915.18 While ostensibly the aims of the Fine appear to have been consistent with Yeats’s Celtic Mystical Order, Young’s magical work was made distinctive through its female emphasis.

There is little substantial evidence of Young’s Fine, although accounts of visualisations undertaken on Young’s instruction by various female friends in the early 1900s may be records of its activities.19 Even if they are not, they provide further evidence that she worked collaboratively with a predominantly female company, using a form of magic in sympathy with natural forces. Other manuscript sources may be more reliable evidence of the membership of the Fine. An intriguing letter to the Jewish nationalist artist (and later wife of Seamus O’Sullivan), Estella Solomons, in which a piece of folded paper referred to as ‘the open membership’ has been inserted, might be interpreted as confirmation of her initiation into the company. The tiny package contains the remains of a plant.20 This may be heather, as in 1920 Young sent a similar package to Diarmuid Coffey telling him that it contained, ‘some heather from Slieve Gullion the Founder & Protector of the Fellowship’. She instructed him not to open it. ‘If at any time you wish to resign return the packet to me.’21 Diarmuid’s acceptance into the group may indicate the integration of male membership, or an exception marking friendship and loss, for Diarmuid had married Young’s friend, the nationalist artist Cesca Trench, in 1917, only to be made a widower when she succumbed to the Spanish flu on 30 October 1918.22

By the time of Young’s 1925 American lecture tour, she had cultivated an exoticised appearance and demeanour that advertised her immersion in Celtic mysticism. She wore robes rather than clothes and was, according to Edward Alden Jewell in the New York Times Magazine, ‘a woman whose quiet intensity and power, you immediately feel’.23 This persona had been carefully cultivated during her years in Dublin. In a derisive diary entry written by Cesca Trench eleven years earlier, she described Young as ‘very (p.195) Celtic Twilighty’ after one of their initial meetings. Trench was later influenced by Young’s esoteric beliefs, and, like other close friends, including Colum, came to see Young as a ‘druidess’ belonging to ‘the ancient Celtic world’.24

Young’s persona as a druidess is significant. On the one hand, her self-conscious identification with something approximating Gaelic paganism was consistent with the contemporary mood of Revivalism, which looked back to Ireland’s heritage to inspire cultural and hence national regeneration. In that sense, it positions Young’s work within a context of established cultural nationalist discourses. On the other hand, it emphasises a pattern of spiritual heterodoxy that reveals less conventional aspects of cultural nationalism, enabling a more complex appreciation of the diversity of that movement. Ultimately, Young’s unorthodox spirituality articulates an intimate bond between religion and politics in her construction of a new Ireland. In Young’s conception of a sovereign Ireland, it was not only British authority that would be overthrown but the supremacy of institutionalised Christianity also.

Poet

A FURTHER radical aspect of Young’s heterodox religiosity is its construction of femininity. Both her apprehension of a mystical spirituality and her work as a practising occultist were defined around gendered discourses and contexts. This is made explicit in her writings and develops our understanding of how Young’s work drew on cultural conventions and literary tropes while simultaneously reflecting an original and personal conception of a feminised Ireland.

This is evident in her literary accounts of her spiritual awakening. In her memoirs, published in 1945 as Flowering Dusk, Young recorded her rejection of the staunch unionist Presbyterianism of her parents and renunciation of God at an early age, despite her belief that this would lead to her damnation.25 Her friend, the American lesbian poet Elsa Gidlow, later interpreted these actions in feminist terms: ‘Brought up a Presbyterian and compelled to sit on Sundays with her family in a church … the child Ella was filled with rebellion. Early there was revolt against what now we call patriarchy.’26 In Gidlow’s account, this repudiation of the male God was simultaneous with Young’s turn to female objects of sexual and spiritual devotion. In two autobiographical accounts, Young demonstrates how her spirituality was released from the strictures of the Presbyterian Church by female agency when a religious revelation was prompted by her first encounter with Brysanthe, a young girl, during a service: ‘I had eyes for (p.196) nothing else in the church save that child. She was like the first sunlight on a day of Winter. The ice in my heart broke up. All my ideas about God and the Universe surged and tumbled to destruction.’27 Her short story of 1911, ‘The Rose Queen’, likewise hints at the centrality of this experience. In it, the young protagonist is startled from her resentment of attending services (‘Church was hateful, but I had to go there’) by the appearance of the Rose Queen. Following the Queen to her garden gate, the child is given a rose.28 This withers, but the ‘virtue of it’ remains, and the story culminates in mystical allegory:29

I am not a child outside the gate any longer. I can go in now […] The Rose-Queen is there faintly smiling, ivory-white, subtle as flame. She is as wise as the tallest of the queens in Avalon and in her hands which so many lovers have kissed she holds the million-petalled Rose of Dreams.30

The language of the ‘The Rose Queen’ is overtly Arthurian. But the significance of the narrative is complex. It may be interpreted as religious revelation, sexual awakening, or a visionary encounter with Ireland. The association of the rose with passion and the female may be read in political as well as religious terms. In addition to being identified with the Virgin Mary and other pagan and Oriental female divinities, the rose also symbolises the female personification of Ireland and had been made popular in that context by the nationalist poet James Clarence Mangan, whose ballad ‘Dark Rosaleen’ (1846) drew on the earlier folk song ‘Roisin Dubh’ (Little Black Rose) as well as the tradition of the aisling, which personified Ireland as a beautiful maiden.31 More contemporaneously, Yeats had drawn on this symbolism, as well as the alchemical meanings of the flower in various stories collected into The Secret Rose (1897), and in the rose poems of the 1890s, written while he was immersed in the ascetic cult of beauty.32 In 1920, Young would also publish a series of rose poems, full of religious and Arthurian imagery.33 This links her work to existing nationalist discourses but also reflects the distinctively personal nature of Young’s work. In her 1922 poem ‘The Black Rose’, Ireland is identified as a divine female force, the ‘Virgin’, compelling revelation and reverence. This echoes ‘The Rose Queen’, yet by 1922 Young had witnessed years of conflict and death, and her image of Ireland had changed. Now the feminine divinity inspires violence and sacrifice and is herself imagined in violent as well as sublime terms: ‘O Sword, O flame, O Light …’

  • The Black Rose.
  • For thee the thorn-pierced centuries
  •     bleed and die–
  • O Sword, O flame, O Light that
  •     durst endure
  • (p.197) The murk of Hell, thyself unchanged
  •     and pure,
  • Supernal Love that dost our hopes
  •     deny,
  • Giving thyself to us, Virgin most high
  • Branch of White Silver, Blossom
  •     that dost lure
  • Our hearts to death when life sits
  •     most secure
  • In the world’s mart beneath a cloud-
  •     less sky.
  • Eire we stretch our hands to thee –
  •     The dead,
  • Thou hast burned our lives away, O
  •     Quenchless Flame,
  • Our years are but thy petals spent
  •     and shed:
  • So with thy splendour now our
  •     honour grows
  • We are free of earthly praise or
  •     blame,
  • White with thy Whiteness, carmined
  •     with thy Rose.

