Furlong, Alice (1871–1946), poet, was born at Knocklaiquin Lodge, near Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin, one of four daughters of James Walter Furlong, the sports editor of a Dublin newspaper, who was originally from Wexford. Her sisters Mary (1866–98) and Katherine (1872–94) became published poets, while another sister, Margaret, married the poet and songwriter P. J. McCall (qv). She was brought up in Fervale, Bohernabreena, Co. Dublin, and afterwards at Old Bawn Villa, Tallaght, Co. Dublin; following the death of both their parents, her sister Mary assumed the running of the household until she herself died while nursing typhus victims in Co. Roscommon.
Furlong's thirty-six year association with the Irish Monthly, founded and edited by Father Matthew Russell (qv), began in 1891, with the publication of ‘A girl's thought’, the first of her numerous poems. A moving obituary recounting her sister's untimely death from a fever, ‘Katie, a memory’, was published in an 1894 issue. Russell proved to be an important ally; he took a keen interest in Furlong's work and played an influential role in securing a publisher for a volume of her poems, Roses and rue (1899). Furlong also published a collection of stories, entitled Tales of fairy folks, queens and heroes, in 1907. Both works, in the ‘Celtic twilight’ style, are characterised by adherence to catholic values.
At the height of her popularity Furlong's writings were published in various papers and periodicals, including United Ireland, Sinn Féin, The Emerald, Shamrock, the Weekly Independent, and Chamber's Journal. Her Tallaght home became a meeting-place for many of the leading figures in the literary revival, of which she was considered a significant member for a time. In keeping with the cultural climate she joined the Gaelic League and the Leinster College of Irish, and in time became fluent in the Irish language. During this period she was also politically active. Having served as a vice-president of the Patriotic Children's Treat Committee, which organised a counter-demonstration to the celebrations marking the visit to Dublin of the duke of York in 1897, she went on to become a founder member and vice-president of the nationalist women's group Inghinidhe na hÉireann, established in 1900. After the 1916 rising she produced less poetry in English, but concentrated on writing in Irish, and also produced a translation of Macbeth. Her readership dwindled, but in her later years she contributed to the Irish Press (founded 1931) in its early days. She died 20 October 1946 in a nursing home in Lower Leeson Street, Dublin, and was buried in Tallaght.
More information on this entry is available at the National Database of Irish-language biographies (Ainm.ie).