Monday, February 28, 2011



I found my nitch in Peace
On the street
He speaks
Roaring out the slogan


Call of the street

Song of the sail
They came and pointed thier finger
Once Again.

SIOCAIN is broken

Silence prevails
The Wolf howls
The babble goes on

Yesterday and Tomorrow

They talk
They speak
He says She says


For we hear the sound
On the street
Of our own voice
Of our pattering cana

A television sighs
Diversion is everywhere
Tomorrow we must
Today we will
we would if we could and we shall
Not words at all.

By the street
The silent speak
The cainte de doine
Is heard of the People

But the song lingers on amidst the swish
The sound and the Roar

The silence prevails
The night covers the horde
The sail passes by

Through the dawn
Through the dark
Through the day

FEBRUARY 27 2011



Somewhere far above and beyond the realm of reality
Lies a distant shore where waves of thought beat to and fro
And those who wish can ever go.

Far distant land the mind
Moon and stars above--
Clear and yet a foggy thing;
Cool ane pleasant - frightening ring.

Hard to tred there, ever wavering
Desiring to return to familiar ways,
Hearing calls - remembering days.

Tossing on hypnotic ends; carefree one moment,
Coldly deliberating to go forth. And yet,
Somewhat confused and pondering to turn again
To the familiar behind.

Judi Donnelly
Observation 60's
copyright 1972


Today I went to the traffic court,
Presented the judge with a short report.

Said he to me I will hear no more
For as a judge i know the score
No matter how much you emplore,
No matter how much you wish to roar,
Pay the fine or there's the door
To the jail up on the second floor,
Where you my dear they're waiting for,
My tickets you can not ignore,
For if you do, I'll charge you more.

A speech to me exact and short,
I felt that I should have a snort
Before I made reply to that:
And so, I gayle tipped my hat,
And laid the money on the mat,
Then chalked it up as tit for tat,
I took the change and brought a quart,
Returning from the traffic court.

Judi Donnelly
Observation 60's
copyright 1972



As the 20th century dawned and proceeded its way to the bloodiest wars in history the precarious position of the Gaelic tongue , the extreme economic deprivation and social rigidity were overcome by such writers as Mairtin ODireain, Sean o Riordain and O Cadhain in prose mostly but some poetry.

The play made a new stage appearance in Ireland as did a plethora of lyrical verse.

The early period of Revolution was dominated by the folksinger of revolutionary , rebel songs and verse and the overpowering factors of the Great War and the resulting death and dispondency.

A certain introspection runs through the older more established Rising period writers such as Mairtin O Cadhains volumes of short stories and of gaelteacht life of the 20's.

And of course the most famous writer of this early period James Joyce with his intimate discription of Dublin life.

The connection with America and its overwhelming prosperty and the continental cosmopolitanizm worked to include little farming Ireland into the mainstream of literary life.

Joyce was born in Febraury 1882 ,one of 10 children of RathGar Dublin.
He was educated by the Jesuits and was able to attend University College at Dublin.

He left for Paris in 1902 but returned to Ireland when his mother died where the novel Ulysses was formulated and set.
His writing and poetry offered in 1907 with the short story collection 'The Dubliners' was not published for a fear of the Irish publishers of libel suits and by 1912 Joyce was well done with his native land.

'Dubliners' was published with the outbreak of the Graet War in 1914.
He and Nora Barnacle, his unmarried wife, lived out the war in Zurick Switzerland with their 2 small children George and Lucia.

In 1918 Joyce's only play, The Exiles was published and staged at Munich Germany but was unsuccessful.

He wrote an autoBiography in novel form,
'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man'in 1916 and was happily upheld as an writer by both Ezra Pound and W B Yeats who were able to get him some funding assistance through the Royal Literay Fund.

Joyce had serious glacoma and long periods of near blindness but he was able to work on his novels and indeed he was the major sourse of the Irish novel development.

Some of Ulysses, which deal with a day, one day ,June 16, 1904, of his characters in Dublin.
The main one, Buch Mulligan developed from his University friendship with Oliver St John Gogarty was published by an American woman, Sylvia Beach after the work was serialized in the 'Little Review' in 1918.
Ms Beach having a bookstore in Paris called Shakespere and Company and the novel was published on James Joyces 40th birthday Febraury 2 1922.

However the book was censored in the liberal United States and the united Kingdom thus Joyce and his family never achieved financal success from its publication.

He kept on with his creative work however and in 1939 provided
'Finnians Wake ' again on the fringes of W W 2, an even more devistating era filled with even more horrific conflict than the
Great War of the 'Dubliners' in 1914.

With the Nazi panzer offensive and the fall of France, Joyce and his than wife Nora, whom he married in 1931 moved back to Zurick where he died on 13 January 1941 at 59 years of age.
Just 20 days before his 60th birthday.

In this early period of the 20's, a line of magazines appeared and begin with the Gaelic Journal in 1882 which provided a great outlet for Irish creative writing as well as social economic and political connections.

'An Cliadheamh Soluis' published stories of Conaire and Pearse.

The 1948
published regular essays of Daniel Corkery and Mairtin OCadhain and many exerts from books and poetty appeared in the magazine
Both published in the 40's War Years.

Throughout the early 20th century the new idea of a novel took hold and Eamonn Mac Giolla Iasachtas wrote.
which appeared in 1929 followed by,
a novel of West Kerry

AR DROMA MOR, written in the 30s by Seosamh mac Grainna dealing with pre Rising 1916 in the Donegal Gaelteacht was never published till 1970.

Seamus O Neill wrote a novel of middle class Dublin 'TONN TUILE' in the 40s and Marie Mhac an tSaoi chosing the themes of love, friendship and sex in her poetry explores the femine view of life and its moods.
She is distraught, impetious self indulgent, in her poem of illicit loves.
'Ceathrointe Mhaire Ni Ogain' explores the psycology and moral dilemmas of sex without sanction.
She does however lead the way for the second 50 years of Irish female writers which has developed and continues this day in fields of novels, short storys, plays, radio/television , journalism and music.
As Women work to lend their incite and talent to all the creative fields in both English and Irish.

With the Rising came the development of the autobiography.

MO SCEAL FIEN 1917, BY Antathair Peadar O Laoire.

The Blasket Islands producing:

AN OILEANACH, Thoms o Criomhtain 1929
PEIG by Peig Sayers 1936.

Biographys play an important contibution to Irish literary collections in the second half of the 20th century.
They, in effect, continue the work the old Court Bards and Shanachie folklore which develope the personalities and lives of prominent members of the race.

The play again makes an appearance on stage in such productions of the THEPEACOCK
and other Irish language works which srove to compete with the better known English adeptations of Shaw, Casey,Synge and others.

The Church seemingly takes little or no interest in the restoration of the Irish drama or literary developments through its ever present schools even though it contibuted mightily ,if innocently, to the demis of the language through its absortion of the old Gaelic nobilty into continetal Latin as a prefered learning tool.

The Church owes Ireland its language and its customs and traditions as they found them and as they remained until and even after the Great Hunger.

Film has made a good impact for English with an Irish Brogue from inciteful productions from the Irish Film Bord and such American productions as Hells Kitchens Michael Collins.

None of the great history the many confrontations with invaders or the many Irish characters from princes to priests have as yet been touched by the media of drama or film documentary.

Science remains out of the scope of Irish literature outside of Eogain o Tuairisc poem AIFREANN NA MARBH on the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima written in the 50s.

Music has born fruit for the Irish in both languages and in economic advances with many outstanding works and artist being presented from both Ireland ,Scotland ,the UK and the US producing outstanding musical groups.
Public television has prsented many artists from Ireland on its programs as does the Irish state run television programs.

The pubs catering to the Irish toursit trade as well as their own prosperous technocrats, offer a continious stream of live music presentations both lyrical and orchestrial in addition to the street preformers who simply set up their music on the corner and pitch of a popular street and soon attract a surrounding crowd of admirers and listeners.

A great body of radio and telifis work has been compiled in Ireland in both English with Brogue and Channel 4 Irish language Gaelteach colloquial Irish as spoken.
The cainte de duine.

The internet provides a plethora of newsheets, blogs, opinions and historical disertations as the Irish have proven themselvs to be computer literate for those who have the time to pursue this medium of communication.

Many web sites of history, both modern, medieval, tribal and mythological exist as well as sets of idioms, languages phrases and tourist training go on for the benefit of everyone in or out of the Irish countryside..
In the modern developed world of the second half of the 20th century Ireland has kept pace with the rest of the world in most of its improvemnts.
It subsequently has a highly educated young work force quite capable of maintaining a work presence and a road presence and a social presence.

Its commitment to its own past history however has lapsed in the young whose lives are diverted by a modern life style of technology, travel and trivia.

Youth expects the past, its foundation, to be there hidden away in the archievs of the Natianal Library and the Universities in case they need it sometime in the future.
Like Americanas, they see no need to understand their history or their language or their beliefs as relevant to their modern thought and life style.

However Ireland itself maintains these stuffy archives and provides through its National Library system local county librarys open to the public on a free use basis where materials and social networks can be accessed.

Its sponsorship of the 'Bealtaine Festival' funded by the Arts Counsil Chamhaire Ealaion, using the skills and opportunites of old people to steer the past foreruner of the future into local national and international connections to enrich the culture.

The program is begining to get parish organizations, and generations building self esteem, social contact, and well being throughout the nation in understanding itself.

The program 'Bealtaine Festival' takes part of the old May Bealtain fair and cross quarterday notation by the nation of the beginning of Spring .
And in a modern sense revives one of the old fairs and gives it meaning which the one surving quarterday remaing, Halloween ,the end of summer, has lost to ghoasts, goblins and foolishness.

Events and programs are held throught the contry at various county librarys highlighting such events as a national film tour, storytelling, creative writing ,photography re-emersion essays, painting ,the dansa, theater, music and coral groups.

Exibitions and international links to such groups as The Welsh Festival, Angus Gold of Scotland, Cologne in France. Bildung und Kulture [IBK] in Germany and other more far afield agencys making use of the free time only seniors and preschoolers enjoy.
From 4 to 50 the great thinkers and doers of the world.

This just one of the many cultural and operative agencys dealing with the Irish Heritage, one of the oldest national entities of Europe remaining intact.

From the sacred caldron and the cooking pot and the Stone of Destiny Lia Fail, to the mystical maiden of ancient Erinn, through the supressions and opressions and desperations of centuries, this Ireland remains characteristicly a hidden Ireland.
Sheltered from the storm by its ring of coastal mountains.

A birds nest within itself. Fledgling its seabird wings from time to time but always returning to its secluded nest within, where Charles Lindburg in 1927 opened his window on his single engine Spirit of St Louis and called out to turf diggers below,

'Which way is Ireland?'


