Ella Young, Irish Mystic and Rebel

From Literary Dublin to the American West

by Rose Murphy

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Ella Young (1867–1956), an Irish storyteller of Celtic heroes and magic curses, had a fascinating, overlooked life story. She guarded weapons hidden under floorboards for Dublin rebels during the 1920s, hobnobbed with W.B. Yeats, shared a house with Maud Gonne, talked to spirits in the windswept dunes of California’s Pacific Coast, and lectured to overflowing crowds at the University of California at Berkeley. A mystical, whimsical woman, she gathered stories from the west of Ireland and took them across the Atlantic when she emigrated to California -- alone at the age of 56. Ella Young, Irish Mystic and Rebel is more than just a portrait of a captivating writer, storyteller, mystic, rebel and immigrant, however. The book also provides her insider’s view of iconic figures and cultural movements in two countries, beginning with the heady years of Ireland's Literary Renaissance and her relationship with such major players as Yeats and AE, and her friendships with Maud Gonne and the Easter Rising rebel Patrick Pearse. The story then moves on to her association with artists in the American West such as photographer Ansel Adams and poet Robinson Jeffers. In her later years she was friends with the mystical 'Dunites', the group of dreamers and drifters who lived in the California coastal dunes in the 1930s and 40s. Throughout the book, Ella’s zest for life, her mystical encounters with the spirit world and her love of a good tale shine through. Above all, the book provides an absorbing portrait of an extraordinary woman who lived during extraordinary times.

Extent: 176 pages

Size: 234 x 156 mm

Illustrations: 17 b/w photographs

ISBN: 9781905785315
Publisher: Liffey Press
Format: Paperback
Dimensions: 15.6 x 23.2 x 1.8cm
Weight: 322 grammes