Charles O’Kelly


Life
b. Screen, Co. Galway, son of John O’Kelly, lord of Skreen, and the dg. of Sir William Hill; ed. St. Omer, he returned to serve Ormond in a Royalist horse-troop; fought in Ireland in 1642; retired to Spain at the end of the Civil War; joined Charles II in France; to England, at the Restoration; inherited Aughrane in 1674; MP for Roscommon in 1689; escaped engagement with col. Thom. Lloyd; garrison of Boffin Island, capitulated 20 Aug. 1690, and removed to Limerick; retired to Aughrane after Treaty of Limerick;
 
wrote Macariae Excidium, or the Destruction of Cyprus, containing the Last Warr and Conquest of that Kingdom (1692), an account of the Williamite War disguised as classical history substituting mythical names for those of real places and persons, viz ‘Amasis’ for James II, ‘Theodore’ for William III, ‘Lysander’ for Sarsfield, ‘Pyrrhus’ for St. Ruth, ‘Ororis’ for Gen. Ginkel, and ‘Attillas’ for Cromwell, while calling Catholics ‘Delphics’ and Protestants ‘Martanensians’; d. Aughrane, 1695. DIW ODNB IBL OCIL

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Works
  • Macarić excidium; or, The destruction of Cyprus; containing the last warr and conquest of that kingdom. Written originally in Syriac by Philotas Phylocypres. Translated into Latin by Gratianus Ragallus, P.R. And now made into English [i.e. written] by Colonel Charles O'Kelly ([London]: Anno Domini 1692).
  • Macariae Excidium, A Secret History of the War of the Revolution in Ireland by Col. Charles O’Kelly of Skryne [Skreen] or Aughrane, now Castle Kelly, Co. Galway, ed. from 4 English copies and a Latin MS in the RIA with notes and memoir of the Author and his descendents by J. Cornelius O’Callaghan (Irish Archaeological Society MDCCCXL [1840]) [Petrie edn., abandoned];
  • Do. [rep. as] Secret History of the War of the Revolution in Ireland 1688-1691 [rep. with parallel text in English and Latin ] (Dublin: M. H. Gill for Arch. Society of Ireland 1850), [contains Editor's preface; “Memoir of Colonel Charles O'Kelly, and his descendants”; “Macariae excidium”; Notes and illustrations; Appendix; Report of the 1849 AGM of the Irish Archaeological Society, with rules and lists of members and publications, current and proposed [see details];
  • Narrative Illustrative of the Contests in Ireland in 1641 and 1690, ed. Thomas Crofton Croker (London: Camden Society MDCCCXLI [1841]), xiv, 149, 35pp. [contains Intro. by Croker, pp.vi-xiv; Siege of Ballyaley Castle, in County Clare, by Maurice Cuffe, Esq., pp.1-23; Macariae Excidium pp.28-107 [[Copy in Herbert Bell Library, Belfast; also Hyland Books, Cat. 219];
  • Macariae Excidium [&c.] , new edn. ed. by Count Plunkett and Rev. Edmund Hogan, SJ, called The Jacobite War &c. [this edn. substitutes real historical names, Tyrconnell, etc.] (Sealy, Bryers, & Walker 1894; 2nd ed. also 1894), 12o, paper.
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Bibliographical details
Macariae Excidium: A Secret History of the War of the Revolution in Ireland[,] by Col. Charles O’Kelly of Skryne [Skreen] or Aughrane, now Castle Kelly, Co. Galway, edited from 4 English copies and a Latin MS in the RIA with notes and memoir of the Author and his descendents by J. Cornelius O’Callaghan (Irish Archaeological Society MDCCCL [1850]), [6], xix, [1], 546, 29, [1]pp. [25cm]; t.p. with engraved front. port. of Sir James Ware in oval setting above Irish Arch. Soc. imprint; with parallel text in English and Latin. The prefatory material gives the following details, orig. to be edited by George Petrie, 1841, but abandoned on the appearance in that year of an edition by T. C. Croker for the Camden Soc., London. Interest revived on the discovery of a Latin MS, supposed to be the original, in the RIA, which turned out to be a trans. by Rev. John O’Reilly, made in 1745-44, pointing up comparisons with the Jacobite Rebellion of that date. The Latin MS was previously in the possession of the RC Bishop of Clogher, who was formerly Pres. of Irish College at Antwerp. O’Kelly wrote a second manuscript work, called “The O’Kelly Memoirs”, which was lost, and a frag. of which gives further details of the period 1688-91, with many more pretended names. [See extracts under Quotations, infra.]

