Category Archives: Irish Language

What is An Réalt?

Note: An Réalt (‘The Star’) was the Irish language praesidium of the Legion of Mary which was dedicated to recultivating Gaelic spirituality, culture and heritage. Regarding its activities in Wales mentioned on pg. 14, there is a very interesting article here on ‘Irish Catholics and the Welsh language in the 20th century’ which asserts that An Réalt “took a particular interest in the Welsh language. Many An Réalt members were fluent in the Welsh language, while others were learning Welsh in a 200-strong Dublin night class. During the 1950s a representative group led by Fr Diarmuid Ó Laoghaire* visited Wales annually, either to R.O.F. Wynne’s Garthewin estate or to the ‘Welsh Catholic’ parish of Gellilydan.”

*See his pamphlet Our Mass, Our Life: Some Irish Traditions and Prayers. See also The Integral Irish Tradition.


Prayers of an Irish Mother


I’m indebted to jaykay for kindly sending these extracts from Prayers of an Irish Mother, which give a splendid insight into Irish popular piety in pre-conciliar times.

Patrician Year (1961): Éamon de Valera’s Address to Pope John XXIII

President Éamon de Valera gave the following address to Bl. Pope John XXIII when presenting the Holy Father with a replica of St. Patrick’s Bell and Shrine, on the occasion of the President’s visit to the Vatican for the closing of the Patrician Year:

Primam, quod sciamus, Sancti Patricii Campanae mentionem reddit commentarius pro anno 552 in veteribus illis fastis Hibernicis qui Annales intitulantur Ulidiae. Gadelice quidem scriptus Latine incipit ‘sic in libro Cuanach inveni,’ et hoc sensu vertitur — ‘Annis sexaginta post obitum Sancti Patricii reliquias scrinio imposuit Colum Cille. Splendidi thesauri tumulo inventi sunt tres, scilicet calix, Evangelium Angeli, et Campana Testamenti. Quae singula pro Colum Cille in hunc modum Angelus distribuit: calicem Duno, Campanam Testamenti Ard Macha, Evangelium Angeli ipsi Colum Cille. Angeli vero hac de causa nuncupatur Evangelium quia recepit Colum Cille de manu Angeli.’

Parum quidem compertum quomodo inventa sit campana, quidve Clocc in Aidhechta vel Campana Testamenti nominata; quin tamen revera sit antiqua ac genuina nemo dubitat.
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Impressions of Ireland (1913)


(h/t Spirit of Vatican II: In Newman’s Wake: Ernesto Buonaiuti and the Development of Doctrine)

Irish People and Their Priests

1641: Some Context


by Pat Muldowney,
Church and State; First Quarter, 2011

Historic massacres have been in the news recently. Large numbers of British Protestant settlers were killed in horrific circumstances by hordes of rebellious natives in a frenzy of religious hatred. This despite the fact that the settlers, whatever their faults, were bringing civic values, industry, modernity and progress to an antiquated country mired in backwardness and superstition.

In the ensuing chaos, order was finally restored by a determined military campaign in which the Irish Brigadier- General John Nicholson played a leading part, but at the cost of his own life.
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Croagh Patrick: The Mount Sinai of Ireland

The Historians of Ireland

The Rise and Fall of the Catholic Church in Ireland

The following is an editorial from Church and State magazine (the organ of the old Campaign to Seperate Church and State), January, 2010:

The Age Of My Craven Deference Is Finally Over.” That was the headline on Professor Ronan Fanning’s article on the Murphy Report (Sun. Independent, 6 Dec.). Well, it was almost the headline. Fanning used the collective “our” rather than the personal “my”. But in the case of the Professor of Modern History at the chief College of the National University the personal and the collective merge. The Professor (singular) determines in great part what characterised the plurality of those who went through the educational system to its highest level.

It became well known to us long ago that the paid intelligentsia of the state were craven in their attitude towards the Church. They were sceptics in private but were cynically respectful in public, because they were craven.
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Ord an Aifrinn, 1965

click above to read in full (pdf)

Many thanks to commenter jaykay for sending me this. (The English language counterpart can be read here.)

Lough Derg Guide

Irish Hierarchy’s Statement on the Introduction of the Vernacular in the Liturgy

The following press release concerning the implementation of Sacrosanctum Concilium was issued by the Irish hierarchy from the Irish College in Rome on the 8th November, 1964.

The Irish hierarchy is happy to announce that the Holy See has approved, by a decree of 4th November, 1964, the decisions made by the bishops regarding the introduction of the vernacular, Irish and English, into certain parts of the Mass.

In accordance with the wishes of the Holy See the changes will be introduced in several stages in order to achieve as smooth a transition as possible in the ceremonies of this central act of Catholic worship.

The bishops are taking immediate steps to have printed texts of the approved translations available for priests and people, so as to permit the introduction of the first stage, where feasible, on the first Sunday of Lent 1965, when the important changes in the ceremonies of the Mass recently announced by the Holy See will come into effect.
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The Integral Irish Tradition

Eoghan Ruadh Ó Súilleabháin: Aspects of his Life and Work (Part 2)

Click here to purchase: Eoghan Rua Ó Súilleabháin: Danta / Poems – With translations by Pat Muldowney. Supplementary Material by Seámus O’Donnell and others. Eoghan Rua Ó Súilleabháin: Collected Writings, Vol. 2. 230pp. Index. ISBN 1 903497 57 9.AHS, 2009, €20, £15.
Click here to purchase: Eoghan Rua Ó Súilleabháin: Aislingí / Vision PoemsWith translations by Pat Muldowney, Introductory material by P. Dinneen. Note On Script by N. Cusack. Also: Conflicting Views Of Ireland In The 18th Century: Revisionist History Under The Spotlight by B. Clifford. Eoghan Rua Ó Súilleabháin: Collected Writings, Vol. 1. 216pp. Index. ISBN 1 903497 07 8. AHS, 2002, €20, £15.

