Teresa Brayton, Nationalist, Poet and Novelist The nationalist poet Teresa Brayton was born Teresa Boylan in the townland of Kilbrook, near Cloncurry, on 29 June 1868, the fifth of a family of three boys and three girls. The daughter of Hugh Boylan, her great-grandfather was a United Irishmen involved in the successful attack on the British garrison in Prosperous, Co. Kildare, during the 1798 Rebellion. As a teenager Teresa lived through the turbulent years of the ‘Land War,’ and as a result of her own observations and the Boylan history of vocal and physical resistance to British rule in Ireland, Teresa was, from an early age, well versed in Ireland’s struggle. Before emigrating in 1895, at the age of twenty, to the United States, she had been assistant-teacher to her sister, Elizabeth, in the local national school at Newtown, and her stirring poems, written under the pen name T. B. Kilbrook, in the Irish national and provincial press had attracted wide attention. In Boston, Chicago, and later in New York, she continued to write, and contributed to scores of American papers and journals. In New York she met and married Richard Brayton, a French-Canadian executive in the Municipal Revenue Department. She continued her career as a freelance journalist, writing mostly for The Irish World, in which her articles and poems became a regular feature, and also contributing poems to many other publications. Her poetry, vividly expressing the exile’s longing for home, soon won her the affection of many Irish emigrants, and a place of honour in Irish-American circles in New York.During her visits home to Ireland, she became the close friend of the Easter Week leaders, and, back in America, threw all her energies into the cause of Ireland, raising funds, distributing pamphlets, and writing her fervent nationalism into poems that were hailed as ‘the battle cries of the last struggle of the Gael’. She travelled to Dublin early in 1914 where she met P. H. Pearse and penned a short story titled - ‘A day with Pádraig Pearse,’ ‘‘Never did a more beautiful day dawn on the city of Dublin – grey, old Dublin, sitting there by the Liffey, ever lovely, ever sad, ever hopeful – than that morning when I set out from my northside lodgings to spend a Sunday at St. Enda’s at the warm invitation of Pádraig Pearse. Some time before that I had met him in New York and he had told me about making a new record in scholastic affairs.’’ Teresa Brayton was escorted to St. Enda’s and met Pádraig Pearse, whom she described as ‘The white flame of a soul on fire!’ and had tea beside the tree set by Robert Emmett – ‘the most memorable cup of tea in all my existence’, she wrote. Teresa accompanied Pearse to a Volunteer meeting in which he spoke first in Gaelic, which he afterwards translated to English. The two parted company at the General Post Office, on Dublin’s Sackville Street. “When I come over to Ireland again,” said Teresa, “things will be different.” “Yes, they will be different,” Pearse said. Brayton would never meet Pearse again, but he was right – things were changed when Teresa Brayton did return to Ireland. Teresa was saddened by the executions of her friends and around her neck, on a little chain she wore a piece of the flagstaff which flew the Irish flag on the GPO on Easter Monday, 1916 – a memento which had been presented to her by the Countess Markievicz. After her husband’s death, Teresa Brayton returned to Ireland for good in 1932, and lived for a time with her sister in Bray, and later at Waterloo Avenue, North Strand. In 1941 Teresa Brayton returned to her old home in Kilbrook, Co. Kildare, where she died two years later, on 19 August 1943, in the same room in which she was born. James Durney Historian in Residence 29 The Old Bog Road e here on Broadway this blessed harvest morn ache that’s in me for the spot where I was born y hands are blistered from toil in cold and heat wing a scythe today through a field of Irish wheat e chance to wander back or own a kings abode oner see the hawthorn tree on the old bog road er died last springtime when Erin’s fields were green eighbours said her waking was the finest ever seen ere snowdrops and primroses all piled beside her bed rn’s church was crowded as her funeral mass was said ut here was I on broadway building brick by load they carried out her coffin down the old bog road Now life’s a weary puzzle past finding out by man take the day for what it’s worth and do the best I can no-one cares a rush for me what needs to make a moan l go my way and earn my pay and smoke my pipe alone Each human heart must know it’s grief, though bitter be the load O God be with you Ireland, and the old bog road