Open main menu


O'FARRELLY, FEARDORCHA (fl. 1736), Irish poet, belonged to a family, of whom one member was abbot of Drumlane, co. Cavan, in 1025, and another canon of Drumlane in 1484. They had long been settled on the shores of the lake of Mullagh, co. Cavan, and Feardorcha was born in the village of Mullagh. He was son of John O'Farrelly, son of Feidlimidh O'Farrelly, and was brought up in a literary house, for his father wrote 'Seanchas an dá Bhreifne' ('The history of the two Brefnys'), most of which his mother burnt in anger because the book deprived her of her husband's society. He wrote a poem on this incident and several others. Feardorcha was intended for the church, but, according to local tradition, was excluded owing to some sacrilegious act of his family in the war of 1641. He became a farmer, and lived all his life in his native district, where he enjoyed the friendship of Cathaoir MacCabe [q. v.], of Torlogh O'Carolan [q. v.] the harper, and other men of letters who flourished in that district early in the last century. He wrote a poem in Irish in praise of William Peppard of Kingscourt, of which there is a copy in the Cambridge University Library, made by Peter Galligan on 19 Dec. 1827; 'Beir beannacht uaim sios go baile na ccraobh' ('A blessing from me on Ballynacroe'); 'Suibhal me cuig coige na Fodla' ('I walk the five provinces of Ireland'); 'Bhidh me lá deas ('I was one fine day'); and others preserved in the manuscript books which formed the chief literature of farmhouses in Meath and Cavan in the last century. He was often entertained by the Mortimers of Cloghwallybeg and their kin, the chief landowners of the district.

[Works; Transactions of the Iberno-Celtic Society, Dublin, 1820; local information.]

N. M.