Inglis, Liam (William English) (1709–78), Augustinian priest and Jacobite poet, was born either in Newcastle, Co. Limerick, or in Co. Tipperary. Although little light can be shed on his parentage or early years, Risteard Ó Foghludha (qv), the editor of his poetry, believed that he was educated in his native area at a hedge school. In 1733, at the age of twenty-four, he is credited with composing a lament for Donnchadha Óg Mac Craith of Cill Bhéine, along with the poet Uilliam Rua Mac Coitir (qv). In 1737 he wrote a lament for John Fitzgerald, knight of Glin, who died in Co. Cork in August that year. By this time his reputation as a poet was well established among his literary brethren and he is listed as ‘Uilliam de Bhriotaibh’ (William Briton) among the Munster literati by Uilliam Rua Mac Coitir and the priest–poet John O'Brien (qv) (Seán Ó Briain). He continued the association with his literary colleagues throughout his writing career, and Ó Foghludha's edition of his work includes commentaries, poems, and verses composed by many of his Munster literary contemporaries, including Piaras Mac Gearailt (qv), Éadhbhard de Nógla (qv), Pádraig Ó hÉigceartaigh, Muiris Ó Gríobhtha, Seán na Ráithíneach Ó Murchadha (qv), Tadhg Gaedhlach Ó Súilleabháin (qv), Seán Ó Cuinneagáin, and the priest-poets Domhnaill Ó Briain, Seán Lúid (qv), and Bishop Risteard Breathnach.
Having composed a number of pieces in the 1730s, including verses for a woman named Anne Price, and an aisling (‘dream’ or ‘vision’), in which he imagined himself visiting the house of the famous Jacobite poet Seán Clárach Mac Domhnaill (qv), Inglis opted for the religious life, entering the Dominican house at Old Friary lane, near Old Fort Street, in Cork city. Unable to endure the harsh Dominican regime, and as a direct result of a disagreement with the prior on the meaning of the vow of poverty, he was dismissed from the order, whereupon he transferred to the Augustinian house in Fishamble Street, Cork. He spent one or two years there before leaving for the Augustinian monastery of Merulana in Rome in 1743 or 1744, where he was ordained priest in 1749. He then returned to Cork, where he served for four years from 1754 as sub-prior in the Augustinian house. He died in Cork on 20 January 1778 and was buried in St John's cemetery, Douglas Street.
Although he is credited with a wide range of secular and religious verse, the national and international politics of the later 1750s, particularly the Seven Years War, provided his greatest inspiration. His numerous poems composed during that war show knowledge of what was going on in its major theatres from eastern Europe to north America. He espoused the cause of the king of France, the empresses of Austria and Russia, and the heroic deeds of their illustrious generals. He satirised George II and the hated duke of Cumberland, and mocked British naval and military defeats. He gleaned much of his information on the Seven Years War from contemporary newspapers (in particular the Limerick Journal), translated it into Irish and set it to well-known airs, such as ‘An Craoibhínn Aoibhinn’, ‘Seán Buidhe’, ‘Maidín Bhog Aoibhinn’, and ‘The Princess Royal’, thereby diffusing English-language war news to an Irish-speaking public.