|Clare County Library||
|O'Daly, Daly, Ó Dálaigh|
One member, with close ties to Thomond, Donnchadh Mór Ó Dálaigh, wrote many poems to the Virgin Mary, and because of their sensitivity and pleasant style they later became very much a part of Irish folk tradition. One such poem, consisting of 148 verses, begins with the line "Frigeall Bheanacht Ó Muire" "Promise a blessing, O Mary".
Donnchadh Mór was the ancestor of the Thomond branch of the Ó Dálaigh who set up the school of poetry at Finnavara in the Burren, which flourished for a considerable length of time. They became hereditary bards first to the O'Connors and later to the O'Loughlins and many of their poems consisted of eulogies in praise of their patrons, on the hospitality of their houses and usually concluded with a recital on the achievements of their ancestors.
Lochlin Óg Ó Dálaigh imparts a
desolate picture during the 17th century in which he deplores the departure
of the "Swordsmen of the Gael", the effects of the Tudor plantations
and the suppression of the Faith, "Cait ar ghabhader Gaoidhil";
"Where have the Gaels all gone? In their place we have a proud
impure swarm of foreigners". Aonghus Mac Doighrue Ó Dálaigh,
who was the author of several patriotic verses became a valiant supported
of the O'Byrnes of Wicklow who, at a later time, became known as the
outlawed chieftains of the glen and he served to perpetuate the memory
of Fiach McHugh O'Byrne.
Cearbhaill Ó Dálaigh is remembered for the romantic element in his work and career. At an early age he was plighted to a young lady, Eileen, from one of the noble houses in Leinster. In his absence, her parents forced another suitor on her. Cearbhaill, however, disguised as a harper, appeared before the wedding feast and persuaded her to flee with him. This incident gave rise to the writing of the well-known song Eileen Aroon.
Gofraidh Fionn Ó Dálaigh was another eminent figure once described as "the chief professor of poetry in Munster." Many of his poems were addressed to the Earls of Desmond; one of the better known being "Fan gniomhadh meartar mac Riogh"; "By deeds is the son of a king valued". These are but a few brief examples from the extensive collection of folk poetry composed by the Ó Dálaig.