Paul Walsh

1885-1941 [occas. Pól Breathnach]; b. near Mullingar, d. Multyfarnham; ed. Maynooth, ord. 1909; Professor of Latin in St Finian’s College, Navan; lectured in Welsh at Maynooth, Co. Westmeath, 1916; PP of Multyfarnham, 1932; appt. to Irish Manuscripts Commission in 1933; member of first board of the Dublin Institute of Advance Studies (DIAS), 1940; awarded DLitt NUI, 1941;
ed. and trans. Tadhg Ó Cianáin’s memoir asThe Flight of the Earls (1916); also issued The Ó Cléirigh Family of Tír Conaill (1938); d. June, following protracted illness; his Irish Men of Learning (1947), Irish Chiefs and Leaders (1960) and Placenames of Westmeath (1957) were all posthumously edited and published by Colm Ó Lochlainn at Three Candles (Dublin); called the ‘prince of Irish historians’ by Paul Grosjean, S.J. DIW

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Colm Ó Lochlainn, ed., Irish Men of Learning (Three Candles 1947) [see details]; Ó Lochlainn, ed., Irish Chiefs and Leaders (Three Candles 1960); The Placenames of Westmeath (1957), xxxv+402pp; Nollaig Ó Muraile, ed., Irish Leaders and Learning through the Ages: Essays of Paul Walsh (Dublin: Four Courts Press [2003]), 508pp. [see details].

Contributions to The Irish Book Lover [index under Breathnach, Pól / Rev. Paul Walsh]:
(Pól Ó hUiginn, Epitaph) XVIII: 143; (Plunket Genealogies) XVIII: 143; (Rival Confederate Generals) XIX: 5; (Curiosities from the Annals) XIX: 37, 96; ( Book of Clannaboy , XIX: 165; (Memoranda Gadelica) XIX: 166; (David Ó Duigenan) XX: 4; (Walter Luin) XX: 12; (Four Masters, Translation) XX: 51;(Notes on the Two Mageoghegans) XX: 75; (The Four Masters) XX: 105, XXII: 128; (Tadg Ó h-Uiginn) XX: 115; (O’Reilly Family Obituaries) XX: 127; (In Conal Mageoghegan’s Neighbourhood) XXI: 4; (Link with Tadhg Dall, XXI: 33; (Richard O’Connor, Scribe) XXI: 52, 112; (Eoghan Caomhánach) XXI: 66; (Battle of Cluain Tiobrad) XXI: 103; (Fragments of Meath History) XXI: 124; (Paul Higgins) XXI: 118; (Numbering of Dublin Houses) XXI: 137; (Saying of the Earl of Tyrone, XXI: 138; (Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell) XXII: 4, 91; (Epithalamium) XXII: 78; (Capt. Sorley MacDonnell) XXII: 81; ( Short Annals of Tirconnaill ) XXII: 104; ( Short Annals of Fir Manach ) XXIII: 7; (How the Bissets Came) XXIII: 36; (Two O’Hagans) XXIII: 46; (What We Know of Cuchoigeriche Ó Cléirigh) XXIII: 60; (Some O’Reilly Geneologies) XXIII: 85; (Convent of Donegal) XXIII: 109; (Pretty Pair of Ruffians) XXIII: 134; (Tippermessan, Co. Meath), XXVI: 15; ( Do Lionadh mBáin Oile ) XXVI: 29; (Derricke’s Image of Ireland ) XXVI: 37; ( Book of Lecan ) XXVI: 62 (Higginstown, Co.Westmeath) XXVI: 86; (Red Hugh’s Sister [Máire Ni Dhomhnaill]) XXVI: 105; (Méla Mór in Co. Kilkenny) XXVI: 138;. Also XXIV: 61, XXV: 26, 37, 50, 73, 99, 100; XXVI: 17, XXVII [q.p.]. [Note: the above listing is derived ad interim from the composite index of The Irish Book Lover, prepared by BS.]

