Edward MacLysaght (1887-1986)


Life
[Edward Anthony Edgeworth Lysaght; Éamonn Mac Giolla Iasachta; MacLysaght name adopted in 1920;] b. 6 Nov., Flax Bourton, nr. Bristol [var. at sea]; son of Sidney Royse Lysaght, Keeper of Genealogical Office, and an independently wealthy novelist; ed. Nash House, Bristol, and Rugby Coll., then briefly at Corpus Christi, Oxford, leaving without degree after a rugby injury; recuperated in Lahinch, Co. Clare, living in a caravan and there discovered his Irish roots; studied Irish [?] and undertook an MA at UCC; worked a 600-acre farm purchased for him by his father at Raheen, Co. Clare [var. Tipperary], 1909-13 - introducing an electrical generator and other forms of modernisation; m. Mabel Pattison, 1913; estab. Nua Ghaeltacht at Raheen, where he already had a nursery and school for young farmers;
 
he was a partner with J. M. Hone and George Roberts in the Maunsel Press; served as independent member of the Irish Convention, opposing Home Rule, 1917-18; supported the West Clare Brigade in the War of Independence, assisting with logistics; his farm was raided by Govt. forces; imprisoned on his return from a trip to Britain to publicise the Black and Tan atrocities; estab. The Irish Book Shop, afterwards managed by P. S. O’Hegarty; issued The Gael (1919), novel, in which Con O’Hickie, the progressive candidate, is defeated by a cabal of publicans and shopkeepers; imprisoned, 1921; elected to Irish Senate, 1922-25; ed. An Shuab, 1922-24;
 
travelled to South Africa as a journalist in 1929, 1930, 1936 and 1938, later writing a book about his experiences in Irish; appt. Irish Manuscripts Commission Inspector, 1939-43; [var. 1938]; full member of the IMC from 1949 and its chairman, 1956-73, when he retired; ed. Kenmare Manuscripts (1942); elected to RIA, 1942; awarded D.Litt (NUI), 1942; appt. to governing body of School of Celtic Studies, 1942-76; appt. Chief Genealogical Officer [Chief Herald] by Eamon de Valera, 1943-54, and Keeper of MSS in National Library Manuscript Division, 1948-54; he bestowed the title Valley of the Squinting Windows on MacNamara’s novel; delighted when London publisher declined his memoirs with the explanation that he could withstand one libel action, but not forty; d. Blackrock, 4 March. DIB DIW DIH IF DIL

 

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Works
Poetry
  • Irish Eclogues (1915); Poems (Dublin: Hodges, Figgis; London: George Roberts 1928).
Fiction (novels)
  • The Gael (Dublin & London: Maunsel 1919), 337pp.;
  • as Éamonn Mac Giolla Iasachta, Cúrsaí Thomáis: Shois Seal a’s Shuas Seal (Dublin: Hodges, Figgis 1927), Do. [rep. edn.] (BAC: An Clochomhar Tta. 1969), 254pp., and Do., trans. by E. O’Clery as The Small Fields of Carrig (London: Heath Cranton 1929), 286pp.
Miscellaneous
  • An Aifric Theas (BAC: Oifig an tSolathair 1947), 147pp.
Scholarship & Genealogy
  • Horace Plunkett and His Place in the Irish Nation (Dublin: Maunsel 1916);
  • Calendar of the Orrery Papers (Irish Manscript Commission 1941), xi, 396pp.;
  • The Kenmare Manuscripts (1942);
  • The Wardenship of Galway (1944);
  • East Clare 1916-1921 (1954);
  • Seventeenth Century Hearth Money Rolls (1967);
  • Irish Life in the Seventeenth Century: After Cromwell (Cork: Cork UP 1939), 463pp.; Do. [rev. edn.] (Oxford: Basil Blackwell 1950), and Do. (Cork: Mercier 1969; rep. 1979), 480pp., ill. [12 pls.];
  • Irish Families: Their Names, Arms and Origins (Dublin: Hodges Figgis 1957, rev. 1972);
  • More Irish Families (Galway & Dublin: O’Gorman 1960);
  • Supplement to Irish Families (Dublin: Helicon 1964);
  • A Guide to Irish Surnames (Dublin: Helicon 1964);
  • Surnames of Ireland (Shannon: Irish UP [1969]);
  • Bibliography of Irish Family History (Irish Academic Press 1981), 60pp.
  • More Irish Families: Incorporating Supplement to Irish Families, with an Essay on Irish Chieftainries [rev. edn.] (Dublin: Irish Academic [1982]).
Biography & autobiography
  • Forth the Banners Go: Reminiscences of William O’Brien, as told to Edward MacLysaght (Dublin: Three Candles 1969), 314pp.;
  • Changing Times: Ireland Since 1898, as seen by Edward MacLysaght (Gerrards Cross; Colin Smythe 1978), 248pp., ill. [4] lv pls.