[Read Part 1 here]

by Séamas Ó Domhnaill,
Church and State, First Quarter, 2011.

The next time you go to visit Killarney I would recommend hiring a bike and cycling south along the N71 towards Muckross in the National Park. After a couple of miles the road bends to the right at the old Muckross Post Office (I think it is now an art gallery). If you stop your bike there to take a break you will see on your left the old Parish Church (which is now a youth centre). Up on the hill behind you will see a large Celtic Cross which marks a graveyard. Two people are buried there who are involved with the story of Eoghan Ruadh. These are Henry Arthur Herbert and Maurice Hussey. I’ll talk to you about these some other time. For now however, I want you to hop back up onto your rothar and cycle for a few minutes until you reach the entrance to the National Park at Muckross Abbey. As you are cycling in the gate you will see the fine herd of cattle in the fields, the magnificent trees and, beyond that, the lake. Carry on up to the ruins of the Franciscan Friary to your right. Say hello to the cows and lock up your bike.

You have arrived at Mainister Oirbheallaigh, the Monestery of the Eastern Way, which was founded by Domhnall McCárthaigh Mór, King of Desmond, in 1448. The sons of St. Francis ministered here until they were driven out by the Penal Laws in 1698. (1) In the nave of the Friary you will see a plaque erected in honour of the four great poets who are buried in the Friary: Piaras Feiritéar who was hung by the English in 1653, Séafraidh Ó Donnchadh an Ghleanna (1620—1678), Aodhagán Ó Rathaille (1670—1729), and our very own Eoghan Ruadh. Whereas, the first three had received formal education in Bardic Schools, Eoghan was a ragamuffin of the outlaw Hedge School and the Court of Poetry.

To the left of the chapel you will come to the Cloister with an old Yew tree in the middle. Pass on into a dark room at the back of the Cloister. If you are not a scaredy cat, walk into the room and you will see that it is long with a row of tall windows facing East. This is the Scriptorium where the young Friars copied the sacred scriptures in the days before the printing press. Eoghan Ruadh would have had a lot in common with those scholars who lived their lives centuries before he was born.
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Eoghan Ruadh Ó Súilleabháin: Aspects of his Life and Work (Part 1)

Click here to purchaseEoghan Rua Ó Súilleabháin: Danta / Poems – With translations by Pat Muldowney. Supplementary Material by Seámus O’Donnell and others. Eoghan Rua Ó Súilleabháin: Collected Writings, Vol. 2. 230pp. Index. ISBN 1 903497 57 9.AHS, 2009, €20, £15.
Click here to purchase: Eoghan Rua Ó Súilleabháin: Aislingí / Vision PoemsWith translations by Pat Muldowney, Introductory material by P. Dinneen. Note On Script by N. Cusack. Also: Conflicting Views Of Ireland In The 18th Century: Revisionist History Under The Spotlight by B. CliffordEoghan Rua Ó Súilleabháin: Collected Writings, Vol. 1. 216pp. Index. ISBN 1 903497 07 8. AHS, 2002, €20, £15.

[Read Part 2 here]


by Séamas Ó Domhnaill,
Church and State, Fourth Quarter, 2010.

This is a story about Irish literature in the 18th Century. In particular it concerns the famous Munster poet Eoghan Ruadh Ó Súilleabhán (Owen Roe O’ Sullivan).

It is my intention to write a full biography of Eoghan Ruadh so I would be obliged if you would read through the points I make with a critical eye and let me know of any corrections I would need to make, anything I may have overlooked, any further sources of information I could use or any other avenues I could explore in relation to Irish literature in general or Eoghan Ruadh in particular. Please contact me at jimaricel ‘AT’

As The Crow Flies

Munster is the most southern of the four provinces of Ireland. If you were to travel to Munster from the Philippines you would fly north from Manila, over Hong Kong, China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany and land in Amsterdam Airport. Then you would take another flight across the North Sea, southern England, the Celtic Sea and you would arrive at Cork Airport in southern Munster.

Cork Airport is located in the townland of Baile Garbháin (Ballygarvan) in the civil parish of Carraig Uí Leighin (Carrigaline) in the barony of Ciarraí Cuirche (Kerrycurrihy) in the county of Corcaigh (Cork). Up until around the year 1600 the little kingdom of Kerrycurrihy belonged to a branch of the Fitzgerald family and was an integral part of the larger kingdom of the great Fitzgerald Earls of Desmond (Deas Mhumhain, South Munster).

If you want to reach Munster from America you should fly east across the Atlantic and land at Shannon Airport in the north of the province. Shannon Airport is located in the townland of Rinn Eanaigh (Rineanna), in the civil parish of Cill Chomhraí (Kilconry) in the barony of Bun Raite (Bunratty) in the county of An Chlár (Clare). Bunratty was once the capital of the O’Brien kings of Thomond (Tuath Mhumhain, North Munster).
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The Irish Ecclesiastical Record; December, 1944

click above to read in full (pdf)

A Miracle of Work: How Monks Subdued a Mountain

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