|Donncha Rua Mac
Rugadh é sa Chreatalaigh i cCo.an Chláir tuairim 1715 ach chaith sé urmhór a shaoil i
ndúthaigh Déiseach 'na mháistir scoile agus ar gnóthaí eile.
Deirtear go raibh sé tamall ag foghlaim le bheith 'na shagart.
Bhí eolas ar an Laidin aige. Ceaptar go dtug sé turas ar Thalamh
an Éisc idir 1746 agus 1755 agus gur ann a bhí sé nuair a cheap sé
"Bán-chnoic Éireann Ó". Chaith Donncha tamall éigin
'na chléireach sa Teampall Gallda i Ros Mír (Na Deise). Fuair
sé bás sa bhliain 1810. Bhí cáil mhór air le Filíocht; go
mór mhór ar son "Eachtra Ghiolla an Amaráin",
Bán Chnoic Éireann Ó agus "As I was walking one evening
Donnchadh Rua Mac
Con Mara (1715-1810): was born in Cratloe, County Clare in 1715 and
his name may be anglicised as Red Donough McNamara. He left Ireland to study for the priesthood, but he never
completed his studies and he spent some time wandering about Europe.
When he did return to Ireland, he travelled around the
countryside as a schoolmaster,
the fate of the 'spoilt priest', as they called his like in those days.
Canon Power described him as a wayward, wandering son of genius.
He was appointed assistant master at the famous classical school at
Seskinane, Touraneena, Co. Waterford, in 1741 and he taught there for
some years afterwards. This school opened its doors in the first
half of the 18th century, the moment the vigour of the Penal Laws
commenced to relax. He was well-known in Sliabh gCua—the district around the
Knockmealdown Mountains and the hilly land between Dungarvan and
Clonmel. In 1743 he was reported as having travelled on a fishing boat
to Newfoundland. It is said
that he did so to escape the wrath of a family whose daughter he had
On a reputed second voyage to Newfoundland or Talamh an Éisc (the land
of Fish), as they all called it, he wrote a long poem, Eachtra Giolla an
Amaráin (The adventures of an unfortunate man).
It was written under peculiar circumstances. Donnchadh announced
his intention of going to Newfoundland and a collection was speedily
made up for him, as well as a supply of foodstuffs for the voyage -
remember, at that time the voyage would take several weeks. Our
brave poet duly arrived in Waterford, from which port he was due to sail
but, instead of boarding his ship, he commenced to make merry in some
local tavern until his passage money was exhausted. After this he
sold his supply of foodstuffs and, having accounted in like manner with
the proceeds of the sale, he faced back again to the parish of
Newcastle. To the queries put to him he replied, jocosely, that he
had been to Newfoundland and, a short time afterwards, he wrote a poem
of 360 verses in which he described his voyage. The poem describes
how the ship was attacked by a French frigate and a fight ensues in
which our poet is the hero. The emigrant ship is captured but,
through the strategy of Donnchadh the frigate is overpowered and the
emigrant ship returns in safety once more to Waterford.
He was a wild person. His
conduct was said to have led to expulsion from the seminary, his first
voyage to Newfoundland, and now to more trouble with the Roman Catholic