Risteárd Bairéad

Life
?1740-1819 [var. 1739; Richard Barrett, var. Barret; also Riocard]; b. and lived in Barrack, Erris, Co. Mayo [assoc. with Belmullet]; teacher and small farmer; provided literary entertainment for local gentry and wrote celebrated satire of an evil bailiff in the form of a mock-lament (“Eoghan Cóir”, 1788); poss. author of “Bean an Fhir Rua [The Red-Haired Man’s Wife]”, a theme taken up by Carleton; said to have been imprisoned for political connections with United Irishmen in exile; specimens of his poetry appear in Hardiman’s edn. of O’Flaherty’s Chorographical Description of West or H-Iar Connacht (1846), and in Michael Timony’s Abhráin Ghaedhilge an Iarthair (1906); buried at Cross Point, N. Co. Mayo. DIW OCIL

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Criticism
J. Karney [sic], ‘Richard Barrett, the Bard of Mayo’, in Gaelic Journal, V (1894), p.136-68; Nicholas Williams, Riocard Bairead - Amhrain (Baile Átha Cliath: Clóchomhar 1978), 144pp.

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Notes
P. J. Kavanagh notes in ‘Bywords’, Times Literary Supplement (27 Sept., 1996), that Bairead/Barrett, 1739-1819, a son of Belmullet, is buried at Cross Point, North Mayo, in an old graveyard surrounded by the Atlantic on two sides, the side wall of which was recently blasted by a storm with the result that bones fell to the strand; now collected and reinterred behind a repaired wall; his grave marked ‘fili’, with the words, ‘Why spend your leisure bereft of pleasure/Amassing treasure? Why scrape and save?/Why look so canny at every penny?/You’ll take no money into the grave.’ (p.16.)

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