From An Claidheamh Soluis, April 13, 1907.

[The following bombshell burst at our feet on Monday morning last – F. an Ch.]

An irresistible conviction compels me to enter a protest against the tone and matter of two recent articles of yours dealing with plays, players, and acting. I am neither a player nor a playwright, and have no personal interest in the fortunes of any particular play, player, or band of players. My objection to your new teaching is based on a perhaps erroneous belief that the CLAIDHEAMH is no place for booming the literary efforts of English-writing people born in Ireland, however “beautiful” their English or national their personal aspirations and acts. There is a place for everything. The English-writing Irishman has a huge field open to him in Ireland and out of it. The English-writing dramatist will, unfortunately, have little difficulty in finding an audience anywhere in Ireland, English, beautiful and otherwise, being universally spoken. His Gaelic brother is not so fortunate. His audience is necessarily more restricted. He needs encouragement and deserves it. He lacks great exemplars. He ploughs a lonely furrow indeed. The comparatively insignificant Gaelic press heretofore understood his needs and vigorously championed his cause, as much from the national as from the literary and artistic points of view. Now you have changed all that. The writer of fine English is described as the “most powerful” mind in the “present literary movement.” No longer are we to be bound down by the limits of native effort in the native tongue. The CLAIDHEAMH has cut our bonds. Henceforth the Gaelic Leaguer who confines himself to Irish only does not appreciate the full extent of the “present literary movement” as understood by the CLAIDHEAMH.

Years ago I learned, and since have held, that a straight line divided Gaelic literature past, present, and future, from all literary productions by Irishmen in English. Thus the works of Goldsmith, Moore, Sheridan, Kickham, and Co. are excluded by the term Irish literature. It may be possible to reconcile your new position with my old view. To me your ideas as expressed in the articles in question seem confused and confusing.

A smaller matter is the manner in which you criticise the acting of amateur Irish players, taking as your standard the professional players employed at the notorious “Abbey.” Your style and notions are equally confused and confusing. In one place you define art as “the expression of one’s personality.” In another you “suggest that there is no Irish orator, elocutionist, or actor to-day who would not be better of a serious study of the art of Maire Nic Shiubhlaigh and Sara Allgood.” Your meaning is sufficiently obscure, but is rendered more so by a subsequent eulogy of the personalities of the two ladies mentioned. How the average actor can be improved by observing the expression of another’s personality beats me.

Coming to another small matter, I find you recommending the Gaelic actor to go to the “Abbey” and elsewhere in order to acquire the technique of acting. Would it not have been more practical to recommend that the trainers or stage managers in these places should be boldly “nobbled” for the Gaelic stage? Occasional visits would surely accomplish less than careful training at the hands of the managers, etc., whose results you laud in the person of the players at the “Abbey” and elsewhere.

I confess I was further disappointed to find no practical suggestion for the establishment of an Irish Theatre.

On the contrary, after referring to certain newspaper attacks on the Anglo-Irish plays and playwrights you conclude, “But the Theatre of Ireland will go its own way, shaping an art of its own” – making confusion more confounded.

The League at present is in a certain danger of losing its force by trying to cover too much ground. I propose it has no time to waste on Anglo-Irish poets, dramatists, or litterateurs. Their time has gone. Let the Gael have the field henceforth.