The poem was dedicated, as Young explained on a handwritten copy, to ‘Erskine Childers, Rory O’Connor Liam Mellowes & those other noble comrades who died with them’.34 It was published on a commemorative sheet priced two pence, with the names of ‘soldiers of the Republic who gave their lives in this second War of Independence’.35 These, Young told Erskine’s widow Molly, were ‘names to be remembered for ever’.36

Young’s use of the trope of a feminised Ireland in ‘The Black Rose’ represents another recurrent and derivative feature of her early writings. However, it also conveys Young’s intense and personal identification with the concept of the Motherland.37 In an article for the All Ireland Review in 1901, she addressed Ireland in the spirit of invocation:

O Eire, queen of the sacred hills, kindle once more the old heroism in the hearts of thy children … Enchantress, whose reward is the death-gift, call us again from the mart, from the sordid life of the hour, from the fire-light of home to the quest from which none of thy lovers turn back.38

If this was a prayer to the spirit of Ireland, it was also an injunction to readers of the All Ireland Review to shake off British influence and awaken to a consciousness of the ‘eternal’ nation and to a sense of devotion to the land itself. Of course, this aim was not unique to Young. Yeats famously was doing the same thing when he and Lady Gregory co-wrote Cathleen ni Houlihan, the 1902 play performed by Inghinidhe na hÉireann (Daughters (p.198) of Ireland), a politico-cultural society founded by Maud Gonne in 1900.39 Gonne herself played the title role in the production, representing the spirit of Ireland and inspiring the generation that took up arms in Easter 1916. The character of Cathleen belonged to a wider project in which Yeats, drawing upon theosophy and the pre-Raphaelites, had used the symbol of the goddess to discover religious and political power.40 Young knew the play well since she was involved with the Inghinidhe in rehearsals for this production.41 Young’s construction of a feminised and spiritual Ireland was therefore not unique. However, it was undoubtedly internalised, particular, and consistent. There is striking continuity between the language of Young’s 1901 invocation in the All Ireland Review and her tribute in ‘The Black Rose’ to republicans who, by 1922, had answered the ‘lure’ of Éire, abandoning security in ‘the world’s mart’ for her cause.

We can develop our understanding of the particularity of Young’s writings if we further explore the wider cultural constructs that informed her fusion of empowerment, femininity, and heterodoxy. The association of the arcane with transgressive femininity was an idea entrenched in later Victorian popular fiction, in the archetype of what Diana Basham has termed the ‘Occult Mother’. This was a monstrous figure, presiding over a psychic or geographical borderland rather than the familiar domestic sphere. She was Ayesha in Bulwer Lytton’s A Strange Story (1862) and ‘She Who Must Be Obeyed’ in Rider Haggard’s She (1887). For Basham, this trope held political ramifications for late-nineteenth-century women in the fabrication of the New Woman.42 Both Young’s poetry and prose borrow from this genre in describing mysterious and powerful women who inhabit spaces removed from the comfort of home. In ‘The Wood-Queen’, published in Poems (1906), we follow the music of the ‘May-time’ deep into the ‘dim recesses’ of a forest world, where, through ‘oak-boughs parted’, we at last witness ‘the Queen who holds the woods in sway’. The language of the poem emphasises a sense of awe and reverie.43

However, for Young, the disturbing quality of her female characters is creative rather than degenerative and opens the opportunity for revelation and growth. This is explicit in ‘My Lady of Dreams’:

  • One night the beauty of the stars
  •     Made magic for me white and still,
  •     I climbed the road above the hill
  • The road no waking footstep mars.
  • I met my Lady in the wood
  •     The black pine wood above the hill,
  •     Dream-fair her beauty, white and still;
  • I knelt as one before the Rood.
  • White Dream that makes my life a war
  • (p.199)     Of wild desires and baffled will
  •     Once more my soul with beauty fill
  • Rise through the darkness, O my Star.44

Key elements of Young’s poetry, including the conceptualisation of an inner journey that draws the writer through darkness to inspiration and the wood as a symbolic setting, recur in Young’s short story ‘Lilith’. The title itself, as a name with complex cultural associations that include Jewish as well as Arthurian folklore, foregrounds the unsettling, seductive, and degenerative quality of female power. This is explicit in a draft copy of this story, where the character Fionn comes upon a wood where he is overwhelmed by She whom he accosts: ‘She stood. Her beauty was terrible. It penetrated through every pore of his body: it loosed sinew & joint: it dried the marrow in his bones. Her beauty was like a sword that twisted in his heart. There was no strength in him.’45 This passage is not included in ‘Lilith: A Story’, which was printed in the Dublin Magazine in 1924. However, while the published version similarly narrates Lilith’s disruptive power, she is also projected as an agent of rebirth. Here, Lilith offers to kiss the eyes of the unnamed man who encounters her, making him forget the earth. Although he admits that he desires her, and indeed confesses, ‘I have called you all my life’, he rejects her. His lack of courage prevented him from transcending material comfort and answering an inner imperative to embrace the spirit of the land and (by implication) Ireland’s sovereignty. Lilith goes and leaves him in a cold grey wood which is now seemingly dull after the glamour she had temporarily brought it.46 There is obvious continuity between this prose piece and Young’s invocation to Ireland in 1901. In both writings, Young imagines the eternal feminine energy of the land startling those who encounter it, answering to deep desire, and awakening the possibility for change. But while in 1901 Young anticipated the men of Ireland waking up and rising to the call of the land, by 1924 she was recoiling from what she saw as the betrayal of Ireland in the aftermath of the Civil War and the victory of the Irish Free State forces. Young’s story narrates the failure of Ireland’s men to answer her call. In Lilith’s departure and the bleakness that is left, we can sense Young’s hopelessness. It is not surprising that she would choose to leave Ireland for good in 1925.

Warrior

THE evolution of Young’s vision of Ireland can be further explored by analysing her in the role of ‘warrior’ and the texts, both her published poetry and her private correspondence, which expressed her militancy. Between 1900 and 1925, Young perceived herself to be engaged in the battle for Irish (p.200) sovereignty through her literary and mystical work. As is implicit in her accounts of a feminised Ireland, her concept of this conflict was consistently defined in archetypal and esoteric terms that conceived of Ireland’s rebirth as a violent rupture that would necessitate the loss of certainties that had structured individuals’ lives under British rule. By the early 1920s, as that violence was realised in the Anglo-Irish and Civil Wars, Young more explicitly and urgently assumed the role of warrior.

