Tadhg Dall Ó hÚigínn

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Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn (c. 1550-c.1591) was an Irish poet.

Background[edit]

One of the most well-known of the late-Gaelic era poets, he was a member of a family of professional poets from north Connacht. He was called dall because he was blind. His mother's name is unknown. His father was Mathghamhain mac Maolmhuire, directly descended from Tadhg Óg Ó hUiginn (died 1448). His brother was Maol Muire Ó hUiginn, Archbishop of Tuam (died 1590). Another brother may have been one Tomhaltach Óg. Tadhg was noted as having lands at Doughrarane in Achonry and Coolrecuil in Kilmactigue, and other parcels, in County Sligo and served as a juror. Eleanor Knott suggested that these were lands originally granted to his ancestors by the O'Conor Sligo family, who were patrons of the family.

Poetry[edit]

O hUiginn evidently enjoyed high status in his lifetime, reflected in the lords to whom he addressed some of his poems. They included Cú Chonnacht Mag Uidhir (died 1589), Patrick Plunkett, Baron Dunsany (d. 1601), Aodh Mag Uidhir (died 1600), Cormac Ó hEadhra (died 1612), Brían na Múrtha Ó Ruairc (died 1591), Conn Ó Dónaill (died 1583), Aodh Ó Dónaill (died 1600), Turlough Luineach O'Neill (died 1595), John Burke (died 1580), Myler Burke (died 1586). Further indication of his status among contemporaries and in the decades after is the sizable number of his compositions that are found in the Book of O'Conor Don and in the O Gadhra manuscript (RIA MS 23 F 16), compiled in Ostend in 1631 and Brussels/Lille c. 1659 respectively.

A constant theme of his work is a very distinct sense of Irish nationalism, acutly aware of the political situation in late 16th-century Ireland. Irish soverigenty under threat from England features in several, along with restructuring invasion stories found in Lebor Gabala Erenn for the Norman-Irish, who were now heavily Gaelicised.

Death[edit]

An inquisition held at Ballymote in 1593 recorded that Tadhg Dall had died at Coolrecuil on the last day of March 1591. A chancery inquisition of 1617 provided further details, stating that members of the O Hara family of Cashel Carragh, Kilmacteige, were attained in 1591 for murdering one Teige Dall O Higgen his wife and childe in the year one thousand five hundred ninetee and one or thereabouts. Apparently, Tadhg had composed a satarical poem on six robbers, all O'Hara's, who reacted by cutting out his tongue.

Descendants[edit]

Tadgh Dall had a daughter called Maire. His son, Tadhg Óg Ó hÚigínn, who was nine years old when his father was killed by members of the Ó hEadhra sept, inherited his father's lands at Dooghorne in Achonry. Tadgh Óg's grandson, Pól Ó hUiginn (1628?-1724) was a scholar and Protestant preacher. The name of Tadgh Dall's wife is unknown.

Family tree[edit]

  Tadhg, d. 1315
  |
  |
  ?
  |
  |
  Tadhg, d. 1391 = Aine
                 |
  _______________|_________
  |                    |
  |                    |
  Fearghal Ruadh       Tadg Óg Ó hÚigínn (died 1448)
                       |                   
                       |                    
                       |                     
              [some generations]        
                       |                
                       |
                       |                        
                    Brian Óge     
                       |                         
                       |                          
                   Maolhmuire                     
                       |
                       |___________________________
                       |                          |
                       |                          |
                  Mathghamhain                    Gilla Coluim, d. 1587.
                       |
 ______________________|_____________________________
 |                           |                      |
 |                           |                      | 
 Tadgh Dall, d. 1591   Maol Muire, d. 1590.  Tomultach Óg? 
 |
 |________________________________
 |                             |
 |                             |
 Tadg Óg Ó hÚigínn, b. 1582.   Maire (d.1591?)
 |
 |
 ?
 |
 |
 Pol, 1628?-1724

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  • The bardic poems of Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn (1550–1591), Eleanor Knott (ed.), London, 1920 and 1926.
  • An appeal for a guarantor, Pádraig A. Bhreatnach, Celtica 21 (1990), 28-37, esp. pp. 32–33.
  • Dictionary of Irish Biography, p. 576, pp. 577–78, Cambridge, 2009.