Open main menu

O'KEEFE, EOGHAN (1656–1726), Irish poet, was born at Glenville, co. Cork, in 1656. He married early, and had a son, whom he brought up to be a priest, but who died at Rochelle in France in 1709 while studing theology. He wrote a poem of fifty-six verses, 'An tan nach faicim fear’ (‘When I do not see a man'), on the death of this son. His wife had died in 1707, and Eoghan himself entered the church and became parish priest of Doneraile, co. Cork. He was president of the bardic meetings held at Charleville co. Cork, till his ordination. He wrote ‘Ar treasgradh i nEacdhruim do shiol Eibhir' (‘All that at Aughrim are laid low of the seed of Eber’), a poem of eight stanzas, lamenting the defeat and denouncing the victors. It has been printed, with a translation, by S. H. O'Grady. He also wrote many other poems which were current in the south of Ireland as long as Irish was generally read there. He died on 5 April 1726, and was buried at Oldcourt near Doneraile. A local stonecutter named Donough 0'Daly carved an epitaph on his tombstone, which states that he was a wise and amiable man, an active parish priest, and a learned scholarly poet ‘a bpriomhtbeangadh a dhuithche agus a shinnsear' (‘in the original language of his country and his ancestors’). Dr. John O'Brien, bishop of Cloyne, also wrote a short epitaph in verse.

[O'Daly's Poets and Poetry of Munster, Dublin, 1849; S. H. O'Grady's Catalogue of the Irish Manuscripts in the British Museum; O'Reilly in Transactions of Iberno-Celtic Society, 1820; Egerton MS. 154 in British Museum.]

N. M.