Percy French


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(1854–1920), writer of ballads. Born in Cloonyquin, Co. Roscommon, he was educated at Foyle College and TCD where he qualified as a civil engineer. He became a surveyor of drains in Co. Cavan. When he was laid off in 1887 he became editor of the comic journal The Jarvey. He then turned to musical comedy, co-authoring The Knights of the Road (1888). This venture launched him as a song-writer and performer of his own works. These include The First Lord Liftinant and Other Tales (1890) and The Irish Girl (1918), a comic opera. His songs, such as ‘Are Ye Right There Michael’ and ‘Come Back, Paddy Reilly’, have charm, because of their use of Hiberno-English, and a satiric edge.

From The Concise Oxford Companion to Irish Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

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