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Bibliographical details
Irish Men of Learning: Studies by Father Paul Walsh, ed. Colm Ó Lochlainn (Fleet St. Dublin: Three Candles 1947), 311pp, with index and fold-out genealogies of Muintir Duibhgennáin, Muintir Maelconaire, Clann Firbisigh Leacáin, and Ó Conchubhair, Lord of Cairbre; Some Mac an Bhaird Relationships. CONTENTS, The Learned Family of Ó Duignenan [first publ. 1921, here revised]; The Books of the Ó Duignenans; David Ó Duigenan, Scribe; The Learned Family of Ó Maelconaire; The Book of Fenagh; A Link with Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn; The Learned Family of mac Firbisigh; The Great Book of Lecan; The Learned Family of Ó Cuirnín; The Book of the Dun Cow; The Learned Family of Mac an Bhaird; Two Franciscan MSS and Their Scribes; The Book of O’Donnell’s Daughter; An Irish medical Family - mac an Leagha; The Annals Attributed to Tignerach; The Hero Tales of Ireland; Togail Bruidne Da Derga; Poets, Historians, and Judges; The Maguires and Irish Learning; Irish Scholars at Louvain; The Book of Munster; John O’Donovan, Irish Historical Scholar; Father Paul Walsh, Historian; General Index [A]; Index of Books, Texts, Poems and MSS; Index of genealogies [as above]. Ó Lochlainn, editing, refers to earlier articles and two unfinisthed at the time of his death, which he (O Lochalinn) has completed ‘by making careful use of his material’. Other essays first appeared in Studies, Irish Ecclesiastical Record, and The Catholic Bulletin; the help of Owen Dudley Edwards is acknowledged. [See under Quotations for extracts.]

Irish Leaders and Learning Through the Ages, ed. Nollaig Ó Muraile (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2003), 508pp.

Early Leinster & Meath, province and diocese

1. Leinster states and kings in Christian times
2. Short annals of Leinster
3. Prehistoric Meath
4. The ancient boundaries and tribes of Meath
5. Uí Maccu Uais
6. Meath in the Book of Rights
7. Tethbae


63. Bonaventúra Ó hEodhasa’s poem to a reader

The Four Masters
64. The Four Masters
65 The travels of Michael Ó Cléirigh
66. The work of a winter, 1629-30
67. Curiosities from the Annals
68. Slips in O Donovan’s Four Masters
69. Cú Choigcríche Ó Cléirigh


[ See full table, attached ]

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Irish Men of Learning (1947)—

In the opening essay, Walsh alludes to his own edition of the Four Masters’ Catalogue of the Kings of Ireland and Genealogies of the Irish Saints, for Archivium Hibernicum (1917-18) - separately issued by M. H. Gill & Son as Genealogia Regum et Sanctorum Hiberniae.

