This week on Irish Fiction Friday we feature a work of speculative fiction and Irish politics from 1904: The Red Leaguers by Shan F Bullock (John William Bullock). This is the fictitious story of a group of Catholic Irish, who, encouraged by the example of the Boers, form a secret league, and resolve upon a concerted action which shall in a single night wrest Ireland from her rulers, and establish her as a republic.
Shan Fadh Bullock was born on May 17, 1865 at Inisherk, Co Fermanagh. He was the oldest of the eleven children of Thomas and Mary Bullock, and he had a strict evangelical protestant upbringing. He was educated at the local Church of Ireland national school but failed a Trinity College, Dublin, scholarship exam. After a year on his father’s farm, he moved to London in 1883 to become a civil service clerk. He married Emma Mitchell in 1889 and had two children. While he supplemented his income with journalism and his books were generally well reviewed, he was never a full time writer, as his books didn’t sell well. He spent the final years of his life, after his wife passed he moved to Sutton, Surrey and died there on September 27, 1935.