Milligan, Alice Letitia

Born at Omagh in 1866, into a WM family of political unionists. She was fascinated by theIrish language and developed a romantic attachment to Irish folklore and traditions. Her parents were tolerant of her involvement in these, though it estranged some of her siblings.

She threw herself energetically into the work of the Gaelic League, travelling the country to organise branches. She wrote poetry, some of it highly praised by such well-known poets as A.E. and Tom s MacDonagh; also plays, one of which was produced in the Abbey Theatre. With a friend she jointly edited a paper called The Shan Van Vocht (Anglicised spelling of an Irish phrase meaning 'the poor old woman', a nickname for the country). Most of the articles in this came from her own pen. The Civil War which followed the establishment of the Free State deeply hurt her: it was not for this that she had hoped or worked. Nevertheless, she remained on friendly terms with leaders on both sides

Towards the end of her life, as an unmarried daughter, she was left to care for ageing and ailing parents, and then for some of her siblings. Their deaths left her destitute; it was strangers who took pity on her and gave her shelter. She died in 1953. By a strange irony the funeral of this feisty little advocate of Ireland and all things Irish was conducted by the then Methodist minister at Omagh, Robert L. England. In recent years her grave has been desecrated more than once.

  • Sheila Turner Johnston Alice : A Life of Alice Milligan (Newtownards 2009)


See also

Entry written by: DALC
Category: Person
Comment on this entry