The character of Young’s politics before 1916 was informed by her association with nationalist organisations, including Inghinidhe na hÉireann from the early 1900s and later Cumann na mBan (Irishwomen’s Council), founded in 1914.47 Her fellowship with these women’s groups was connected to her mystical work through republican friends including Gonne, Constance Markievicz, and Helena Molony, and reinforced the distinctly female context of her esoteric activity. Her intervention in these institutions was cultural; she saw this work as a vital aspect of nationalist resistance to British rule, especially in the absence of a viable campaign of physical force. In Flowering Dusk she would retrospectively figure cultural nationalism as an active and aggressive agent in securing political change. Her text uses the present tense to recapture the immediacy of the past she recalled: ‘It is true that we have no hope of an armed thrust at the might of England, but we can tear to pieces the calumnies with which she strives to hide her exploitation. We can retrieve our ancient culture and our language.’48 Crediting the work of Celtic Language specialist Kuno Meyer as well as the stories of Patrick Pearse, Thomas Clarke, and Whitley Stokes, she imagined the dynamic impact of their work: ‘The sagas and hero-tales even now are spreading amongst us as oil spreads upon water, iridescent and unescapable … these are building up our nationhood: these and the Gaelic language.’49 Young’s own contribution was through writing and teaching. For Inghinidhe na hÉireann, she taught history by retelling ‘sagas and hero-tales’ to a class of about eighty children from the Dublin poor, ‘eager-eyed … adding new names to the hero-names that they have cherished ever since they could put names together’.50

This underlines the explicitly nationalistic purpose behind her publications of juvenile literature in these years. In fact, publication of the Gubbaun Saor tales in the Dublin Magazine (a journal aimed at adults) indicates that Young’s stories were not exclusively intended for young readers.51 Yet a letter to Starkey from about 1907 shows it was her intention to write Celtic stories in a form ‘suitable for children’.52 Significantly, Gonne’s involvement as illustrator was already settled by that time, demonstrating that these women were collaborating in their cultural endeavours, as well as in their political and mystical activities in the 1900s. Gonne produced the art-work for both Young’s The Coming of Lugh (1909) and Celtic Wonder Tales (p.201)

‘The Red Sunrise’: gender, violence, and nation in Ella Young’s vision of a new Ireland

Figure 11.1 ‘Ethlinn with Lugh’, by Maud Gonne.

(1910). The illustrations were sufficiently distinctive for reviewers to comment, not always sympathetically, on their esoteric character.53 However, they advanced Young’s spiritual vision of mythic Ireland, employing occult symbolism and evoking the mystical art of Æ as well as the Rider-Waite tarot which was used by the Golden Dawn, an occult order that Gonne had joined in 1891 through Yeats’s influence.54 The image of ‘Ethlinn with Lugh’ in The Celtic Wonder Tales is a case in point, as it bears striking affinities with the ‘High Priestess’ card in the Rider-Waite deck.55 Here, the beautiful Ethlinn, daughter of ‘Balor of the Evil Eye’, presents the child she has conceived secretly with the hero Cian, despite being shut away in a dun by her father (see Fig.11.1).56 Her robe, and the crescent within which she cradles her son, emphasise that she represents the night from which day is born. It is also allegorically significant, in Irish nationalist terms, that the infant Lugh holds a sword. This image indicates the birth of hope out of (p.202) oppression and anticipates the tale of how Lugh the Sun-God will grow up to defeat Balor and acquire the Sword of Tethra which will allow him to scatter the darkness. This had obvious relevance for nationalists’ imagining of Irelands’ liberation from British dominance.

An earlier collaboration between Young and Gonne represents a more explicit expression of their fusion of femininity, politics, mysticism, and art. Two of Young’s poems were included in Gonne’s one-act propaganda play Dawn, published in the United Irishman in 1904. Like Yeats and Lady Gregory’s Cathleen ni Houlihan, this play self-consciously used allegory to arouse patriotism, but it was also, Nancy Cardozo has argued, a feminist statement.57 One of the poems was ‘The Red Sunrise’, also called Moraig’s song, an invocation of change, an unashamed call to battle, written from the sidelines, in a mother’s voice:

  • O, it’s dark the land is, and it’s dark my heart
  •   is, but the Red Sun rises when the hour
  •   is come.
  • O, the Red Sun rises, and the dead rise: I can
  •   see them, and it’s glad they are and proud.
  • White Oscur’s with them, and my own boy,
  •   and Conn, who won the battles, and the
  •   lads who lost.
  • They have bright swords with them that clash
  •   the battle-welcome: a welcome to the Red
  •   Sun that rises with our luck.58

The ‘Red Sun’ is a symbol Young later used in her narration of the Celtic saga of Fionn, The Tangle-Coated Horse (1929). In this later work, it is a red sunset that signifies a violent turn of fortune that brings darkness, but also the hope of a new dawn in the future.59 The red of dawn that she depicts represents the painful birth of a new era following darkness. As Gonne had written in her play, the red dawn meant that ‘the river of blood must flow, but there is freedom on the other side of it, and the Strangers are driven away like clouds before the sun’.60 As with Young’s visions of a feminised Ireland, Moraig’s song acknowledges and invites the inevitable violence of change.

By 1914, with the spread of militarism and the arming of Volunteers across Ireland, physical force was becoming a practical possibility for the nationalist cause. Women played an important part in defining and promoting an uncompromising separatist attitude. Young was one of the many women involved in acquiring, hiding, moving, and manufacturing arms for the Irish Volunteers in the lead-up to the Rising in 1916.61 In 1914, at her Dublin home in Temple Hill, she stored and distributed guns for the Irish Volunteers who would eventually hold Dublin against the British in Easter (p.203) week.62 However, although Young possessed a pistol and ammunition at this time, she did not participate in the Rising.63

For Young, a battle waged on cultural and mystical terms was as important as one with guns, and here she played an ongoing part. In September 1920, ‘The Red Sunrise’ was reprinted as the sally for the first edition of the Red Hand Magazine, a nationalist journal of northern Revivalism. The editor described Young’s poem as hailing ‘the breaking of to-morrow upon the land’.64 It is difficult to assess exactly what Young envisioned that nationalist tomorrow to look like politically. She was acquainted with James Connolly and was close to Helena Molony, who, by 1911, had embraced a republican ideal that united the causes of labour, women, and Ireland, and who would become the general secretary to the Irish Women Workers’ Union in 1915.65 In 1920, Young would ask Solomons, ‘aren’t you glad of the Bolshevik successes?’66 Yet, while retrospective accounts of republican nationalism marry its socialist dimensions with an acceptable democratic aim, Lyman’s portrait of Young represents her leaning towards totalitarianism:

