Patrick Grehan Smyth

Historical Novelist / Journalist

Ballina Moy River.
Chicago. U.S.
P.G.Smyth Grave
Dympna Joyce collection
Doris Bridge Westport.
Author's Personal Photo

Patrick Grehan Smyth was Mayo’s first G. A. A. President. [i]  His most famous publication was “Wild Rose of Lough Gill”. He was the first editor of the Western People Newspaper in Ballina. [ii]

Patrick Smyth was born in Ballina, Co. Mayo 1867. His parents were Bartholomew (About 1829 – 1910) and Sarah Marie Grehan Smyth. (? – Died 1891.)   His grandparents were Mary Kenny and Patrick Smyth.  During 1890 P. G. Smyth refereed the Mayo Championship match at Castlebar between Sligo and Mayo. [iii]  He was Chairman of Mayo G. A. A. in 1888, then at the First Annual Convention September 1889 the outgoing President (or Chairman), P. G. Smyth offered his resignation due to his impending Emigration. [iv]

Emigration / Family Life

He emigrated to Chicago with his brothers Thomas also James Pemberton Smyth.  He worked alongside his brothers at his uncle’s premises, John M. Smyth’s Furniture Store. [v]  Patrick G married Katherine Doris (daughter of Robert Doris, M.P. for West Mayo also co–owner of Mayo News with his brother Patrick in Westport, Co. Mayo) on August 15th 1891. They returned to the U.S. by the City of Paris from Queenstown to Chicago.[vi]  They had two sons, Bartholomew and Robert. Unfortunately Katherine died aged 29 years and her infant son Robert, just survived for one month in 1893. Patrick Grehan Smyth was married for a second time to Theresa Winifred (Tessie) Ryan 1865–1982 on 25th February 1900 they had a son Robert Michael plus daughters Eileen, later Sr. Mary Alma, then Marguerite A.  [vii]


The title page of  “The Wild Rose of Lough Gill” Dublin 1883 mentions he wrote “The Duchess of Inver”, a tale of the Irish war in the 17th Century, it was dedicated to Timothy D. Sullivan MP for Westmeath.  He produced verse for Dublin Periodicals, including: The Irishman, The Shamrock, Young Irelander also The Weekly News. Smyth produced an article in The Western People on  “Moyne Abbey”  during 1887.  He penned the preface to “King and Viking” a tale of the Danish Invasion of Ireland in Dublin 1889.  While in Chicago his Publications were amongst others; the following in The Gael, “Passing of the Clan Uillioam (1) in 1909, “Told out of Court” tales of Bench and Bar then during 1909 “Hire Sheet Music” a supplement to the Ladies’ Review.  During 1911 he produced “Rhyme with Reasona garland of Irish Shamrock’s, many of them grown in Ireland”. [viii]  James M. Smyth, New Buffolo on 26th January 2009 stated that his grandfather Patrick Grehan Smyth had written many pieces in the Catholic Encyclopedia following his emigration to Chicago.  [ix]

Patrick Grehan Smyth died on July 24th 1934. His obituary in the Chicago Daily Tribune states he was the fond father of Bert J., Robert M., Mrs. Henry Schultz, and Sr. Marie Alma, Providence Order; brother of Thomas, James, and Mrs. James Conway. Funeral from his residence at 5325 Jackson-blvd was to the Resurrection Church with Internment at Lockport Cemetery. [x]


Brian Nugent during 1912 mentioned Smyth in his “Shakespeare was Irish,” 2008 page 356, wrote “Shakespeare was an Irish man and he knew it.  [xi]  The name has long been a puzzle to Englishmen who saw nothing more in it than the cave man sobriquet “shake a spear,” but an American writer (Mr. Smith, Author of the Wild Rose) [xii]  Seabhach is bior (a hawk and a spear) and that as it happens is armorial bearing of the family of Shakespeare.” [xiii]  Following Michael Scanlon’s demise in Chicago (author of “Jacket’s Green” plus “The Bould Fenian Men”) in 1917 Rev. P.L. Murray, in an article titled “Poet Laureate of Fenianism” in the Gaelic Quarterly Review No.1 June 1936 mentioned Smyth in an appreciation of Scanlon with ”A short but welcome biographical sketch, written for the Irish World by one of Scanlon’s old friends – P. G. Smyth, the author of the Wild Rose of Lough Gill, – merely whetted up an appetite for more information.”   [xiv]

When the football Club was founded in Ballina James Wallace Melvin told the Western People Editor, Patrick G. Smyth that ‘I’m going out, Pat, to start a club that will shake all Ireland.” [xv]   P. G. Smyth is mentioned amongst many authors in the Genetic Joyce Studies, Spring 2009 Issue 9 by Luca Crispi in A Commentary on James Joyce’s National Library of Ireland’s Early Commonplace Book, 1903 -1917.  [xvi]

An extract from ‘Travels through Time’ published in the Mayo News on 24th February 1993 (assessed 12th Sept 2019) stated that ‘As can be seen P. G. Smyth is mentioned among  illustrious novelists at Mayo’s Carnegie Library at the Courthouse in Castlebar, who invited applications for the establishment of Branch Libraries in various districts during 1928.  The Library announced that recent acquisitions included; P. G. Smyth author of ‘Wild Rose of Lough Gill.’

[i] Dear Old Ballina, Western People Publishing, 1993 Pg 104

[ii] Dear Old Ballina, Western People Publishing, 1993

[iii] – PG Smyth

[iv] The Green above the Red Terry Reilly + Ivan Neill Pg 11

[v] – Smyth

[vi] Western People, Ballina August 20 1891

[vii] (paid genealogy Site)

[viii] – PG Smyth

[ix] – PG Smyth

[x] Chicago Tribune, Obituary.  &


[xii] – Wild Rose of Lough Gill

[xiii] Meath Chronicle, 6th October 1928 page 8



[xvi] – Page 9

Comments about this page

  • Just a few small corrections:
    Marriage date for Patrick Smyth and Kate Doris was 15 August 1892. (ref: Western People, Ballina August 20 1892 p8)
    Katherine Doris was the sister of William Doris (not is daughter). Both were the children of Robert Doris (ref: her marriage record on

    By Paula O'Connell (05/09/2021)

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