Mary Tighe


Miranda O'Connell

Regular price €15.00

2013, Somerville Press, Paperback, 240 pages

MARY was born in Dublin in 1772 to Theodosia and William Blachford. Her father was Librarian at Marsh’s Library and her mother was of the Tighe family from Rossana, Co. Wicklow where Mary spent periods of her childhood. After her father died, the family stayed for a while at Altidore Castle near Bray, home to the Blachfords. She died of tuberculosis at Woodstock, Inistioge, Co.Kilkenny in 1810.

Mary married her first cousin Henry Tighe because she could not refuse his ardent proposal, but their relationship did not flourish. They visited London and travelled through the spa towns of England in search of a cure for her illness, returning  to Ireland only when they heard news of  the Rebellion of 1798. Henry enrolled with the Yeomanry Corps to defend County Wicklow against the rebels and Mary lived at Rossana for the main part, sympathising with those on both sides of the conflict. She  decided that from now on she must give herself to her writing, which she did, and her output was extraordinary.

Mary Tighe is best known for her fine poem ‘Psyche; or, The Legend of Love’ and for her sonnets which show mastery of form. Her writing influenced Felicia Hemans, Thomas Moore, John Keats,  Byron, Shelley, and Christina Rossetti, among many others and her work was well  known in the nineteenth century. Her poetry has recently begun to appear in anthologies and her long and intriguing novel Selena was published in 2012.

This is a timely biography.