[Rev.] James MacGeoghegan (1702-63)

Commentary

Life
[vars. Geoghegan; Abbé Jacques MacGeoghegan]; b. Usineach, Co. Westmeath; related to Conall MacGeoghegan, translator of Annals of Clonmacnoise, and to Fr. Francis O’Molloy [Prionsias Ó Maolmhuaidh]; ed. Lombard College, Paris, ord.; appt. Abbé of Poissy, diocesse of Chartres; elected provisor of Lombard college, and later transferred to church of St Merri, Paris;
 
appt. chaplain to Irish troops in armies of France; published Histoire d l’Irlande (Vol I. 1758; Vol, II. 1762; Vol. III, 1763), extending to period of Irish Brigades in continental service, stating that 450,000 Irish troops died in French wars (questioned by Lecky); his History translated by Patrick OKelly (1831-32), q.v.; d. Paris. ODNB

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Works
Histoire de l’Irlande ancienne et moderne
, 3 tomes [2 vols. Paris: Antoine Boudet 1758, 1762; the third Amsterdam 1763] [copy in Marsh’s Library], and Do., trans. by P[atrick] Kelly as [History of Ireland, Ancient and Modern, Taken from Authentic Records, by the Abbé Mac-Geoghegan, and Dedicated to the Irish Brigade (Duffy 1831; 2nd edn. 1844) 622p. [1702-1763; pub. in Paris 1758] (Dublin: Printed for the author of the translation by T. O’Flanagan 1831-32) [ subscription lists at the ends of cols 1 & 3]; Do. [another edn.] (1844).

See also John Mitchel, History of Ireland [ ...]: A Continuation of the History of Abbé MacGeoghegan (1869) [two issues noticed in P. S. O’Hegarty’s commentary in Irish Book Lover, Vol. XXVIII, No.4, 1942, p.89].

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Criticism
Richard Ryan, ‘James Mageoghegan’, in, Biographia Hibernica: Irish Worthies (1821), Vol. II, p.416.

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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): The last flourish of the emigrés tradition in praise of Gaelic greatness occurred around 1760 when the priest James Macgeoghegan published his Histoire de l’Irlande ancienne et moderne, tirée des manuments les plus authentiques, 3 vols. (Paris 1758-62). [Joseph Leerssen, Mere Irish & Fíor Ghael (1986). p.400.]

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Quotations
Danelaw: ‘The absence of records or registers, more ancient than the eleventh century, is negative argument, and cannot be considered proof. It is very probable that they [the annals of Ireland and in particular of Dublin] were burnt or suppressed by the Danes, who were frequently masters of the city, and that their descendants, who became Christians, and were tolerated from commercial reasons, had begun their records with the first of their own countrymen who were appointed bishops of Dublin, which took place in the eleventh century.’ (History of Ireland, trans. O’Kelly, Chp. XIV, p.272.; cited in George A Little, Dublin Before the Vikings, 1957.)

Creation tale: ‘It seems to be certain,’ says the Abbé McGeoghehan, ‘that Ireland continued uninhabited from the Creation to the Deluge.’ (Thus quoted in Emily Lawless, The Story of Ireland, 1896 Edn., Chap. 1 - opening sentence.)

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Wild Geese: ‘from calculations and researches made at the French war-office, it has been ascertained that from the arrival of Irish troops in France in 1691, up to 1745, the year of the battle of Fontenoy, more than 450,000 Irishmen died in the service of France.’ (McGeoghegan [sic], trans. by O’Kelly, Dublin 1744; first pub. in Paris, 1758; quoted in Marx, Engels: Ireland and the Irish Question, ed. L. I. Golman and V. E. Kunina (Moscow: Progress Publishers 1971; rep. 1986, p.349.)

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References
British Library holds [1] Histoire de l'Irlande, ancienne et moderne. (Précis de l'histoire des quatre Stuarts, sur le Trône Britannique), and 2nd. copy, F. P. 3 tom. Paris, 1758-63. 4o. [2] History of Ireland, ancient and modern. Translated ... by P. O'Kelly; Another edition. 3 vol. Dublin, 1831-32. 8o. Dublin, 1844. 8o. [3] The History of Ireland, from the Treaty of Limerick to the present time; being a continuation of the History of the Abbé Macgeoghegan. Compiled by J. Mitchel; another edition; also, another edition of Vol. 1. New York, 1868. 8o. 2 vol. Dublin [printed], London, 1869. 8o. Cameron and Ferguson: Glasgow, 1869. 8o.

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University of Ulster (Morris Collection) holds History of Ireland, Ancient and Modern, taken from authentic records and dedicated to the Irish Brigade (Duffy 1844) 622p.; John Mitchel, History of Ireland ... a continuation of the history of Abbé MacGeoghegan (1869).

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Notes
Widely read: Roy Foster, Paddy and Mr. Punch (London 1993), indicates that Abbé MacGeoghegan is cited as the foremost author in J. Pope-Hennessy, ‘What Do Irishmen Read?’, in Nineteenth Century, Vol. 15 (Jan.-June 1884), pp.920ff.; Foster, op. cit., Notes, p.312).

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