Judi Donnelly
copyright 28 February 2011

sourse: Gaelic Literature Surveyed, Aod de Blacam, Barne /Noble Books, 1929

Ulysses, By James Joyce,The Modern Library Edition, Random House Inc. 1914-1961 by Lucia and George Joyce

Bealtaine Festival, Arts Counsil/National Library of Ireland, ,2010



As 1847, Black 47, spread to the unsuspecting God trusting Irish, over the plethera of Gaelic creation during the penal era with its unrhythmic ,unsyllabled and unpoetic shanachies, the Great Hunger came like a dark cloud from Heaven itself and rested its blight on the blackened field and the dark mud hut cottiers of the native population already blotted out as indiginous people, by law and government.

The garoulous, viril , large bodied and exuberant were brought to heel in the submission to death itself, and the nation as divided by the Anglo law and goverment, blotted out in fact as well as on paper.

The Gael was still using the native tongue, flowing wit and boisterous song when calamity changed the land utterly with the death of famine and fever of over 1 million gaels and the desperate emigration conducted by both native and landlord to rid the land of the starving helpless millions of skeletal rag bags still visable on the land.
The country had drifted for 300 years towards extinction as it still drifts today.

The old ballad makers and shanachies, the folk poets and bards of the penal era ceased to be and the county lay denuded after its national Wake until the Gaelic revival of 1893.

During that post famine era only one lone pen was pressed to paper and that being the Archbishop of Tuam, John Mc Hale.
He had succeeded Florence Conry in this post and conducted a firey battle against the educational system emposed by Anglo rule designed to end the Gaelic culture.
It was a solitay battle like that of Cuculain while the men of Ulster suffered from meisce and could not rise to fight.

Although the Archbishop was out of touch with native folk culture and tradition,he did translate some of Homers works, much of the old Hebrew Testament, Thomas Moores songs, an Irish Catechism and prayer books.

His attitude however, did influence the prose writer cannon Peter O Leary a student at Maynooth College Semenary.

Cannon O Leary gave a lecture on literature there to some visiting Bishops and among them was prelate O Hale who commended his discussion of Greece, Rome, France,Spain, Germany and England but critized him for not one world out of his mouth on the literature of Ireland, to which the 'Lion of the Fold' wakened O Leary to the ancient and noble literature of Ireland.

One of the penal days preservers of some of this ancient noble Irish lore was O Conor of Belanagare who had some substanctance, was a fine scholar and collected a large Gaelic library with scribes to transcribe it.

Later in the late 1775-80s, Joseph Walker published a 'Historical Memior of the Irish Bards'.
In 1786 and in 1789 Charlotte Brooke, the first woman mentioned in any Irish literature, published 'Reliques of Irish Poetry' with verse and song.

By 1813 James Hardimans' History of Galway' was published and Irish Minstrelrys' containing bardic and popular poetry.
This published as a magazine and brought Modern Irish Literature to the general public right down to the Padraic Pearce consumption of it.

Hardiman, after some convincing that these Irish materials had merit, enjoyned Thomas Turlog to translate them to English.

He also engaged John O Donovan of Kilkenny as a scribe who copied Peter O Connells Irish Dictionary ,a work never published.

O Donovan later edited and transcribed the 4 Masters;
Brehon Law;
The Topigraphical Poems of O Dugan & O Heerin ;
The Book of Rights;
The Martyrolgy of Donegal

as he worked for a living for the Ordnance Survey where he compiled records of 10 thousand Irish townlands.
He wrote an Irish grammar all with very little money at hand.

He had married a daughter of Eugene O Curry m Own Mor O Curry of Clare.
This man was an old world scholar and musician.
O Curry worked at the Royal Irish Academy and Trinity College where he collected ancient codices and illistrations and he later delivered lectures on the MSs on Nature and Early Irish History :the Manner and Customs of the Ancient Irish ,delivered at Catholic University before his death in 1862.

These lectures revolutionized the writing of Irish history.
He had worked to translate the Book of Ballymote.

These 2 men ODonovan and OCurry reestablished the ancient scholarship of Erinn after its 200 years of oblivian.

These giants of devotion were augmented by George Petrie's archeological services and Edward Buntings records of Irish music.

The Young Ireland movement then taking hold, set out to create an English writing inclusive of the Irish past.

Walsh, Tom Davis and Mangan sought to not only tranlate to English the Old Irish past but to salvage the Gaelic language.

The Anglo Irish fell silent after the Young Ireland school ceased after the famine and their, defeat until in the 1890s James Standish O Grady and the ideal of the Young Irelanders were taken up anew.

OGrady wrote his 'Bardic History' and 'Silva Gadelica' which material he recovered from the British museum.

In this day societys were formed to carry on the revivalist work. Gaelic Society in 1808
Archeological Society in 1840
The Celtic Society

All these prefamine societys attracted the support of the Anglo Irish nobility and landed gentry.
They sponsored and patronized as did the old Irish princes.

In 1854 the Ossianic Society began publication of the Fenian lays.
O Grady was a worker for this Society but most of his works were not published until 1926.
His exact catalogue of the Irish MSS in the British Museum was completed by Robin Flower.
The compete index of Gaelic was now possessed.

In 1876 the Society for the Preservation of the Irish language published the 3 Sorowful stories* and in 1879 the Gaelic Journal magazine was published by the Geaelic Union in the living language[Late Modern Irish].

By 1893 the Gaelic League was formed, publishing hundreds of popular volumes which sought to place the past as the forrunner to the present.
Such men as Pearce,Dr Hyde ,Provost of Trinity College, mac Neill, lovers of the Ossian lays and Gaelic songs, created a new pride in Irish heritage.
It collected tales of the Red Branch Knights of Armagh, the Fenain tales of 2 Ad., songs and folk tales from all the tribal lands of Ireland.

The Irish Text Society founded in 1900, published each year, a book in Irish and English.
Such volumes as Keatings History,
Fions Poem Book, the Dunaire Finn, Contention of the Bards ,the Lays of Aed Ruad O Domnaill.

On the continent, it was determined the Celtic tongue to be part of the Indo-European family and there Arbois de Jubainville wrote of the Tuatha de Danann.

Windisch of Germany published an Old Irish Grammer and a middle Irish vocabulary for students that they might read these works from the 1200s.

A dictionary collaboration of his with Whitley Stokes of Dublin, the grandson of the old Whitley Stokes who tranlated the Lives of the Saints, an invaluable work.
These and other including Dunn in America worked to bring the vestages of the forgotten civilization in Irelnd to light.

Thurneysens work of the early Sagas;
Kuno Meyer, the German scholar, was at home in all celtic lore and was equaly happy camped out with Welsh gypsies.
Kuno worked diligently with nature poems and the Fenian Cycle and wrote a line of Irsh meterics and a list of 1000 Irish poets.
At this Rennissance list, literature and learning was saved from oblivian.

The work of Cannon Peter O Leary,of Cork who wrote the Irish as he heard it, the venacular speech.
The old literary sentance was abandond and the new sentance was simple and breif.
o Leary not only tamed the old Irish syllabic metric sentance, he taught the Geailteach to write what it spoke,

He created an exaustive record of Colloquial Irish as it was spoken writing a novel called 'Seadna' on the rural Class and
of the midle Irish aisling poet 'Mac Conglines Vision'.
He wrote gospels and an' Imitation of Christ'.

Padraic o Conaire ,a shanachie of Connact, is ranked as one of the best short story writers of contemporay Europe.
O Conaire possessed a skill of defining the human character, whether priest or peasant or personalities of characters.
His most poignant work is of mother and lover of a fallen youth killed in the ongoing stife of Ireland.

In Donegal, Tir Conaill produced many Renessance writers such as Seumas O Grianna the composer of 'Caisleaan Oir' of the Dengal hardships and Micheal Ruad.

In Leinster and the Pale, Padraig Pearce is cited with his vital 268 page 'Gaelic Works' that is prophetic.
In 'Letters That Went Astray' he portrays the era of Home rule in 1911 with such phrases as:
'I Siocain go Saoirse'
[No peace without freedom].

Pearce the schoolmaster also wote some Gaelic short stories.
He was not a great craftman of the 'Caine de Doine' but he did reflect the passion of the Irish people.

He held ideals but expresed them with cynasism.
Born into the Anglo Life, Gaelic his second language, he held the idylls of the kings as his bachground and a familiarity with fenain ranns and gaelic literature that lead him to envison a new state ,free of English domination.

The era was one mainly of prose not poetry and the story that of the contryside not the urban cosmopolitan society.
That left till a later time to such exiles a as James Joyce in his Ulysses.

As the day of the Easter Rising approached the Irish Universitys encourged Gaeltacht to read in the late modern Irish scrip,t the old classics, thus to produce in the new 20th Century a school possessing the Gaelic past and the Gaelic tongue and a new learning.

And so Ireland with its saints and scholars, heros and kings, poets bards, and invaders passed into the 20th century.

* The three sorowful tales o storytelling are:
Fate of The children of Tuireann of the de Danann vs Fomore
Fate of the Children of Lir, of the jelousy of a woman
Fate of the Children of Uisnech of the Red Branch

all 3 tales edited to one volume by Sean O Ceallaigh

Judi Donnelly
copyright 24 Febraury 2011

sourse: Irish Literature Surveyed, Aod Balcam, Barnes/Noble Books, NY NY, 1929
Ulysses, By James Joyce,The Modern Library Edition, Random House Inc. 1914-1961 by Lucia and George Joyce

Thursday, February 24, 2011



With the passage of the Penal laws the proud and ancient nation was reduced to a state worse than servitude.

The law simply eliminated a catholic Irish person from existance.

The entire native noble class was exiled and in hiding and the old aristocracy, once patrons of the arts, were reduced to laborers, wood cutters and water bearers.

This era of deprivation not only of state and religion but any means of making a living or any educaation subumed the culture to a hidden Ireland.

This 18th century abuse was captured in 5 volumes by Lecky in his 'History of Ireland '.
All the exterior life of 1700 Ireland but not a word of the interior life of the Gael.
The entire order of this century was carried on in English commerce, admininsration of law and services entirely English controlled.

Anglo Ireland was indiffent to the old native traditions and the natives did not speak or understand the English tongue.

The Irish were outlawed yet carried on their literary tradition without library or printing press or any encouragement from their harsh and unfeeling masters.

The Irish reduced from statehood and exising in the worst physical conditions, in windowless mud huts, beset with famine and desease, continued somehow to preserve their cherished poetry.
Scribes when they could obtain paper or parchament, copying the Fenian tales and bardic poetry and recording the traditions and geneologys of the fallen houses.

