Charles Patrick Meehan [Rev.]

Life
1812-1890; b. Great Britain St., Dublin, 12 July 1812; son of ed. Irish College, Rome, ord. 1834; contrib. ‘Boyhood’s Years’ to the Nation (5 Nov. 1842), over signature “Clericus”, his first publication; he also wrote for Duffy’s Fireside Magazine as ‘Sister Mary’ and ‘Father Charles’ - a nom de plume for tales of juvenile instruction; appt. curate SS. Michael and John, Dublin, from 1845 till his death; ed. poems of Thomas Davis and J. C. Mangan; issue translations and historical compilations incl. Fates and Fortunes of Hugh O’Neill [ ...] and [ ...] Rory O’Donnell (1870); he edited The Literary Remains of the United Irishmen (Duffy 1887), taken from the papers of Dr. R. R. Madden. PI ODNB DIB RAF OCIL

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Works
Historical works
  • The Geraldines, from ... Latin of D. de Rosario O’Daly (Dublin: James Duffy, 15 Wellington-Quay, Dublin 1847), 12, 238pp.; and Do., as The Geraldines, Earls of Desmond [new edn.] (Dublin: James Duffy 1878);
  • The Confederation of Kilkenny [Duffy’s Irish Library, No. 14] (Dublin: James Duffy; London: Simpkin, Marshall & Co. 1846) [Dedicated to Charles Gavan Duffy]), 234pp.; Do. [another edn.] (Dublin: Duffy 1860), 12°; Do. [New edn., rev. & enl.] (Dublin: James Duffy 1882), vii, 331, 20pp., ill. [1 lf. of pls.,
  • front. port.; 14cm.] ; and Do. [new rev. edn.] (Dublin: 1905.)
  • The Fates and Fortunes of Hugh O’Neill and Rory O’Donnell, Earl of Tyrconnel: their flight from Ireland, their vicissitudes abroad, and their death in exile / by the Rev. C. P. Meehan, M.R.I.A. (Dublin: James Duffy 1868, 1870) [ded. to Thomas O’Hagan, Court of Common Pleas, Privy Council, &c.], xvi, 583pp.; Do. [another edn.] (NY 1868); Do. [2nd. edn. (Dublin: James Duffy 1870); Do. [3rd edn., enl. with notes] (Dublin: James Duffy & Sons 1886), xvi, 450pp., ill. [1 port.] - available online [as 46 text files];
  • The Rise and Fall of The Irish Franciscan Monasteries and Memoirs of The Irish Hierarchy in the 17th Century, With Appendix containing Numerous Original Documents (Dublin: James Duffy, 1869), xii, 252pp. [ded. to Sir J. Bernard Burke, Ulster King-of-Arms; ‘The papers in this volume first appeared in the Hibernian Magazine’ - Pref.]; Do. [2nd edn.] (Duffy 1869); Do. [4th edn.] (Dublin: James Duffy Sons & Co. 1872), 398pp. [see details]; and Do. [5th edn.] (Dublin: James Duffy & Sons 1877), viii, 398pp.
Also

The Rise, Increase, and Exit of the Geraldines, Earls of Desmond, and persecution after their fall / translated from the Latin of Dominic O'Daly, with memoir and notes by C. P. Meehan (Dublin: J. Duffy [n.d.]), xxiii, 290 [i.e. 280]pp. [15cm.], and Do. [3rd edn.] (Dublin [1878]), xxii, 280pp.

Miscellaneous
  • Ed. Essays in Prose and Verse [by] James Clarence Mangan (Dublin: James Duffy & Sons, 1884), xv, 320pp., 8°.  
  • Annot., John Lynch, The Portrait of a Pious Bishop: or, The life and death of the Most Reverend Francis Kirwan, Bishop of Killala / translated from the Latin of John Lynch [orig. as Pii antistitis icon &c.], with notes by C. P. Meehan (Dublin: J. Duffy 1848), viii, 198pp. [20cm.].
  • Ed. The Spirit of the Nation: Ballads and Songs by the writers of The Nation with ... music arranged for the voice and Pianoforte (Dublin [Duffy] 1882), 4°
For juveniles
  • Antonio: or, The Orphan of Florence / by Father Charles [Flowers from Foreign Fields] (Dublin: James Duffy and Sons ... 1874, [1881]), 128pp., ill. [13.6cm.]  
Magazine venues
  • Duffy's Hibernian magazine: a monthly journal of literature, science, and art / by the most eminent writers, including Miss Julia Kavanagh. William Carleton, Esq. John O'Donovan ... Rev. C. P. Meehan ... Martin Haverty, Esq. William F. Wakeman, Esq. J. D. Mac Carthy, Esq. John F. O'Donnell, Esq. &c., &c. [8 biannual vols.] (Dublin : James Duffy [1860-1864]), 4° & 8°
  • [...]

