Welcome to the William Carleton Society

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William Carleton (1795-1869) was an Irish writer and novelist. He was born in the Clogher Valley in Co Tyrone and lived for a period of time in Springtown, outside Augher.

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Carleton’s Cottage, Springtown, Augher pictured several years ago

He was educated at local hedge schools and later moved to Dublin where he was employed as a tutor and schoolmaster before his career as a writer blossomed. His first published story was ‘The Lough Derg Pilgrimage’ and this was soon followed by ‘Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry’ (1830) which was recognised as his greatest work.

The William Carleton Society

The William Carleton Society was founded in the 1960s with the aims to promote the life, times and writings of Carleton and to develop a Society archive, library and collection. The William Carleton Society Summer School ran every year from 1992 to 2019. Our aim is to digitise the Archive of Summer School materials and make this available worldwide on this website. Please click here to keep up to date with our latest news. If you have any comments, please email wcarletonsociety@gmail.com

We thank Mid Ulster District Council for funding the beginning of this journey.

The principal aims of the Society are:

To promote the life, times and writings of William Carleton:

Carleton moved through pre-Famine Ireland, wrote about famine in his novel The Black Prophet and saw the establishment of National Schools in English, Catholic emancipation, railways and revolutionary activity. He knew such leading Irish literary figures as Maria Edgeworth and Sir Samuel Ferguson, wrote for the Dublin University Magazine, admired Dickens and knew and revered Thackeray.

To present him as a writer of international significance:

That Carleton is much more than a purely local phenomenon and has been acclaimed by such major Irish writers as W.B. Yeats, Patrick Kavanagh, Seamus Heaney, John Montague John McGahern and Eugene McCabe. An increasing body of critical appreciation includes recent significant articles from Brian Donnelly, Declan Kiberd and Roy Foster, a major study has been produced recently by the American critic David Krause.

To foster critical examination of Carleton’s work:

Over the ten years of the Summer School a most impressive range of scholars from Ireland, Britain America and elsewhere have examined Carleton and his works from a variety of critical perspectives. Speakers have included Thomas Flanagan, Eileen Sullivan, Terence Brown, Antoinette Quinn, lvan Herbison, Eamonn Hughes, Roy Foster, A. Norman Jeffares, Declan Kiberd, Barry Sloan, Norman Vance, John Kelly, Michael and Edna Longley, John Wilson Foster, John A. Murphy,  Gerald Dawe, Peter Denman, Robert Welch, Brian Walker, Dairmaid Ferriter and Maurice Harmon. The Summer School’s Honorary Director is the historian, writer and broadcaster, Owen Dudley Edwards.

To publish research papers on topics relating to Carleton and to develop a Society archive, library and collection:

Carleton’s Autobiography was re-issued through the efforts of the Summer School Committee in 1996. William Carleton, The Authentic Voice; researched and written by Summer School members, edited and produced by Gordon Brand and Sam Craig was published in 2006 by Colin Smythe, Gerrard’s Cross. The 455 page volume is a work of reference for William Carleton, containing transcripts of selected lectures given at the Summer School between 1992 and 2005, contemporary portraits of Carleton, previously unpublished Carleton letters and documents, a chronology and publication history of his writings, well illustrated and containing pen drawings by Sam Craig and detailed 19th century maps of the countryside Carleton loved and wrote about.

Published 2006