1865-1950 [pseud. of Rev. James Owen Hannay]; b. 16 July, Belfast, Church of Ireland clergyman’s son; ed. Haileybury and TCD, ordained 1889 [var. 1888]; rector of Holy Trinity Church, Westport, Co. Mayo, 1892-1913 [offic. 1916]; Donnellan Lecturer, TCD, 1901-02; active in Gaelic League, he withdrew from executive to avoid a split amongst the nationalist Catholic membership arising from animosity of PP from Tuam, 1906, in response to supposed caricature in The Seething Pot (1905); also criticised for Hyacinth (1906), the story of Hyacinth Conneally, as she moved from Protestantism to Irish nationalism and finally rejects fanaticism in favour of faith and family; based on a convent-centred industry taken to be the Foxford Woollen Mills; Eleanor’s Enterprise, produced by Count Markievicz for the Independent Theatre (1911); boycotted in Westport after successful production of play, General John Regan, a novel featuring Dr. O’Grady and Major Kent in a tale about a nationalist monument raised by a returning American to a non-existent Irish hero; a play-version premiered in London by Charles Hawtrey (1913) was toured in Ireland and caused in Westport during which Birmingham was burned in effigy and ejected from Gaelic League, 1914; called ‘the bigot of Westport’ by D. P. Moran; Canon of St. Patrick’s, 1912-22; protested against expression of attachment to the Union at the Church of Ireland Synod, 1912, on grounds of realism; edited and introduced Recollections of Sir Jonah Barrington (1918), professing that they would ‘shock very severely the cultured sentimentalist who has fallen in love with the dear, dark head of Kathleen Ni Houlihan’; became rector of Kildare Parish, 1918-20; later chaplain to Viceroy, and the British ambassadorial legation in Budapest, 1922; occupied living of Mells, Somerset, 1924-34; vicar, Holy Trinity, Kensington, 1934-50 (from the year in which his wife died); wrote nearly sixty gently satiric novels on Ireland including The Seething Pot (1904); The Northern Iron (1907), the story of Neal Ward, son of the Presbyterian minister Micah Ward, who becomes involved in the Rebellion of 1798 and finally escapes to America; set in Ballintoy, Co. Antrim; issued Is the Gaelic League Political? (1906), in support of the League and its revivalist policy; published, Benedict Kavanagh (1907), a novel in which the title-character finds his ground between the claims of a nationalist father and the unionist clergyman who raised him and makes a passionate plea for the Gaelic League; Spanish Gold (1908), featuring Rev J. J. Meldon and Major Kent, in an adventure on the Aran Islands ultimately centred on wise Aran islander Thomas O’Flaherty Pat; The Search Party (1909), in which an anarchist moves to Clonmore (Westport) and kidnaps local dignitaries and visiting MPs, and featuring Dr. Lucius O’Grady, Birmingham’s fictional alter ego; Lalage’s Lovers (1911); The Grand Duchess (1924); Millicent’s Corner (1935); also Appeasement (1939), a political essay; The Red Hand of Ulster (1912), the story of a rebellion in Ulster led by an Irish-American millionaire, resulting in an independent Protestant Ulster; Irishmen All (1913), a study of types that promoted an inclusive notion of Irish nationhood; Adventures of Dr. Whitty (1913), stories, incl. ‘The Deputation’, set in Land Commission days; as Hannay he published The Spirit of Christian Monasticism (1903); The Wisdom of the Desert (1904); The Connaught to Chicago (1914; A Padre in France (1918); A Wayfarer in Hungary (1925), and biographies, Isaiah (1937) and Jeremiah (1939), concerning the prophet; also Pleasant Places (1934), an autobiography; disappointed in efforts to solve the Irish conflict from standpoint of Christian toleration; DLitt TCD, 1946; d. Kensington, London.
