Mr. Archibald McIlroy

Archibald McIlroy, 55, was originally from Northern Ireland and lived in Drumbo, County Down, Ireland, but at the time of the Lusitania disaster he was visiting Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  McIlroy was a well-known author of his time and was lost in the Lusitania sinking. McIlroy was born in Kyln Park in the small market town of Ballyclare, County Antrim, Ireland, around 1860.  He received his education at the Old School, which in his life had been converted to the area's council chamber. McIlroy became a clerk in the Ulster bank for some years, but spent weekends at his father's house. He became bored of his job at the bank and set up business for himself as a coal merchant and then a stockbroker. Described as a popular man with a "genial good nature," McIlroy was interested in public affairs and was most notably associated with the Land Reform crusade. He immigrated to Edmonton in 1912 with his wife and son, where he continued his business interests and also work with the Presbyterian Church in the city and surrounding countryside. Reports of the time say that his work was "eminently successful" and that he was returning to Europe to offer his services to the war front. McIlroy was also a published author, as he was known as a writer in the "kailyard' tradition of Barrie's Thrums novels, capturing the ethos of rural and particularly Presbyterian life.  Among his novels were When Lint was in the Bell, The Auld Meetin' House Green, and The Banker's Love Story (1901). When the Lint was in the Bell commanded a very extensive sale and was reviewed as one of the best and most typical sketches of life in Ulster. He may have been carrying a copy of his next manuscript when the Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk on 7 May 1915. A century later, McIlroy's books are rare, and a copy of The Banker's Love Story resurfaced in 2009, where it wass one of the star attractions at the 27th Annual Belfast Book Fair in the Wellington Park Hotel. Contributors: Senan Molony, Ireland Judith Tavares Unnamed researcher References: "Well-Known Author On Board." Irish Post and Weekly Telegraph. 15 May 1915, page 11. Larne Times, 15 May 1915, page 3. McIlwane, Eddie. "Bestseller by an Ulster Writer Lost on the Lusitania Resurfaces." Belfast Telegraph. 6 October 2009. <http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/life/books/bestseller-by-an-ulster-writer-lost-on-the-lusitania-resurfaces-28497490.html> Accessed 5 April 2015 01:05 P.M. Molony, Senan. Lusitania: An Irish Tragedy. Mercier Press, 2004. page 55-56.

About the Author