Pádraic Colum

Pádraic Colum was born in Longford Workhouse on 8 December 1881. He was the eldest of eight children born to Patrick Colum and his wife Susan (Nee McCormack). His father who was master of the workhouse moved to the U.S.A. in 1887 to partake rather foolheartedly in the Colarado goldrush and so Pádraic was reared in North Longford where he became familiar with Granard, Colmcille, Bunlahy and Molly - place names which later occur in his literary output.

In the final years of his life Colum emphasised the importance of his childhood in Longford on his literary output saying how he had always tried to use the speech of the people of Longford in his work; the idiom he had learned at the poultry fairs in north Longford which he visited during his youth.

The family moved to Dublin on his father's return from the U.S.A. and Pádraic attended school in Glasthule. His first job was as a clerk in the Irish Railway clearing house in Kildare Street but left to concentrate on writing and in 1904, received a scholarship from Thomas Hughes Kelly, the son of a wealthy American. Colum was to become acquainted with people such as Yeats and Lady Gregory and he also became a Gaelic Leaguer and militant nationalist, being involved in the Howth gun-running (1914) and, as we will see, a close friend of Thomas McDonagh.

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