“Millstreet” by Julia A.Sullivan

millstreet-a-general-view-1909
A General View of Millstreet – from the Lawrence Collection (approx 1910)

Millstreet, quaint and quiet village
Nestling mid your emerald hills
Though I see you but in memory
How my heart with rapture thrills.

Gentle stream & busy mill-wheel
Smile beneath the summer sky
Church & convent calm & peaceful
Welcome still the passer by

Friends the nearest, friends the dearest
I can see them now at will
And the sunshine of their kindness
So abiding with me still

In the “Chapel Yard” are lying
many kin now gone for aye,
And new faith came stealing o’er me
As I knelt beside their clay.

Something in the air of Ireland
Something in her churchyard green,
Some strange beauty fills the vision
In no other land is seen.

It may be the faith of ages
Sweeping downward through the years,
It may  be that pearl so priceless
Shining through a nation’s tears

For where’er I went in Ireland
Whereso’er my footsteps trod
Fair and fairer seemed her beauty
Like the very smile of God.

And the quiet little village
Where my dear ones went to mass
There’s a glory shining o’er it
That no other scenes surpass.

Of these places oft they told me
Hallowed ground, my parents trod
Oh, how sacred seemed the pathways
Of those loved ones, gone to God.

All their comrades too have vanished;
Only children take their place,
Children and their children’s children
Race succeeding fast on race

Oh the likeness in these faces
And the old names trie and clean,
Might we ask a long past roll-call
They could answer, “We are here”.

Brief the journey, quick the ending
Strayed my feet to other ways,
But the memories fond of Millstreet
Will stay with me all my days.

– by Julia A Sullivan (1910)

This poem entitled “Millstreet” was composed by an American lady named Julia A. Sullivan. Her parents lived in Coolinarney which is a townland about 4 miles NW of Millstreet. They emigrated to America some years after the famine. Julia became an American School Teacher in I believe, New York. She visited the “Old Land” in 1910 and visited all the numerous friends of her parents. After returning to America she published several pretty poems among which is “Millstreet”. She sent a few copies of her book to her friends in Millstreet Parish and one of them kindly lent Mrs Riordan the book so that the poem may be included in this selection
– Tadhg O Corcoráin, P.Orde, Scoil Abha bán, Sráid a Muilinn, Co.Corcaigh (Samhain 1937)

The above text is from the National Folklore Library [Ref]

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BRENNAN, Julia Agnes (Sullivan) :

Poet; b. June 17, 1865, at Elba, Michigan;
Education. Country Schools, Hadley High School, and Michigan State Normal College, from which she graduated in 1888; graduated Detroit School of Elocution and English Literature, 1897;
Married. Thomas B. Brennan. Instructor in public schools of Detroit, 1895-1905.
Author of “My Christmas Candle and Other Poems” (R. R. Donnelly, 1910) ; contributor to New World; The Catholic Sun; Donahoe’s; and Michigan Catholic.
Traveled in Europe, visiting Ireland, England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Holland, and Belgium.
Member of the Western Catholic Writers’ Guild, Chicago (Elected President in December 1910)
Address: 3557 Vincennes Ave., Chicago, 111.
[Ref: The American Catholic who’s who (1911) – page 52]

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CATHOLIC WRITERS’ GUILD MEETS.  Mrs. Julia Sullivan Brennan was elected president of the Western Catholic Writer guild at the annual meeting in the Great Northern Hotel last night.[ref: Chicago Daily Tribune – Dec 14th 1910]
“CLOSES BRILLIANT YEAR – The Catholic Writers Guild, which will Install new offlcers at its next meeting, has just closed one of the most brilliant years in its hirtory under the supervision of Mrs. Julia Sullivan Brennan. The well-known author, who with the assistance of Miss Lata Halt, the secretary of the organisation, Miss Sallie Crleves Gaynor and Mrs. Arthur llaaihurat have secured some of the most noted literary men and publicists in the West to present the monthly programs. The new officers, who will be installed by the outgoing officers at a New Year’s reception In the guild’s quarters in the Great Northern Hotel, are…” [ref: The Inter Ocean – 24th Dec 1911]

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Tim Corcoran (Tadgh Ó’Corcoráin) was the principal at Aubane School at the time. He lived at Minor Row (The Laurels) and was related to many of the Corcorans still in Millstreet today.