In her social attitudes, Ella Young was anti-democratic. She believed in an elite group who should lead in thought and culture. She believed that the common man should follow these leaders and not try to impose his own inferior point of view on society. Thus Ella Young could have been either a Communist or a Fascist.67

If W. W. Lyman’s account of her elitism is credible, then it would seem that, as in other respects, her philosophy was aligned with that of her contemporary, the IRA intellectual Ernie O’Malley, who would come to know Young after her emigration to America.68 Richard English has suggested that O’Malley’s ‘political violence during the 1916–24 Irish revolution was founded on Republican faith and not on extended political analysis’, and these ideas might be applied to Young also.69

Her commitment to violence is more explicit and less complicated than is the nature of her republican belief. She was fired by a conviction that only through rupture could the Irish nation be reborn. Her ideal for Ireland was a sympathetic fusion of ancient myth and radical modernity. Rejecting the liberal imperialist world in which she was raised, she embraced instead the reactionary politics of the emerging modern era. She sought a ‘New Order’–a cultural, spiritual, and political revolution that would ‘restore’ authentic nationhood–and rejected the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 6 December 1921. For her, as for other republicans, it sold cheap an ideal made costly through self-sacrifice. She looked to guerrilla Gaelicism to maintain the struggle for Ireland’s independence, believing the revolution had to be effected metaphysically before it could be enacted physically. Burning with spiritual militancy and a powerful sense of the centrality of (p.204) cultural nationalism within the fight for Ireland’s liberation, she wrote to the northern nationalist poet Joseph Campbell in 1922, only a couple of days before civil war was initiated by the Provisional Government. It is worth quoting her at length.

I fully agree with what you say about the neglect shown to our National Culture & those who have worked for it. This is really the False Dawn–I hope the true one will not be too long delayed. I see that we must overthrow this civilization and this social system … Let us draw the sword upon it and never cease from warfare till we have slain the Unclean Thing. We are strong enough & only we the Poets and Makers the worshippers of the Holy Earth which these things defile. All things are destroyed first in the mind & spirit before they decay in the body and we can destroy these things. Preach the gospel of it & enlist recruits everywhere. It is not the Republic or the Dáil we are now fighting for, it is the ‘New Order’ the ‘New Age’.70

With civil war under way, her consciousness of fighting a moral and cultural battle was heightened. Her language when writing to Seamus O’Sullivan in November that year was unreservedly militant. ‘We are here to fight & to endure’, she told him.71 De Valera’s capitulation on 24 May 1923 concluded the Civil War but did not reconcile Young and other intransigent republicans with the Free State government. In 1924 she was one of a party of republicans calling themselves ‘the Optimists’ who were brought together by Gonne ‘with heart and commitment and vision’.72 This was also the year that she published ‘Lilith’, with its bleak conclusion. But it would be wrong to read this, and Young’s emigration the following year, as evidence that she gave up her battle.

The strength of Young’s vision of Ireland is evidenced by the fact that it continued to animate her writing even after she moved to America. While exile weakened her political and social connections to Ireland, the literature she produced in the USA affirmed her identity as an Irish republican nationalist and her identification with Gaelic Revivalism. She published three volumes of children’s Celtic tales in the years following her emigration. Together with the Celtic tales she brought out in Ireland, these may be interpreted as a development of the teaching she undertook for Inghinidhe na hÉireann; collectively, they demonstrate the importance she attached to storytelling and to children as an audience. In 1922, she told Joseph Campbell’s wife, Nancy, about the influence that Irish myth could exert over children. Hoping the Campbells would bring their son up ‘on Irish & all the old stories’, she added, ‘if he is going to be one of the great ones you must train him for it because a Great One has so heavy a burden to lift & so big a sword to swing that he needs to be hero-nurtured from the cradle’.73 Young’s ‘New Order’ was not realised in her lifetime, but in her juvenile literature we see her ongoing commitment to it. Colum recognised (p.205) this when he described these later works as ‘part of a sacred history’.74 By addressing her vision to children, Young assumed a maternal role, nurturing a new generation who would perhaps bring into being the new Ireland which she had anticipated in ‘The Red Sunrise’.

While she never had children, her literature was her legacy. As with her militancy, it was through her visions and writings that she sought to influence the future generation. As a poet and storyteller, Young, like the mother Moraig in ‘The Red Sunrise’, viewed the unfolding events that culminated in Irish independence from a marginal position. Yet it is precisely Young’s position on the sidelines, self-consciously set apart from the fray, that makes her and her intervention worthy of study. This vantage point afforded her agency in the roles she adopted in the struggle for a new and independent Ireland: those of a druidess, a poet, and a warrior, using metaphysical means to effect physical change. Her subjectivity is valid; her perspective is valuable. While it was informed by contemporary political, social, and spiritual movements, as well as cultural discourses and literary tropes, it was also distinctly conceptualised, personally motivated, and constant. Young’s importance as a female writer in twentieth-century Irish history lies in her radical vision for Ireland and the range of unconventional mechanisms that she employed to bring this into being. These are particularly relevant because they challenge modern stereotypes of republican nationalism by flouting the conventional Catholic democratic mould and extending our understanding of less conventional contexts in which feminism and nationalism were operating at the start of the twentieth century. She fused cultural, esoteric, and militant activity into a highly feminised and idiosyncratic pagan-Republicanism. Through this distinctive approach we can see Young’s vision of nation, one that blended gender and violence in its hopes for a new dawn: the Red Sunrise.

Notes

(1) Rose Murphy, Ella Young: Irish Mystic and Rebel–From Literary Dublin to the American West (Dublin: The Liffey Press, 2008); Dorothea McDowell, Ella Young and Her World: Celtic Mythology, the Irish Revival and the California Avant-Garde (Palo Alto, Calif.: Academica Press, 2014); John Matthews and Denise Sallee (eds), At the Gates of Dawn: A Collection of Writings by Ella Young (Cheltenham: Skylight Press, 2011).

(2) R. F. Foster, Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland, 1890–1923 (London: Allen Lane, 2014); Senia Pašeta, Irish Nationalist Women, 1900–1918 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

(3) Murphy, Ella Young, p. 10; Deirdre Toomey, ‘Young, Ella (1867–1956)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. Available at www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/59452. Accessed 26 April 2015; Anne T. Eaton, ‘Ella Young’s Unicorns and Kyelins’, Horn Magazine: Books and Reading for Young People, 9:3 (1933), 115–20, at p. 115.

(p.206) (4) W. W. Lyman, ‘Ella Young: A Memoir by W. W. Lyman’, Éire-Ireland, 8:3 (1973), 65–9, at p. 67; Mary Colum, Life and the Dream (London: Macmillan, 1947), p. 185.

