Rugadh é i Mintín Eoghain i
gCondae Luimnigh sa bhliain 1715. Chaith sé cuid mhaith da shaol
i gCondae Corcaighe go dtí 1767. Bhí sé 'na dhiaidh sin i nDún
Garbhán agus is ansin a chum sé a chuid dánta diaga. Chaith sé
tamall 'na dhiaidh sin i gCathair Phortláirge. D'éag sé sa
bhliain 1795. Bhí a danta diaga ar eolas go foirleathan ar fuaid
na Mumhan uile.
Tadhg Gaelach O'Súilleabháin was born in Co. Limerick but he spent
most of his life in County Waterford. He was well educated and fun loving but when he came to Waterford
city he met up with Edmund
Rice (at a music session in the Yellow House Inn on the
Lacken Road). He was also friendly with two priests: An tAthair Piaras
de Paor (Father Pierce Power) who was a Catholic Curate in Dungarvan and
who composed the Pious Miscellany, printed in Clonmel in 1802 and an
tAthair Maitios ÓMuiríosa P.P. (Fr. Matthew Morrissey). Under the
influence of those three men he became very religious. In
the nineteenth century his poems were often sung as hymns in Munster
churches. For example,
he wrote Duan
Chroí Íosa, (Song of the
Heart of Jesus}, which was used for years in the Sacred Heart
Confraternity in Dungarvan. He died
in 1795 in the doorway of the newly built Catholic Cathedral, where he
was waiting to attend Mass and in 2001 a blue plaque to his memory was
erected in the Cathedral grounds (see above). He was buried on April 22, 1795, in the ancient cemetery in Ballylaneen, about
halfway between Kilmacthomas and Bunmahon.
O'Súilleabháin's poems on religious topics reflect the gradual
organisation of Roman Catholic piety as the end of the era of laws
against Catholics was approaching. The music of the hymns is often
haunting and very beautiful. Over his grave is a headstone with an
inscription in Latin, composed
by his fellow Irish poet, Donncha Rua Mac Conmara,
(who is buried in Newtown, near Kilmacthomas) as follows.
hic situs est, oculos huc flecte viator,
parvula terra tegit!
Jacet exanimis, fatum irrevocabile vicit
atque volans sidera summa petit!
canet Erinidum laudes, quis facta virorum?
extincto, Scotica musa tacet.
numeris doctis pia carmina cantens
victor munera certa tulit.
Dominum praeclara poemata fecit
suaves hymnos fervidus ille canet.
Pierides! vester decessit alumnus,
non est cunctaque rura silent,
optavit pace igitur versatur in alto,
superi tendit regna beata Patris.