Sean O Cleirigh obituary

Seán Ó Cléirigh Obituary

[Irish Book Lover 28 (May 1942) 135]

Seán Ó Cléirigh Obituary

CÚCOIGCRÍCHE O CLEIRIGH (I.B.L. xxii, 128 ; xxiii, 60 ; xxiv, 81).

AT THE ABOVE references, the fruit of a study lasting over four years. Father Paul Walsh set forth in detail the considerations which led him to the conclusion that 'Cúcoigcríche, son of Lughaidh O Cléirigh,' was a myth with no other foundation than a pedigree inserted in R.I.A. Manuscript 23 M 5, page 247, by John O Clery, who was a contemporary of O Donovan and O Curry. This Seán O Cléirigh removed to Dublin (from Ballycroy in Erris?) in 1817, carrying with him a number of manuscripts including a copy of Leabhar Gabhála (23 K 2), the book of Genealogies (23 D 17) the Life of Aodh Ruadh O Domhnaill (23 P 24), the topographical poems of O Dugan and O Heerin (23 N 28) all - according to O Donovan - "in the handwriting of his ancestor Cucogry or Peregrine the annalist," Four Masters i, xxviii.

Father John Brady, Meath Diocesan Historian, has found the obituary notice of John O Clery and given it to me for the IRISH BOOK LOVER. It appeared in the Drogheda Argus for 16th January, 1847, and reads: "On Monday, 28th December, 1846, at 10 Hamilton-row, Dublin, John O'Clery, the representative of the branch of his name, aged 72 years. He was the son of Patrick, son of Cosnamhach, son of Cairbre, son of Diarmid, son of Cucogry O'Clery, one of the Four Masters who died in 1664."

It will be seen that John's ancestry is traced back to Cucogry (father's name not stated) "one of the Four Masters." But we have it on the authority of the Masters' own attestation to their autograph copy of the Annals (see Gleanings from Irish MSS., p. 75) that the Annalist was Cúcoigcríche son of Diarmuid. So the last shred of evidence that there ever was a Cúcoigcríche son of Lughaidh - the evidence of John O Clery himself - now disappears on the statement above that John's ancestor was definitely "one of the Four Masters." The statement was probably prepared for the Argus by some relative or friend. It may even have been dictated by John during his last illness. Once again Father Paul Walsh has been proved right.

COLM [Ó Lochlainn]

Department of Modern Irish

Roinn na Nua-Ghaeilge

Áras Uí Rathaille, UCC