Emily Lawless was an Irish writer.
She was born at Lyons House below Lyons Hill, Ardclough, County Kildare. Her grandfather was a member of the United Irishmen Valentine Lawless and son of a convert from Catholicism to the Church of Ireland. In contrast her brother Edward Lawless was a landowner with strong Unionist opinions, a policy of not employing Roman Catholics in any position in his household, and chairman of the Property Defence Association set up in 1880 to oppose the Land League and "uphold the rights of property against organised combination to defraud". Horace Plunkett was a cousin.
Emily wrote 19 books of fiction, biography, history, nature studies and poetry, many of which were widely read at the time. She is most famous nowadays for her Wild Geese poems.
It is widely believed that she was a lesbian and that Lady Sarah Spencer, dedicatee of A GARDEN DIARY (1901) was her lover.
She spent part of her childhood with the Kirwans of Castlehackett, County Galway, her mother's family, and drew on West of Ireland themes for many of her works. She occasionally used ‘Edith Lytton’ as pen name.
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