Available at Google Books Internet Archive as pdf or text [1.7MB; accessed 29.10.2010.] See also downloadable copy in RICORSO Library, Authors > Charles O’Kelly, Macariae Excidium - as attached [poss. browser issues].

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Quotations
Macariae Excidium, a Secret History of the War of the Revolution in Ireland
by Col. Charles O’Kelly of Skryne [Skreen] or Aughrane, now Castle Kelly, Co. Galway, ed. from 4 English copies and a Latin MS in the RIA with notes and memoir of the Author and his descendents by J. Cornelius O’Callaghan (Ir. Arch. Soc., 1850). The prefatory material gives the following details, orig. to be edited by George Petrie, 1841, but abandoned on the appearance in that year of an ed. by T. C. Croker for the Camden Soc., London; interest revived on the discovery of a Latin MS supposed to the original, in the RIA; which turned out to be a trans. by Rev. John O’Reilly, made in 1745-4[6], pointing up comparisons with the Jacobite Rebellion of that date; the Latin MS previously in the possession of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Clogher, who was formerly President of the Irish College at Antwerp. O’Kelly wrote a second manuscript work, called The O’Kelly Memoirs, which was lost, a frag. of which gives further details of the period 1688-91, with many more pretended names.

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Macariae Excidium, a Secret History of the War of the Revolution in Ireland [1692] (1850 trans. edn.) - cont: In his preface to the Latin ed. Rev. John O’Reilly relates that the author, Philotas Phil-cypres [sic] (‘lover of his country, Cyprus’) was of mixed parentage, an Irish father and an English mother, and therefore ‘equally concerned for both’ nations. He gives a summary history of Cyprus from the first invasion by the Cicilians, to the periods of Attillas (Cromwell), Pythagoras (Charles I), Amasis (James II), and Theodore (William III). Much has to do with the conflict of the Martinensians and the Delphians (Catholics), while Philotas is himself a Delphian. The Pope is High Priest, or Pontiff. Other persona in the narrative are, Ororis (Ginkell), Phyrrus (St. Ruth); Lysander (Sarsfield); while the place names are Egypt (Spain); Cyprus (Ireland); Cecilia (England); Acra (Aughrim); Paphia (Connaught); Paphos (Limerick), and Acra (Aughrim).

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Macariae Excidium, a Secret History of the War of the Revolution in Ireland [1692] (1850 trans. edn.) - cont: ‘This was the issue of that famous engagement of Acra, so glorious to Ororis, and so fatal to Phyrrus and the Cyprians, who lost there the flower of their army and their nation. [‘Haec illa est memorabilis ad Acram pugna, tot fortium virorum clade nobilitata gloriosi Orori Pyrrho fatalis cypriis-que quibus omne robur exercitus flos omnis nobilitatis eo praelio concidit.’] Further: ‘[...] soe shamefully to lay down their arms, and soe freely undergo that servile yoke which, by former experiments, they found insupportable. [...] But that the most zelous Delphicans of the Universe should happen to conclude a Peace with the sworn Enemy of the true Worship, without Conditions for their sacred Flamins, or obtaining Security for theire free Bishops. Exercise of the divine Ceremonyes, is a Mistery that surpasses the weak Capacity of Man to comprehend. What the Reasons might be for these prodigious Transactions, and what Performance tlie conquered Cyprians Irish, (whether liveing in a voluntary Exile abroad, or in a forced Bondage at home,) have hitherto received, after soe many large Promises of both Sides, must be the Work of an other Time, and likely of an other Pen : the publick Calamity of my Countrymen, unfortunate Countrymen in generall, and the lamentable Condition of some particular Friends, added to the Incommodities of old Age, rendring me unable to pursue that Remnant of a wofull History, that requires Ink mixed with the Writer's Teares; and the Fountain of my weak Eyes hath been drained up already, by the too frequent Remembrance of the Slaughter at Acra, and Aughrim. the sad Separation at Paphos [i.e. Limerick]’ (p.159.) [Taken in part from copy held in Library of Herbert Bell, Adelaide Park, Belfast in Sept. 1990 and in part from Internet Archive full-text version online; 19.10.2010.]

