Vol. 5: Williams, N. J. A.

Type: Article

Williams, N. J. A. ‘Dermot O’Connor’s Blazons and Irish Heraldic Terminology’, Eighteenth-century Ireland/Iris an dá chultúr, Vol. 5 (1990), pp 61-88.

This essay considers one side of the career of Dermot O’Connor, the eighteenth-century translator of Geoffrey Keating’s Foras Feasa Ar Éirinn, and an accomplished heraldic artist in Dublin and London. Williams discusses O’Connor’s unusual style of decorating his manuscripts and notes inaccuracies in his use of Irish terms. Williams finds evidence in O’Connor’s heraldic diction that he was not translating from English but a from “pre-existing tradition of blazon in Irish”. However, “for all its imperfections, O’Connor’s heraldic language gives us an insight into aspects of Irish vocabulary hardly attested elsewhere”. The article gives a detailed history of the heraldry tradition and Gaelic practice in Ireland, discusses the vocabulary of heraldry and the Gaelic nobility’s adoption of heraldry. Included are more than fifty examples of O’Connor’s blazons dating from 1714 to 1723 (in Irish and English), as well as a glossary of O’Connor’s heraldic terms.