(5) Ella Young, ‘A Sunflower’, All Ireland Review, 1:19 (1900), 6; ‘The Celtic Renaissance in Poetry’, All Ireland Review, 2:19 (1901), 142–3 and 2:20 (1901), 150–1; George Russell, New Songs: A Lyric Selection made by Æ (Dublin and London: O’Donoghue & Co. and A. H. Bullen, 1904).

(6) Ella Young to Joseph McGarrity (18 June 1930), Joseph McGarrity Papers, MS 17,492, National Library of Ireland, Dublin (hereafter NLI).

(7) David Gardiner (ed.), The Maunsel Poets, 1905–1926 (Bethesda, Md.: Academica Press, 2003), p. 3; J. D. O’Bolger to Ella Young (30 November 1914); and J. D. O’Bolger to Ella Young (12 April 1917), Ella Young Papers, Reel 1 MS.402/4 (4) UCLA; Talbot Press Limited to Ella Young (30 April 1938), Ella Young Papers, Reel 1 MS.402/4 (7) UCLA, Ballymena Central Branch Library, Ballymena (hereafter BCBL), microfilm copies of MSS held by the Department of Special Collections, University of California, Los Angeles Library. For Roberts, see Padraic Colum and Mary Colum, Our Friend James Joyce (London: Gollancz, 1959), p. 89; and Clare Hutton, ‘ “Yogibogeybox in Dawson Chambers”: The Beginnings of Maunsel and Company’, in Clare Hutton (ed.), The Irish Book in the Twentieth Century (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2004), pp. 36–46.

(8) Lyman, ‘Ella Young’, p. 66.

(9) Selina Guinness, ‘ “Protestant Magic” Reappraised: Evangelicalism, Dissent, and Theosophy’, Irish Studies Review, 33:1 (2003), 14–27; ‘Ireland through the Stereoscope: Reading the Cultural Politics of Theosophy in the Irish Literary Revival’, in E. A. Taylor FitzSimon and James H. Murphy (eds), The Irish Revival Reappraised (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2004), pp. 19–32, at pp. 25–6.

(10) Ella Young, Flowering Dusk (New York: Longmans, 1945), pp. 28–34.

(11) Young, Flowering Dusk, p. 34.

(12) W. B. Yeats, The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats, vol. III: 1901–1904, ed. J. Kelly and R. Schuchard (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), pp. 381–2.

(13) W. B. Yeats, The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats, vol. IV: 1905–1907, ed. J. Kelly and R. Schuchard (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2005), p. 488; W. B. Yeats, Autobiographies (London: Macmillan, 1955), pp. 467, 469, 470.

(14) The term ‘Druidic’ is in Elizabeth A. Sharp, William Sharp (Fiona Macleod): A Memoir Compiled by His Wife (London: Heinemann, 1910), p. 277; see also George Mills Harper, Yeats’s Golden Dawn (New York: Macmillan, 1974), pp. 5–6; Yeats, Autobiographies, p. 254.

(15) Maud Gonne, ‘Yeats and Ireland’, in Stephen Gwynn (ed.), Scattering Branches: Tributes to the Memory of W. B. Yeats (London: Macmillan, 1940), p. 22.

(16) Maud Gonne, A Servant of the Queen, ed. A. Norman Jeffares and Anna MacBride White (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, 1994), p. 334.

(17) Gonne, A Servant of the Queen, p. 335.

(18) Anna MacBride White and A. Norman Jeffares (eds), The Gonne–Yeats Letters, 1893–1938: Always Your Friend (London: Pimlico, 1993), Letter 276 from Gonne to Yeats, n.d. (June 1913?), p. 321; Letter 283 from Gonne to Yeats (n.d., November 1913), p. 329; Letter 312 from Gonne to Yeats (10 November 1915), p. 361. See also p. 510 note 8; Gonne, A Servant of the Queen, p. 8.

(19) Handwritten notes by Ella Young (dated 1903), Reel 5, Ella Young Papers, BCBL, microfilm copy of MS.303 held at Department of Special Collections UCLA Library.

(20) Ella Young to E. Solomons (n.d.), O’Sullivan/Solomons Collection, MSS 4630-9/4695, Trinity College Dublin (hereafter TCD).

(21) Ella Young to D. Coffey (18 January 1920), Coffey and Chenevix Trench Papers, MS 46,307/16, NLI.

(22) Anthony Fletcher, ‘Cesca: A Young Nationalist in the Easter Rising’, History Today, 56:4 (2006), 30–8, at p. 38.

(23) E. Riehle, ‘The Shining Land of Ella Young’, Dublin Magazine, 33:2 (1958), 17–22, at p. 17; E. A. Jewell, ‘Elfland Sends an Ambassadress to Us’, New York Times Magazine (18 October 1925), p. 12.

(p.207) (24) Hilary Pyle, Cesca’s Diary, 1913–1916: Where Art and Nationalism Meet (Dublin: Woodfield, 2005), pp. 158–9, 243–50; Padraic Colum, Ella Young: An Appreciation (London: Longmans & Co., 1931), p. 3.

(25) Young, Flowering Dusk, p. 10.

(26) Elsa Gidlow, Elsa: I Come With My Songs–The Autobiography of Elsa Gidlow (San Francisco, Calif.: Bootlegger Press & Druid Heights Books, 1986), pp. 312–13.

(27) Young, Flowering Dusk, p. 12.

(28) Ella Young, ‘The Rose Queen’, Irish Review, 1:4 (1911), 187–9, at p. 187.

(29) Young, ‘The Rose Queen’, p. 188.

(30) Young, ‘The Rose Queen’, p. 189.

(31) Frank Kinahan, Yeats, Folklore and Occultism: Contexts of the Early Work and Thought (London: Unwin Hyman, 1988), pp. 129–38; M. H. Thuente, ‘The Folklore of Irish Nationalism’, in Thomas E. Hachey and Lawrence John McCaffrey (eds), Perspectives on Irish Nationalism (Lexington, Ky.: University Press of Kentucky, 1989), p. 54; see also C. L. Innes, Woman and Nation in Irish Literature and Society, 1880–1935 (Athens, Ga.: University of Georgia, 1993), p. 21.

(32) Richard Ellmann, Yeats: The Man and the Masks (London: Faber & Faber, 1969), p. 97; Marjorie Howes, Yeats’s Nations: Gender, Class and Irishness (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 29–30, 72–4.

(33) Ella Young, The Rose of Heaven: Poems by Ella Young, Decorated by Maud Gonne (Dublin: The Candle Press, 1920).

