Vol. 2: Ó Catháin, Diarmaid.

Type: Article

Ó Catháin, Diarmaid. ‘Dermot O’Connor, Translator of Keating’, Eighteenth-century Ireland/Iris an dá chultúr, Vol. 2 (1987), pp 67-87.

Geoffrey Keating’s Foras Feasa Ar Éirinn (1633), a compilation of Irish seanchas (lore) and Gaelic history, was, until the twentieth-century, a literary model and ‘virtual bible of the Irish tradition’. This article examines the life and career of Dermot O’Connor whose 1723 English translation of Foras Feasa was the first version of the text available to English speakers and had a ‘profound effect on the Anglo-Irish tradition’. O’Connor’s bilingualism allowed him to move freely between Dublin and London circles, where sufficient interest in the Gaelic language and tradition earned him a successful living as a Gaelic scribe. The article traces his movements in London and Dublin, and the controversies surrounding his work and reputation. Ó Catháin concludes that ‘it is obvious from Dermot O’Connor’s life alone that there was much more interaction between Irish-language and English-language cultures and between catholics and protestants in Ireland than has been widely assumed’. Included is a sample of a plate of bilingual pedigrees from the London edition of O’Connor’s translation of Foras Feasa.