Patrick MacGill was born in 1889 in the Glen of Glenties, and was the first of eleven children. After a mere three years’ schooling, Patrick left at ten and after two years’ work on the home patch of land set out at twelve as one of a party of Donegal youngsters for the hiring fair in Strabane.

MacGill’s literary career began in1910, he asked The Derry Journal to print some poems. At that time he was working as a plate-layer on the Glasgow – Greenock line of the Caledonian Railway. Shortly afterwards he moved to London and had ‘Children of the Daed End’ and the ‘Rat Pit’ published. They were best sellers. MacGill wrote more novels, some with an Irish setting and some with an English background, but never again did he achieve the intensity of these two novels, that really form a single work.

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