Cathal Buí Mac Giolla Ghunna

(?1680-1756), b. prob. S. Fermanagh; connected with Co. Cavan; lived as peddler and poet of rakish reputation; his best-known poem, “An Bonnáin Buí”, laments a bittern dead who has broken his neck seeking water from a frozen lake, and applies the case to his own person as an alcoholic; translations by Thomas MacDonagh, James Stephens, and Seamus Heaney; works ed. by Breandán Ó Buachalla as Cathal Buí: Amhráin (1975).


Seamus Heaney’s translation of ‘The Yellow Bittern’ appears in Derek Mahon, ed., ‘New Irish Writing’, special iss. of Ireland of the Welcomes (Sept.-Oct. 1996), [pp.31].

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