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Bibliographical details
The Rise and Fall of The Irish Franciscan Monasteries and Memoirs of The Irish Hierarchy in the 17th Century, with appendix containing numerous original documents [4th edn.] (Dublin: James Duffy Sons & Co. 1872), viii, 398pp [with index]. The appendix runs from p.252, in the form of long notes. This is actually two separate books of which the second, entitled “The Irish Hierarchy in the Seventeenth Century”, begins on p.94 [as given under Quotations, infra.] The table of contents is similarly divided.

Note: Various incidental allusions in the text include Walter Harris, MSS Collection in RDS; Allingham’s ‘charming ballad’ “Ballyshannon”; writes of Rev. O’Hanlon that his projected Lives of the Saints, ‘is a truly national [sic ital.] undertaking, which deserves the support of Irishmen, Catholics especially, throughout the world.’ The text deals chapter by chapter with several Irish monasteries [or convents] - at Multifernan, Kilcrea, Timoleague; Moyne, Rosserick, and Kilconnell; Galway, Rosserilly, Kenalehan, and Creevalea.

[ The Rise and Fall of the Irish Franciscans [... &c.] [1st edn.] (Duffy 1869) is available at Google Books - online; accessed 17.09.2011. ].

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Quotations

The
Irish Hierarchy
in
the Seventeenth Century
 
[ Being the second part of The Rise and Fall of the Irish Franciscan Monasteries, and Memoirs of the Irish Hierachy in the Seventeenth Century, by the Rev. C. P. Meehan, MRIA (Duffy 1869.) ]
 
Chapter I

On Monday, the 22nd of October, 1645, an armed frigate, with the “fleur-de-lis” flying at the main, and carrying at her prow a gilded figure-head of St. Peter, dropped anchor at tne mouth of Kenmare river, not far from the point where it falls into the bay to which it gives its name. Soon afterwards a boat was seen pulling shoreward; and a few shepherds, who were attracted to the beach by the sight of the large ship, could easily discern that the party approaching were strangers, and that one among them was a personage of high distinction, an ecclesiastic dressed in costume with which they were not familiar, accompanied by a retinue of twenty-six individuals, whose garb and features left no doubt that they too were natives of a foreign clime. Scarcely had the boat touched land, when the whole party proceeded to a shieling, which the shep herds had erected to protect them from the inclemency of the weather, and set about preparing for the celebration of Mass. It was the feast of St. Philip, bishop of Fermo, an episcopal city in the pontifical states; and he who now robed himself for the holy sacrifice was John Baptist Rinuccini, bishop of that see, and nunzio-extraordinary, sent by Innocent X. to the Irish Catholics, then in arms for their king, religion, and country. Good reason had Rinuccini to be grateful to Grod for liaving enabled him to reach the shores of Munster in safety; for, indeed, the frigate in which he sailed was nigh falling into the hands of one Plunket, a renegade Irishman, who commanded the parliament squadron, then cruising in the Irish channel, [p.94] and pursued the St. Peter with two of his vessels fully a hundred miles, till a fire breaking out in the galley of his own ship, compelled him to shorten sail and abandon the chase. It is certain that the nunzio’s frigate would have shown fight had she come within range of Plunket’s guns, for he tells us that the St. Peter’s carronades were cast loose and shotted, and that the Irish, most of whom were soldiers and officers who had fought in the Netherlands, under Preston and O’Neill, and were now returning home to serve in the confederate ranks, declared that they would rather die in action and be buried in the sea, than fall into the hands of the fanatical Puritans, from whom they could expect no quarter. The chances, indeed, were all against the St. Peter, for Plunket’s frigate carried heavier metal, had a larger number of hands, and was in every respect better equipped for emergencies. The fire, however, on board the parliament vessel saved the nunzio, who, like his retinue, was already half -dead of sea-sickness, from becoming a prize to Plunket; and we can easily ima gine how the latter cursed the accident that caused him to lose the St. Peter, with its rich freight of gold and silver, arms and ammunition, destined for the use of the confederated Irish Catholics, to say nothing of the person of the pope’s nunzio, who, had his own forecastings been realized, should of necessity have resigned his high function for a prison in the tower of London. Rinuccini attributed hia escape to the special guardianship of him whose image decorated the prow of his frigate; but, be that as it may, the fire in Plunket’s cooking galley will account for it proximately.
  Having celebrated Mass of thanksgiving in the shieling, the nunzio had a large portion of the arms and ammunition and all the money brought ashore; and finding no safe place for storage nearer or more secure than the old castle of Ardtully, he converted it into a temporary magazine, and then ordered the St. Peter to weigh for Waterford, and dischiurge the residue of the freight in that friendly haven. The wind, however, proving contrary, the vessel had to make for Dingle, where the arms were landed, and soon afterwards sent to Limerick, in order to save them from the enemies of the confederates, who, by way of retaliation for not having Rinuccini himself in person, were intent on seizing them. After remaining two days in the shepherds’ [p.95] hut, the nunzio proceeded by slow marches to Limerick, keeping clear of the high roads, and escorted by squadrons of confederate cavalry, commanded by Richard Butler, brother of the marquis of Ormond, who was specially appointed to that duty as soon as Bellings, secretary to the supreme council, had announced his arrival in Ireland.