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It appears that she married Thomas B. Brennan on January 26th 1905 in Wayne County, Michigan, and that she was teacher and also a widow, previously married to a McCarthy:

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My Christmas Candle and Other Poems – original 1st edition cover

My Christmas Candle and Other Poems
by Julia Sullivan Brennan

Regarding the author she was an American lady named Julia A. Sullivan. Her parents lived in Coolinarney which is a townland about 4 miles NW of Millstreet. They emigrated to America some years after the famine. Julia became an American School Teacher in I believe, New York. She visited the “Old Land” in 1910 and visited all the numerous friends of her parents. After returning to America she published several pretty poems. Married. Thomas B. Brennan. Instructor in public schools of Detroit, 1895-1905.
Author of “My Christmas Candle and Other Poems” (R. R. Donnelly, 1910) ; contributor to New World; The Catholic Sun; Donahoe’s; and Michigan Catholic. [etsy]

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I wonder if this is her death:

Name: Julia S. Brennan [Julia S. Sullivan]
Birth Date: abt 1860
Death Date: 12 Jul 1947
Death Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States
Death Age: 87
Gender: Female
Father Name: Daniel Sullivan
Mother Name: Catherine Cronin
Spouse Name: Thomas

TODO: add external notes

3 thoughts on ““Millstreet” by Julia A.Sullivan”

  1. It’s hard to imagine that this was written over 100 years ago. It could have been written yesterday, since it still describes the Millstreet I remember.

  2. The poem which she did write in the name of Millstreet
    The Town in the green countryside where the waterways meet
    As the anthem poem of Millstreet it well ought to be
    A beautiful poem to live in memory

    A daughter of migrant parents from Coolinarne who migrated to the U S in post Irish famine time
    She wrote the poem Millstreet when she was in her prime
    I had not heard of her before reading the article on her by Michael on the Millstreet web site
    Or the beautiful poem after a visit to Millstreet that she did write

    Just goes to prove that a great poem can be written by a poet not well known
    But the poem Millstreet by Julia A O’ Sullivan any major poet would have been proud to own
    It is a beautiful piece of writing in truth one can say
    And as is said of poetry a well written poem does not die in a day

    Her visit to her ancestral home place inspired her to achieve something great
    In Millstreet a poem of great beauty she did create
    She was inspired to poetry on her arrival on parental home ground
    And on meeting her Irish relatives the effect on her was profound

    Millstreet by Julia Agnes O’ Sullivan as the anthem poem of Millstreet well ought to be
    In my humble opinion this is a gem of poetry
    Since her visit to her ancestral home place more than a century in time has gone
    And thanks to Michael on the Millstreet web site for putting it on.

    “The Anthem Poem Of Millstreet” is by Francis Duggan
    http://francisrhymer.blogspot.ie/2016/09/the-anthem-poem-of-millstreet.html

  3. Julia was my great grandfather’s sister, which makes her my great aunt. Her parents were Daniel Peter Sullivan and Julia Cronin Sullivan. Daniel’s parent were Timothy Sullivan and Annorah O’Leary. Her grandfather was Michael Sullivan. She was from a family of nine. They immigrated to America in 1953. I was fortunate enough to be an alter boy at her funeral in 1944 at the young age of 8. Her grandparents and great grandparents are buried in the church yard at St. Patrick’s in Millstreet. Julia and her parents are buried at the Mt. Loretto Cemetery in Lapeer Michigan. I have visited their graves several times. It is folklore that her mother, also Julia, would tear up at the mention of her home in Ireland. She longed to return all of her life but never made it. I know the exact time of their immigration because Julia the mom gave birth to a boy on the Atlantic ocean on the trip to America. His name was Jeremiah.
    William Patrick Sullivan
    <email>
    October 2, 2021

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