Chair: Kicki Ingridsdotter
There is a marked contrast between the pre-eminence of life writing in Irish in the twentieth century (e.g., in the genres of autobiography and memoir), and its marginal role in the literature of the pre-Revival period. For example, only a handful of early diaries are extant, while even letter writing was not widely practised. Pádraig Phiarais Cúndún, from Shanakill, near Ballymacoda in east Co. Cork, is exceptional in that he not only wrote Irish-language letters while living at home in Ireland, but also did so after emigrating to the United States about 1826, beginning in 1834 and continuing until a year before his death in 1857. This talk will seek to situate Cúndún's compositions in the bigger picture of Gaelic life writings in the period 1600-1900, as well as assess the vagaries of transmission and scholarly interaction with the paper trail he left behind.
The late Donnchadh Ó Corráin in an article published in 1994, speaking of the Celtic Scholar Gerard Murphy (1901-1959) and his views on early Irish literature, claims that the 'influential' folklorist Séamus Ó Duilearga (1899-1980) was instrumental in the moulding of Murphy’s views on the nature of early Irish literature. He says: 'Murphy found his [Ó Duilearga’s] work and his ideas attractive and they greatly influenced his general view of Irish literature as an essentially oral tradition, poorly recorded by medieval monastic scribes.' While there is no doubt Ó Corráin’s description of Ó Duilearga as being 'influential' is correct, it is not at all certain that Ó Duilearga played the role Ó Corráin ascribes to him in respect of Murphy. It would, perhaps, be more correct to say that both of these contemporaries and friends influenced and reinforced each other in their respective views; but it is a complex issue.
In this paper I will scrutinise the literary evidence that may have led Ó Corráin to make the above assertion, some of which he reproduces in his article. In doing so I will contrast the scholarly output of both men and in particular look at where the forte of each lay. In addition I will utilise the personal correspondence of both Murphy and Ó Duilearga to each other over some two decades, as well as other primary sources, to try to determine the nature of their friendship, and who influenced whom most, particularly in respect of research and ideas.
Sa pháipéar seo, tabharfar spléachadh úr ar an gcomhfhreagras idir beirt de mhórphearsana na Gaeilge – an tAthair Peadar Ua Laoghaire (1839-1920) agus Eoin Mac Néill (1867-1945). Aithnítear Peadar Ua Laoghaire mar dhuine de mhórscríbhneoirí na Gaeilge a d’fhág rian ar an teanga ó thús an fichiú haois i leith; agus fear iléirimiúil ab ea Eoin Mac Néill a bhí ina scoláire, ina náisiúnaí agus ina pholaiteoir ó aimsir Athbheochan na Gaeilge ar aghaidh. Faightear léargas grinn ar an gcairdeas idir an bheirt fhear ina litreacha pearsanta neamhfhoilsithe agus sa scagadh cuimsitheach a rinne Ó Cuív (1973) ar na litreacha céanna.
Cuirfear leis an mbunanailís a rinne Ó Cuív ar an gcairdeas achrannach seo trí bhailiúchán úr litreacha ó pheann Pheadair Uí Laoghaire agus Eoin Mhic Néill a rianú. Bailiúchán Bertie Troy, a thugtar ar an gcnuasach litreacha seo a tháinig chun solais sa bhliain 2018 agus atá faoi choimirce Chonradh na Gaeilge. Baineann an bailiúchán le blianta tosaigh bhunú Chonradh na Gaeilge agus faightear léargas iontu ar an gcineál duine a bhí in Eoin Mac Néill agus i bPeadar Ua Laoghaire. Pléifear an bailiúchán nua seo i gcomhthéacs chur síos Uí Chuív agus foinsí ábhartha eile.