The Cuirt na hEigce held often in sheds and barns held the Barrantas where assembled seeming laborers and petty farmers could recindle the life and heros of history.
The participants erecting their poetic compositions before High Sherrifs--Judges.
The language and its purity were guarded, the vocabulary preserved an a pooling of remembered Gaelic lore.

At this period the political oppressive conditions degraded the Classical grammer forms and dialectic slang began to prevail.

The provincial communications were distroyed and even county by county had no intercouse between the literate in their clanns.
All were separate.
Thomond from Desmond, Munster from Ulster, Connacht from NW Donegal and very little writing recorded.

A local folk poetry developed.

Where the Cuirt poets were scholars and had the literary tradition and carried on the Bardic art, the folk poems were purely from local inspiration.

It was a period when the Irish gentlemen, the knights and names of princes served well in continetal armys and battlefields.
Serving in France ,Spain, Poland Austria.

They dreamt of the restoration of Irish soverienty and the old monastic abbeys..
The Aislingi poems, visions, were sung giving a mystical ideal, a dream the Tam.
The vision was held in broken Gaeldom in a common dream.

It was the time of Swift but in Dublin their existed some 26 noted Gaelic poets and scribes around 1728.

Teig O Naughton and his father Sean of county Rosscommon and Meath.
Sean gained his bride Winifred Nangel with his sweet song.

"I'd go to the woods with you golden haired maiden'

He wrote the elegy for Mary d Este ,James 2 widow ,and the drinking song 'Maggie Lauder',a toast to the old familys.

The Gael had humor with is own attempt to speak broken English.

Teig however exibited the ever present Irish sense of practical and compiled an Irish/English dictionary.

Carolan meanwhile roamed the bothars of Connacht and achieved acceptance amongh the new Anglo lords for his song and verse.

He became blind from smallpox at an early age but because of it he learned the Harp.
His father of the Meath nobility had been stripped of all his possessions, lands, titles ,food ,substance et:al by the conquering English and had escaped to county Leitrim.

MacDermott Roe of Alderford Rosscomman adopted the boy and it was here Carolan made his best songs and retured to die.

When he was 22 Mrs Mac Dermott provided him with a horse and attendant and he began his travels from house to house.

Carolan does not dwell on the sorrows of Erinn but he played 'planxties', happy dance tunes for the Anglo houses.
His portrait was painted in county Clare by a Dutch artist in 1720. Commissioned by his host a prodistant dean at Limerick.

He was at Tempo with Maguire when he knew he was in deaths throes in 1737, and hence journeyed home to Alderford,playign along the way his 'Farewell to Music'.

When he died vast crowds assembled fora 4 day Wake and 10 harpers played.
He is buried in Kilroanan churchyard.

Cormac Common also of the west, born in county Mayo [magh Eo] in 1703 traveled the country as Shanashie[Sianatie] of Ossainic lays.

Richard Barrett of Erris and Michale macSweeney of Conemara were also western poets of this distant west.

Barret was a United Irishman and was arrested and spent months in Castlebar jail.
He is buried at Cross Abbey.
He composed such works as

'Preab son Ol'
send round the drink
'Eoghan Coir'.

In Connacht Gael and Gall often shared a boisterous and decadent life. Often gathered at the wiskey house.

Later in the century ,the West produced Anthony Raftery of Killmag around 1784.
Again he was blinded by smallpox , became a musician and played the fiddle.
He had no education and was folk poet playing usually among the poor and cottiers.

His 'Seanchas un Sgeiche' reveals the old storys of the conflict between
The FirBuilg and the Dannan,
First battle of Mag Tuirean of early BC memory.
The Melisian invasion Middle BC memory,
The Fainna,
The apostle Padraig,
The Norse invasion,
The Turgesius drowning,
Brian Borus victory
The English conquest,
The Reforamtion,
The Wars of O Neill and Sarsfield.

In essence the entire synoptic history of Ireland from earliest times revealing its oral tansmission amongh this illiterate and down trodden people.

He wrote of hospitality and the love of a flowering young woman.

And in these verseS Connact and the west Irish sunk into the its empty pockets in gloom as Connacnt and northwest Ulster lapsed into illeteracy and folk songs.

The scibes of east Ulster and Louth never stopped copying manuscripts.
These printed in Belfast[Beal Feirste]
as late as late 19th century 1875 taking the old into the Gaelic Revival when it materialized in that era 1875-1900.

Dundalk held a Bardic festival in 1827 and Bardic competions were held in O Meath in the 1840s.

Seumas mac Cuarta [Courtney], born in O Meath or Louth in 1747 carried on the Gaelic tradition.
Carolan visited him and his friend Patrick mac Alindon of the Fews and many verses were composed to honor their famous western Bard.

Mac Cuarta too was blind and hence wrote a poem to a song birds,
'Hail to the bird Sweetest in the branches
Well for those who can see it as well as hear it.'

Mac Alindon is more a scholar .
He keeps a school at Cnoc Chein Mhic Chaintre at Dundalk for reading and writing Irish .
Mac Alindon was a trained mind and a mellifious voice and chose history as topic of his verse.

Peter or Doirnin born in Louth in 1704, a Jacobite and assocate of An Beirneach Mor a rapparee at Sleibe Fuand, made a verse of the landing of Prince Charles Stuart at Scotland, which verse landed him in Armagh jail where he died.
Betrayed by a jelous woman.

O Doirin wrote on the ancient divisions and colonizations of Ireland.
He was a school master at Louth and Armagh.
'On the run' for teachign the Irish language writing of it in a cave of his hiding:
' O Sweet Irish tongue
Was no crime once to speak you in Fodla'.

ODoirin was eulogized by Art mac Coy [Cooey] and made a poem called, 'Uirchill a Chreagain' known as the national anthem of south Ulster.
The Graveyard of Creegan of the Gails.

Art mac Coy was no lover of the Stuart kings but put his hope in the O Neill.
His asiling poem o Chreagain where he declines to go with a maiden to the faery liss than to be in unhappy Ireland, but he would not leave his comrades under the arrows of Clann Bhfuilaigh [Wully] the William ites.

MacCoy was the son of a small farmer in county Armgah living as a gardeners laborer.
His hope for freedom and independence are slung way with the young death of Art O Neill.
When Art macCoy died Dr James Wood, a chemist made a lay for him.
Drugist Wood was an ardent collector of MSs and held a bardic contest in 1827.

In Cavan, a mysterious Parson Brady became a prodestant but satarized his colleagues and his new creed.

Cathal Buide Gunn traveled all over the north and tales of his vagaries abounded.
His lurid and turbulent life ended when a stange woman brough him a priest in his last hour.

Cathal wrote the famous Yellow Bittern to which he likened himself .
He also a wandering, lonely, yellow haired obscure child of Amergin.
The hungry oblivian overtook all.

Many religious prose works and sermons arose from the north.
such as those of Dr James O Gallagher, Bishop Raphoe 1727-1737.
Written while the Bishop was 'on the run' from penal oppression at Lough Erne.
He composed in the Cainte na n daoine, speech of the people.

In Mumna[Munster] Eogan O Rahilly [Reilly] from Kilarney of a respectable farm family under the mac Carthys,
whom they had been under since before the death of Jesus Christ.
He was poet and a singer.
He was of the people but as the penal age unfolded his lightness turned to despare and anger.

He recreates 'Caislean an Tochair' and the splended MCCarthy stonghold
He eulogies oCallaghan.

The homes full of amber light of the courts and laden tables. Warriors at chess, feasts and scholars.
The cry of the chase and the sound of the Bugle on the misty hills full of foxes, red bucks ,hares, water hens ,pheasants.

o Rahilly makes a poem on a gift of a pair of shoes- that great lacking enblim of Irelands empoverished native race-and how these particular shoes had been worn by gods and made victory for heros.

As the new Gall road by on the road, the horseless Gael must take to the ditch and gather his homepspun from the splashing mud .

In such circumstance ORahilly wrote 'Gile na Gile'
'Brighness of Brighness I met upon the way'.

He wrote of this sorrow and loss on his death bed and rests in the slender coffin at Mucross Abbey with the MacCarthys.

Sean Claraich mac Donnell of Rath Luirc, a stong farmer, educated for the priesthood. A Jacobite, follower of the White Cockade, a white ribbon worn by a woman in the hair.

Sean vision is his poem on Irelands faery stongholds:
and more..

Willam o Heffernnan of Tipperarys Shroen Hill, a blind poet wrote,

who ever she be.

Sean o Toomey of Croom whose wife kept a tavern was a homely, big hearted fellow; Eloquent but uneducated.
Andrew MacGrath the Jolly Pedlar, a school master was his great friend.
They ,the two of them, sang the delights of the tavern.
Regected by both prodestant and catholic churchs in
'Margaire Sugach'
he hopes Heaven will not close its doors on him.

He wrote a'Farewell to the Maguires' in 1746 as he had been banished by priest for an irregularity.

His song leaves us the coshna of the berrys, the poems and the hosts, and farewell to his comrades and guiless friends.
To the fair woman and the one that has caused his banishment and made him the gossip of every town.

Clare also produced scholars and poets in Andrew and Hugh McCui rtin well learned fine poets.
Andrew, in reduced circumstances addressed an ode to
Donn of the Sandhills
asking the long dead mythological prince for his aid.
He predicts a 1745 victory if he were not trapped by death .
However he died in 1738.

His brother Hugh went to France under the Treadty of Limerick and was a royal tutor for 7 years.
In 1713 he was living in Dublin and part of the O Naughton literary circle.

At this time he wrote,

'A brief Discourse on Vindication of the Antiquites of Ireland',
in which he corrected Sir Richard Coxs errors.
Cox revenged himself by securing the poet a year in prison at Newgate prison. One of His Majestys more notorious correctional institutions.

While there he compiled an Irish grammer published at Louvain.

In 1732 he collaborated with Conor Begley to publish an English/Irish dictionary published in Paris.

Hugh was with Lord Clares regiment at Flanders.
He had contpmpt for the new native upstarts who profited from Irelands decay.
He represented a new class of Gael who spoke English and aspired to be the Gaelic gentry.
He was buried in his native Kilmacreey, Clare.

Many other poets and bards passed through the penal times.
Some of them hard drinking anglo prodestants.

In addition to these ,the folklore was kept alive by the cottage fire by the Shanachy seanchas oral versions of literature.

The seanchas was the cell on which Irish culture was built and the channel through which the past informed the future.

Deep subjects came into play as well.
The faery tales were told under wonder tales
there was a king long ago
100 tales to follow.

The simple life of the booley, the dairy in the hills, the summer pasture, the princes ventures on the misty moors.