(As George A. Birmingham), The Seething Pot (London: Edward Arnold 1905; 6th imp. 1906), 300pp.; Hyacinth (London: Edward Arnold 1906), another ed. (London & NY: Hodder & Stoughton [n.d.]), 316pp.; Benedict Kavanagh (London: Edward Arnold 1907; Hodder & Stoughton 1913); The Northern Iron (Dublin: Maunsel 1907; Do. (London: Everett [1912; var. 1913], Do., [fifth printing of Maunsel edn.] (Dublin: Talbot 1945), 320pp.; The Bad Times (London: Edward Arnold 1908; 3rd ed. Methuen 1913); Spanish Gold (London: Edward Arnold 1908; 31st ed. Methuen 1935), rep. (London: Bodley Head 1973, 1990) [introduced by R B D French]; The Search Party (London: Edward Arnold 1909, and eds.), rep. (Bodley Head 1973, 1990) [intro. Trevor West]; Lalage’s Lovers (London: Methuen 1911, 1915), 216pp.; The Major’s Niece (London: Smith, Elder 1911); The Simpkins Plot (London: Nelson 1911); The Inviolable Sanctuary (London & NY: T Nelson & Sons 1911) [CATL n.d.; DIL 1912; UUC c.1912], 369pp. front., map; US title, Priscilla’s Spies; The Red Hand of Ulster (London: Smith, Elder; NY: George H. Doran 1912) [1st edn. London, July; Colonial Edn., July 1912; new impr. Aug., Nov., 1912, March 1913, May 1914, 1/- net; intro. note by Kilmse of Errigal]; Do., rep. with introduction by R. B. D. French (Dublin: IUP 1972), 277pp; General John Regan (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1913), 323pp; The Adventures of Dr. Whitty (London: Methuen 1913); The Lost Tribes (London: Smith, Elder 1914), 331pp.; Gossamer (London: Methuen 1915); Minnie’s Bishop and Other Stories (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1915), 344pp. [another edn.]; Methuen 1949), 205pp.; The Island Mystery (London: Methuen 1918); Our Casualty (London: Skeffington 1919); Up the Rebels! (London: Methuen 1919) [ded. ‘to any friends I have left in Ireland/after the publication of this book’]; Inisheeny (London: Methuen 1920); Lady Bountiful (London: Chrisophers 1921); The Lost Lawyer (London: Methuen 1921); The Great-Grandmother (London: Methuen 1922); A Public Scandal (London: Hutchinson 1922); Fed Up (London: Methuen 1923); Found Money (London: Methuen 1923); King Tommy (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1923); Send for Dr Grady (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1923); The Grand Duchess (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1924); Bindon Parva (London: Mills & Boon 1925); The Gun-Runners (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1925); Goodly Pearls (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1926); The Smuggler’s Cave (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1926); Now You Tell One: Stories of Irish Wit & Humour (Dundee; London: Valentine & Sons 1927), 36pp. [mounted frontispiece]; Ships and Sealing Wax (London: Methuen 1927); Elizabeth and the Archdeacon (London: Gollancz 1928; Methuen 1952); The Runaways (London: Methuen 1928, cheap ed. 1932), 252pp.; The Major’s Candlesticks (London: Methuen 1929); Murder Most Foul! (London: Chatto & Windus 1929); The Hymn Tune Mystery (London: Methuen 1930); Wild Justice (London: Methuen 1930); The Silver-Gilt Standard (London: Methuen 1932); Angel’s Adventure (London: Methuen 1933); Connaught to Chicago (London: Nisbet 1914 [1st edn.]; London: Methuen 1932) ) [var. 1933: DIL]; Two Fools (London: Methuen 1934); Love or Money (London: Methuen 1935); Millicent’s Corner (London: Methuen 1935); Daphne’s Fishing (London: Methuen 1937); Mrs. Miller’s Aunt (London: Methuen 1937); Magilligan Strand (London: Methuen 1938), 250pp.; Miss Maitland’s Spy (London: Methuen 1940); The Search for Susie (London: Methuen 1941), 250pp.; Over the Border (London: Methuen 1942) [FDA ?1944]; Poor Sir Edward (London: Methuen 1943); Lieutenant Commander (London: Methuen 1944); Good Intentions (London: Methuen 1945), 190pp.; The Piccadilly Lady (London: Methuen 1946); Golden Apple (London: Methuen 1947), 249pp; A Sea Battle (London: Methuen 1948); Laura’s Bishop (London: Methuen 1949); Two Scamps (London: Methuen 1950); Good Conduct (London: John Murray [n.d.]). Collected Fiction, The Birmingham Bus [containing Spanish Gold, The Search Party, Lalage’s Lovers, The Adventures of Dr Whitty] (London: Methuen & Co. 1934) 888pp.