Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

An Irish poet, b. about 1625, most probably in the barony of Barrymore, Co. Cork, but according to many authorities in that of Connello, Co. Limerick ; d. January 1698. He was well educated in the Irish, Latin, and English language. His historical poems show the influence of Geoffrey Keating, his favorite Irish author. He wrote elegies on the deaths of many historically prominent members of the leading Munster families, especially the Bourkes of Cahirmoyle, the Fitzgeralds of Claonghlais, and the Barrys of Co. Cork, who later befriended him in his poverty. All his poems, whether historical, social, or elegiac, are marked by a freshness rare in the seventeenth century and they furnish many interesting details about the life and manners of his time. Two of his epithalamia, a form of composition rare in Irish literature , have been preserved. They were written to celebrate the marriages of the sisters, Una and Eleanore Bourke of Cahirmoyle. His satires when directed against the Cromwellian Planters ;or the Duke of Ormonde and his flatterers are bitter, but lighter and more humorous when treating themes of local interest, as in the case of his witty proverbial "Guagan Gliog", or his mock-heroic defence of the smiths of Co. Limerick. His religious poems exhibit great beauty and depth of feeling, especially the poem on the Passion of Christ. Others like those on the schismatical movement of the Remonstrants (1666-70) and on the Oates Plot (1678-82) are polemical and contain details not found elsewhere.

His political poems treating the events of Irish history from the Cromwellian Plantation (1652) to the end of the War of the Revolution (1691) reveal his great political foresight and independent views. His "Suim Purgadora bhfear n-Eireann" summarizes the history of Ireland from 1641 to 1684, and a series of poems commemorates the exciting events of the reign of James II (1685-91). Being written from a national and Catholic standpoint, these poems, owing to a dearth of Irish documents relating to that period, are invaluable for the light which they throw upon the sentiments of the Irish nobles and people during that half-century of war, confiscation, and persecution. Despite his enthusiasm for the national cause, O'Bruadair is no mere eulogizer, and in "An Longhriseadh" (The Shipwreck, 1691), he criticizes the army and its leaders severely. He warmly defended the conduct of Sarsfield in the negotiations preceding the close of the war (1691). His views upon this subject, when compared with those of Colonel O'Kelly in his "Macariæ Excidium", enable us to appreciate better the divergence of opinions in Irish military circles in regard to the acceptance of the terms offered. O'Bruadair was a master of the art of versification, and wrote with ease and grace in the most varied and complicated syllabic and assonantal metres. His style is vigorous, his language is classical, and his vocabulary extensive; but a fondness for archaic expressions prevented most of his poems from being popular in the succeeding centuries. He is copious in illustration, careful to avoid repetition, and never sacrifices reason to rhythm. Though he was an expert scribe and an industrious copyist of ancient historical manuscripts, the only existing manuscript in his handwriting seems to be H. 1. 18 fol. 4 to 14 in the library of Trinity College, Dublin. It contains three of his latest poems (1693- 4), some genealogical matter taken from "Leabhar Iris Ui Mhaoilchonaire" and the "Rental" of Baron Bourke of Castleconnell, Co. Limerick. Most of his poems are preserved in three early manuscripts : 23 M. 25-23 M. 34, by Eoghan O Caoimh (1702), and 23 L. 37, by Seaghan Stac (1706-9), both in the Library of the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, and Add. 29614, by Seaghan na Raithineach (1725), in the British Museum. Others are to be found in various manuscripts In the above-mentioned libraries and in those of Trinity College, Dublin, Maynooth, while a few are preserved in manuscripts In private hands. A complete collection of his writings with translation, of which the first volume has appeared (1910), is in course of publication by the present writer for the Irish Texts Society, London.

More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18
12 for the Lord is a judge who is utterly impartial.13 He ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 34:2-3, 17-18, 19, 23
2 I will praise Yahweh from my heart; let the humble hear and ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 18:9-14
9 He spoke the following parable to some people who prided themselves on ... Read More

Reading 2, Second Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
6 As for me, my life is already being poured away as a libation, and the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 23rd, 2016 Image

St. John of Capistrano
October 23: St. John was born at Capistrano, Italy in 1385, ... Read More