Ó Dálaigh [poetic family]

Family members include Dálach, pupil of S. Colman [6th c.]; Aonghus Ruadh Mac Chearbhaill Buidhe, Meath, fl.1300-50 [var. d.1350]; Cearbhall of Ossory, fl.1590-1630, who wrote Eibhlín a Rúin, and Tochmarc Fhearbhlaidhe, ed. Eoghan Ó Neachtáin (Dublin 1911); also Diarmuid Mac Taidhg Mhic Diarmuda Oig, of Kerry, fl.1620-80; also Gofraidh Fionn, of Cork, c.1320-87, who attended the feat of Uí Maine, 1351; see Eleanor Knott, ‘Filidh Eirionn go haointeach, William O’Kelly’s ‘Christmas Feast to the Poets of Ireland, a.d. 1351’, in Eriu, V (Dublin 1911); also Lochlainn Og, of Munster, c.550-1616, ‘Cáit a Ghabhadar Gaoidhil [Whither have gone our Gaels]’, lamenting outlawry and flight of Catholic gentry; see L. McKenna, SJ, ed., Dioghluim Dána (1938), Aithdioghluim Dána (1939), and Tomás Ó Rahile, ed., Dánta Grádha, Love Poems 1350-1750, with trans. by Robin Flower (Cork 1926). DIW ODNB


Godfraidh Fionn Ó Dalaigh's praise poem to Maurice Fitz Maurice Fitzgerald (Muiris Óg) second Earl of Desmond, addressed to Edward III.


It was no marvel that he did good, so excellent
was his training. No marvel men envied his fortune

so great was his gaiety. A merry tale will be found
with the skillful youth; so tall and bright, elegant

and white-footed; this leader of the fair host who
excelled in understanding, comeliness and success.

Who - in short - won all the varied excellences
with the excellence of his sweetness of voice.

His prize for valour, his prize for wisdom, for beauty
or generosity, were not granted to any heir of his age.

Strength in luck, luck with success, a modest heart,
understanding to keep him, curling tresses he had

gotten. When he was injured, the sod that
chanced to be under his white foot, certified it to be

the handsome brown haired prince. The planets

declared it to his curling hair.


The like of Maurice, who exalted bards, was Lugh
Longhand; equally great in knowledge was this

valiant compeer equal in sway. At the age of
Maurice, the earl's son, he delivered Banbha,

when he, the mighty tree of Bladhma, defeated
the race of the Formorians. At Eamhain in the east,

Lugh the darling of Tara beheld Tara - Rampart
of Té - when he reached it after searching the whole

earth. Lugh, champion of our choice, finds the door
closed: he goes to the smooth even-surfaced wall;

he strikes the knocker. “Where have you come from”
The doorkeeper said

“O young red-cheeked man; tall, smooth, strong
and bright?”

Answered Lugh, who sought nor shirked no fight
"I am a poet from Eamhain, of the Apple trees,

of swans and yew trees”

“It is not lawful for you" said the doorkeeper,
"to come to our good house. There is a man

of your art in our stronghold, bright and ruddy one.
The House of Miodhchuairt belongs at this time

to the sons of Ethliu; we must tell of the qualities
of the fair curved house. One of the qualities of the

House of Miodhchuairt, whose borders are smooth,
is that two of one craft are not admitted, fair

and furious one. So many are the arts
of the Tuatha Dé Dannan, bestowers of cloaks,

that you must bring to them an art they do not know”

“Among my arts - conceal it not to the company
beyond the gate - is leaping on a bubble without

breaking it. Go recount that. Snámh ós éttreóir,
arrying a vat on the ridges of the elbows;

these two arts are in my power; go declare it. Ask
whether there is one of the vigorous throng

that can outrun any steed on the fair soft green,
we promise a race. What i recount is here as an

extra beyond them, and in their own arts, none
is so expert as I: I speak not in anger”

—trans. by Osbert Bergin; contributed by Kevin Desmond Swords (a lineal descendent of Gerald, 3rd Earl of Desmond) on Facebook; 25.08.2015. 


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