Charles Kickham

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Charles Joseph Kickham (9 May 1828 – 22 August 1882) was an Irish revolutionary, novelist, poet, journalist and one of the most prominent members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.


  • Only poor labouring men! And when was Ireland ever formidable to her oppressor without them? Could emancipation have been won without them? Did not their example shame the "respectable" classes, and even the priests themselves, into doing their duty? Was it not the labouring men who made the O'Connell meetings monster meetings, and their shillings that swelled the O'Connell treasury... For if ever a successful blow is to be struck for the poor old country, it is the hand of the toiler that will strike it.
    • 'The labouring men', Tipperary Leader (25 August 1855), quoted in R. V. Comerford, Charles J. Kickham: A Study in Irish Nationalism and Literature (1979), pp. 49-50
  • I was a beardless stripling then, but proud as any lord;
    And well I might—in my right hand I grasped a freeman's sword;
    And though an humble peasant's son, proud squires and noble peers
    Would greet me as a comrade—we were The Volunteers.
    • 'Eighty Years Ago. A Ballad', quoted in The Irish Harp: A Monthly Magazine of National and General Literature, No. 1, Vol. I (March 1863), p. 39

Quotes about Charles Kickham[edit]

  • Knocknagow is the national Irish novel. To love the "Homes of Tipperary" is to love what is purest and strongest and raciest and best in Ireland. There is awkwardness in many of Kickham's chapters, but what strength in the best! Matt the Thresher is for Ireland as much a national figure as for England any in Copperfield; and the rural scene has the richness, often, of Blackmore's self. In the figure of the honoured piper, there is a touch of the authentic, traditional pride that runs, a golden thread through the rustic homespun.
    • Aodh de Blácam, 'The Best Novels for Everyman', The Irish Monthly, Vol. 67, No. 787 (January 1939), p. 62
  • He gave us what still the best known of all Irish novels by dint, not of art, but of love and sincerity. Knocknagow never will die, unless the Irish nation dies.
    • Aodh de Blácam, 'The Valley near Slievenamon', The Irish Monthly, Vol. 70, No. 829 (July 1942), p. 297
  • Charles J. Kickham was the finest intellect in the Fenian Movement, either in Ireland or America, although his defective sight and hearing prevented the demonstration of that fact in public. One would have to know him personally and to see his work in council to realize the superiority of his mind over those of his colleagues and contemporaries.
    • John Devoy, Recollections of an Irish Rebel (1929), p. 304

External links[edit]

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