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Robert Wilson Lynd (1879 - 1949):
Journalist and writer

Robert Lynd was born in Belfast on 20 April 1879, the second of seven children of a Presbyterian minister, the grandson of a Presbyterian minister and great'grandson of two Presbyterian ministers; later, Robert would recall the Sabbatarianism of his upbrining which condemned whistling - even of religious tunes - and condemned picking fruit as a sin. He was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution and later Queen's College, Belfast, where he studied classics graduating in 1899 with a pass degree. He was not especially interested in his studies but interested enough in politics to found the Belfast Socialist Society

Having trained with the Belfast daily, the Northern Whig, in 1901 he went to Manchester and then London, working as a freelance journalist and sharing a studio with Paul Henry, the artist, whom he had known at Queen's. Attendance at a perfromance of the play, Riders to the Sea (JM Synge) prompted him to embrace Irish Nationalist thinking, essentially of the non-violent type (though he campaigned for e reprieve for Roger Casement in 1916). He met his future wife, poet and novelist Sylvia Dryhurst, at a Gaelic League meeting; they married on 21 April 1909 and would have two daughters, whom they would give the Irish-Gaelic names Sigle and Maire. Their home in Hampstead became a meeting place for a wide literary circle

He joined the staff of the Daily News (subsequently called the News Chronicle) and from 1912 to 1947 was its literary editor. He was rejected for service in the military in the First World War. As well as contributing to the Nation he wrote a weekly essay under the pseudonym 'Y.Y.' for the New Statesman from 1913 to 1945. He was a Republican and a Gaelic Leaguer and taught Irish classes in London. He wrote for the Sinn Fein movement under the name of Riobard O Floinn, (although he later parted company with the party), and edited some of the works of James Connolly.

Among his books, which number over thirty, are Home Life in Ireland; Ireland a Nation; The Art of Letters and Doctor Johnson and Company.

Robert Lynd died in Hampstead on 6 October 1949 and is buried in Belfast City Cemetery.

Born: 20 April 1879
Died: 6 October 1949
Wesley McCann

Additional research: Richard Froggatt