Seán Clarach Mac Domhnaill

1691-1754; poet; b. nr. Charleville, Co. Cork; ed. locally, prob. in school founded by Roger Boyle; worked as farmer, owned a mill at Kiltoohig, and was also a teacher; m. Agnes White, prob. a Protestant; he copied Keating’s Forus Feasa ar Eirinn in 1720 and wrote “Ar Bhás Regent na Fraingce” on the death of Philip, Duke of Orleans, 1723 - reproaching him with indifference towards the Jacobite cause in Ireland; “Mo Ghille Mear” and “Ag taisteal dom trí na críocha” are examples of his Jacobite poetry; “Comhracann mo mhacaomh” is a translation of “My Laddie Can Fight”, a Jacobite ballad in English;
he presided over poetic meetings on his farm and visited the Maigue poets in Croom, Co. Limerick, he where he clashed with Eoghan Ó Caoimh and Tadhg Gaelach Ó Súilleabháin, in 1735; he composed a satire on death of a Tipperary landlord, Colonel James Dawson of Aherlow, 1737, and was forced to leave his native district in consequence; he also commenced a translation of Homer; Seán Ó Tuama (“an Ghrinn”) issued a barántas in his honour and his death was marked by elegies from Ó Tuama and Seán Ó Murchadha na Ráithíneach; the works were edited by Risteárd Ó Foghludha (1932). CAB DIW DIB OCIL


Charles Read, ed., A Cabinet of Irish Literature (3 vols., 1876-78), gives bio-data: 1691-1754 [anglice John MacDonnell], b. Charleville, Co. Cork; ‘a man of great erudition’, and a profound Irish antiquarian and poet [who] had made valuable collections, and was writing in his native tongue a history of Ireland ..’ (O’Halloran, History of Ireland). Buried Ballyslough, nr. Charleville. Hardiman ranks him in Irish the equal of Pope in English, ‘fortunately for his genius and fame Pope was born on the right side of the Channel.’ Mac Donnell ‘a rank Jacobite’ who had to save himself from ‘bard-hunters’; works cited are Granu Wail’, [trans. not named], ‘Claragh’s Lament’ (trans. Hardiman), ‘Old Erin in the Sea’ (trans. W. B. Guinee, of Buttevant), and ‘Claragh’s Dream’ (trans. J. C. Mangan).

Henry Boylan, A Dictionary of Irish Biography [rev. edn.] (Gill & Macmillan 1988), b. Ráth Luirc (Charleville); trained for priesthood; began trans. of Homer; chief poet in Munster and presided over court of poetry; merciless satire on death of local landlord, Col. Dawson, followed by refuge abroad; surviving handful of poems include lines on Philip Duc d’Orléans; edition of works published by Ó Duinnin [Dinneen] (1902).

Brian Cleeve & Ann Brady, A Dictionary of Irish Writers (Dublin: Lilliput 1985), adds Col. Dawson of Aherlow [‘Squeeze down his bones, oh ye stones ... He would whip streams of blood down their quarters’]. Poems ed. Ui Duinnin [as above], and Risteárd Ó Foghludha (Dublin 1933, rep. 1935, 1944).


Thomas Crofton Croker - Croker writes: ‘When at Mallow, I obtained an Irish MS. written by Shane Clarah, or “John the minstrel.” It is a small thick quarto of about 400 pages, and the contents are chiefly topographical; from this MS. I have made some quotations in the present work.’ (Researches in the South of Ireland, 1824, p.102; see full text in RICORSO Library, “Irish Classics”, via index, or direct.)

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