On the same page [of H. I.19, TCD; Gwynn Cat. No. 1293] occurs the name of Dáibhidh Ó Dúbhgennáin, “David Duiginan” [sic], who counted the leaves of the manuscript as above stated. The note made by him would go to show that the volume was in his custody, perhaps during the period 1652-66. It may have been through David that Roderick O’Flaherty got possession of it. O’Flaherty, author of Ogygia and a Chorographical description of West Connacht, made numerous entries in it. Ó Duigenan was in the O’Flaherty country in 1651, and would have been acquainted with Roderick, who survived until about 1717. O’Flaherty was obliged to sell his manuscripts through poverty. Thomas Molyneux was ‘his ill fortune has stripped him of these as well as his other goods.’ Rev. John Conry is recorded as the next possessor of the book. In the year 1766 certain volumes which had been the property of Dr John Fergus (died 1761) were purchased by Dr Thomas Leland for TCD, among then that with which we are here concerned, that containing the Annals of Ulster, H.I.9, and an autograph of portion of the Annals of the Four Masters, H.2.II. (Walsh, p.21.)
In any re-examination due account should be taken of marginal or interlinear notes, particularly those of Roderick O’Flaherty and Charles O’Conor of Belanagare. O’Conor has been severely criticised for his additions in various manuscripts, though the additions are mostly correct, and, after all the minor men have said about him, it must be borne in mind that C.iii.I was his own book.
  He was not, it must be conceded, a trained chronicler, but, as the old saying has it, “he had met the scholars”. There was no one during his time, half as competent as he, to add any commentary to our ancient chronicles. Indeed he must be acknowledged the chief custodian of Irish native learning during the dark century that followed the Williamite wars. Tadhg Ó Rodaighe, who was a contemporary of David Duigenan, was a remarkable man, though a bad handwriter, and his career and interest might be made the subject of a monograph. The Ó Roddys were thrown out of their inheritance in James I’s plantation of co. Leitrim, but a certain Teige secured a small grant in 1922. Tadhg mac Taidhg mic Briain Bhuidhe maintained a lawsuit in London for five years, against the Protestant Bishop of Ardagh, for his lands at Fenagh, and returned to Ireland by way of Scotland in 1941. He was addressed in a poem on the occasion by Cúchoigríche Ó Duibhghennáin ... [&c.] (Walsh, p.68; see further under Charles O’Conor, supra.]
Numbers of the family emigrated after the wars, another poem says, and our Tadhg was left as a lone Oisín after the Fianna. He was evicted from his place at Carickslavan in 1694. I have seen no evidence that he was a lawyer. Several addresses directed to him have been published, and it is clear that he was widely read in his own and other languages. He describes himself as “none of the race of the antiquaryes, but a gentleman that has more antient books of Ireland, and that learned, and understands them as well at least as any now in Ireland; all which paines I take for my countrye’s sake, and for my owne satisfaction, and to preserve so noble and singular a monument of honour and antiquity” /  In his letter to Lhuyd, written in May 1700, he styles himself Thady Roddy of Crossefield. He was on terms of book-lending with Roderick Ó Flaherty and refers to Sir Richard Cox as “my honored friend”! (Walsh, pp.68-69.)
The latest transcript of the Book of Fenagh was made by John O’Donovan in 1828. From it the edition of 1875 was prepared. The printed text therefore, in particulars, deviates from the MS of Muirgius. In extenutation of O Donovan’s apparent carelessness, it has been stated that he was only eighteen years of age when he made the transcript. The fact is that he was all but twenty two when he finished the work. His baptismal entry, as verified by Canon Carrigan gives his birth date as 26 July 1806. [68]
Note: ‘[...] dinn is the word for hill or eminence, and a dinnshenchus purported to account for the name of a dinn, and then for that of a place of any kind. Afterwards the name was applied to the whole series of such accounts. There is no work of the kind known to me in any other language ... In the Book of Lecan the Dinnshenchus appears in a highly developed form, representing, according to Thurneysen, a third stage ... taken shape about the year 1200 ... Dr Edward Gwenn [Gwynn] completed in 1935 a great edition of all the poems in the various recensions. (Walsh, p.115; see De Burca Bookseller, Catalogue No. 18.)
See also his remarks under Charles O’Conor of Belanagare, supra.

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Tadhg Ó Cianáin, The Flight of the Earls, trans. Fr. Paul Walsh (MH Gill 1916), extract in Far Green Fields, 1500 Years of Irish Travel Writing, ed. Bernard Share (Blackstaff 1992).

Catalogues: HYLAND BOOKS (Cat. 219) lists Ed. and trans., Tadhg Ó Cianáin, The Flight of the Earls (Dublin: MH Gill 1916), xx+268pp. [Oct. 1995]. DIAS Catalogue (1996) lists Paul Walsh, The Placenames of Westmeath (1957), xxxv+402 pp. [out of print].

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Lughaidh Ó Cléirigh’s life of Red Hugh O’Donnell in Irish prose was edited and published by Paul Walsh in Archivium Hibernicum, VII (Dublin 1922) and subsequently printed as Beatha Ruaidh Uí Domhnaill (ITS 1940).

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