War reporter's career recalled
MAIRÉAD NÍ CHAOIMH

THE STORY behind one of Ireland’s most colourful war correspondents was told to delegates at a conference in Galway yesterday.

John Horgan, the Press Ombudsman and former professor of journalism at DCU, recounted tales from the life of Francis McCullagh, who made his name outside Ireland in the early 20th century as a formidable war correspondent.

“Wherever there was a war, he was there to be found,” Prof Horgan told academics who had gathered at NUI Galway for a conference on Irish press history.

Prof Horgan said a study of McCullagh raised many questions about journalism at the turn of the century.

McCullagh was born in Omagh in 1874. He wrote extensively on the Spanish Civil War, the Italian invasion of north Africa, and travelled to the Russian front during the first World War.

He wrote for a variety of publications including the New York Herald, the Daily News, the Irish Independent and the Japan Times.

“He never married, so he was free to travel. At one stage he set off on a boat and ended up in Siam, where he took various jobs with papers over there,” said Prof Horgan.

McCullagh spoke a variety of languages, including Russian and Japanese. At one stage in his life he considered becoming a priest, and his support for the Catholic Church became a theme throughout his writing career; he was a passionate supporter of Franco during the Spanish Civil War.

Prof Horgan was speaking at the first conference of the Newspaper and Periodical History Forum of Ireland.

“This conference is all about getting people to talk to each other, to see where we are headed and see how the subject of press history will develop in Ireland,” said Dr Simon J Potter, conference organiser and history lecturer at NUIG.

Other speakers included Dr Regina Uí Chollatáin from UCD’s School of Irish, Celtic Studies, Irish Folklore and Linguistics; Dr Úna Ní Bhroiméil from Mary Immaculate College, Limerick; and James Curran, described by conference organisers as “one of the leading figures in the world on newspaper history”.

Today Prof Michael de Nie, from the University of West Georgia, will deliver a lecture on the Irish press and empire.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/...321623631.html