Teresa Brayton wrote the poem ‘The Old Bog Road’ which is one of the sad tales of the Irish emigrant, so far from home when his mother has died.
Teresa Coca Boylan was born at Kilbrook, Kilcock on the Meath-Kildare border in 1868. Her great grandfather had fought with the pikemen of 1798 and she grew up in an atmosphere of change with the Land League and Parnell at the forefront of reform.
In 1895 she left for America, living first in Boston and then New York. She met a French Canadian, Richard Brayton, whom she married.
She had been writing poetry and stories from a very young age and it was as Teresa Brayton that she achieved fame among Irish American community and her works appeared in many publications. ‘The Old Bog Road’ first appeared in her book ‘Songs of the Dawn’ in 1913 and Madeline Farelly created the music.
Teresa Brayton was very supportive of Irish nationalism, writing poetry in support of Parnell, Pearse and Casement and could be called the poet of the Irish revolution. One of her songs was adopted by Na Fianna Eireann, the Republican scouting organisation, as its marching song. She was friend to Constance Markievicz and Helena Moloney. After the 1916 Rising and throughout the War of Independence she supported the Irish Republican cause in America by distributing pamphlets and fund-raising.
Widowed and aged 64, Brayton returned to Ireland in 1932, she was delighted with de Valera’s victory in the election of that year. Her poem about Tara, ‘The Croppies Grave’ first appeared in the Meath Chronicle in 1933.
She lived with her sister in Bray before returning to Kilbrook where she died in 1943 with de Valera attending the funeral. De Valera was to pay further tribute to her memory in 1959 when a seven foot high Celtic cross was erected over her grave by Enfield Muintir na Tire. The chairman of the County Meath federation of Muintir na Tire, Mr. M.A. Regan, introduced the President.
Today the Comhaltas group in Enfield is named in her honour. The Teresa Brayton group in Kilcock have been very active in promoting the memory of her life and work.