(34) Ella Young to M. Childers (n.d.), Erskine Childers Papers, MSS. 7851/1331, TCD.

(35) Printed sheet ‘In Memoriam’, Ella Young Papers, Reel 3, MS. 303 UCLA, BCBL, microfilm copies of MSS held by the Department of Special Collections, University of California, Los Angeles Library.

(36) Ella Young to M. Childers (n.d.), Erskine Childers Papers, MSS. 7851/1335, TCD.

(37) There is a vast literature on the use of female imagery to represent Ireland and the idea of the motherland. See, for instance, Innes, Woman and Nation; Scott Brewster, Virginia Crossman, Fiona Becket, and David Alderson (eds), Ireland in Proximity: History, Gender, Space (London and New York: Routledge, 1999); Richard Kearney, Myth and Motherland (Derry: Field Day Theatre Company, 1984). For comparative work on France, see Joan B. Landes, Visualising the Nation: Gender, Representation, and Revolution in Eighteenth-Century France (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001).

(38) Ella Young, ‘Three Mountains’, All Ireland Review, 2:42 (1901), 352.

(39) Maire Nic Shiubhlaigh, The Splendid Years: Recollections of Maire Nic Shiubhlaigh as Told to Edward Kenny with Appendices and Lists of Irish Theatre Plays, 1899–1916 (Dublin: James Duffy, 1955), p. 2.

(40) Elizabeth Butler Cullingford, ‘At the Feet of the Goddess: Yeats’s Love Poetry and the Feminist Occult’, in Deirdre Toomey (ed.), Yeats and Women, Yeats Annual No. 9 (London: Macmillan, 1992), pp. 31–59, at p. 42.

(41) Gonne to Yeats (March 1902), in White and Jeffares, The Gonne–Yeats Letters, p. 150.

(42) Diana Basham, ‘Through the Looking Glass: Madame Blavatsky and the Occult Mother’, in D. Basham (ed.), The Trial of Woman: Feminism and the Occult Sciences in Victorian Literature and Society (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1992), pp. 178–214.

(43) Ella Young, Poems by Ella Young (Dublin: Maunsel & Co., 1906), p. 25.

(44) Young, Poems by Ella Young, p. 9.

(45) ‘Lilith’, Young Papers, The Huntington Library, California.

(46) Ella Young, ‘Lilith: A Story’, Dublin Magazine, 2 (1924), 136–7.

(47) Gonne, A Servant of the Queen, p. 366.

(48) Young, Flowering Dusk, p. 65.

(49) Young, Flowering Dusk, pp. 65–6.

(50) Margaret Ward, Maud Gonne: Ireland’s Joan of Arc (London: Pandora, 1990), p. 66; Young, Flowering Dusk, pp. 70–1.

(51) Ella Young, ‘The Adventures of the Gubbaun Saor and His Son’, Dublin Magazine, 1 (August 1923/January 1924), 41–4, 513–19.

(p.208) (52) Ella Young to James Starkey (1907?), O’Sullivan/Solomons Collection, MSS 4630-49/4674, TCD.

(53) E. G. Davidson, ‘Two Books of Wonder Tales’, The New Ireland Review, 34:6 (1911), 370–2, at p. 372; ‘Celtic Wonder Tales’, Irish Review, 1:1 (1911), 50–1, at p. 51.

(54) R. A. Gilbert, The Golden Dawn Companion: A Guide to the History, Structure, and Workings of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (Wellingborough: Aquarian, 1986), p. 147.

(55) Maud Gonne, ‘Ethlinn with Lugh’, in Ella Young, Celtic Wonder Tales (New York: Dover, 1995); ‘The High Priestess’ in A. E. Waite, The Pictorial Key to the Tarot (New York: Samuel Weiser Inc., 1973), p. 77; Henry Summerfield, That Myriad Minded Man: A Biography of George William Russell ‘ Æ’, 1867–1935 (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, 1975).

(56) Young, Celtic Wonder Tales, p. 60.

(57) Nancy Cardozo, Lucky Eyes and a High Heart: The Life of Maud Gonne (New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1978), pp. 245–6.

(58) This version is from Young, Poems, p. 22. See also Ella Young, ‘The Red Sunrise (Moraig’s Song)’, Red Hand Magazine, 1:1 (1920), 5.

(59) Ella Young, The Tangle-Coated Horse (Edinburgh: Floris Books, 1991), p. 15.

(60) Maud Gonne, Dawn, in Karen Steele (ed.), Maud Gonne’s Irish Nationalist Writings, 1895–1946 (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2004), p. 210.

(61) For women’s activity, see Pašeta, Irish Nationalist Women, pp. 128–69; Sinéad McCoole, No Ordinary Women: Irish Female Activists in the Revolutionary Years, 1900–1923 (Dublin: The O’Brien Press, 2003); Ruth Taillon, When History Was Made: The Women of 1916 (Belfast: Beyond the Pale Publications, 1996), pp. 14–20.

(62) Young, Flowering Dusk, p. 116.

(63) Young, Flowering Dusk, pp. 123–7.

(64) Editorial, Red Hand Magazine, 1:1 (1920), 4; Young, ‘The Red Sunrise (Moraig’s Song)’,p. 5.

(65) Nell Regan, ‘Helena Molony (1883–1967)’, in Mary Cullen and Maria Luddy (eds), Female Activists: Irish Women and Change, 1900–1960 (Dublin: The Woodfield Press, 2001), pp. 147, 150–1.

(66) Ella Young to E. Solomons (30 January 1920), O’Sullivan/Solomons Collection, MSS 4630-49/493, TCD.

(67) Lyman, ‘Ella Young’, p. 67.

(68) Richard English, Ernie O’Malley: IRA Intellectual (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), p. 148.

(69) Richard English, ‘Green on Red: Two Case Studies in Early Twentieth-Century Irish Republican Thought’, in D. George Boyce, Robert Eccleshall, and Vincent Geohagen (eds), Political Thought in Ireland since the Seventeenth Century (London and New York: Routledge, 1993), pp. 161–89, at p. 161.

(70) Ella Young to Joseph Campbell (13 June 1922), Joseph Campbell Papers, MSS 10171/1271, TCD.

(71) Ella Young to S. O’Sullivan (James Starkie) (25 November 1922), O’Sullivan/Solomons Collection, MSS 4630-49/533, TCD.

(72) Margaret Ward, Hanna Sheehy Skeffington: A Life (Cork: Attic Press, 1997), p. 262.

(73) Ella Young to Nancy Campbell (5 January 1922), Joseph Campbell Papers, MSS 10171/1270, TCD.

(74) Colum, Ella Young, p. 5.

