George A. Birmingham, pseudonym of James Owen Hannay Biography
(1865–1950), pseudonym of James Owen Hannay, The Seething Pot, Hyacinth, The Bad Times, Spanish Gold
Anglo-Irish novelist and Church of Ireland clergyman, born in Belfast, educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and ordained in 1889. He was rector of Westport, County Mayo, from 1892 to 1913. In such early novels as The Seething Pot (1905), Hyacinth (1906), and The Bad Times (1908), he explored Irish political issues from a moderate nationalist standpoint. He is best known for his light-hearted popular novels, many of which focus on the redhaired curate, the reverend J. J. Meldon, and are comic portraits of Irish life and manners. They include Spanish Gold (1908), The Lighter Side of Irish Life (1911), and Send for Dr. O'Grady (1923). The Red Hand of Ulster (1912) satirized Unionist militancy, and proved to be all too prophetic. His comedy General John Regan (1913), a gentle dig at nationalism, sparked a riot, and a subsequent boycott of his writings. His other works include A Padre in France (1918), recording his experiences as an army chaplain during the First World War; An Irishman Looks at His World (1919); A Public Scandal and Other Stories (1922); A Wayfarer in Hungary (1925); and Pleasant Places (1934), his autobiography. He particularly valued his works of ecclesiastical history, The Spirit and Origin of Christian Monasticism (1903) and The Wisdom of the Desert (1904).