Seán Ó Ceallaigh (1872-1957)


Life
[anglice J. J. O’Kelly; also Ua Ceallaigh; pseud. ‘Sceilg’]; raised in Valentia Island, Co. Kerry, without learning much Irish; as a young man perfected his Irish and was encouraged to write by Tadhg Ua Donnchadha; became Gaelic League President, 1919-23; MP, Meath-Louth in 1918; ed. Catholic Bulletin for some years to 1925; Minister for Irish and Ceann Chomhairle in the First Dáil; Sinn Féin President, 1926-30; later became Minister for Education while a Senator; employed by M. H. Gill up to 1951; ed. and wrote more than 30 books in Irish and English, incl. Gill’s Irish Reciter (1907); expresses strongly Catholic and nationalist convictions in Ireland’s Spiritual Empire: St. Patrick as a World Figure (1952), et al.;
 
works inc. Amugha i mBaiblean [Babylonians], comics essay on journey to London, printed in An Claimheadh Soluis; also Saothor ár Sean i gCéin [work of our ancestors abroad] (Dublin 1904); Beatha Lorcáin Naomhtha Uí Thuathail (1905); Feithe Fodhla (1905, and edns.); Brian Bóroimhe (Gaelic League 1906); Scéaluidhe Eireann (1908, and edns.); Leabhar na Laoitheadh (1912) and Eachtra an Amadáin Mhóir (1912), both sev. edns.; Beatha Breandáin (1915); involved in politics from 1916; MP 1918; TD for Louth-Meath and chairman of Dáil, 1919-21; Speaker 1925-30, and President of Sinn Féin, 1926-30; also Minister for Education while in the Senate; Liudaigh Óg na Leagadh Móire (1936). DIW OCIL

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Criticism
Brian Murphy, “J. J. O’Kelly (‘Sceilg’) and the Catholic Bulletin: Cultural Considerations, Gaelic, Religious and National, c.1898-1926 (Diss.; NUI Dublin, 1987)”.

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References
British Library holds Sean Ó Ceallaigh [Society for the preservation of the Irish Language], Ireland’s Spiritual Empire; Saint Patrick as a world figure, etc [...] pp.318. M. H. Gill & Son: Dublin 1952. 8o.

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Notes
Not to be confused John T Kelly, member of Southwark Irish Literary Club, c.1883, as recorded in W. P. Ryan, The Irish Literary Revival (1894), p.15-17, with the motto Sgar an solus, ‘Spread the Light’. See Kelly, RX.

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