Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/John O'Hagan
Lawyer and man of letters, b. at Newry, County Down, Ireland, 19 March, 1822; d. near Dublin, 10 November, 1890. He was educated in the day-school of the Jesuit Fathers, Dublin, and in Trinity College, graduating in 1842. Though he made many friendships in Trinity, he was always an earnest advocate of Catholic University education. In this spirit he contributed to the "Dublin Review" (1847) an article which the Catholic Truth Society of Ireland has reprinted under the title "Trinity College No Place for Catholics". Later he contributed to the same Review a criticism of Thomas Carlyle's system of thought, which Carlyle tells in his Diary "gave him food for reflection for several days". In 1842 he was called to the Bar and joined the Munster Circuit. In 1861 he was appointed a Commissioner of National Education, and in 1865 he became Q. C. The same year he married Frances, daughter of the first Lord O'Hagan. After Gladstone had passed his Irish Land Act, he chose Mr. O'Hagan as the first judicial head of the Irish Land Commission, making him for this purpose a judge of Her Majesty's High Court of Justice. This elevation was a tribute not only to his legal attainments and judicial standing but to the place he held in the esteem of his countrymen. He was an earnest Catholic, as is shown in many of his writings, such as "The Children's Ballad Rosary". In his earliest manhood his poems, "Dear Land", "Ourselves Alone", etc., were among the most effective features of "The Nation" in its brilliant youth; in his last years he published the first English translation of "La Chanson de Roland", recognized as a success by the "Edinburg Review" and all the critical journals. Longfellow wrote to him: "The work seems to me admirably well done."
The Irish Monthly, XVIII; Duffy, Four Years of Irish History.