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Ordnance Survey Letters by John O'Donovan and Eugene Curry, 1839

Parish of Kilnasoolagh (c)

                                                                                                                         November 25th 1839.

Dear Sir,
We shall move to Killaloe on Wednesday morning; please to direct all commands to Broadford which we shall reach in a few days. I shall attempt to land on Inis Cealtra to-day, but fear the storm which is now raging here. Mr. O’Conor examined this island before, but I am most anxious to see the Churches to compare them with the other groups which I have already examined.

                                                                                                 Your obedient servant,
                                                                                                              John O’Donovan.


                                                                                                                         Six Mile Bridge,
                                                                                                                         29th November 1839.

Dear Sir,
We have now brought the Co. of Clare nearly to a close and identified all the ancient localities to a demonstration. Grianan Lachtna on Craig Liath still exists, but has lost the latter part of its name. It was a Christian, not a Pagan erection.

We shall move to Limerick, Deo volente, on Saturday evening, and expect to be able to finish the writing in about six days after arriving there.

The last communication from the Ordnance Survey Office which I received is dated on the back 25th November 1839. If any other has been since sent I have not yet received it and it will be necessary to write to the Postmaster or Masters to redirect all for us to Limerick. We have since the receipt of the last communication stopped at Killaloe and Brodford, but found nothing at the Post Offices. Our movements are very uncertain and it will be necessary to watch the Post Offices carefully, that none of the extracts may go astray.

I am knocked up to-day by a severe cold which I caught at that ugly place Killaloe, but I hope I shall be able to go on a wisp of straw (country dray) to Limerick tomorrow. You talk of Clare are (air) in your last letter, but what do you think of wet turf, sleeping in bogs, damp beds, potatoes like turnips, half-baked bread, adulterated tea, “no meat”, broken pains (i.e., of glass) and paying 2/6 per diem for an office to write in? All these things are not counterpoised by Clare air! but our work in Clare is now clearly done, thank God, and it is too late to complain, but we have suffered more than I could now remember or wish to glance back at. I don’t intend to go to Cork till my campaign is over.
I want a few vouchers.

                                                                                                 Your obedient servant,
                                                                                                              John O’Donovan.

Ó’s ag triall ó áit go h-áit,
Gan dom comnuidhthe, gan stáit
Do chinn an scómh dúinn ár seal
Do chaitheamh go h-uiríseal;
Guidhém gur buan ar dturas
Ó Inbhear Mór go h-Iorras,
‘S ó Shamhaoir na n-eas mbinn,
A ndeas tar Léim Concculainn.
Anns an mbliadhain d’aois mhic dé bhí.
Ocht gcéad deag a’s triocha a’s noí
Thriallam ó Osraighe an Fhuinn Glais,
D’féchain chríche Chormaic Chais;
Fechsam for gach Sean-Chaisleán,
For gachloch a’s Glas Oilean,
Ó Léim na Con go Sliabh Eachtuighe,
‘So Cill Dá Lua go Ceann Caillíghe.

                                                                                                       By John O’Donovan.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                                                                                             Sunday night, 12 o’clock,
                                                                                                                          December 2nd 1839.

Dear Sir,
I have arrived here a few minutes since; I shall call out tomorrow or the day after to speak to you about what is to be done next. Is the skeleton Map of Clare ready? The names of Carlow, I suppose, must be done next.

Father Matthew has about a million of people about him at Limerick.

                                                                                                 Your obedient servant,
                                                                                                              J. O’Donovan.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                                                                                                         December 4th 1839.

Dear Sir,
Having been driven out of Limerick last Sunday by Father Matthew and his sober followers, I am obliged to take refuge in Dublin, where I must put my pencil notes into some order. It would be more satisfactory to finish Clare in Limerick, but I could not get a single room in that city in which to sit quietly, in consequence of the awful number of the Matthuites; and this annoyed me, who am a being of a very irritable configuration of nerve, and as anti-Matthusian as I am enthusiastically anti-Matthusian. I trust however that I shall succeed in completing Thomond in Dublin, where I shall work day and night till I have done.