Séamus Ó Casaide

Life
d.1944 [common var. Séamus Ó Casaide]; some-time editor of The Irish Book Lover and noted book-collector; he compiled A Book of Irish and Scottish Gaelic Verse (1928) [see infra]; also issued A Typographical Gazetteer of Ireland, or The Beginnings of Printing in Irish Towns (Dublin 1923), and The Irish Language in Belfast and Co. Down, AD. 1601-1860 (Dublin 1930); on his death in 1944 his executors presented ninety Gaelic manuscript items to the National Library of Ireland.

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Criticism
See The Irish Book Lover: An Irish Studies Reader, with an Integrated Index, and an Introductory Lecture by Nicholas Allen (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 2004) - containing many of his initialled contributions [Anthology, pp.19-222; Index, pp.223-371; Chronology of Issues, pp.385-89].

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Quotations
A Book of Irish and Scottish Gaelic Verse [Bibliographical Society of Ireland pamphlet, Vol. III No. 6] (Dublin 1928) [pp.59-70]: Ó Casaidhe describes a book, half-printed and half MS, acquired by him in 1922, with hand-written date 1724 and a Glaswegian owner, T. R. Ferguson, in 1858; identical with Connolly’s Sale Cat. as “select Irish poems, translated into English, with original Text and MS”; The first part of two equal sections is printed, the second MS of poems by MacCuarta and other authors. Ó Casaidhe concludes from circumstantial evidence that the editor and translator was Charles H. Wilson, and the date of publication 1792 or a year or two earlier. The place of printing was probably Dublin, and the printer Joseph Hill who printed Wilson’s Resolutions of the Volunteers of Ireland, using the same watermark paper. Items in their originals and in translation by named and unnamed authors, are:

  • I] The song of Dearg; Laoi an Deirg by Padraig Ó Doibhlin, is held in BML, Egerton 164; also Scottish versions extant.
  • II] To Colonel Vallancey, poetical address of 114 lines, beginning ‘“Let there be Light”, the Great Jehovah said’, presumably by the author, pays tribute to Lhuyd, Rawdon, and Vallancey. Ó Casaidhe supplies notes on Vallancey, including a ref. to the obit. Gentleman’s Magazine, 1812, stating that he died in 8th Aug. 1812 at [in his] 92nd [year]; on this basis he challenges the ODNB and Webb [Compendium] birth-dates of 1721, substituting 16 April 1724, and citing Windsor as his poss. birthplace. Also supplies notes on the others named, and a ftn. citing Eugene O’Curry unpubl. catalogue of RIA MSS. Vallancey’s Green Book, MS in RIA, includes ref. to proposals in 1750 to print a dictionary compiled in about 1740 by a schoolmaster Crab (d. circa 1762); sold by his widow to William Burton Conyngham and presented to Vallancey; Thomas Jones auctioned Vallancey’s library in Feb. 1813, Lot 1281 [in extant catalogue] being Dictionarium trilingue [sic] sive Dictionarium Anglo Latino Hibernicum, sive Lingua hibernica rediviva, 1747, or an English, Latin and Irish Dictionary, author’s title; bought for a Dr. Adam Clarke and removed to England, it was found in Evans’s bookshop by Hardiman in 1829, having been sent for sale from France; now preserved in RIA in three large vols. as 24q 19-21.
  • III] Oran an tSamhraidh, misprinted tSambraidh.
  • IV] From the Irish of Thad Ruddy, Ode to Hugh O’Neil, ‘Once happy Greece, for arts renown’d’, 7 stanzas and chorus. Ó Rodaighe (mac Gearoid Oig), of Crossfield, Co Leitrim, fl.1700 [see O’Reilly, Irish Writers, 1820; Ir. Arch. Soc. Misc., vol. I, 1846; and TCD MS H 6 15] lawyer, antiquarian and poet; subject of several Irish poems; probably author of untraced ode; few specimens of his work surviving.
  • V] Oran gaoil, 9 stanzas.
  • VI] Colin And Selina, A Tale, 20 quatrains.
  • VII] Oran do Mhorair Ghlean-urchaidh, 3 stanzas.
  • VIII] Laoi Thailc Mc Trein, 20 quatrains; with eight quatrains of An tabhran.
  • IX] An Teasgasg Rioghdha, corresponding closely to RIA MS 23 A 45, written by Muiris MacGorman, Northern schoolmaster and scribe, ob.1794, who helped Vallancey and Charlotte Brooke; An tabhran [chorus?] some quatrains corresponds to some quatrains in Tomas Ó Rathaill’s Danfhocail, 1921; other quatrains correspond to five edited by Tadhg Ó Flannagain in Trans. Gaelic Soc. of Dublin in 1808, which also contains Tegasc Flatha, and states that both poems were addressed to Donnchagh Ó Briain, 4th Earl of Thomond, by Tadhg MacDaire MacBruaidheadha, fl.1600.
  • X] Oran Gaoil; Ode to a Relation, “O Mary, fairer than spring”, 6 stanzas.
  • XI] Plearaca Na Ruarach, 97 lines omitting line 60; Irish text as published in Vallancey’s Irish Grammar with Swift’s trans. in 2nd edn. 1781; reissued 1782 - but not in 1st edn. 1773; other edns. of the Irish text published by Charles Henry Wilson, 1782; Walter Scott, 1814, with his own trans. of lines 73-96, again in 1829; Tadhg Ó Coindialghain in 1829[?]; William Hudson in 1842; Douglas Hyde in 1890, and Tomás Ó Maille in 1916. Joseph C. Walker in Historical Memoirs (1786); Hugh MacGauran (ob.1710).
  • XII] The Feast of O’Rourke, a trans. “O’Rourke revel rout/Let no person forget”, 100 lines.
  • XIII] Aoimbo agus Umbo; in praise of drink; versions in Hardiman and Petrie.
  • XIV] Do.; trans.
  • XV] Seumus Meic Cuart, poem by, “Bfearr liom gearaan bhain i Birrnn”.
  • XVI] Do., “If thro’ life’s road I’m doomed to ride”.
  • XVII] Queen Alla’s Lamentation; another version and trans. appeared in Philip Barron’s Ancient Ireland, 1835; also in Sean Ó Dalaigh Ossianic Soc. Transactions (1859).
  • XVIII] Tail Mac Trein, trans. Book ends at p.96 without translation of last six stanzas of Irish verses (on pp.62-63).

