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Who Was Father Conroy?: James Joyce, William Rooney, and "The Priest of Adergool"

From: James Joyce Quarterly
Volume 47, Number 2, Winter 2010
pp. 255-265 | 10.1353/jjq.2011.0010



This essay looks at the character of Father Conroy, who appears in both "The Dead" and Ulysses, and suggests a hitherto unacknowledged source for the surname "Conroy" in Joyce. This source, a poem by the early Sinn Feiner William Rooney entitled "The Priest of Adergool," first published in 1898 and collected in 1902, was written in homage to Father John Conroy, an executed hero of the 1798 rebellion in County Mayo. Joyce's decision to use the poem as a hidden background text further underlines the author's fascination with the 1798 rebellion and its centenary celebrations and highlights the profoundly allusive and intertextual nature of "The Dead."