Charles A. Read (1880)
William Carleton the Walter Scott of Ireland,’ as he was not unjustly called by O’ Connell was born at Prillisk, County Tyrone, in 1794. Several writers have placed his birth four years later, but the earlier date is the correct one. He was the youngest of fourteen children. His parents were in very humble circumstances; for they had to support themselves and their large family on a farm of but fourteen acres. Carleton, in fact, was born a peasant. His parents, however, though thus poor in material gifts, appear to have been rich in intellectual endowment, and to their early influence Carleton owed much of his after success. He himself has drawn the portraits of his father and mother; and though we may see the partiality of filial affection in the pictures, they bear, at the same time, the proof of fidelity to truth.
[Charles A. Read, 1841-1878, "was born to a landowning family near Sligo. He had a business in Rathfriland, County Down, but when it failed he moved to London, becoming a journalist."]
W.B. Yeats (1891)
The true peasant was at last speaking, stammering, illogically, bitterly, but nonetheless with the deep and mournful accent of the people. He at first exaggerated, in deference to his audience, the fighting, and the dancing, and the merriment, and made the life of his class seem more exuberant and buoyant than it was.. .As time went on, his work grew deeper in nature, and in the second series of Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry he gave all his heart to ‘The Poor Scholar’, ‘Tubber Derg’, and ‘Wildgoose Lodge’. The humorist found his conscience, and, without throwing away laughter, became the historian of his class.
"His Early Life." William Carleton Summer School, Clogher July 31st – August 4th 2016. William Carleton Society, Clogher, Northern Ireland. http://www.williamcarletonsociety.org/about/
William Carleton, the youngest of a family of fourteen children, was born in the townland of Prolusk (sometimes spelt Prillisk), near Clogher in Co.Tyrone, on 20th February, 1794. Although there is little suggestion that the Carletons were upwardly mobile, they did move house frequently within the Clogher area and were established at the townland of Springtown before William left the family home.
His primary education was got in the local hedge schools, of which he was later to write uproariously funny descriptions. In his teens he attended more formal, and rigorous, Classical Schools at Donagh and Glaslough in North Monaghan.
Following an abortive excursion in 1814 as a poor scholar aspiring to the priesthood, Carleton returned to his somewhat leisurely life in the Clogher Valley before leaving home permanently in 1817.
During the next year he wandered southwards, through the counties between Clogher and Dublin, picking up work where he could. Tutoring the children of the middle-classes he sometimes found happy and secure situations and at other times suffered humiliation and extreme wretchedness. For some months he experienced abject poverty and near starvation when he tried his hand as a hedge- schoolmaster.
His early life and the years until he arrived in Dublin are told, somewhat in the style of the Gil Blas adventures, in his lively autobiography.
In Dublin, after trying various occupations, he became a clerk in the Church of Ireland Sunday School Office in Dublin. It was during this time that he began to write professionally, influenced by a Church of Ireland clergyman, Reverend Cesar Otway. In 1820 Carleton married Jane Anderson, who bore him several children. Carlet