Alfred H. Miles, ed. Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.
Critical and Biographical Essay by Katharine Tynan Hinkson
Jane Barlow (18571917)
JANE BARLOW is the elder daughter of the Rev. J. W. Barlow, Vice-Provost of Trinity College, Dublin. She was born at Clontarf in the early sixties. Her home for a long time has been The Cottage, Raheny, not far from her birth-place, looking to the sea and Howth, with the Dublin mountains behind them. The Cottage is partly thatched and is surrounded by green lawns and old gardens, with the fields beyond. It is out of hearing of Dublin, but there is a noisy village not far from its gates, and now and again a train-whistle sounds to remind one that this is not the remote region known among Miss Barlows country-people as The back of God-speed.
At The Cottage at Raheny Miss Barlow has led a singularly retired and gentle life, wrapped about with home affections and very far from the world. The love of country things, of birds and animals and flowers are part of her life: but seeing that she is shyer of the world than any hermit of the desert, shy even of the friendly village folk, it is nothing less than marvellous that she should have written those intimate and sympathetic sketches of Irish life in prose and poetry which have followed each other at intervals since Bogland Studies was published in 1892. A couple of visits to Connemara and the South, an occasional flying visit to relatives in England, constitute pretty well all her travels; and never did a travellers thoughts turn so fondly and lovingly to home. Up to the time of her publishing Bogland Studies her social entourage, apart from her own family, was such as might have surrounded Jane Austen. Sweet old ladies of an unquestioning conservatism in all things chiefly inhabit those white-walled, old-fashioned villas about Raheny. They little knew what a gentle rebel was in their midst. All the time those studies of Irish life, as delicate and observant as humorous and wise, in their own way, as Jane Austens, were forming in the quiet girls mind. She has found her own way to a broad and enlightened patriotism; if indeed that great civic virtue was not fostered in a home in which grew all the virtues.
Miss Barlow was very shy of publishing. Her early work appeared in Reviews signed by a pseudonym. It was always poetry in those days. After Bogland Studies she wrote for Messrs. Hodder & Stoughton, Irish Idylls (1892), which have been followed by Kerrigans Quality (1893), The End of Elfintown (1894), The Battle of the Frogs and Mice (1894), Nansens Fairing (1895), Strangers at Lisconnel (1895), Mrs. Martins Company (1896), A Creel of Irish Stories (1897), From the East unto the West (1898), From the Land of the Shamrock (1900), Ghost-Bereft (1901), The Founding of Fortunes (1902), By Beach and Bogland (1905).