Matthew Archdeacon

Peace Park Castlebar
Author's Collection
Castlebar view 2005
Castlebar Railway Plaque
T. Beckett Collection
Main St. Castlebar, Co Mayo
Author's Collection
Castlebar, Co. Mayo

Teacher / Novelist

As a Teacher plus a famous Novelist he is fondly remembered in his town.

Matthew Archdeacon was born in Castlebar, Co. Mayor circa 1800.  He taught at an Academy in the town. [i]

This Novelist was born about 1800 in Castlebar.  He kept an Academy there.  He wrote four excellent books that depicted his own folk, their legends, stories of ’98 taken from several participants own antidotes. [ii]

Matthew Archdeacon was born in Castlebar.  He was a schoolteacher who was a successful novelist. [iii]


Matthew Archdeacon’s career as a Teacher was at a Castlebar school on the junction of Rush Street with Lucan Street in a Premises once known as Garavan’s Supermarket: later it became The Kingsbridge Inn now the Headquarters of the Mayo / Sligo / Leitrim E. T. B. [iv]


He is known for novels such as the ‘Legends of Connaught’ (1829 ), ‘Connaught: A Tale of 1798’ (1830 ), Everard (1835 ), also ‘The Priest-Hunter.’ (1835 ). [v]

His ‘legends of Connaught’ was published during 1829, his ‘Everand’  followed during 1835, whilst ‘The Priest Hunter’  was produced during 1844.  They were all based on local traditions.  Another article was ‘The Humours of Provincial Life: Theatre & Tourism’ in M A ‘Everand.’ [vi]

Archdeacon’s ‘Legends of Connaught Irish Stories’  etc were produced during 1839. [vii]

Matthew Archdeacon’s demise occurred during 1853. [viii]


He is listed among famous authors in the ‘Oxford Companion to Irish Literature.’  [ix]


A description of ‘Legends of Connaught, Irish Stories, &c.’  1839. Dublin, Cummings valued at 750 Euro is listed on this link: It is covered with green cloth, title in gilt on maroon morocco letterpiece on spine with occasional light foxing & browning, mild staining to covers but otherwise a very good copy of an exceedingly rare item.  This volume has seven stories of Events in Connaught during the Eighteenth Century.  In the Preface the Author states that each story is based on facts.  Included are the following: ‘Fitzgerald’, based on life of George Robert Fitzgerald; ‘The Banshee’, ‘The Election’, ‘Alice Thompson McMahon’. ‘The Robber’s Grave’, ‘The Ribbonman’.  His best-known work, which is also the rarest is ‘Shawn na Soggort.’  This site has an eight – page list of subscribers drawn from Dublin, Athlone, Galway plus several towns in Mayo.  Original subscribers were the Rev. William Maxwell, author of ‘Wild Sports of the West’ plus William Larmine, author of ‘A West Irish Tales & Romances.’  Other famous literary authors included the following: Lady Morgan, William Carlton, Daniel O’Connell, Thomas Davis, James Hardiman also Most Rev. John Mc Hale. [x]

Johnny Mee in his Column ‘Auld Stock ‘ in ‘The Connaught Telegraph ‘ of 30th November 2021 page 30 mentioned the renowned Author Matthew Archdeacon who established a school in the vicinity of Lucan  Street / Rush Street, Castlebar.


[i] Matthew Archdeacon ( ) [assessed 17th February 2020]

[ii] Matthew Archdeacon ( ) [assessed 17th February 2019]

[iii] Matthew Archdeacon ( ) [assessed 17th February 2019]

[iv] Matthew Archdeacon ( ) [assessed 17th February 2019]

[v] Matthew Archdeacon ( [assessed 17th February 2019]

[vi] Matthew Archdeacon ( [assessed 17th February 2019]

[vii] Legends of Connaught Irish Stories ( ) [assessed 17th February 2019]

[viii] Matthew Archdeacon ( [assessed 17th February 2019]

[ix] Ibid.

[x] De Burka Rare Books Archdeacon Matthew ( [assessed 17th February 2019]


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