WB Yeats in 1925, the year of Lily O’Brien’s murder




Flo writes:

Just finished reading a recent book about Willie Yeats which casts him in a very different (or perhaps not so different?) light from the heartbroken lover/borderline stalker of Maud Gonne.

Who Killed Honor Bright? How William B Yeats and George Yeats Caused the Fall of the Irish Free State”  explores the unsolved murder of a woman called Lily O’Neill, shot dead near Lamb Doyle’s pub in Dublin in 1925.

Following her death Lily was identified as a prostitute who, under the alias ‘Honor Bright’, worked the Stephen’s Green beat outside the Shelbourne [Hotel]. Garda Superintendent (Leo Dillon and Doctor Pat Purcell were subsequently tried for her murder – but acquitted under mysterious circumstances.

Lily left a young son, Kevin O’Neill. Kevin’s daughter Patricia Hughes (the author of the book), says that her father was the son of WB Yeats, whom her grandmother had met while working as the 1920s equivalent of a lap dancer in an unidentified gentleman’s club in Dublin.

Patricia suggests that Lily was murdered by Superintendent Dillon – but as part of a cover-up by the Irish Free State, who, at the behest of the Yeats family, were trying to stop her association with Yeats becoming public. The subsequent public identification of Lily as a prostitute was apparently an attempt to blacken her in the eyes of the public.

WB disappeared from public life for a number of months after the murder. Records of the police investigation – and the subsequent trial – are still not available although it is now more than 90 years since the murder….



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28 thoughts on “WB Yikes

  1. Tidy Dave

    SYNTAX ERROR: parsing failed for “WB Yikes” due to unclosed parenthesis and use of a lady who sells chocolates.

  2. Dan

    Self-published by the person claiming to be Yeats’ granddaughter. Considering there’s no one alive to sue for libel, that tells you all you need to know about the credibility of this story. I mean, even Louis Le Roc found a publisher.

    1. bisted

      …surely the veracity of Patricia Hughes’ claim to be WB’s granddaughter can be easily verified in this age of DNA?

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      I MADE my song a coat
      Covered with embroideries
      Out of old mythologies
      From heel to throat;
      But the fools caught it,
      Wore it in the world’s eyes
      As though they’d wrought it.
      Song, let them take it,
      For there’s more enterprise
      In walking naked.

      William Butler Yeats

  3. LiamZero

    Flo has read a book from last year.
    Flo tells Broadsheet she has read the book.
    Broadsheet publishes a post to tell its readers that Flo read the book.
    Go Flo, go.

    This is how this site works now? Jesus.

  4. +1

    and then it will get a big clap on Primetime. … Yeats is turning in his grave at the great nation we have become…

  5. Truth in the News

    DNA test on the Yeats Decendents and Patricia Hughes would tell a story
    The 1925 murder of Honor Bright and subsequent trial of pillars of society
    are worthy of a fresh look and indeed a release of all the State Records…was it
    a Free State Scandal at the time, indeed the period from 1922 to 1932….the
    Cosgrave Era needs delving into, dont expect Dublin history acdemics to look
    too deep, if at all.

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