The ancient bardic tales and songs were shared to all classes and a highly trained poet reciting before princes came down by shanachie generation after generation to the shanachie of the chimeny corners.
Circulating oral traditons.

Some of these are collected in
'Londubhan Chairi' by Reverend P Walsh.

Dr T O Rahillys
'Miselanious Irish Proverbs' and his two books of Rann and Burduin
'The Danfocail'
'The Burdui nBheaga.

In later centuries after the Rising of 1916 and the settling in of the Republic cause, a folklore department was created in the new Irish government and collections made of much ofthe folklore in the countyside.
This was a particularly active project of de Valera after his election in 1932 and continuing during the Emergency years of World war 2.

copyright Februay 19 ,2011

sourse: Gaelic Literature Surveyed, Aodh de Blacam, Barnes Noble Books NY NY, 1929

Wednesday, February 16, 2011



The wind is whistlinG round my window,
Whistling, whistling, round and round;
The wind is howling out its message,
Whirling, whirling on the ground;
In the distance dogs are barking,
Howling, howling, deep and dark;
In the ticking time is marking,
Marking, marking off the time.

As the wind around me creeping
Creeping, weeping, sighing sound;
To and fro my thoughts are seeping,
Seeping as the winds are blowing;
To and frow my mind is leaping,
Leaping over this than that;
All the many thoughts are heaping,
Marking marking off the time.

Remember death is just beginning,
Beginning new fresh life;
Remember here that we are winning,
Winning , winning death and life;
To die to die is just to live,
The beginning and the end;
To live is solely to forgive,
Marking, marking off the time.

As the winds around me blowing,
Howling out their futile crowing,
Saying truths and ever knowing;
Never cease their solomn howling,
'Cross the earthy, earthern floor,
Speaking out their ancient rhyme;
Marking, marking off the time.

Judi Donnelly
copright 1972 Dundee NY

'Observation 60's'



The Maguire of Fermanagh 'Guidhir o Fhearmanagh',
relates for us the occation of the Maguires acquiring the dynastic succession of Fermanach in 1200 AD when Cathal Croabdearg ruled Connacht, Donough Cair Breach was the OBRien in Thomond, and the O Donnells were rising to power in Duin n Gaill[Donegal].

The little kingdom of the was Erne ringed by mountains and in its center the sparkling water of Loch Erne with its 365 islands containing 7 tuaths with their chiefs and termon lands of the Church, held at that era by Manus Maguire who went every year from his tig [house] at Puirt Dobhrain on an island to collect his tributes.

He began at Beeleek, flagstone of the weopons, where he kept a permanent guest house.
There he resided for a month gathering his tributes and feasting the Chiefs and distributing bounties to the Church and the scholars and warriors.

From there he went on to Termon Mag Rath [Pettigo] for a night [Ocht] where he boarded his fleet to Galloon and another guest house for a second month.
This in the northern part of his kingdom now the county of Fermanagh.

This the provincial taoi did for 35 years ruling with peace [siochain ]and Equity.

At this juncture Manus became ill and could not go to collect his tribute and the Chiefs employed the Irish motto:

'what ever is long borrowed is usually regarded as ones own'

resolved to withhold the 3 years arrearages.

Manus was told of this refusal and having only 1 child he sent out stewards to take the tribute.

O Flanagan, tigerna of Tuath Ratha [Toora] refused to give these collectors the tribute saying he would only pay it to the Maguire himself. That these stewards would not store it for Maguire more faithfully than he Himself.
At this note the Stewards seized the tribute from the Toora herds.
But Flanagan pursued them with his followers and overtook the stewards at Clais an Chairn
A fight ensued and several on both sides were killed including O Flanagan Himself.

Angry at this, Maguire summoned his chief advisors, clergy, doctors of history and medicine for their counsel.
These advisers prefered to side with the living rebels rather than the old dying Lord and the brehon O Breslin deliverd the judgement that
'the matter should be allowed to rest'.
Maguire decreed this a perverse decision . Ordered them fed , entertained and dismissed.

He had contacted Giolla na Naomh o Luinin a faithful historian and his physicain O Cassidy.

He wrote his half brother Giolla Iosa[sacred] Maguire who was living at the OReilly house in Breffni.
OReilly was grandfather of Giolla Iosa Maguire.

Grandfather OReilly was highly indignant at the audacity of the rebelling Chiefs against their lawful lord.
Giolla Iosa with grandfather O Riellys beanacta [blessing] went forth to Puirt Dobharain [Dovren] to meet with the crippled Manus who was carried to the puirt by his warriors to meet him.

The two brothers took meat and drink and a chamber for sleep wherein they prepared a plan.

Manus sent Iosa to ODonnell, king of Tir Conail ,who was at Bally Shannon to engage his constables, O Gallagher, O Boyle and the 3 mac sweenys with warriors to be paid 1 full grown heifer for each man.
These to go forth to arrest the living chiefs in rebellious Fermanagh.

Giolla was welcomed by O Donnell and they talked of old times.
The 700 men were hosted and marched to Fermanagh.

The warriors pitched their tents and drank mead and ale at the top of Gleann Dorcha.
These big bodied, boisterous Gaels bivouaced fighing men on the Irish hills.
They proceeded to seize the 700 cattle due them and these they drove to Tir Conail,by 'lucht turasasdail', earners wages.

The rebellious chiefs they took prisoner to Puirt Dobharain along with the tribute they had withheld from the Maguire.

Flanagans people complaiend this was an illegal eiric honor price being demanded.
But Giolla Iosa told them straight out that if he had his way they would all be in prison at Cloch Uachatair.

Terms were at length reached and they all drank to the Chiefs.
Manus declared the Flanighan heir the O Flannagan on the spot.
Feis followed and toasts were made to the law, the laity, the clergy, the druids and the ollams and the men of Tir Conail rode home happily after 3 days and nights of music and festivity, poems, comic songs of the elders and Giolla Iosa said it was time to return to Breffne with promise to help Manus in every time of need.

However Manus Maguire had other plans and this to turn the kingdom of Fermanagh to Giolla Iosa and his heirs providing for himself and his decendants only a mensal land and a farm for produce.

Fearann Buird agus Fearann Barra.

'A county without a Chief is dead '

he quoted from a Gaelic proverb.

Although Giolla was reluctant to profit from his kisnmans ill health he consented and settlment was drawn up by O Breslin and O Cassidy in verse.

The 2 thus ruled jointly for 3 years bequething gold, silver, cattle wealth, for orphans and widows until Manus died and thus the story ends.

The tale is edited by Father Dineaen.

The story eludes to the policy of collections of taxes and fines in cattle not coin and the law of the Gael prevailed in each tuath and province.

Decendants of Gioll Iosa held the dynastic rule of Fernmanagh from the time in 1200 till the final fall of Gaelic law under Aed [Hugh] Maguire and Cuchonnacht who left with the Great ONeill in 1607 and died at Genoa Italy.

As Manus prepares Iosa to travel to oDonnell, he pauses in the nararative to tell the Dinnsheanchas of the place names.

The Ireland of titles, heroic kingdoms, tuath and the alignments of old reamined secure.

Judi Donnelly
Feb 15, 2011

Gaelic Literature Surveyed, Aod de Blacam, Barnes & Noble Books, NY NY 1929

Monday, February 14, 2011



In 1204 AD Donough Cair Breach O Briain [Brien] of the Thomond Clann Ui Briuin was inagurated territorial tigerna ,often styled a provincial king.

At this point in time, Ireland was in control of the Norman invaders and the land between Fergus and Limerick [Luimneach] had been granted by Edward I, son of John, to Thomas de Clare to give the English a foothold in unconquered Clare, Na Clar Thuathamumhan.

In 1275 AD Brian Rua, great grandson of Donough Cairbreach O Brien ,old patron of the Bards, was then provincial king of Thomond.
But this right was challenged by Turlough son of Brians older brother.

This nefew provoked Brian O Brien to seek outside assistance in holding his position against Turlough and his Irish allys the septs of macNa Mara, OConor of Corcomroe, O Dea and O Kelly.

His support came from Brians alliance with Thomas de Clare who to encastleate himself, had built Bunratty Castle on the Raod to Ennis.
The castle walls were 7 feet thick and the castle still stands intact and has become a tourist attraction in the 20th century.

Turlough however, with his 4 loyal Irish septs marched against the Norman forces and defeated them and his Uncle Brian.

Bunratty then became the Anglo/Norman refuge and in vengange for their loss they seized Brian who had inlisted their help while he was having dinner, bound him to 2 battle horses and Brian, unhappy prince, was like Setna [Sechna] some 200 years before him, was likewise torn apart by Bres in resolution of a family 'blood fued'.

Brians son Donough O Brien however stayed in alliance with the de Clare foriegn forces and thus the conflict for power between himself and his first cousin Turlough continued.

A second battle was fought between the Turlough clanns and the Clann Brian in a large wood in Clare.
Again Turlough and his loyal septs defeated the Donaugh/Clare alliance and a peace followed.

Five years later the 2 cousins met on the river bank in 1284.
A dispute arose between them in which Donough M Brian O Brien was killed.

In 1287, 3 years later, a third battle between waring o Brien Clans ensued and Thomas de Clare was killed by Turlough forces.
Turlough thus marched with his forces under a leopard banner and carrying gold shields through great Thomond of old Cashel.
A triumphal parade.

As he returned westward on Loch Dearg which springs up in the Shannon waters as they flow south to Limerck and the sea,he met a faery woman who challenged him for not taking the lordship of all Ireland.
But Turlough went home and ruled Thomond well and honestly for 20 years.
He was written of by Sean macCreath in Early Modern Irish in a work caled 'The WARs of Turlough' along with his OBrien ancestry.

In 1306 Turlough died and his son Donough m Turlough Meic Donough Ciarbreach O Briain became tigerna of Thomond.

This Donough however was trecherously killed with a strike of a battle axe by a clann Brian helper and his cousin Dermot m Donough m BrianRue OBrien, who had first made alliance with the Norman de Clare was inagurated prince of Thomond with the military assistance of a second De Clare.

This killing and userpation of Turloughs right to rule required renewal of the 'blood fued' which was taken up by Donough m Turlough O Briens brother Murtough OBrien.

This internicine stuggle went on between the compeating clanns for years with highly skilled arms and stratagists and vocabulary of war.

Lances and banners abounding in pmop, and show; storming of Norman castles until in 1317 the Battle of the Abby of Corcomroe finally resolved the 10 year internicine war of vengance between Clann Turlough and his native Irish forces and Clann Brian and his allied Norman forces.

The Abbey had been founded by Donough Cairbreach O Brien in early 1200, 100 years before the combatants gathered there for the final battle.

The OBrian Clann then headed by another Donough with his Noramn allies marched agaisnt Clann Turlough who occupied the Abbey.