On the last day of October, 1645, Rinuccini entered the city of Limerick. [...]

(pp.94-96.)
 

Note: much of the ensuing narrative concerns the doings of Rinuccini - favoured by the author in his capacity as papal nuncio - and David Rothe, Bishop of Ossory - even more so in his capacity as a long-suffering and learned Irish prelate. The antagonism between the two forms the central drama of the history.

 
Chapter VI

About the close of November, 1645, Rinaccini was re ceived at St. Patrick’s gate, Kilkenny, with all the honours due to so high and puissant a personage as the nunzio extraordinary accredited by the Holy See to the confederate Catholics of Ireland. The clergy, secular and regular, awaited his coming in and about the city gate, and as soon as he passed under its arch, he mounted a richly- caparisoned horse, and proceeded towards the ancient cathedral of St. Canice, escorted by the municipal and military authorities. It was a wet and dismal day, the like of which the Italian had never seen in his own oright land, but notwithstand- ing the rain, that fell in torrents, all Kilkenny was astir, and thousands of the peasantry had gathered within the walls to witness the showy pageant. Four citizens, bare-headed, upheld the shafts of a rich canopy, to protect the nunzio from the rain, and as soon as he came in front of the market cross, the procession halted, while a yoonff student read a Latin oration, extolling the goodness of pope Urban VIII., and welcoming his minister to the chief city of the confederates. To this greeting the nunzio replied in the language of the address, thanking the citizens for the cordial reception they had accorded him, lauding their devotedness to the holy see, and invoking heaven’s blessing on their struggle for religion, king, and country. His words on this occasion were raw, but spoken with all the fervid animation so peculiar to Italians, and in the [p.174] rich, sonorous cadences which characterise their pronunciation of Latin. As soon as he had concluded, the procession resumed its route without halting again till it reached the great gate of St. Canice’s, where David Rothe, bishop of Ossory, surrounded by all the minor officers of his cathearal, some bearing lighted torches, others incense and holy water, stood waiting the arrival of the nunzio. After mutual salutation the bishop handed him the aspersorium and incense; and then they both proceeded to the grand altar, from which, after the prayers prescribed for such occasion had been said, the nunzio save solemn benediction to the vast multitude that crowded the nave and aisles of the holy edifice. Thus met, for the first time, on the threshold and altar-steps of St Canice’s, Rothe and Rinuccini, the one a feeble old man, in the seventy-third year of his age, and twenty-seventh of his episcopacy, spent by marvellous literary toil and incredible hardships; and the other, his junior by some twenty years, hale and fresh from his archiepiscopal principality of Fermo, and knowing nothing of persecution for religion’s sake, save what he had learnt of it in the lives of the saints, or from the glowing frescos that decorated the walls of Italian churches. Could it have occurred to either of these high dignitaries that they were one day to part irreconcileable opponents, and that the point of divergence for both was to be that very altar at whose foot they now knelt together, thanking God for favours given, and supplicating him to send the spirit of peace and concord into the hearts and councils of the half -emancipated Irish Catholics? Some there were, indeed, witnesses of this function who augured little good could accrue to Ireland from the presence and overbearing influence of the Florentine patrician-prelate at such a crisis in their country’s destiny; but there were many who believed that he, and he alone, had the wisdom that could save the people from ruin; and so thoroughly were they convinced of this, that, when all was lost, they attributed failure and defeat to the obstinacy of those who slighted his advice and repudiated his policy. The bishop of Ossory, however, far from sharing the sentiments of the latter, entertained views totally different, and lived long enough to see the metropolis of his diocese surrendered to Cromwell; but not long enough, unfortunately, to add to his published works a fair and impartial statement of the [p.175] causes that brought about such a terrible and irretreivable calamity.
[...]

