Cathal Buí Mac Giolla Ghunna

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Cathal Buí Mac Giolla Ghunna, Irish poet, c. 1680 – 1756.


Along with Peadar Ó Doirnín, Art Mac Cumhaigh and Séamas Dall Mac Cuarta, Cathal Buí Mac Giolla Ghunna one of the four most prominent of the south Ulster and north Leinster poets in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He has been described as 'an Irish-speaking Christy Moore, an incisive ballad singing entertainer for a totally Irish-speaking community of poor people living at or below subsistence in the early 18th Century.' [1]

Mac Giolla Ghunna was probably born in Fermanagh and, having initially gone on to be a priest, settled for a career as a rake-poet.[2] It has been remarked about his poetry that 'of the handful of poems attributed to him, most are marked by a rare humanity, but none can match An Bonnán Buí (The Yellow Bittern) with its finely-judged blend of pathos and humour'.[3] Although "Cathal Buí", as he is still affectionately termed in the folklore of Bréifne, is now little known in Ireland, his masterpiece An Bonnán Buí remains one of the best known laments and songs in Irish from the past few centuries.[4]

A study of the Bréifne school of poetry is forthcoming from Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin.[5] His memory is celebrated annually in his home country – Blacklion(Cavan) and Belcoo(Fermanagh) with a festival named in his honour, Féile Chathal Buí.


  1. ^ Féile Chathal Buí 2006
  2. ^ An Duanaire 1600–1900: Poems of the Dispossessed, p. 133
  3. ^ Seán Ó Tuama and Thomas Kinsella, An Duanaire 1600–1900: Poems of the Dispossessed, p. 133
  4. ^ An Bonnán Buí, with a translation by Seamus Heaney.
  5. ^ Gaelic Song Tradition of Bréifne project

See also[edit]