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Kildare > Heritage > Gerard Manley Hopkins

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Gerard Manley Hopkins S.J. a native of England, came to Ireland in 1884 as professor of Classics, University College Dublin, 86, St. Stephen’s Green (Newman House). It was a period when Charles Stewart Parnell was leading the national movement towards self -government and William E. Gladstone pursued unsuccessful attempts to carry a Home Rule Bill for Ireland. Gerard Manley Hopkins in 1888

The country was still recovering from the far reaching devastion of the Famine (1844 - 1847) with the resulting decimation of it’s population due to deaths and emigration and it is no wonder that Hopkins found the Dublin of that period a ‘joyless place’, and wrote that Newman House had ‘ fallen into a deep dilapidation’. His appointment to the fellowship of Classics was in the midst of controversy: ‘There was an Irish row over my election’ he wrote to Robert Bridges on 7th March 1884. Despite this, he made many friends and acquaintances such as the McCabes of Donnybrook and visited Judge O’Hagan’s house in Howth.

He also visited the studio of the artist John B. Yeats, at No. 7, St. Stephen’s Green, where he met his son, the poet W.B. Yeats and Katherine Tynan. But Hopkins time in Ireland was destined to be short. He contracted typhoid fever and died on 8th June 1889. He is buried in the Jesuit plot, Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin.

During his time in Ireland (1884-1889) Hopkins was a frequent visitor to the Cassidy family of Monasterevin House, visiting Monasterevin on at least seven different occasions. On 2nd January, 1886, he wrote to Robert Bridges, ‘I am staying (till tomorrow morning, alas) with kind people at a nice place.’ On March 29th, 1887 he wrote ‘I should have felt better for the delicious bog air of Monasterevin.’ On 25th December 1887, he wrote to his mother ‘You will see that I am staying with my kind friend Miss Cassidy and her sister Mrs. Wheble, and three younger Whebles are also in the house, cousins.’ On April 29, 1889, in a letter to Robert Bridges, he described Miss Cassidy as ‘.. an elderly lady who by often asking me down to Monasterevin and by the change and holiday her kind hospitality provides is become one of the props and struts of my existence’.

To find more information about Gerard Manley Hopkins or the annual summer school dedicated to him why not visit The Official Gerard Manley Hopkins Society Website... here

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