W. R. MacDermott, the Dublin-born son of a Co. Monaghan doctor, worked as a highly conscientious dispensary doctor for 50 years at Poyntzpass, Co. Armagh. He contributed articles to The New Ireland Review and the All Ireland Review and published a novel Foughilotra in 1904, a complex study of the sociology of kinship in a rural Ulster family, written in Ulster Scots dialect. Edward A. Hagan is Professor of English at Western Connecticut State University. He is the author of High Nonsensical Words (Whitston, 1986), a study of Standish James O'Grady, and edited O'Grady's important but little known late works, To the Leaders of Our Working People (2002) and Sun and Wind (2004), for the Classics of Irish History series.
The Green Republic, a novel first published in 1902, actually describes real characters and events at the turn of the century in Poyntzpass, Co. Armagh. O'Gara's fictional town of Jigglestreet in South Tyrone accurately represents the real Poyntzpass where O'Gara, under his real name - William Robert MacDermott (1839-1918) - worked as a dispensary doctor. The 'novel' is both a sophisticated sociological study of rural Ulster Protestants and a political argument for instituting joint stock company management of Irish agriculture. For MacDermott, the 'Green Republic' was an ironic title used not to describe Irish nationalism but to express his fears about the rise of the new force in agriculture - the former tenant farmers who were gaining title to their land. MacDermott believed that as long as irresponsible power remained in the hands of the old landlords or the new owner/occupiers, Irish agriculture would never operate to maximise production for the common good. The introduction is written by Edward A. Hagan.
Introduction by Edward A. Hagan
The Green Republic
- Preface, Introduction, Mrs M'Kibbin, Minister Kaye, The Temple of Esculapius, Jigglestreet, De Aenigmatibus Diabolicis, Doctor Capel, Count M'Qhan, The American Money, Doctor John, The Reverend Cinamon, Tyrkane Fort, Megillo's Corner, Conclusion
"University College Dublin Press has now published over thirty ‘Classics of Irish History'. These contemporary accounts by well known personalities of historical events and attitudes have an immediacy that conventional histories do not have. Introductions by modern historians provide additional historical background and, with hindsight, objectivity."
"Scholars of nineteenth-century Irish and Irish-American politics should reacquaint themselves with these classics, part of a long running and immensely useful series from University College Dublin Press."
Irish Literary Supplement