Conall MacGeoghegan

Life
fl.1600-1640 [var. Mageoghegan, Mageogagen; fl.1635 ODNB]; author of English translation of now-lost Annals of Clonmacnoise, completed 1627, with entries ranging from 5th to early 15th centuries; his translation was published by Denis Murphy as The Annals of Clonmacnoise (1896). RR ODNB DIW.

 

Works
D[enis] Murphy, ed., The Annals of Clonmacnoise (Dublin 1896).

 

Commentary
Joseph Th. Leerssen, Mere Irish & Fior-Ghael: Studies in the Idea of Irish Nationality, Its Development and Literary Expression Prior To The Nineteenth Century (John Benjamins Pub. Co., Amsterdam & Philadelphia, 1986), notes that Mageoghegan translated the Annals of Clonmacnoise into English in 1627 [butthat] the originals have disappeared; ‘The first English trans. of bardic history, it was intended for Toirdhealbhach Mac Coghlain, a kinsman, with the barbed comment about those who through “neglect their Bookes, and choose rather to put their children to learne English, than their own native tongue.” (Leerssen, op. cit., p.324

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Quotations
‘yet famous (but not altogether for Goodness) woman Meaw Crwachan, [who was notorious] because of her great boldness, Buty, & stout manlyness in Giving of battles, insatiable Lust, her father allowed her for her portion the province of Connaught, & shee made an oath never to marry with anyone whatsoever that would be stayned with any of these 3 Defects and Imperfections as she accoumpted them vidzt [sic] with jealousy for any Letchery that she should committ, with unmanliness or Imbecillitie, soe as the party could not be soe bould as to undertake any adventure whatsoever were it never soe Dificult, & Lastly she would never marry with anyone that feared any man liveing. (Denis Murphy, ed., Annals of Clonmacnoise, 1896, p.47); ‘Cowchoullen the Heroicke Champion of Ireland and Heber his Wife Dyed. The Champion was killed by the sons of Calletin of Connaught in the 27th yeare of his age. The Report goes that he killed a Ravenous and uenemous Dogg when he was but the age of 7 yeares & was alsoe but of the age of I7 yeares when he surpassed all the Champions in Ireland in the Disention between them for the famous prey called in Irish tane Boe Cwailgne.’ (Murphy, p.48); Finn mcCoyle als O’Boysgne the great hunter, Cheef head of all the K's forces in Ireland and Defender of the Kingdom from foraine invaders was Beheaded by Aihleagh mcDurgrean and by the sonns of Wirgrean of the lordship of Lwyne of Tarah at Athbrea on the river of Boyne. This Finn had under his leading 7 great Cohorts of very huge and tall biggness. None was excepted into any of the Cohorts untill he had Learned out the 12 Irish Books of poetry & could say them without booke, if the Party to be excepted would defend himself with his targett & sword from 9 throwes of Dartes of 9 of the Company that would stand but 9 Ridges from him at distance, and either cut the Dartes with his sword or Receave them all on his targett without Bleeding on him he would be accepted, otherwise not, if the party running through the thickest woods of Ireland were overtaken by any of the seven Cohorts they all pursueing him with all their might and maine he would not be taken of them in their Company. But if he had out-Runned them all without loss of any haire of his head; without Breaking any ould stick under his feet & leping over any tree as yt he should meet, as high as the top of his head without Impediment, and stooping under a tree as low as his knee & taking a thorne out of his foot (if it should chance to be in) with his naile without Impediment of his Running; all of which if he had Don, he would be excepted as one of the Company, otherwise not, this Finn his Dwelling place was Allon in Leinster, he had many sonns and Daughters as Ossyn macFinn, Aydan mcFinn, & c. hee had another Dwelling town called Moyelly in Meath, wch is now called Foxes countrey, he was very Learned, wise & a great Prophett. He prophesyed of the coming of the Englishmen into this land, with many other things. (Murphy, ed., p.61-62; all cited in Russell K. Alspach, Irish Poetry from the English Invasion to 1798, Philadelphia: Pennsylvania UP 1959, pp.70-72.)

MacGeoghegan’s translation of the Annals of Clonmacnoise in 1627: ‘William ... O’Kelly inuited [invited] all the Irish Poets, brehons, bards, harpers, Gaemsters or common kearoghs, Jesters & others of theire kind of Ireland to his house upon Christmas this yeare, where euery one of them was well used dureing Christmas holy Dayes, & gaue contentment o each of them at the tyme of theire Departure, soe as euery one was wll pleased and extolled William for his bouty, one of which assembly composed certain Irish verses in commemoration of Wiliam and his house which began thus, filidh ereann go hainteach &c. (cited in Michelle O’Riordan, in ‘Professors and Performers’, Irish Review, 23, Winter 1998, pp.74 [orth. sic.])

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Notes
J. C. O’Callaghan, The Green Book, or Gleanings from the Writing-desk of A Literary Agitator (1841), contains a disparagement of MacGeoghegan: ‘even MacGeoghegan, who had sufficient authorities, in his time, for giving a far better account than he has done of the war of the Revolution, is miserably concise and superficial ... thus a clear field has been left to the English and Orange enemies of Ireland’ (Preface, p.xxx).

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