[Bishop] James Gallagher (1681-1751)

Life
[also O’Gallagher; Séamus Ó Gallchoir, or Ó Gallchobhair]; b. diocese of Kilmore, Co. Cavan and north Co. Leitrim; ed. Irish College, Paris and Propoganda Fide, Rome; appt. Cath. Bishop of Raphoe, 1725-37, Ossory [Kildare], 1737-51; one time hiding from authorities on Lough Erne;
 
composed and preached sermons in distinguished Irish to peasant listeners; Sixteen Irish Sermons, in an easy and familiar stile, on useful and necessary subjects … by J [ames O ] Gallagher, D.D., Bishop of Raphoe (Dublin 1737) [var. 1736], a text which heralded a new ecclesiastical order, supplanting the people's affection for the friars with the authority of the bishops;
 
editions and translations incl. Sermons in Irish-Gaelic with literal idiomatic translations on opposite pages, and Irish-Gaelic vocabulary, ed. Ulick Bourke (Dublin 1877); The Sermons of the Right Rev. Dr. Gallagher, trans from the orig. Irish by James Byrne, rev. & corr. by a Catholic Priest (Dublin 1807, 1819, 1835); Seacht Seanmóir Déag [17 Sermons ] (Dublin 1911); d. Kilkenny. ODNB DIW OCIL

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Works
Sixteen Irish Sermons, in an easy and familiar stile, on useful and necessary subjects [ ] by J[ames O]Gallagher, D.D., Bishop of Raphoe (1736), 8o.; Seventeen Irish Sermons [ ] in English characters … ] in which is included a sermon on the Joys of Heaven (Dublin: P. Wogan 1795), 212pp., 12o.; The Sermons of [ … Dr Gallagher translated from the original Irish by J. Byrne, revised and corrected by a Catholic priest [Bourke] (Dublin 1835); and Sermons in Irish Gaelic [ ] . with [ … English translations [ ] and Irish Gaelic vocabulary, also a memoir of the Bishop and his times, [by ] U [lick ] J. Bourke / Irish & English (Dublin 1877).

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Commentary

Charles McGlinchey, The Last of the Name, ed. & intro. by Brian Friel (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1986):

‘My father was at a school run by old William McLaughlin in the Glen before the time of the national schools. He learned to read English and picked up the Irish reading himself. I learned to read a bit of Irish myself the same way. My father always had a few Irish books of his own, mostly on religion, the Irish catechism and Dr Gallagher's sermons. He could read the sermons well. There was a great sermon on the Day of Judgement. The text was: “Agus ins an am sin tífidh siad Mac an Duine ag teacht i néal le cumhacht agus caithróm [And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory].” The text in Latin was: “Et tunc videbunt Filium Hominis venientern in nube cum postetate magna et majestate.”
  Dr Gallagher’s sermons were great reading. No one going now will be saved according to these sermons, for there’s nobody living up to them. I read the sermons myself many a time and I gave the loan of the book to Fr Mullan in Cam and never got it back.’ (p.12.)

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T. F. O’Rahilly, ‘Gallagher’s Sermons’ in Gaedlica, vol. I, pp.66-72 [review of Seanmóirí Muighe Naodhad, a ceathramhadh imleabhar, i SEACHT SEANMOIR DEAG do cumadh le Séamus Ua Gallchobhair, Easbog Ráthabhoth. Ar n-a chur in eagar le Pól Breathnach [Paul Walsh] (Sagart [Maynooth]: Muintir Ghioll 1911)]. O’Rahilly is critical of the decision to use modern Irish types for Gallagher’s text where Gallagher himself prefered to print in ‘letters which are obvious to all’, in his own words. Rahilly cites the earliest edition known to him, 1752, down to O’Reilly’s edn. of 1819. Regrets that O’Reilly thought to ‘improve’ the language, while Canon Bourke (1877) ‘went further still, with the result that a good deal of what was most characteristic in Gallagher was eventually thrown overboard. The latest editor, Fr. Walsh, has made good use of the early pre-O’Reilly editions; and an idea of the superiority ofhis text to that of his immediate predecessors may be formed by anyone taking the trouble to compare with it the text of the two sermons of Gallagher’s issued in pamphlet form in 1900.’ [Cont.]

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T. F. O’Rahilly (‘Gallagher’s Sermons’ in Gaedlica, 1911) - cont.: ‘O’Rahilly quarrels with the restoration of the grammar beyond what Gallagher used or common usage knows, and complains about the substitution of words in the original with other words (seód, for preasánta ; baoghlach [for] daoinséarach, &c.) He also notes mistakes such as a fhluichadh for a phlúchadh, and tar an rotha for i lár an rotha, &c. Dinneen’s is corrected (cuantar for cúntar, here p.69). Irish writers cited for lexical examples are Flaithrí Ó Maolchonaire, Daibhí Ó Bruadair, Egan O’Rahilly, Tadhg Ó Neathain, Brian Merriman, [Francis] Molloy, and Mac Aingil.

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Douglas Hyde, Literary History of Ireland (1899; 1902 ed.), of James O’Gallagher, b. Raphoe, ‘unique distinction of publishing a book - a volumne of servmons in Irish - which went into over 20 editions. He, also, pursued letters in the midst of difficulties, at one time escaping from English soldiers … by … only a few minutes … the parish priest O’Hegarty of Killowen[?] … was [taken and ] promptly shot [in his stead]. His Irish is remarkable for its simplicity and its careless use of English and foreign words, carefully eschewed by men like MacCurtin and Ó Neaghtain. (p.600).

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Maureen Wall, Catholic Ireland in the Eighteenth Century: Collected Essays of Maureen Wall, ed. Gerard O’Brien (Dublin: Geog. Publ. 1989), remarks that Bishop John Gallagher published in 1735 a book of Irish sermons which went into edition after edition […; 5]

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References
Dictionary of National Biography gives bio-details [as above]; published Irish Sermons in an easy and familiar style (1737 [var.]) 1935]).

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British Library lists under J. Gallagher, S.T.D., Seventeen Irish Sermons … in English characters … in which is included a sermon on the Joys of Heaven (Dublin: P. Wogan 1795), 212pp., 12o. Also under O’Gallagher (successively Catholic bishop of Raphoe and Kildare), Sermons in Irish Gaelic … with … English translations … and Irish Gaelic vocabulary, also a memoir of the Bishop and his times, [by] U[lick] J. Bourke. Irish & English (Dublin 1877); The Sermons of … Dr Gallagher translated from the original Irish by J. Byrne, revised and corrected by a Catholic priest (Dublin 1835); and Sixteen Irish Sermons, in an easy and familiar stile, on useful and necessary subjects … by J[ames O’]Gallagher, D.D., Bishop of Raphoe (1736), 8o. No other edns.

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University of Ulster (Morris Collection) holds Seventeen Irish Sermons, in an easy and familiar style, on useful and necessary subjects; in English character as being more familiar to the generality of the clergy. In which is included a sermon on the joys of heaven (Dublin, Pickering 1819); also Sermons in Irish-Gaelic (Dublin 1877).

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Notes
Lost books: His Sermons among the books lost by Tomás Ruadh Ó Suilliobháin on a boat crossing and cited in Amhráin na Leabhair .

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