As the Brian forces marched north to the Cocomroe hill they came upon and old hag by the loch beneith the hill washing a cairn of heads, limbs and weopons.
The Irish Washerwoman was the omen of defeat and death to Cuchulain in 1 BC some 1100 years before the 1317 AD battle.
She chanted a Dirge against Clann Brian which his forces mocked and went on to their doom.
On the ridge beside the Abbey the 2 forces met.
Mac na Mara in the lead ,armed in mail, marshal of Clan Turlough.

The meeing was proceeded by volleys of arrow bombardments of each other and when the two hosts met, the blue [signifing steel] Danish blades of Mac na Mara slashed down Clan Brian as they stood.
Loyal Felim O Conor of Corcomroe fought with Clann Turlough and it was he who struck down king Donough m Brian OBrien of Clann Brian.

As Donough saw his battalions being cut to pieces, the king struck his attach to the midst of the battle where he met Felim OConnor, the fair haired prince.
Donough stuck OConers long fingered hand with his sword pointed spear,
whereupon Felim lifted his blue edges iron axe striking Donough m Brian in the breastplate laying bare Donough side.
As Donough felt his life force waxing and his strength leaving him he rushed forward against Dermots slaughtering batallions.
This a son of Turlough.

These men he struck fiercly, mutilating the Turlough champions and his noble kin,till at last, they wounded him with their blue spears and mangled him with their swords till at last Donough m Brian fell by the weight of weopons and the forces of Dermot of Clann Turlough.
Clann Brian was distroyed save one.

The dead were laid in the Abbey santuary by the Cistercians of Corcomore.
Victorious Clan Turlough, Murtough O Brien threw down de Clare and ruled Thomond for 26 yeas till his death in 1343.

Thus ended a 32 year contest between the decendants of Donough Cair Breach Ua Briain o Ui Briuin m Muigmedoin, high king of Ireland in 300 AD

The Ui Briuin were the children of Mongfind, the wife of Muigmedoin also father of Niall Noigiallach by a different mother.

And so a pictue of the Burren is painted with its

'hilly grey expanses of jagged points and slippery steep wind tormented cold on Echtge's blue ridges'.

Judi Donnelly
11 Feb 2011

sourse: Gaelic Literature Surveyed, Aod de Blacam, Barnes Noble Books NY NY, 1929, reprint 1974

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

the bards part 4

THE BARDS part 4

The Bardic decline from material neglect came at the end of the 16 century.
Classic poetry yeilded to the stressed verse.
Poetry no longer alludes and leaves the reader seeking meaning.
A new verse evokes no meaning.

The Bardic school of that period had lost their ancient character.
When youths came it was to learn Latin not the Bardic Art, that they might qualify for addmission to continental clerical schools which were by statute banned in Ireland.

Poetry became a common sort of easy art.
The stanzas puzzled no one.
the old Bardic familys such as O Heffernan steered thier sons away from a Bardic Study.

The old Bards scorned the new agricultural life and the setting of fences that supplanted the pastoral life.
The price of a poem had fallen to nothing. Dada.

The Contention of the Bards was held in that day of 1616 shortly after the death of Hugh the Great O Neill at Rome.

This held after Teig mac Brody mac Daire the chief poet of Thomond published a poem called,

'Ill has thou reasoned o Torna'

of Thorna who had been a chief poet a thousand years before.
Thorna Eigeas of the south had upheld in 600 AD that the north had a primal right in Irish kingship and also the calling of Hibernia was derived from Heber progenator of the south clanns.

As Teigs cattle had been confiscated by O Neill forces on their southern campaign, he held a grudge against the North.

Lewy [Lughaid] O Clery of tir Connell replied that Teig should not revile Torna as he was unable to answer.

He assertes in his poem the lawful supremacy of Heremons north over his younger brother Heber and derives the word Hibernia to mean wintery from the Latin.

This took 66 quatrains .
The argumentative reply of Teig took 188.
Lewy [laura] replying in 274 quatrains.

A Lugaid labhran go Seimh.
[Lew let us speak civily.]

At this point Fearfeasa O Canty a desendant of the satrist O Daly enters the fray from Tipperary and later Mahon O Heffernann who repukes both Teig and Lughaid.

'What are they about?' he askes
'As they posess but little of the land of the princes over whom they dispute.'
And 'great is the folly of their heirs'.

Soon the entire community of Bards debated the question and the halves and feast of Gaelic lore of old is set forth in this ancient history of Erinn.
Finally Hugh o Donnell comes into the fray with a geat parade of Gaelic classics and the tales of Conns race and the driving out of the Gael ourselves.

The Contention dragged on over many years and Teig lived till 1652 when he was killed at age 82 by one of Cromwells soldiers who threw him over a cliff saying as he did so

'Abair do Rainn Anois a Fhir Bhig'!

'Say your verses now little man.'

Later in the century a contention of poetry held was of little interest and a third contention on whether the River Sionainn belonged to the north or the south. Full of pleasant verse.

In the last days of the Bardic schools the Fransican Friars of Louvain became the principal center of Gaelic learning.
Father Florence Conry established the Fransiscan College of St Anthony at Louvain with the patronage of Phillip of Spain.

Many of the Bardic hereditary familys graviated to a relious life .
Such men as Bonadventure O Hosey,Fr O Mooney, Hugh Ward,John Colgan, Michael O Clery,Thomas Fleming, Hugh Mac Caughwell[ mac Aingil], Boetius,Egan, Francis O Molloy; all scoins of Bardic familys became Bardic priests.

Miles O Higgins was appointed Archbishop of Tuam in 1583.
He never arrived at InisFail to recieve martydom ,but died at Antwerp on the way.

The remainer of the old Fransican order Bards died away as exiles and their works are found in 'Measgra Danta',in the book of Clande Boyle.
In the Louvain France monastary and the church cataloges.
These were the remanants of ancient Irish literature.

The college of St Anthony founded at Louvain was founded in 1606 by the Fransican friar Florence Conry a scoin of the O Mulconry bardic Family of Connacht.
He was an Arch Bishop of Tuam but was never able to take his seat in Ireland.
The English considered him their greatest enemy.
He sailed with the Armada as friar; he was at the Kinsale Battle; went to Spain with Red Hugh o Donnell; was minister to him at his death bed.
Recieved the fleeing Earls at Louvain and went to Rome with them.
He was a tireless worker of politcal and militay eforts and a respected philosopher.
He translated a Spanish work called' DESIDERIUS' or 'EL DESSEOSU 'into Gaelic that the Irish might have knowledge of litery and religous thought from other lands.

These Anthonian fiars got persmission to set up a printing press from the Spanish Governors of the low contries[ netherlands] to export their works duty free.
This was done for the teaching of the Irish Catholics.

Bonadventure O Hosey was a great scholor in the Gaelic tongue.
He was degreed a Master of Arts at Douai[ Douey].

He was teacher of mac Aingil, aka Hugh mac Coughwell of Saul,Downpatrick.
He was tutor to Hugh O Neils sons Henry and Hugh and knighted by O Neill.
He was called mac Aingil by his Fransican brothers.
He wrote a biography of Duns Scotus, taught theology at Rome in 1623, was appointed Arch Bishop of Armagh but died before he was seated in 1626.
He was an exile at his death.
Mac Aingil wrote a 'Mirror of Piety' in the new prose style writing it in the Irish not the Latin at which he was trained and proficient.

This Irish is the early modern which includes the eclipsing 'Hs' of the venacular speech.
Many of the works published were Catechimsms and were carried by the Irish soldiers in the French service, the Irish Brigade, in the 1740s.

The new prose styles were made by such classically trained bardic men as O Hosey, Conry, mac Aingil and Gearon.

They wrote in exile for the Irish public in the venacular speech of the people and the beginnings of the late modern period of the written word.

'chife' in the Middle Irish became 'chifir' in the Modern Irish.

They incorporated Latin words as needed. Which is strenous for the modern reader to attempt to learn the Irish sprinked with Latin and therefore not really knowing if he is reading Irish or Latin.
For those already literate in the Gaelic venacular, the injection of Latin terms applies no problem.

A great work made at Louvain was the writing of the Irish Saints in Gealic prose which inspired the great mid century classic on the Clery brothers 'Annals of the Kingdon of Ireland'

the Four Masters

A historic narative of the flight of the Earls was written by Teig o Keenan who were croniclers of the Maguire ,written about 1615 when his brother Cowcunaught o Keenan confessed to the Commission conserning the plantation of Ulster.

Teig had sailed from Raith Mullen on Sepember 14 with the fleeing earls.
It took them 3 weeks in stormy seas to reach France and OvilleBoeuf near Rowen.
Their arrest and turn over to the English and then the journey through Ameins,Arras,Douai to Louvain.
Thence southward to Nancy,Colmar, Bole,Como, Milan, Rimid and Lore to Rome.
The narrative is discriptive of the great continental citys and churches.

About 1626 Father Hugh Ward, Guardian of St Anthonys Louvain wanted to compile a life of the Saints of Ireland as was done for the Universal church.
At this time a lay friar [one not consecrated] called Poor Brother Michael, who was Tadhg an Sleibhe O Clerigh, cousin of the more ligitimate Lewy.
He was a great Irish antiquarian.

Guardian Ward sent brother Michael to Ireland to gather material for the 'Lives' and for 15 years Michael roamed the land collecting manuscipts and copying.
As he gathered these he also gathered secular history.

Father John Colgan than completed Wards work after he died.

Colgan than wrote 6 other volumes on the lives of the Irish Saints.
Only 2 of which were published.
These were written in Latin from Gaelic materials.

It was John Colgan who formulated the name '4 Masters'.

In addition to leading the production of the Kingdom of Ireland, Michael Clerigh had compiled a discriptive list of the monarchs from mythological times titled,

The Succession of Kings

The Calender of Irish Saints

The New Lexicon

all printed at Louvain.

A Redaction of the Book of Invasions [an Gabala]
published as a national epic.

In 1632 the Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland or the Annals of Donegal, as it was called was begun at Donegal monastary.
During which time this monastery was bombed by the English and the monks made homeless in winter.
The compilation took 4 years to complete and was popularly known as the '4 Masters'.

typical of Irish misuse, this author often refers to as, the '4'

The work was assisted by Cucogny [Peregrine], the cousin.
Fearfeasa o Mulconry and Peregrine O Duigean and the O Clery and Mulconry families.

This little group were patronized by Feargal O Gara, Lord of Moy Gara and Cooavin a Prodestant.
Alumnus of Trinity College,Dublin and an MP and the work was dedicated to him when it was completed in 1636

'The 4' saved great tracts of Irelands past from oblivion even though they themselves considered Erinn a dead nation with nothing to be saved but its memory.