Notes:

(1) Rose Murphy, Ella Young: Irish Mystic and Rebel–From Literary Dublin to the American West (Dublin: The Liffey Press, 2008); Dorothea McDowell, Ella Young and Her World: Celtic Mythology, the Irish Revival and the California Avant-Garde (Palo Alto, Calif.: Academica Press, 2014); John Matthews and Denise Sallee (eds), At the Gates of Dawn: A Collection of Writings by Ella Young (Cheltenham: Skylight Press, 2011).

(2) R. F. Foster, Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland, 1890–1923 (London: Allen Lane, 2014); Senia Pašeta, Irish Nationalist Women, 1900–1918 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

(3) Murphy, Ella Young, p. 10; Deirdre Toomey, ‘Young, Ella (1867–1956)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. Available at www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/59452. Accessed 26 April 2015; Anne T. Eaton, ‘Ella Young’s Unicorns and Kyelins’, Horn Magazine: Books and Reading for Young People, 9:3 (1933), 115–20, at p. 115.

(p.206) (4) W. W. Lyman, ‘Ella Young: A Memoir by W. W. Lyman’, Éire-Ireland, 8:3 (1973), 65–9, at p. 67; Mary Colum, Life and the Dream (London: Macmillan, 1947), p. 185.

(5) Ella Young, ‘A Sunflower’, All Ireland Review, 1:19 (1900), 6; ‘The Celtic Renaissance in Poetry’, All Ireland Review, 2:19 (1901), 142–3 and 2:20 (1901), 150–1; George Russell, New Songs: A Lyric Selection made by Æ (Dublin and London: O’Donoghue & Co. and A. H. Bullen, 1904).

(6) Ella Young to Joseph McGarrity (18 June 1930), Joseph McGarrity Papers, MS 17,492, National Library of Ireland, Dublin (hereafter NLI).

(7) David Gardiner (ed.), The Maunsel Poets, 1905–1926 (Bethesda, Md.: Academica Press, 2003), p. 3; J. D. O’Bolger to Ella Young (30 November 1914); and J. D. O’Bolger to Ella Young (12 April 1917), Ella Young Papers, Reel 1 MS.402/4 (4) UCLA; Talbot Press Limited to Ella Young (30 April 1938), Ella Young Papers, Reel 1 MS.402/4 (7) UCLA, Ballymena Central Branch Library, Ballymena (hereafter BCBL), microfilm copies of MSS held by the Department of Special Collections, University of California, Los Angeles Library. For Roberts, see Padraic Colum and Mary Colum, Our Friend James Joyce (London: Gollancz, 1959), p. 89; and Clare Hutton, ‘ “Yogibogeybox in Dawson Chambers”: The Beginnings of Maunsel and Company’, in Clare Hutton (ed.), The Irish Book in the Twentieth Century (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2004), pp. 36–46.

(9) Selina Guinness, ‘ “Protestant Magic” Reappraised: Evangelicalism, Dissent, and Theosophy’, Irish Studies Review, 33:1 (2003), 14–27; ‘Ireland through the Stereoscope: Reading the Cultural Politics of Theosophy in the Irish Literary Revival’, in E. A. Taylor FitzSimon and James H. Murphy (eds), The Irish Revival Reappraised (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2004), pp. 19–32, at pp. 25–6.

(10) Ella Young, Flowering Dusk (New York: Longmans, 1945), pp. 28–34.

(12) W. B. Yeats, The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats, vol. III: 1901–1904, ed. J. Kelly and R. Schuchard (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), pp. 381–2.

(13) W. B. Yeats, The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats, vol. IV: 1905–1907, ed. J. Kelly and R. Schuchard (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2005), p. 488; W. B. Yeats, Autobiographies (London: Macmillan, 1955), pp. 467, 469, 470.

(14) The term ‘Druidic’ is in Elizabeth A. Sharp, William Sharp (Fiona Macleod): A Memoir Compiled by His Wife (London: Heinemann, 1910), p. 277; see also George Mills Harper, Yeats’s Golden Dawn (New York: Macmillan, 1974), pp. 5–6; Yeats, Autobiographies, p. 254.

(15) Maud Gonne, ‘Yeats and Ireland’, in Stephen Gwynn (ed.), Scattering Branches: Tributes to the Memory of W. B. Yeats (London: Macmillan, 1940), p. 22.

(16) Maud Gonne, A Servant of the Queen, ed. A. Norman Jeffares and Anna MacBride White (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, 1994), p. 334.

(18) Anna MacBride White and A. Norman Jeffares (eds), The Gonne–Yeats Letters, 1893–1938: Always Your Friend (London: Pimlico, 1993), Letter 276 from Gonne to Yeats, n.d. (June 1913?), p. 321; Letter 283 from Gonne to Yeats (n.d., November 1913), p. 329; Letter 312 from Gonne to Yeats (10 November 1915), p. 361. See also p. 510 note 8; Gonne, A Servant of the Queen, p. 8.

(19) Handwritten notes by Ella Young (dated 1903), Reel 5, Ella Young Papers, BCBL, microfilm copy of MS.303 held at Department of Special Collections UCLA Library.

(20) Ella Young to E. Solomons (n.d.), O’Sullivan/Solomons Collection, MSS 4630-9/4695, Trinity College Dublin (hereafter TCD).

(21) Ella Young to D. Coffey (18 January 1920), Coffey and Chenevix Trench Papers, MS 46,307/16, NLI.

(22) Anthony Fletcher, ‘Cesca: A Young Nationalist in the Easter Rising’, History Today, 56:4 (2006), 30–8, at p. 38.

(23) E. Riehle, ‘The Shining Land of Ella Young’, Dublin Magazine, 33:2 (1958), 17–22, at p. 17; E. A. Jewell, ‘Elfland Sends an Ambassadress to Us’, New York Times Magazine (18 October 1925), p. 12.

(p.207) (24) Hilary Pyle, Cesca’s Diary, 1913–1916: Where Art and Nationalism Meet (Dublin: Woodfield, 2005), pp. 158–9, 243–50; Padraic Colum, Ella Young: An Appreciation (London: Longmans & Co., 1931), p. 3.

(26) Elsa Gidlow, Elsa: I Come With My Songs–The Autobiography of Elsa Gidlow (San Francisco, Calif.: Bootlegger Press & Druid Heights Books, 1986), pp. 312–13.

(28) Ella Young, ‘The Rose Queen’, Irish Review, 1:4 (1911), 187–9, at p. 187.

(31) Frank Kinahan, Yeats, Folklore and Occultism: Contexts of the Early Work and Thought (London: Unwin Hyman, 1988), pp. 129–38; M. H. Thuente, ‘The Folklore of Irish Nationalism’, in Thomas E. Hachey and Lawrence John McCaffrey (eds), Perspectives on Irish Nationalism (Lexington, Ky.: University Press of Kentucky, 1989), p. 54; see also C. L. Innes, Woman and Nation in Irish Literature and Society, 1880–1935 (Athens, Ga.: University of Georgia, 1993), p. 21.