(pp.174-76.)
 

The 1st edition (1869) is available as pdf or plain text at Google Books [online] while the 3rd edn. (1870) is available at Internet Archive [online] - both accessed 17.09.2011.

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References
Dictionary of National Biography calls Mangan an author and translator; ed. Ballymahon and Rome; curate of Rathdrum, 1834; member of RIA; compilations in connection with Irish Roman catholic subjects. See also P. J. McCall, In the Shadow of St. Patrick’s (1894).

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D. J. O’Donoghue, Poets of Ireland (Dublin: Hodges Figgis 1912), gives details: b. Dublin, prob. Leitrim family, 12 July; d. 13 March. O’Onoghue has information that his father was from Ballymahon, Co. Longford; contrib. poems, and wrote valuable hist. works incl. The Fate and Fortunes of Hugh O’Neill [?n.d]; first piece in The Nation, ‘Boyhood’s Years’, 5 Nov. 1842, appeared over signature Clericus; wrote for Duffy’s Fireside Magazine as ‘Sister Mary’ and ‘Father Charles’. Also lists Patrick Meehan, a relative (b.1866, Manorhamilton) who published in Shanghai a successful account of his travels in China.

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Patrick Rafroidi, Irish Literature in English, The Romantic Period, Vol 2 (Gerrards Cross 1980), Vol. 2, calls him a Catholic priest and friend of Mangan; contrib. to The Nation as ‘Clericus’ and other pseudonyms; translator of The Geraldines, from ... Latin of D. de Rosario O’Daly (Dublin: J. Duffy 1847), 12, 238pp.; The Confederation of Kilkenny (1860); The Fates and Fortunes of Hugh O’Neill [and Rory O’Donnell] (1868); The Rise and Fall of the Irish Franciscan Monasteries (1869).

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Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991) records that Meehan was present at the funeral of Terence Bellew MacManus, where a sermon was preached by Fr. Lavelle. Note that FDA calls Mangan the editor of Thomas Davis (Vol. 2, p.267, ftn.).

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Library catalogues
Belfast Central Public Library
holds Confederation of Kilkenny (1846); The Geraldines, Earls of Desmond, and the Persecution of Irish Catholics (1847), The Rise, Increase and Exit of the Geraldines ... (n.d.); Irish Franciscan Monasteries (1872).

University of Ulster Library (Morris Collection) holds The Fate[s] and Fortune[s] of Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone, and Rory O’Donnel, Earl of Tyrconnel, their Flight from Ireland and Death in Exile (Duffy 1870); The Rise and Fall of the Irish Franciscan Monasteries and memoirs of the Irish Hierarchy in the Seventeenth Century (Duffy c.1880) [1869 supra].

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Notes
Editor of Madden: Father C. P. Meehan edited The Literary Remains of the United Irishmen (Duffy 1887), taken from the nachless of Dr. R. R. Madden.

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Bride M. Smith wrote a poem in memory Fr. Meehan which appeared in Breifny Antiquities Society Journal (1927-33).

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Subscriber: Meehan subscribed with others to John Power’s Inquirer [1865]. (See Irish Booklover, Vol. I, No. 1, Aug. 1909, “Our Forerunner” [on Power].)

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