The mac Firbis family had 200 years before in 1432, edited the Yellow Book of Lecan and the Great Book of Leacan.
The last of the family Dual or Dudley mac Firbis was killed by a Cromwell solder it is recorded.
He was the last of that great geneologicaly cronicaling family.

In 1685 Roderick O Flaherty from Galway, a student of mac Firbis
wrote the Ogygia in Latin
The mac Egans of Tipperary had been family historians for century some of their documents of Danish times.
Flan mac Egan beng the last of this illustrious family.

What happend to the family archives is not known as Flan was dying around September 1642 as the Confederates forces were succesfull in holding central Ireland.

Rory O Moore wrote to the Irish commissary in Flanders hoping to bring an Irish school back to Ireland.
But it did not materialize.

At the same time Dr James Usher of Anglo/Irish descent, Provost of Trinity College Dublin took and interest in Irish antiquity.
Bedell and Ware were his prodigys.

He was however, hostile to native learning and supressed the old school and considered toleration of the 'Papist' a grevious sin
He took great offence to the Irsh language but his pupil Ware, an Englishman was more tolerent and had mac Firbis translate many Irish events to Latin.
He was called the Camden of Ireland.

Don Philip O Sullivan Bear published a history of Catholic Ireland at Lisbon Portugal in 1621 which is discriptive of the Elizabethan wars and the peace of 1603.

Geoffery Keatings history of Ireland is still one of the most popular of all Irish prose writers.

He was of the Sean Ghaill, the old foreigners, born in Tipperary and was a Latin student of a bardic school.
He than went to Bordeaux to train for the Church.
At 40 years of age he was appointed to a curacy at Tubrid where he remained 30 years and was subsequently laid to rest at age 70.

There he composed ,

'The Key and Defence of the Mass'
The 3 shafts of Death in the Gaelic.'

Keating preached a stern sermon against the then President of Munster and the laws against the practise of Catholic religoin were set in motion against him.

He was then at Glen Aherlow were he began the Hisoty of Ireland in 1629.
This he did ,like the later Bard of Armagh, Bishiop Patrick O Donnelly in 1724 going about in disquise to collect his material.

Keating was a Munsterman and the north refused him documents fearing he would not do justice for Leath Cuinn.

The history completed 5 years later in 1634 was never published until it was finaly edited by Comynt and Dinneen in 4 volumes.
However the manuscript was copied and circulated for 2
centuries amongh the literate populous.


The old and middle Irish periods are clearly laid out in his narrative.
The story of ancient Ireland was retold, with the traditional which, like the author himself was outlawed and fugative.
He wrote in the Late Modern Irish which was understood in the living language.
He himself believed the old order lost and dead.

He derided the slanderous interprataions of Cambresnsis,Spenser, Davis and Campion comparing them to dirt loving beetles and credited the Gaels the honor they deserved.

He himself of the Old Galls,Anglo Norman.

He derived his history from Irsh myth, primeval invasions and the Leabhar Gabhall [Lauar ga-alla] of o Cleary.

Seathrun Ceitrin included in his history the old fueds, the old kings, the barbarities and the folk tales.
He included the story of Erinn as he was able to glean it.

Ceitrin died about 1650.
Again the tradition that he was slain by Cromwells soldiers. He is buried at Turbrid.

Judi Donnelly

copyright, 8 Feburay 2011

sourse: Gaelic Literature Surveyed,Aod de Blacam, Barnes-Noble Books, 1929

Monday, February 7, 2011



The Reformation of the 1500s made a turning point in English/Irish relations.
England had set international polices to weld the islands into a strategic political and religious unit.

Its objectives were union with the north of their own island, Scotland, the conquest of Ireland ,the anglization of both and the extintion of the Roman Church.
These objectives were planned and executed by the statesmen of the courts of Henry 8 and his daugher Elizabeth 1.

Irelands poetry revealed its new enemy in the Puritan State, and when the program of Reformation in all social elements was implimented in the Dublin Parliament in 1541, a sinister and unwholesome future awaited the unsuspecting Irish.

Henry 8 had crushed the Geraldine rising and slaughtered them all at London Tower.
Than he summoned the Dublin Anglo Parliament and brought to heal the lords of Ireland.
The Parliament, for the first time in history, was conducted in Gaelic.

Henrys supremacy of church and state was proclaimed and his claim to be king of Ireland was ratified.

Thus by legal manipulation a new order was installed by the very lords of the land of Erinn establishing the king of England the ligitimate king of both Ireland, its religious and military existance and its political status.

The Dublin parliament had also secured title deeds to the land of the country.

The annonymous kinsman of the O Carroll decried the impending DOOM applied to the native gael;
of the galls shiring out their country;
chastized the mcCarthy, the seed of Brian, bound under Murrogh to the saxons king;
Great Brain of Eoch Muigmedon bending a knee in homage;
the hosts of Connacht;
Leinster under the thumb of saxon kings;
the O Neill of Aileach and Emain;
the kings of Tara and Tailten;
all fools submitting their kingdoms for Ulster Earldoms.
O Carroll of Birrs plain submitting doefully;
Manus O Donnell of Ballyshannon who never shirked striff or hardship failed in Ireland.
FaoBun! the Blade raw. FaoBun Fuibh!

The Axe had been laid to the tree` of Irish life by the tigerna surrender to Henrys autocratic authority.

The rest of the political plan to extrapolate the Gael is laid out in distainful dispise half century later by Edmund Spenser in 'Views of the State of Ireland' written in in 1590 which puts out the detailed plan of the Engish politic and solders who were ruling Ireland.

'To garrison every point with a strong power of men', 'to pursue that rebellious rout and loose people wandering in companies who do keep the woods'.

Spenser derides and demonises the Irish customs in full perversion and in minute spiteful detail.
Spenser hated and dispised the Irish freedom.
Its lack of fences and cattle herding ways.
He discibed the 'boolying 'from the native buile, which was a pastoral dairy to the native, where by the cattle were kept on common upland pastures in the summer months tended by the general people called the stocags who enjoyed a free wholesome life as they movoed about the mountain areas with stock, living on lite meat and milk, sleeping in the rough by a flaming peat turf fire and telling and listening to tales of the old Fianna unfettered by the law of supply and demand. Full of gaity and song.

The Bardic poems of the 1500s reflects the indifference in the old order to its coming ruin.

Teig Dall o Higgins who died in 1591, slain by the O Hara whom he had satarised.

Teig Dall was owner of considerable property and he was noted in the English state papers.
His poems of this era give no wiff of impending disaster to the Gaelic Way.

He wrote in his youth at 17 ,of Shane o Neills castle, dipicting it as saffron tinted amidst green topped hazel trees, white lathed and straight.
He wrote of the O Neill of the mac Donnells ,the Anglo Norman houses, of Brian O Rourke, To Mac William Burke,
discribing the land of Banba as Swordland.

In 1577 Turlough Lynagh gave a Christmas feis at Creeve his house on the Bann for the poets of Ireland.

a discription of O Neills cupbearers entertainment of the poets.

Turlough asked if the poets had brought him poems of his explioits and they answered NO.
They had brought him poems of his illustrious ancestors.

O Neill as wrathtful and refused to listen but ordered their rewards and than walked silent throught the emploring poets.
As realated by O Higgins of the day.
It was poem which became notorious.

Teig Dall wrote beautiful poems of the Maguire and Fernmanagh.
He discribes walled Enniskillen Castle among its blue hillocks, a picture of a stronghold of the old order.

Teig m Daire m Brody of Thomond of the orthodox Bardic school.

Red Bard Angus O Daly of the Satires was sent out to stimulate bad feeling and division amongh the old gaelic clans.
To turn one against the other.

O Daly was so verbose at his insults that he was finally stabbed by a steward of O Meagher in Tipperary.
His last utterence a spiteful verse.
He was a satarist equal to Bricriu Bitter Tongue of the Red Branch Cycle and Con Maol in the Fenian Cycle.

These poets were court poets full of praise for the powers that be and making poems and satire or religious dictates for hospitality.

The Patriotic Bards of the 1500s were Bards of the outlawed chieftans under whose protection patriotic refugees, Bards and scholars alike sot refuge in Wicklows hills and glens.
Elizabeths armys swept the land .
One such was Angus mac Daighre O Daly

God be with you the Irish host

compiled in the book of the OByrnes.

'Never did you earn shame in time of battle or warfare'

O Daly decried the disunion of the Gael.
vigoursis and skilful they could not come together as one and thus the Anglo and the foreigner were able to succeed.

To avenge Ireland the Gael was not to shun ardous deed but sleep breifly and watch alertly on the cold mountain bens.

The sentry on the hill prepared to swoope down upon the enemy seeking Comhlot from Ireland and free men.

ODaly thus flourished as an Irish Bard in the late years of the 1500s.

Fearghal Og Maccan Ward served for 40 years from 1567.
He was the poet who wrote
'alone woman may go unchallenged from Tory to Dundalk'.
Fearghall wrote at the Flight of the Earls.

'Eire Herself has gone westward
Placed on the deck of one bark
The warm shoreland has left us'.

He pleaded with Hugh O Neill to retrun from Rome to Ireland after his flight.
Fearhgal Himself broke the ancient mode of composing lying in a cell in a dark hut by day, but riding on horseback across the great mountains.

Fear Flatha O Gnive reproved him for this modern approach having himself written of the tragic Irish years of the 17th Century.

Published in the 'Measgra Danta' which compared the Irish under the new mercenarys as,

'the dregs of the battle field,
folk returning from a funeral,
hostages in the fetters of the foreigner'.

Gnive writes this poem


in which he prays for Irelands soul.

Eoch O Hosey, State Bard of the Maguires passionatly wrote of these troubed 1600s years after the coming of the plantations.

He celebrated the inaguration of Aed Hugh Magure, tigerna of Fernmanagh as a destined leader who would break Irelands bewitchment by spilling foreign blood.

He demands of Maguire a better farm for his security as provided by the old order as the farm appointed him by the Chief for his saftey ,as is his due as state Ollam, was at a point of meeting of Tir Conaill [ODonnell] and Tyrone [O Neill] and he recieves the same exemplifing the self confidence and place of equality the literary class held in the old gaelic Order.

His Honor price was of equal par with the prince and he had claim to the kings ear and the place next the ruler at table.

He demands vigilance from the Irish princes in his poems.
Not only for Her civilized demesnes but for Her wild places, Her moors and heights,the spills of her streams and dark tressed abysess of her woods as he expressed in a peom to O Rourke.

In 1593 an ode to Red Hugh O Donnell that


Rule in Irleand earns hatred.

The Irish recaptured EnisKillen from the English in 1595 and Maguire was restored to his capital of the Ilse of Ceithleann.