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Criticism
  • Charles Lysaght, A Memoir of Edward MacLysaght, 1887-1986: a paper read to the National Library of Ireland Society [at the Genealogical Office, Dublin on Friday, 6 November 1987], foreword Patrick Henchy;
  • Seán Ó Ceallaigh, Éamonn Mac Giolla Iasachta, 1887-1986: Beathaisnéis, ed. Liam Prút (Baile Átha Cliath: Coiscéim 2003), 475pp.

See also a list of his publ. works compiled by Etienne Rynne published by Cumann Leabharlann Naisiunta na hÉireann (Dublin [1988]), 28pp.

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References
Brian Cleeve & Ann Brady, A Dictionary of Irish Writers (Dublin: Lilliput 1985), gives bio-data: b. at sea 1887, of Clare-Limerick family; restored Mac in 1920; ed. Rugby and Oxford; Irish Senate, 1922-25; UUC Governing Body, 1927-31. S. Africa journalist, 1932-37; Chf. Geneal. Officer & Keeper of MSS National Library till 1955. Irish Life in the Seventeenth Century (1939, rev. 1950, rep. 1979); East Clare 1916-1921 (1954), Irish Families, Their Names, Arms and Origins (1957, rev. 1972); Supplement to Irish Families (1964); Guide to Irish Surnames (1964); Surnames of Ireland (1964); also Forth Go the Banners, reminiscence of William O’Brien (1969); Calendar of the Orrery Papers (1941); The Kenmare Manuscripts (1942); The Wardenship of Galway (1944); Seventeenth Century Hearth Money Rolls (1967).

A Wikipedia page on MacLysaght refers to a comprehensive listing of life and works on the Princess Grace irish Library database [online; accessed 05.08.2005] The present page is the successor of that listing.

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Desmond Clarke, Ireland in Fiction [Pt II] (Cork: Royal Carbery 1985), bio-data: b. 1889 [contra DIB/DIW], ed. UCC and abroad; ed. An Shuab, 1922-24; agricultural enthusiast on his estate, Raheen. Irish MS Commission, ed. Kenmare Manuscripts (1942); Irish Life in the 17th Century, and Irish novel, Cúrsaí Thomáis (1927), and genealogical works. IF2 lists The Gael (1920 [DIW 1919]), contains various social types, 1907-1916, and foregrounds the development of land; also, The Small Fields of Carrig, trans. from Irish of E. O’Clery (1929).

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Ulster Libraries: Belfast Public Library holds The Gael (1919); Irish Eclogues (1915). University of Ulster Library (Morris Collection) holds Irish Families, their names, arms and origins (Hodges Figgis 1957).

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Notes
Alan Titley (An tÚrscéal Gaeilge, 1991) cites MacLysaght’s introduction to E. O’Cleary [or Clery], The Small Fields of Carrig (London 1929).

Kith & kin?: see Elizabeth J. Lysaght, Brother & Sister [or, The Trials of the Moore Family] (London 1908), cited in Rolf Loeber & Magda Loeber [with Anne Mullin Burnham], A Guide to Irish Fiction, 1650-1900 (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2006).

Wikipedia: the current Wikipedia entry on MacLysaght [dated 10 Aug. 2010] cites PGIL EIRData as a source - being accessed on the WayBack Server in a file version captured at 26.10.2014. This files includes the information ‘raised in Raheen, Co. Clare; ed. Rugby, briefly at Oxford (left without degree); MA at UCC; worked on family farm in Clare, Co. Tipp., 1909-13’. Wikipedia passes over ‘raised .. &c.’ and adds the information that Lysaght’s father bought him a farm at Raheen (Co. Clare) and that he had previously passed time there following a rugby accident at Oxford which required recuperation. Wikipedia also notes that ‘His numerous books on Irish surnames built upon the work of Rev. Patrick Woulfe’s Irish Names and Surnames (1923) and made him well known to all those researching their family past.’. Also cited is the biographical study by Seán Ó Ceallaigh (2003). The current biographical record in RICORSO has been modified in the light of that information.

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