Drennan, William

(1754-1820)
   Irish-born son of a Belfast Presbyterian minister who qualified as a doctor from Edinburgh University in 1778, then settled in Newry, Northern Ireland. There he became interested in politics and literature, and his letters to the press signed "Orellana, the Irish Helot" attracted much attention. He moved to Dublin in 1789, where he was involved in the famous society of the United Irishmen, for which he was tried for sedition in 1794 and acquitted. The 1798 rebellion brought his political career to a close; in 1800 he married an English lady of some wealth, and in 1807 left Dublin for good and settled in Belfast. He founded the Belfast Academical Institution and started the Belfast Magazine. At his funeral his coffin was carried by six Protestants and six Catholics. He is chiefly remembered for his poem Erin (1795), in which he penned the first reference in print to Ireland as "the emerald isle." Some of his publications: Fugitive Pieces, 1815. Electra, 1817 (a translation of Sophocles). Some of his other poems: "Glendalloch, and Other Poems," "The Wail of the Women after the Battle," "The Wake of William Orr."
   Sources: 1798 Ireland: History and Links (http://homepages.iol.ie/Drennan, Williamfagann/1798/). 19th Century British and Irish Authors. The Victorian Literary Studies Archive, William Drennan (http://www.lang.nagoya-u.ac.jp/Drennan, Williammatsuoka/ 19th-authors.html). Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org).

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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