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Oliver St. John Gogarty collection

Collection MS-1986-174: Oliver St. John Gogarty collection


  • Creation: 1923 - 1951

Scope and Contents

The collection contains letters written by and to Oliver St. John Gogarty, and a typewritten manuscript of chapters 2-12 of his autobiography I Follow St. Patrick. There are some additional papers that were interfiled with the manuscript, and Gogarty's arms permit.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Biographical note

Oliver St. John Gogarty was born in Dublin on August 17,1878. He was educated at Mungret, Stoneyhurst, the Royal University and at Trinity College Dublin where he studied medicine. He established his reputation as a wit and raconteur, and formed friendships with John Pentland Mahaffy and Robert Yelverton Tyrrell. Having won university prizes for poetry at Trinity, he went to Oxford in 1904 for a term, hoping to gain the Newdigate Prize, but he was disappointed. He came to know R.S. Chenevix Trench there, who invited him to stay at the Martello tower at Sandycove, which he had rented. Gogarty had a short-lived but significant friendship with James Joyce and he, Trench, and Joyce were the models for Mulligan, Haines, and Stephen Dedalus in Joyce's Ulysses. George Moore mischievously used his name for a priest-hero in The Lake (1905).

Gogarty married Martha Duane of Moyard, Connemara, in 1906. In 1907, he began a period of postgraduate study in Vienna, which equipped him to practice ear-nose-and-throat surgery. On his return, he quickly built up a large medical practice, buying a house in Ely Place where George Moore, who described him as Cahan in Hail and Farewell, was a neighbor.

He became a well-known figure in Dublin's literary and cultural life. His bawdy unpublished verses entered Dublin folklore, but despite this early reputation his first work to reach a conventional audience was Blight: The Tragedy of Dublin (with Joseph O'Connor, 1917), the first 'slum play' to be staged at the Abbey Theatre. It was presented anonymously, as were A Serious Thing (1919) and The Enchanted Trousers (1919), further plays attacking urban poverty.

He supported the Free State and was kidnapped by Republicans, from whom he escaped by swimming the Liffey, a feat commemorated in his first substantial collection of poetry, An Offering of Swans (1923). When he became a Senator (1922-1926) and his house, 'Renvyle', in Connemara was burned down by Republicans, he rebuilt it as a hotel. In the Senate he attacked de Valera, whom he detested, increasing his reputation for outrageous independence.

In 1937, after losing a libel action arising from his autobiography As I Was Going Down Sackville Street, and increasingly disillusioned with contemporary Ireland, he moved to London and then to America in 1939, where he finally abandoned medicine. I Follow St. Patrick (1938) and It Isn't This Time of Year at All! (1954) were further volumes of autobiography. His autobiographical reminiscences are lively and untrustworthy. Tumbling in the Hay (1939) is a comic work describing a night in Holles Street Hospital which may be the same as that on which Joyce based the 'Oxen and the Sun' episode in Ulysses . When settled in New York he wrote the novels Going Native (1940), Mad Grandeur (1941), and Mr. Petunia (1945). His Collected Poems (1951) drew upon his previous volumes and unpublished pieces. He died in New York City on September 22, 1957.


"Oliver St. John Gogarty" in The Dictionary of Irish Literature edited by Robert Hogan (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996): 483-486.

"Oliver St. John Gogarty" in The Oxford Companion to Irish Literature edited by Robert Welch (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996): 218-219.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 container)

Language of Materials



Collection of letters written by and to Oliver St. John Gogarty and a typewritten manuscript of chapters 2-12 of his autobiography, I follow Saint Patrick.


Arranged in three series. I. Correspondence; II. Manuscript of I Follow St. Patrick; and III. Artifacts.


Because the current accessioning system was not used until January 1986, it is not possible to know exactly the dates of acquisition of materials received before that time.

Related Materials

Norah Hoult correspondence, MS.2001.038, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Oliver St. John Gogarty Collection
Virginia Lipscy
Summer 2001
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States