Sligo Newspaper Poems - Sligo Poets

Go to content

Main menu:

1916 > Sligo Poetry 1916 > Sligo Newspaper Poems 1916

Sligo Newspaper Poems 1916

The poems published in Sligo local newspapers in 1916 show a marked contrast to those published in 1915. Fewer poems were published and a smaller proportion of those related to the war.

The initial enthusiasm for the war had disappeared with the prolonged stalemate on the western front and the failure of the Gallipoli campaign. The introduction of conscription in the United Kingdom in early 1916 meant that the emphasis on voluntary recruiting was no longer needed. Fewer propoganda poems were written or published admonishing those who hadn't enlisted and praising those who had.

The English literary lightweights, Owen Seaman,
Duncan Tovey, Harold Vesey Damer and Harold Begbie and the like are completely absent from Sligo local newspapers in 1916.

The Sligo Independent, which had published more war related poems than the others in 1915, only published six such in 1916 and none were blatantly recruiting efforts. The Sligo Nationalist and the Sligo Champion published four war poems each.

These poems dealt with incidents and developments in the war, "Tanks",  "The Gas Attack at Loos", "The Counter-Attack", sometimes with Irish and local involvement, "The West’s Awake", "Somewhere in France".

Two poems suggested that Ireland's contribution to the war effort had not been recognised by the British, T. M. Kettle's "Verses from 'Paddy'" and "Ignoring the Irish"  by Margaret T Pender.

There is little reference to the 1916 rising except the inclusion of poems by two of the executed leaders, Pearse and McDonagh, in the Sligo Nationalist.

This newspaper also included a stanza from Aubrey De Vere in January which could be interpreted as support for the armed rising.

But the editorial tone of this, as well as the other Sligo newspapers, was disapproving of the rebellion and the two nationalist newspapers still strongly supported Redmond and the Irish Party.

The visit of Redmond to Sligo in October for the unveiling of the memorial to P A McHugh resulted in a number of poems in the Sligo Champion including ones by well-known local poets, Michael J Kearns and John O'Dowd MP.

J F Cunningham's end of year poem in the Sligo Nationalist to which he had defected, "To Ireland, Christmas 1916", managed, in sixteen lines, to praise Ireland's devotion to faith and song, bemoan its long persecution, praise its contribution to the war and hope that Home Rule would be achieved in the following year.

Back to content | Back to main menu