NOTES: III, V, and VII by Donnchadh Macantsaoir [ban nan-oran, b. Drumliaghart, Argyllshire, d. Edin. 1812; VII, III (song of Summer), VII, IX, XV, XIII, XI occur in a section of an MS written by Edward O’Reilly in the order shown; the MS owned by Hardiman, and now in BML. An Irish MS of 1795 in TCD contains XIII, XV, IX, XI, XII and XIV, as well as VIII earlier.

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A Book of Irish and Scottish Gaelic Verse (Dublin 1928) - [cont.]: gives notice on C. H. Wilson, b. Bailieborough, N. Ireland, publ. Poems, translated from the Irish language into the English, 48pp., quarto, ded. Lord Rawdon, and containing song “Tuireadh Phegigh Dein” [another prose trans. of work by Carroll O’Daly], and Plearaca na Ruarcach, [i]n n The Wandering Islander, or the History of Mr Charles North, 1792; other works known to be by him appeared in 1798, 1799, 1802, 1804, 1808, 1809, and 1811; while Walker’s reference to Swift’s trans. in Memoirs mentions that “a faithful translation of Pleraca na Ruarcach has since been published by Charles Wilson, a neglected genius now struggling with adversity in London; a further reference in Walker to his Irish Poems, 1782, places the date of his removal to London between 1782 and 1786, but Hardiman put it at 1791. Hardiman writes – or quotes – to the effect that in the year 1792 a trans. was published by Wilson who afterwards ‘repaired to that great theatre of Irish talent and Irish disappointment, London, where, in essaying “- To clim[b] / The steep where Fame’s proud temple shines afar.” He sunk, like most of his countrymen, unnoticed and unknown.’ There is also a footnote in William H. Drummond, Ancient Irish Minstrelsy, 1852, attached to remarks on Charlotte Brooke, regarding Wilson, ‘an unfortunate neglected Irish genius’, who published a few songs in Irish.

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