John Gillan - Sligo Poets

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John Gillan

John Gillan was a Sligo native, living in Lord Edward Street, also called Georges Street, Sligo in 1911, married to Ellen. They had been married for thirteen years and five of seven children born to them survived and were living with them in 1911. All of the surviving children were sons. John spoke Irish and English.

His father was
Sergeant Peter Gillan of the Dublin Metropolitan Police Force. His mother, Isabella, widowed by 1911, a native of County Leitrim, lived with him in 1911. She died in May 1914 and John marked her death with a poem.

He was a linotype operator with the Sligo Nationalist. In 1901 he gave his his occupation as printer-compositor. I presume he had
originally worked at the Sligo Champion and moved to the Nationalist when it was founded in 1908 by Bernard McTernan, a former editor of the Sligo Champion.

These poems by John Gillan seem to have been
turned out very quickly, sixteen of his poems were printed in the Sligo Nationalist between the end of June and end of the years 1913. There are no copies of the newspaper in the National Libray of Ireland for the first part of 1913 and he may have contributed as many more during those months.

poems have nothing to commend them from the point of view of literature or craft. They are poorly composed, have awkwards rhythms and predictable rhymes. However they are entertaining and informative on local events and usually contain local references, to events, buildings, characters and practices.

Gillan's poems stopped appearing in the Sligo Nationalist in mid-1914. This may have been because of the war though it is also possible that he left his job at the Sligo Nationalist. He had a recruiting poem published in the Sligo Independent in 1915. His name is given there as Gillen but I'm sure it is the same person.

Sligo Independent

19 June     Lines on Recruiting

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