Ella Young (26 December 1867 – 23 July 1956) was an Irish poet and Celtic mythologist active in the Gaelic and Celtic Revival literary movement of the late 19th and early 20th century. Born in Ireland, Young was an author of poetry and children's books. She emigrated from Ireland to the United States in 1925 as a temporary visitor and lived in California. For five years, she gave speaking tours on Celtic mythology at American universities, and in 1931, she was involved in a publicized immigration controversy when she attempted to become a citizen.
Young held a chair in Irish Myth and Lore at the University of California, Berkeley for seven years. At Berkeley, she was known for her colorful and lively persona, giving lectures while wearing the purple robes of a Druid, expounding on legendary creatures such as fairies and elves, and praising the benefits of talking to trees. Her encyclopedic knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject of Celtic mythology attracted and influenced many of her friends and won her a wide audience among writers and artists in California, including poet Robinson Jeffers, philosopher Alan Watts, photographer Ansel Adams, and composer Harry Partch, who set several of her poems to music.
Later in life, she served as the "godmother" and inspiration for the Dunites, a group of artists living in the dunes of San Luis Obispo County. She retired to the town of Oceano, where she died at the age of 88.
Born in Fenagh, County Antrim, she grew up in Dublin in a Protestant family and attended the Royal University. She later received her master's degree at Trinity College, Dublin. Her interest in Theosophy led her to become an early member of the Hermetic Society, the Dublin branch of the Theosophical Society, where she met writer Kenneth Morris. Her acquaintance with "Æ" (George William Russell) resulted in becoming one of his select group of protégés, known as the "singing birds". Russell had been her near neighbour, growing up on Grosvenor Square. Young's nationalist sentiments and her friendship with Patrick Pearse, gave her a supporting role in the Easter Rising; as a member of Cumann na mBan, she smuggled rifles and other supplies in support of Republican forces. Young's first volume of verse, titled simply Poems, was published in 1906, and her first work of Irish folklore, The Coming of Lugh, was published in 1909. She became friends with William Butler Yeats' erstwhile flame Maud Gonne, and Gonne illustrated Young's first book of stories, Celtic Wonder Tales (1910). Although Young continued to write poetry, it was for her redactions of traditional Irish legends that she became best known.
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