Lottie (Charlotte) Mc Manus
Novelist / Nationalist
Charlotte (Lottie) Mc Manus was a novelist who popularized the exploits of The Wild Geese plus Ireland’s ancient lore’s. She was a committed nationalist.
James Mc Manus had an uncle who managed a sugar plantation in British Guinea where he possibly met Lottie’s Grandfather, Reverend Leonard Strong, a Church Missionary who held an estate of 926 acres in the parishes of Bohola and Killedan during the mid-19th century. The reverend bequeathed the property of Killedan in 1853 to James Mc Manus on the marriage of his daughter Charlotte in 1853. The family home Killedan had originally been the in the property of the Taffe Family. Charlotte (Lottie) was born in Castlebar, Co. Mayo to James and Charlotte Mc Manus of Killedan, Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo, while the family briefly resided in the area prior to their move to Sussex. Charlotte grew up with the idea of England as “The Civilized Conqueror” while the “Tribal Squabbles” of the Irish seemed frivolous. However she changed her views when she read “The Bogs of Stars” by Standish O’Grady. The Bard Thady Conlon sent her a copy of Raftery’s famous Poem “Cill Aodain” with his own translation.
Lottie Mc Manus returned to Ireland during 1897 as a committed nationalist with the intention of setting up Gaelic League’s within the County. She approached Fr. Denis O’ Hara P.P. Kiltimagh, who though skeptical presided over a meeting in July that resulted in forty members that joined this second (Coilite Maghact) Mayo branch. During 1909 due to her interest and work an estimated 7,000 people attended a nationalist meeting in Kiltimagh. Her diaries contained the meetings and various events she attended up to The Easter Rising of 1916.
From 1896 to 1922 Lottie Mc Manus’s publications included the Novels; “The Red Star” 1896, G. P. Pulnan”s Sons N. Y.; “The Silk of the Kine.” 1896 T. F. Unwin London, “Lally of the Brigade” 1899 T. F. Unwin London, “Nessa” 1902 Sealy, Bryers Walker Dublin, “The Wager” 1902 F. M. Buckley N.Y.; “In Sarsefield’s Days; a Tale of the Siege of Limerick” 1908, M. H. Gill Dublin “Nuala; the story of a Perilous Quest” 1908 Brown and Nolan Dublin, “The Professor in Erin” 1918 M.H. Gill Dublin. Her stories published in 1922 included “The Four Seas of Fola” M. H. Gill Dublin. She contributed two serials to Sinn Fein, “One Generation Passeth” plus a chapter to Seamus Macmanus “The Story of the Irish Race.” She forwarded articles to Penny Pamphlets; “In the High King’s Camp”, “a Battle Champion”, Felim Breffney’s Son”, also “How Enda went to Iceland; the Harper the Prince of the Heathern Cloaks” were published by the Educational Company of Ireland. [i] Her Autobiography “White Light and Flame, Memories of the Irish Literary Revival and the Anglo – Irish war” was published in 1929 Talbot Dublin.
Lottie died on 5th October 1944 she is buried within the Ballinamore, Churchyard Co. Mayo.
It was noted during April 1948 ‘owing to the death of Miss Mac Manus of Killeaden House’ that ”the services in Killeadan Church will not be held until further notice’: in fact services were never resumed.
Lottie is mentioned in an article ‘Putting Her in Her Place’: Writing Nurse Emily McManus into the Factual Irish Great War Record’ by Alice McDermott in the Cathair na Mart Historical Journal No. 37, 2020 pgs 95 -109. Emily’s heroic work in Europe is detailed plus her childhood holidays at Killeden where she mentioned her ‘Aunt Lottie’s Irish Play in her memoirs “Fifty Years of Nursing – Matron of Guy’s” 1596.
Stephen Brown, Irish in Fiction (Pt 1) 1919 Maunsel Dublin stated that “She holds the distinction of being one of the few writers of Historical Fiction who wrote from a thoroughly nationalist standpoint.” Georoid Mac Spealain translated her novel “Nuala” into Irish during 1950. [ii] M. J. Mc Manus stated that she was a staunch Nationalist – plus that her writings helped the Country’s cause for more than two generations. [iii]
These lines from Cill Aodain Poet Terry Mc Donagh’s (Terry is Great – Grand Son of Bard Thady Conlon) “Killedan and Nowhere Else” remembers Lottie plus family. (Page 20) This enjoyable publication has the most amazing artwork throughout its leaves by the wonderful Sally Mc Kenna.
The Big House poked its head through stately trees,
Lotty, Emily and Dermot MacManus stoked an old piano,
gave voice to a fairy kingdom and
placed whitethorn under protection in deserted drawing rooms. [iv]
[iii] Irish Press October 6th 1944