His dreaming ,the Tam ,of restoration by force did not comprehend the transmutation of Enniskillen that was at hand.

Hugh Magure rode with O Neill to Kinsale in the winter of 1600-1601, a severe year.'

Cold for Hugh I deem this night

As under downpours of feezing rain and swelling seas, the chief and his men finding no comfort against the frosts and the bleak harsh geoth winds passing through the soldiers camp bothies.

Hugh Maguire Himself the Feine, tigerna do Fermanagh was killed in a combat with captain Warham st Leger.
Both men died by each others hand which foreran the Battle of Kinsale.

Hugh Maguires death is mornfully recorded in volume 6 of Clearys Four Masters as being overtaken by a British reconasance force while out on a hunting expidition for game to feed his men and his fellow chieftains in the field.
He was considered a great ,generous and able man by all.

He was succeded in his place as keeper of his province by his brother
Cuchonnacht Maguire

Gnive compared Hugh Maguire to a fabled Pelican who resucsitated her dead, slain by serpents, by opening her own veins to give them new blood of life.

He too addressed O Neill at Rome to return to Erinn er EnisFail should perish and the citiens both the gael septs and the gall/gael [Norse/ Hibernians and Norman/Hibernians, old English] who by their disension and haughiness had acted to bring about Ireland ruin.

The unrully septs such as Clann Carty, Clan Colla of Leinster, Clan Eogan, Clan Conail, and the youth of Ireland who would trade their martial spirit for the privleges of Erinn , quafing goblets and a lowly mind;
and the desent of reamining aristocracy to aquire Irelands privleges and make sport their sole occupation ,as they do this day.

Miles mac a Ward, and chief Ollam to Red Hugh O Donnel wrote of the 1500 serious situation of submission and occupation in Ireland and the desire for these lords of Gaeldom to retore unity,
O Donnell to be 'a good surgeon to heal the malady witch is the foreigners.

Miles met his death in battle against the English. He was of the patriots hosts.

Red Hugh Og med fuad O Donnell in the campain of 1595 raised his own castles thoughout his teritories including his own castle at Donegal town to prevent it falling into the hands of the English garrisons.
Stripping his territories of resourses the English could use against his defence.

Mac An Ward bid goodby to this fair castle home.

'lest the castle should be dubed
'dun na nGall insted of A Duin n Gaoidheal'.

The smooth walls of the castle were pulverized by Aod Ruad og.

Own Roe mac nWard captured in verse the passage of Red Hugh in Spain after the failure of the Irish host at Kinsale and the death of the young active lord by poison.

Rory O Donnell ,younger brother of Hugh Ruad took over the host in Donegal but after his brother had died in Spain he surrendered.

In 1603 Rory made peace at Dublin and then went to London to be declared Earl of Tyrconnell.

The poets and the host reviled him for this move to the earldom.
Five years later Rory O Donnell died at Rome [1608]
and Owen Roe mac n Ward wrote a lament for him without any reproof.
He composed,

O Woman that has found opportunity at the tomb

remebering Rorys sister Nuala who had deserted her husband Niall Garve O Donnell when he sided with the English agaisnt Aed og o Donnell.

The two brothers Aed Ruad and a nefew lie entombed and the poem extolls the warriors of the battles they had fought.

Rorys 7 year old son Hugh O Donnell wrote to the old poet in 1613 to which Owen Roe mac An Ward in poetry replied to this child who had been taken out of Ireland at 1 year of age on the lone ship provided to the Earls at Raith Mullan , Donegal.
16 lines of Irish syllabic poety to which he decalared little Hugh a true roi damhna.

Owen Roe also writes a lament on the death of Nial Garve the traitor to the English, who had also betrayed Sir Cahir O Docherty of InishOwen, the last champion of the north.

Logan og o Daly of that period of plantation making wrote of


'Where have gone the Gaels'

'the opening green is crossed by girdles of twisting fences'.

The poem of the great transition writers are translated and edited by professor Thomas O Raghallalaig [Raallaly= Reilly] as the professional bards pass on to neglect.

copyright 7 February 2010

Gaelic Literature Surveyed, Aod de Blacam , Barnes and Noble Books 1929, printed at Richview Press, Ireland


More on the Bards

In the Norman period of Irish history 1200-1600 AD, the Middle Irish script was the writing of the Cronciles and Annals.
The Tuatha Mor remained in tact in its provincial enclaves.

Oriel, Tir Conail,Thomond, O Neill ,Connacht all ran their own states
and controlled the political military and economic systems of their peoples.

The continental overpowering of these tuat systems of chiefs, hi chiefs and sub chiefs was beset by a force of greater arms that these continental people had acquired during its interminal wars.

The population of young men as recruits for this force was readily avaialabe in England which the Norman forces had conquered a century before at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

The continental people understood central government which had been imposed on them from Romes imperial system under Juluis Ceasar and his Legions.

The continental peoples however lacked an oral literature, had no literature per say ,nor much sense of music or rhythms.

All the free tribes of Ireland and outerlands had Bardic Schools and Poets, Historians and Artists telling and writing the Fenian cycle.
The Irish culture at that period was rich and vigorous and Ireland captivated the newcomers.
The Sean Ghaille [saun aille], the Old Gaille.

However the long term invasive force created turmoil [rira] which created an arrest of political and culture progress.
At this era Tanistry was developed in Ireland to preserve the Gaelic Dynasties.
Thousands of galloglass were imported from the Hebrides to help defend the Irish tauths and Buannadha [standing armys] were developed.
The fairs were discontinuted and the clanns were gathered no more.
After 400 years the new order of provinals had settled in and the new lords had a local tyranical power in these Baronys.

The Irish native social system and alliances had remained throughout the Norman period and was adopted by the Fitz who were incorporated into Irish life, language and culture becoming

'More Irish than the Irish'.

This the day of Cathal Mor of the wine red hand were little differntiated from the 1200s to the Flight of the Earls in 1607 AD.

In this period a revival of Bardic culture and lore was in full swing. The period known as the Late Irish Bards

Cathal More an Croibdearg the Prince of Connacht, brother of Ruidri O Connor the last High King of Erinn was born to Toirdealbach o Connor, one of some 10 or 12 sons with a blood red right hand.
He was a forceful king in Connacht Province after his father died and he was rescued from laborors work in Laigin where he had sought refuge from in family fueding over the secession.
He had sought sanctuary from the forces of the Burke and Connacht rivals.
He was sought out by his supporters and brought back to Connact where he was inagurated King of that Province.
In later life ,after a long rule, he accepted the continental cathedral christianity and retired to a Cisercian monastery where he died in 1224.
The new 'Annals of Connacht' was stareted from that Date after his death.

In 1204 Cathal had married Mor, a sister of Donough Cairbreach OBrien who was prince of Thomond,The OBrien.

Both these ruling provincial princes were a center of a great body of Gaelic poetry including the' Measgra Danta 'part of a lost saga history of the nobility of that time.

It was the time of the poets Murray Albamach O Daly and Gilbride Albanach mac NaMee Bard and poet.

Gilbride sailed up the Shannon in 1204 to view and record the inaguration of the young prince Donaugh Cairbreach O Briain at Luimnech-Limerick.

Gilbride was later sent to Scotland to redeam the princes cruit,
a hand harp and wrote the poem,

Tabhroidh Chugam Cruit Mo Roigh.
[Taroi ugam cruit mo roi]

The redemtion to be offered if he had to, a ship load of sheep.

However the Scot prince would not give back the princely harp of Shannon Limerick, saying he loved this tree of Erin more than his due of fair forests in Alba.

GilBride recorded the inauguration ceremoney of Croibdearg in a poem titled,
'Tainic an Croibhdhearg go Cruachain'

Gilbride goes off to sea in the 5th crusade to Syria of Damietta.
A trip of 3 months on the storm studded sea and arriving from Greece on a north east wind.
GilBride who was alledgedly born at the time of the Norman invasion, 1169 or so, also served Cathals grandson Aodh m Felim O Conor, king of Connacht 1235-1274, where he captures Aods hosptitality at the Royal palace Raith Crunchan.
The old palace dated back to the famous queen Maeve of 1 BC.
Inisfail and its halls had ONeils Goblet,O Cahans, Turloughs, chief of Carra,the Red Hand standard.

For his poem he recived not coin but cattle and this practice lasted a long as the gaelic order.

The dirneis [cattle] came to mean wealth and the poets had cattle drovers, creaghts [cowboys].

Gilbride mac NaMee, court poet of Connacht, describes the death of Brain O Neill, prince of the O Neill on his raid in Down, while attempting to overthrow the invaders at DunPatrick[ Down] in 1258 he lost his quest and his head which reamins this day , 900 years later under a flagstone in London not returned to the Ulton burial place in Armagh.

Mac NaMee was also chief ollave of Ulster and had patronage from Thomond and Connacht.
He wrote of the ever present O Donnell-the Book of O Donell in Rawlinsons MS

Murray o Daly resided in Scotland and thus called Albannach or ODaly of Meath.
His life was torrid and in 1213 he was at Lisadill north of Sligeach when he slew the O Donnell steward who had come to collect tribute.
Daly cut down the argumentative steward of O D with an axe killing him.
ODonnell came to revenge the marbad of his representative and pursued Daly to Clan Ricard Burke and then to Thomond, Limerick and Dublin where Murray O Daly escaped to Scotland.

Murrays brother Donough o Daly was described as an even better poet who would never be surpassed; And was Abbot of Boyle where he is buried.
He wrote hundreds of relgious poems and poems to santify nature.

Holy the sun and the clouds of Heaven
Holy the moon and the star host
Holy the One by whom they are revealed'.

The 13th century poets GilBride, mac Na Mee , O Daly and others of like value throughout Ireland were welcome ,these Bards, at all the great houses of Meath,Thomond,Connacht,Leinster and Ulster as well as in Alba.
They were not backward men but literal and full of fervor.
These works are studied and translated in later centures by such as Fr McKenna, O Raghille,Standish O Grady, Osborn Bergin.

The verse was true to form and expressed freedom, passion and undertsanding of their own past.

As the century pased from the 1200s to the 1300s, these bardic familys came to be seen as enemys of Irish nationalism.

In late 1367 the punative Statues of Kilkenny were passed
which made Bardic arts and learnig illegal and created a lasting hostilty to the professional Bard.

The century was riddled with Irish nationaism and a desrie to be rid of the invaders.
The Irish learned the war skills of these Normans and during this period of encastleation were able to successfuly arrest the invasion of territories.

