Risteárd Ó Foghludha (1873-1957)


Life
[Richard Foley; pseud. “Fiachra Éilgeach”]; b. Youghal, Co. Cork; teacher and journalist in England, returned to Dublin and first ed. of An Gúm; also first Director of Place Names Commission, 1946; native speaker; ed. Merriman, Cúirt an Mheadhan Oidche (Dublin 1912, rep. 1949); made a new edition of Eoghan Rua Ó Súilleabháin (1937);
 
issued Ar Bruach na Coille Muaire (1939); Eammon de Bháil (1946); Eigse na Máighe (1952), and Log-Ainmneacha (1935), the last-named containing 7,000 entries on Irish place-names; translated biographies from French Russian, including Tolstoy and Chekov; contrib. to the Dublin Historical Record in 1951, &c.; contrib. [as “Fiachra Éilgeach”] to Irish Times controversy over Frank O'Connor's trans. of The Midnight Court, Aug. 1946. DIW DIH

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Commentary
Anthony Cronin, No Laughing Matter (1987), Richard Foley was the reader for Browne & Nolan who rejected Flann O’Brien’s Gaeltacht novel An Béal Bocht, after initial encouragements. When Flann excised offending portions, the publisher returned the manuscript with a note of refusal saying simply that their reader Richard Foley did not understand it and would not advise publications [140].

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Quotation

Letter to the Irish Times on the head of Frank O'Connor's translation of The Midnight Court by Brian Merriman and the censorship of the same: ‘On my asking why he had not made a close translation, which might be of use to some, his repiy was: “were I to do that, I should only be trotting after Merriman.” So we may conclude that what he has produced is the result of a trot on his own account, and a most miserable result it is. I have no hesitation in declaring that it is a misrepresentation, a distortion of the sense, a false picture, and in one line in particular, theologically offensive ... Altogether, it is enough to cause Merriman to turn in his grave.’ (Irish Times, 9 Aug. 1949 [Letters]; quoted in Alan Titley, ‘The Reshaping of Tradition: The Case of Frank O’Connor’, in Nailing Theses: Selected Essays, Belfast: Lagan Press 2011, p.115.)

Note: Titley goes on, ‘It was probably quite unusual to have the contents of a private conversation aired so publicly. O’Connor denied what had happened but added, “But I now perceive the value of my wife’s remark that in a country like Ireland a man who values his reputation will use an elaborate filing system. (O’Connor, The Backward Look, 1967, p.41.) The editor, Risteird Ó Foghludha, was not at all happy to be accused of lying and reasserted his version of events. He said of O’Connor: “He must be the victim of a most serious lapse of memory, but he might remember a particular question which he put to me, viz., ‘when are you bringing out a new edition (of the original) so that I may crib?’ These are his actual words: my memory is excellent.” (Irish Times, 11 Aug. 1946.)’

Titley concludes that ‘even if O’Connor’s own evaluation of the nature of the poem is generally dotty he managed to access enough of the spirit of Merriman to make the finest of the, at least, ten full translations of the poem that have so [115] far been done.’ (Ibid., pp.115-16.)

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References
Hyland Books (Cat. 224) lists Mil na hÉigsde (1945).

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Quotations
Letter to Dublin Historical Record, 12, 2 (May 1952): ‘In the Dec. issue of the Record ‘I found my name coupled with that of my deceased friend, Henry Morris, in connction with the Irish form of the place-name Terenure ... neither my old firend nor myself could accept the slap-dash derivation advocated by our critic, a derivation offered over half a century ago by Dr. Joyce, namely, “the land of yew”; further refers to Morris as an accurate, even a brilliant topographer as witness contribs. to Journal of Royal Soc. of Antiquarians [citing titles inc. Destruction of Da Derga’s Mansion, et al.]; also mentions Edmund Hogan, SJ, author of Onomasticon Goedelicum; explains the name in connection with the “Long House” recorded there, and ascribes the return of the name to use to the Dublin Tramways Co., not the ‘present proprietor’ of Roundtown/Terenure as alleged by Joyce.’ (p.64.)

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Notes
George Little, Dublin Before the Vikings (1957), ... it has been pertinently suggested to me (by Ristéard Ó Foghluda, D. Litt.) that the Wood quay (admitted to be Dublin’s oldest wharf) may owe its name to its proximity to Hazelwood Ridge [which Little associates with Harris’s apocryphal name for Dublin, Drum Cuill Coill] It is provocative to find no person named Wood figuring in the City Records in connection with this structure [35]

Conor Cruise O’Brien, The Great Melody ( 1992), locates information on Burke’s probably instructor, Father Inglis, in Risteard Ó Foghludha, Cois na Bríde (Dublin 1937) [O’Brien, op. cit., p.22].

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