(32) Richard Ellmann, Yeats: The Man and the Masks (London: Faber & Faber, 1969), p. 97; Marjorie Howes, Yeats’s Nations: Gender, Class and Irishness (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 29–30, 72–4.

(33) Ella Young, The Rose of Heaven: Poems by Ella Young, Decorated by Maud Gonne (Dublin: The Candle Press, 1920).

(34) Ella Young to M. Childers (n.d.), Erskine Childers Papers, MSS. 7851/1331, TCD.

(35) Printed sheet ‘In Memoriam’, Ella Young Papers, Reel 3, MS. 303 UCLA, BCBL, microfilm copies of MSS held by the Department of Special Collections, University of California, Los Angeles Library.

(36) Ella Young to M. Childers (n.d.), Erskine Childers Papers, MSS. 7851/1335, TCD.

(37) There is a vast literature on the use of female imagery to represent Ireland and the idea of the motherland. See, for instance, Innes, Woman and Nation; Scott Brewster, Virginia Crossman, Fiona Becket, and David Alderson (eds), Ireland in Proximity: History, Gender, Space (London and New York: Routledge, 1999); Richard Kearney, Myth and Motherland (Derry: Field Day Theatre Company, 1984). For comparative work on France, see Joan B. Landes, Visualising the Nation: Gender, Representation, and Revolution in Eighteenth-Century France (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001).

(38) Ella Young, ‘Three Mountains’, All Ireland Review, 2:42 (1901), 352.

(39) Maire Nic Shiubhlaigh, The Splendid Years: Recollections of Maire Nic Shiubhlaigh as Told to Edward Kenny with Appendices and Lists of Irish Theatre Plays, 1899–1916 (Dublin: James Duffy, 1955), p. 2.

(40) Elizabeth Butler Cullingford, ‘At the Feet of the Goddess: Yeats’s Love Poetry and the Feminist Occult’, in Deirdre Toomey (ed.), Yeats and Women, Yeats Annual No. 9 (London: Macmillan, 1992), pp. 31–59, at p. 42.

(41) Gonne to Yeats (March 1902), in White and Jeffares, The Gonne–Yeats Letters, p. 150.

(42) Diana Basham, ‘Through the Looking Glass: Madame Blavatsky and the Occult Mother’, in D. Basham (ed.), The Trial of Woman: Feminism and the Occult Sciences in Victorian Literature and Society (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1992), pp. 178–214.

(43) Ella Young, Poems by Ella Young (Dublin: Maunsel & Co., 1906), p. 25.

(45) ‘Lilith’, Young Papers, The Huntington Library, California.

(46) Ella Young, ‘Lilith: A Story’, Dublin Magazine, 2 (1924), 136–7.

(50) Margaret Ward, Maud Gonne: Ireland’s Joan of Arc (London: Pandora, 1990), p. 66; Young, Flowering Dusk, pp. 70–1.

(51) Ella Young, ‘The Adventures of the Gubbaun Saor and His Son’, Dublin Magazine, 1 (August 1923/January 1924), 41–4, 513–19.

(p.208) (52) Ella Young to James Starkey (1907?), O’Sullivan/Solomons Collection, MSS 4630-49/4674, TCD.

(53) E. G. Davidson, ‘Two Books of Wonder Tales’, The New Ireland Review, 34:6 (1911), 370–2, at p. 372; ‘Celtic Wonder Tales’, Irish Review, 1:1 (1911), 50–1, at p. 51.

(54) R. A. Gilbert, The Golden Dawn Companion: A Guide to the History, Structure, and Workings of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (Wellingborough: Aquarian, 1986), p. 147.

(55) Maud Gonne, ‘Ethlinn with Lugh’, in Ella Young, Celtic Wonder Tales (New York: Dover, 1995); ‘The High Priestess’ in A. E. Waite, The Pictorial Key to the Tarot (New York: Samuel Weiser Inc., 1973), p. 77; Henry Summerfield, That Myriad Minded Man: A Biography of George William Russell ‘ Æ’, 1867–1935 (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, 1975).

(57) Nancy Cardozo, Lucky Eyes and a High Heart: The Life of Maud Gonne (New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1978), pp. 245–6.

(58) This version is from Young, Poems, p. 22. See also Ella Young, ‘The Red Sunrise (Moraig’s Song)’, Red Hand Magazine, 1:1 (1920), 5.

(59) Ella Young, The Tangle-Coated Horse (Edinburgh: Floris Books, 1991), p. 15.

(60) Maud Gonne, Dawn, in Karen Steele (ed.), Maud Gonne’s Irish Nationalist Writings, 1895–1946 (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2004), p. 210.

(61) For women’s activity, see Pašeta, Irish Nationalist Women, pp. 128–69; Sinéad McCoole, No Ordinary Women: Irish Female Activists in the Revolutionary Years, 1900–1923 (Dublin: The O’Brien Press, 2003); Ruth Taillon, When History Was Made: The Women of 1916 (Belfast: Beyond the Pale Publications, 1996), pp. 14–20.

(64) Editorial, Red Hand Magazine, 1:1 (1920), 4; Young, ‘The Red Sunrise (Moraig’s Song)’,p. 5.

(65) Nell Regan, ‘Helena Molony (1883–1967)’, in Mary Cullen and Maria Luddy (eds), Female Activists: Irish Women and Change, 1900–1960 (Dublin: The Woodfield Press, 2001), pp. 147, 150–1.

(66) Ella Young to E. Solomons (30 January 1920), O’Sullivan/Solomons Collection, MSS 4630-49/493, TCD.

(68) Richard English, Ernie O’Malley: IRA Intellectual (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), p. 148.

(69) Richard English, ‘Green on Red: Two Case Studies in Early Twentieth-Century Irish Republican Thought’, in D. George Boyce, Robert Eccleshall, and Vincent Geohagen (eds), Political Thought in Ireland since the Seventeenth Century (London and New York: Routledge, 1993), pp. 161–89, at p. 161.

(70) Ella Young to Joseph Campbell (13 June 1922), Joseph Campbell Papers, MSS 10171/1271, TCD.

(71) Ella Young to S. O’Sullivan (James Starkie) (25 November 1922), O’Sullivan/Solomons Collection, MSS 4630-49/533, TCD.

(72) Margaret Ward, Hanna Sheehy Skeffington: A Life (Cork: Attic Press, 1997), p. 262.

(73) Ella Young to Nancy Campbell (5 January 1922), Joseph Campbell Papers, MSS 10171/1270, TCD.