Manay territors and tribal holdings were recorved .
Irish rule re established.
Great Bardic festivals were held and the


was held in 1351 by Williom O Kelly ,king of the Hui Maine in celebration of the expulsion of the foreigners from his ancestral domain.
He held a great Christmas Feis to redivide his ancestral lands among his people [gavelkind] and included all the Irish Poets, Brehons,Bards Harpers , Gametsters and Jesters, Keanogs and others.

Geoffrey Finn O Daly, arch Ollam of Ireland Bard to macCarthy and o Brien came.

Desmond and Thomond attended and O Daly composed of the affair a famous poem


The Feis held on what was anciently Morna Clanns land -Maen, Moy between Loch Dearg and Loch Ree.

[olmain oir eic Leinin]* or in the old written irish
Colmain moir meic Leinin

St Colmain the patron saint of the O Dalys was a poet before he became a christain and this inspired Dalach, the forbearer of the Daly Clann to follow the poetic calling in Geoffreys day.

O Daly was living at Duhallow at that time and his patrons were the McCarthi and the norman Earls of Desmond and his son Eogan was author of the Ode for Donal mac Donal Mac Carthy Reigh in 1366.

Tadhg Camchosach O Daly
[Tag Camossach O Daly]
wrote an ode to Niall Mor O Neill who built a hostel for the learned men of Ireland at Emania- Armagh.

In additon to the O Dalys, the 14 century pruduced John More O Dugan and Gilla na Neeve o Heeran who wrote a metrical account of the territoral distibution of clans at the time of the Norman invasion both north and south Ireland, splitting the work between them
o Dugan the north and and O Heeran the south.
Later edited by John O Donovan.
It is an important work in clann history.

the 'Triallaim Ticmchioll na Fodla'

'Tuville Feasa ar Eirinnoigh.'

In the early quarter of the 14th century, 1325 Angus mac Carville Buide O Daly speaks to Art O Melaghlin king of Meath to take action against the invaders.
He is Art Beg the son of an English woman.
The poet invegorates him to drive the English from Usmagh.

By 1400 Ireland had been almost totally reconquered by the Irish princes, leaving the Normans only the 30 mile streach around Dublin known as the Pale.
All the rest of the county was ruled by Irish law and customs by some 90 lords and princes, 30 of which were Anglo/Norman. The Fitzgeralds and Butlers.

By 1433 Margaret o Carrol, wife of Conor Faley held at Killeigh, Offaly a feis of poets, musicians, historians, and such.
All based on the previous O Kelly Christams feis of 1351.

2700 visitors of the learned Irish attended and a roll was made by Gilla na Neeve mac Eogan, her husband Calagh O Connors chief Brehon.

Adherents at the top of the list were Maelin O Muilconri , chief scholar of the west.

An O Connor Bard called Seithrin Mor made a poem called
of the Offaly campaigns.

The Bardic revival of the days after the invasion reached its peak in the mid 1400.
Only a few Bards still flourished.

Malachy O Higgins of Magheny Sligo, was patronized by Brian m Donal O Conor of Sligo ,Ruler of Carbery from 1403-1440.

The Bard Teig og m Teig Mor O Higgins in addition to serving OConor Sligo, was patronized by the ONeills of Ulster and the OKellys and their expensive magnificance at Ard na Gcno.

He wrote poetry for the Mac William Burkes and was rewarded with the usual 20 cows and a rod hidden in gold rings.

In 1487 Philip bocht O Huigins died.

With this demise of the distinguised poets, the Bards ceased for 100 years and the prose and relgious chants filled the time period of the 15th century.

*[] this indicated the spoken street gaelic were the letter before an h is not said.
use of this system without knowing the letter eclipsed eventually hides the meaning of teh word.

Judi Donnelly
copyright 6 Ferbruary 2011

sourse: Gaelic Literature Surveyed,Aod De Blacam, Barnes and Noble Books , 1929

Friday, February 4, 2011


Na Bards

As the Cuckoo is now seldom of at all heard in the Irish Spring, so to the Ancient Bards who held their Bothies in the silent glades which were retreats and schools [scoil] where they studied gaelic, grammer and Irish classical works.

The Bardic and Filia orders were promenent,and offically represented in the Gaelic caste system and well rewarded and cared for by Irelands then aristocratic princes and nobles, the tigerna and the maith muinter.

The profession was hereditary and its members professional and expected to be able to oraly recite some 3500 poems, songs, and geneologys.
They were the ollams of Ireland and its university.
Preserving the literature, the adventure, the lines of descent ,the history, the law , the fueds, weddings and adventures of thier own clann , tuath and province.

The Bards and the Fili poets were distinctive before the late bardic order formed after the Anglo Normans- the old Irish -of the 1200 AD Norman take over and the coming of Modern Irish reform in the language, relaxing the ancient rythmn and meter rymns making the late Bardic poetry more melodious.

These inherited positions continued to the Bardic familys well known;
The O Dalys, O Higgins, Mac Namee, Mac an Ward[Bard], Egan, o Muconry and so on.
Passing on to the new English generations, the responsibility to the past and the expression of the present generation to their patrons.

After their Gaelicization the new Barons installed by Henry 2 and his son John, they too became patrons to the old art form and protectors of the families who studied law, science and medicine.

The Bards usaully went to their low limewashed Bothies in Oct until spring; probably from Samain to May Day where they were thus students. Repairing in the daytime to their windowless rooms to lie in the poets bed meditating and developing a prescibed meter.
As the sun retreated below the western ocean they emerged to a great hall to recite the composition of their day bed to their Master, a famous chief Ollam known throughout Eire.

Dialect was very strict and exact in these Bothi[ boi or boy],
as well as gramatical exatitudes which allowed the Bardic School to preserve the language ,grammer and poetical art, with hardly any change for the 4 centures between the coming of the Norman Anglo 1200 AD and the English Anglo in 1600 AD.
The poem of the 1200s is precisly the same as the 1600 reader has.

The Bardic scholar was taught for 12 years in all the intricate skills and was learned in the 'lore of Ireland'.
The country of Erin itself was his subject of his academic course of the Bothie.

He had in his oral mastery the tradition of a 1000 years.
The watch word,
'Forget nothing that has ever happened in Ireland'.

An intense and haughty subject.

As this study was going forward in Ireland ,Latin was always the second language.
The late Latin a living tongue of the Church.
Mass still being said in this language as late as my own childhood in the 1940s.
Latin was the language of the reader and the material within ,subjects of the continet, the Church and the Christain doctine and thought rather than the ancient lore of old prechristain Ireland.

The entire nobility from the time of St Padraig till the establishment of the Plantation by English kings of 1607 were educated and schooled primarily in Latin speech, writing and ideas, and these taught mostly in continetal monastary schools.

The peasantry on the other hand were allowed to continue their venacular speech as said in their community and family homes and these peasants were very seldom taught to read and write by either their own native aristocracy or the Church.
Hence they retained an oral speech and meaning some what slurred but understandable in their own area and region.

With the coming of the Anglo English solders and landed gentry who by necessity had to learn to communicate with these peasant stock people, not only to be accepted by them but the necessity of employing them for their own profit, in some sense, managed to address the basic spelling of a word such as:

CHONAI which would be the gaelic spelling CONAI, a residence said ONAI.
To distingush, the English pronounciation of the gaelic word CONAI, wrote in an 'h' at the unpronounced 'c' peasant word onai, a dwelling making the written word Honai or in the venacular onai as the peasant said it.

The noble would have said CONAI because he could read and write but the peasant on the land would have said ONAI to which the new lords of London add the'h' which was now incorporated into late modern as HONAI a new word to the Irish who say ONAI.

The Onah being the place of residence to the Irish but the HOnah being the place of residnece to the new student of Gaelic taken from the written word produced by the lords of London.

His Honor as they were usually styled by the peasants at the pub adding the written 'H' to the on and or for the person in the Onai, ON-OR dwelling of gold ,an accurate discription of the manor house brought to Erin by his Lordships in 1607.

so Middle Irish comes into being with the Anglo Noramn and Modern Irish comes into being with the Anglo English or Saxons as the Irish people prefer to call them.
While a basic oral language remained the same as spoken by the population with out regard to any book learning,dictionary ,glossary or Church catalog.

The Bards were not only prolific students of native Gaelic, they were also frequently literate in Latin and transcibed many continental religious, adventures and romances, travels with skill.
They were in the patronage of the Baronys most were written a gaelic hand and given a Gaelic color.
Classic epics of the old continental world often they turned into a celtic tale of wonder and magic wonder.

The Bardic transitions,the specialties of Bardic learning regimes were Brehon,History, custodians of geneologies and kinships,
Bards, Scribes and poetic tradition.
All of their specialty PHDs given into the hands of the heriditary families of Tuat and Province.

Many offical odes were composed by them to commermorate routine events.
An inaguration ceremony of a taoisech ,the building of a fort-a lis, a political alliance, noble deaths, these continued regularly in the Church Annals.

The gaelic tigerna lords themselves kept family genological records of their own houses which were recorded and kept by these great provincial chiefs such as the O Donnell and O Neill and OBrien and O Connors, the macCarthy and in Leinster the Muircada, whose bards brought them up to their times from previous MS recordings or oral resitation for the many clanns and assemblies.

Much of the material composed is rythmic verse which allowed it to be sung at festivals and other inagural occations proving a right to office or the staus of a newborn child.

The material often sung and then recorded by the heridatry ollam family and kept in the palace of the chiefs.

These books of poetry were able to survive till late 1500s .
The poets able to quote the past achievements and linage of an inagurated gaelic prince could demand a tariff of 20 kine[cows] or a rod of silver rings, a profitabe market for this knowledge.

When the gaelic order was finally totaly subdued under Elizabeth 1 and her heir James IV of Scotland, Son of Mary Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley, many of these written works were spirted out of the country through the Church priests lest they be distroyed,and finaly, sold to the Assendancy lords and book sellers for bread in the 1800s.

Some rest unread at Trinity College Library and some on continental shelves in Netherlands , west France, north Italy, Rome and Bodelein at Oxford.
Very few remain in the possession of the modern Irish govennment or univesity system outside of those at the Royal Irish Acdademy in Dublin.
These reamin to be translated by a generation or more of oral Irish and gaelic school teaching of the anglo Saxon written word of
The old Irish of the Annals- before the 4 Masters- of Iona and Colum cill O Donnell.
The old tanscripts of annonymous content unreadable by the modern Irish scholar.

These syllabic meters were very strict.
But musical verse was accepted as a little for 'Oglachas' came into vogue and the metered syllablic teaching of the Bardic transition is preserved to the old language.
Preserved in an accurate and graceful form .

Judi donnelly
copyright 3 Febraray 2011

Gaelic Literature Surveyed, Aodh de Blacam, Barnes and Noble Books, NY NY, 1929, printed by Richview Press, Ireland