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Memories of West Wicklow

William Hanbidge (author)
Mary Hanbidge (author)
W.J. Mc Cormack (author)
Paperback / softback,
Publication date:
7th December 2004

Author Biography

William Hanbidge (1813-1909) was born and brought up in West Wicklow. He became an evangelical missionary in London's East End. His daughter Mary (1866-19?) was a headmistress in a London school. W. J. Mc Cormack is former Professor of Literary History, Goldsmiths College, University of London. His latest book, Blood Kindred: W. B. Yeats and the Politics of Death, will be published in 2005.


The Hanbidge family originated in Gloucester, and came to Ireland in the seventeenth century. They have been settled in the Donard/Dunlavin area ever since, with branches in Dublin, and elsewhere. The Hanbidge memoirs provide a vivid and unique account of Protestant 'small farmer' life in West Wicklow in the nineteenth century, together with recollections of the 1798 rebellion. There are also glimpses of Jonathan Swift and members of the Synge family. Wiliam Hanbidge wrote at the behest of his daughter, setting down in a simple but detailed manner the life of his family, their farming practices, past-times, communal relations, religious views, and awareness of the outer world. His account of travelling to New York after the Famine with a party of boys is especially fascinating. No comparable account of his social group and class has ever been published. Mary Hanbidge's devoted private publication of her father's memoirs was eclipsed by the outbreak of the Second World War, when many copies were destroyed by bombing.