Irish Poetry, from the English Invasion to 1798

By Rusell K. Alspach | Go to book overview

8
To the Nineteenth Century

WE come back briefly, and for the last time, to the historians with a consideration of James Hely English translation of Roderick O'Flaherty Ogygia, or a Chronological Account of Irish Events, written originally in Latin in 1685, and published in Dublin in 1793. Not a great deal of legendary material is in the Ogygia. Concerning the Red Branch cycle, O'Flaherty says that Fergus MacRoy, dethroned by Conchubar in the third year of his reign, took refuge in Connaught where he enlisted under the banner of Maeve. From her Fergus got assistance for an attack on Ulster; the hostilities lasted seven years,

which hostile preparations have been blazoned and embellished by the poetical fictions of those ages. About the middle of this war, eight years prior to the Christian aera, Mauda queen of Connaught in conjunction with Fergus Rogy, carried off an immense quantity of cattle, memorable for the egregious valour of those who drove and pursued them from Cualgny in the County of Louth.224

A chapter is devoted to Cuchulin and Conal Cearnach: Cuchulin was but seventeen years old when he pursued the "Cualgnian plunder";225 Cuchulin's father and Conal were the first men in Ireland to break horses to the saddle.226 The only notice O'Flaherty makes of Deirdre is in his recitation of Cuchulin's lineage, and peculiarly enough, she is incidental to the mention of Naisi:

Cuculand, by his mother, was related to the kings of Ulster . . . from whom he was descended. Dechtira was his mother; Cathbad, the druid, was his grandfather; his grandmother, by his mother, was
____________________
224
Ogygia, London, 1793, II, 154.
225
Ibid., p. 161.
226
Ibid., p. 162.

-122-

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