Edward Lysaght

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Lysaght, Edward, a poetical writer, was born in the County of Clare, 21st December 1763. He was educated at Cashel and at Trinity College, where he became a B.A. in 1782. In 1784 he took his degree of M.A. at Oxford; and four years afterwards was called both to the English and Irish Bar. Sir Jonah Barrington tells us that he attempted to practice at the English Bar, but after a short experience declared that he had not law enough for the King's Bench; that he was not dull enough for the Court of Chancery; and that before he could succeed at the Old Bailey, he should shoot Garrow, the then leading practitioner. His valuable services were often eagerly sought at elections, and as a diner-out he was unapproachable. In the end he came to live for little beyond "poetry and pistols, wine and women;" and some of the closing years of his life were spent within "the sanctuary" of Trinity College, to avoid arrest for debt. He is best known for his songs, such as "The Sprig of Shillelagh," and "The Man who led the Van of the Irish Volunteers." But if Barrington can be believed, his patriotism was only assumed, as he received £400 from Castlereagh to write up the Union. He must have died shortly before 1811, at which date a small collection of his Remains was published in Dublin. He was once an associate and intimate acquaintance of Dr. Lanigan, the ecclesiastical historian.

Sources

208. Lanigan, Dr., and Irish Wits and Worthies: William J. FitzPatrick, LL.D. Dublin, 1873.
Lanigan, Rev. John, see No. 119.

220. Lysaght, Edward, Poems and Memoir. Dublin, 1811.

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