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Further, ‘And now, alas, the saddest day is come that ever appeared above the horizon of Ireland. The sun was darkened and covered with a black cloud as if unwilling to behold such a wofull spectacle. There needed noe rain to bedew the earth, for the tears of the disconsolate Irish did abundantly moisten their native soile, to which they were that day to bid their last farewell.' ([Macariae; quoted [no source] in Mary Campbell, Lady Morgan, London: Pandora 1988, p.11.)

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References
W. B. Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition (IAP 1976; this ed. 1984), characterises this and the following text as examples of ‘parallel history’, Macariae Excidium, or the Destruction of Cyprus, Containing the Last Warr and Conquest of that Kingdom. Written Originally in Syriac by Philotas Philocypres. Translated into Latin by Gratianus Ragallus [sic] P.R., and now made English by Charles O’Kelly. Actually the English version was written first and then translated into Latin by an Irish priest named John O’Reilly. Correspondences are James II (Amasis), William III (Theodore), the Pope (‘Delphic High Priest’), Louis XIV (Antiochus), England (Cilicia), France (Syria), etc. Macaria, an ancient name of Cyprus meaning blessed probably chosen because of Avienus’ description of Ireland as ‘The Holy Island’ (insula sacra) while the word Excidium links it with Gaelic writings entitled Togail (Destruction). A rather tedious work at best - writes Stanford - it ends with a series of lamentations on the fate of ‘the most warlick of Nations’. The events described never happened in Cyprus, and could not have happened under such variegated names. [147]

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Belfast Public Library holds Jacobite War in Ireland 1688-1691, ed. G. N. Plunkett and E. Hogan (1894).

Belfast Linen Hall Library holds Macariae Excid[i]um, or the Destruction of Cyprus. See Croker, T. C., ed. Narratives Illustrative of the Conquests in Ireland 1688-1691; and other ed., Secret History of the War of the Revolution in Ireland 1688-1991, ed J. C. O’Callaghan (1850).

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University of Ulster Library, Morris Collection, holds Jacobite Wars in Ireland 1688-1691 (Sealy Bryers 1894, 1902).

University of Ulster Library holds Macariae Excidium, or the last Warr and Conquest of that Kingdom ... written originally in Syriac by Philotas Philocypres, trans into Latin by Gratanus Ragallus, P.R., and now made into English by Col. C. Ó Kelly, a.d. 1692. (Ir. Arch. Soc., MDCCCL); notes by John O’Callaghan, Esq. NOTE, the Irish Arch. Soc. ed. bears a crest with the bust of Sir James Ware.

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Notes
Charles O’Conor [q.v.]: ‘I have written to him [prob. Reilly] by this post acquainting him with the good plan I have laid for bringing the History of Macaria to light.’ (Letter to John Curry, 20 Aug. 1760; Letters of Charles O’Conor of Belanagare, ed., Ward and Ward, 1988, p.8.) Note also further plans to publish Macaria involving Reilly, ibid., p.90; and the averral: ‘I am doing all I can to forward the affair of Macaria, and I do not despair of letting it agoing to his [Cousin Reilly’s] disadvantage.’ (Ibid., p.98.)

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Sir John Gilbert [q.v.]: See an account of Macariae Excidium in Sir John Gilbert’s History of Dublin (1854), Appendix, ‘Publications of Irish Archaeological Society: ‘Macariae Excidium, or the Destruction of Cyprus, containing the Last Warr and Conquest of that Kingdom (1692), edited in the Latin from a MS presented by the late Professor M’Cullagh to the Library of the Royal Irish Academy, with a translation from the MS of the seventeenth century, and notes by John O’Callaghan, Esq.; Latin trans. by Rev. John O’Reilly preserves passages not in the extant English copies.

Robert Sheppard, Ireland’s Fate: The Boyne and After (1990), contains allusions to Charles O’Kelly at pp.56, 73, 125, 145, 157, 158, and 242.

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