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O'GLACAN, NIAL (fl. 1629–1655), physician, was a native of Donegal, and received some medical education in Ireland, probably (Preface to Tractatus de Peste) from a physician of one of the hereditary medical families [see MacDonlevy], thus learning the work of an apothecary and a surgeon, as well as the Galenical knowledge necessary for a physician. In 1628 he treated patients in an epidemic of plague in the towns of Figeac, Fons, Capdenac, Cajarc, Rovergue, and Floyeac, between Clermont and Toulouse. He was encouraged in his work by the Bishop of Cahors; and when the epidemic appeared in Toulouse he went thither, and was appointed to the charge of the xenodochium pestiferorum, or hospital for those sick of the plague. In May 1629, while residing in the hospital, he published ‘Tractatus de Peste seu brevis facilis et experta methodus curandi pestem authore Magistro Nellano Glacan Hiberno apud Tolosates pestiferorum pro tempore medico.’ It was printed by Raymond Colomerius, the university printer, and is dedicated to Giles de Masuyer, viscomte d'Ambrières. In the preface he speaks of the fame of Ireland for learning in ancient times, and he notices the credit of the Irish physicians. The work itself is a piece of formal medicine, without cases or other observations of interest.

O'Glacan remained in Toulouse, was appointed physician to the king, and became professor of medicine in the university. In 1646 he still describes himself as a professor at Toulouse, but in that year removed to Bologna, where he also gave lectures, and published ‘Cursus medicus, Prima pars: Physiologica,’ in six books. The second part, ‘Pathologica,’ in three books, and the third part, ‘Semeiotica,’ in four books, were published at Bologna in 1655. Part i. has two curious prefaces, one ‘lectori benevolo,’ the other ‘lectori malevolo.’ Commendatory verses are prefixed, and among those of part ii. are some by Gregory Fallon, a Connaughtman, who was at Bologna, and by another countryman, the Rev. Philip Roche, S.J. Fallon says that O'Glacan is in Italy what Fuchsius was in Germany. The ‘Cursus’ begins with a discussion of the utility of medicine, of its nature, and of the several schools of medical thought, and then proceeds to lay down the whole system of the Galenists, without additions from modern practice. In 1648 he edited, with the Bishop of Ferns and Sir Nicholas Plunket, ‘Regni Hiberniæ ad sanctissimum Innocentem X Pont. Max. Pyramides encomiasticæ,’ a series of laudatory poems in Latin addressed to the pope. The preface is by O'Glacan, and he mentions as his friends in Italy Francis O'Molloy [q. v.], the author of ‘Lucerna Fidelium;’ Peter Talbot, Gerard O'Fearail, and John O'Fahy. The only other ascertained incident of his life is that he visited Rome.

[Works; Codex Medicamentarius seu Pharmacopœa Tolossus, Toulouse. 1648.]

N. M.