On the outbreak of the revolution in Flanders in 1790, O'Hearn took sides with the popular leader, Van Vonck, but, finding the latter's views too advanced, he gave his support to another leader of the popular party, Van der Noot, whose intimate friend and counsellor he became. Van der Noot sought to enlist the sympathies of the English, German, and Dutch courts, and published a manifesto, which he despatched to those courts, O'Hearn being sent as envoy to the Hague. When the French occupied Belgium in 1792, the members of the Irish College of Louvain became dispersed, and the building was used as a powder-magazine. O'Hearn took refuge in Germany, thence returned to Ireland, and was appointed parish priest of St. Thomas's in Waterford, where he died in 1801.
[Van Even's De Ierlander, Francis O'Hearn, Louvain, 1890.]
O'HELY, PATRICK (d. 1578), Roman catholic bishop of Mayo, called in Irish Ua Heilighe, was a native of Connaught, and early became a Franciscan. Proceeding to Spain in the fifth year after making his profession, he entered the university of Alcala. After making much progress in the study of theology there, he was summoned to Rome by the provincial of his order, and resided in the 'convent of Ara Cœli.' His learning came to the notice of Gregory XIII, who, on 4 July 1576, appointed him to the See of Mayo. O'Hely set out for his diocese almost immediately, with a companion, Conagh O'Rourke; passing through Paris, he landed at Dingle, co. Kerry. He was at once arrested and brought before the Countess of Desmond, in the absence of her husband. She sent him to Limerick to be examined, and after imprisonment there he was conveyed to Kilmallock. There O'Hely and his companion, O'Rourke, were tried by Sir William Drury [q. v.], condemned, and hanged, according to Renehan, on 22 Aug. 1578. Other authorities state that at the trial O'Hely summoned Drury to appear before the judgment sent of heaven; and, by deferring the date of the trial till late in 1579, they suggest a close connection between O'Hely's exhortation and Drury's death in October of that year. There is no mention, however, of the trial or execution in the 'State Papers,' Carew MSS., or 'Annals of the Four Masters.' O'Hely was buried in the Franciscan convent at Askeaton, co. Limerick.
[Wadding's Annales Trium Ordinum. xxi. 155–6; Bruodinus's Propugnasculum Catholicæ Fidei, pp. 433–7; Roth's Analects. ed. Moran, pp. 368, 382; O'Sullevan's Historiæ Cath. Hiberniæ Compendium, pp. 77, 104-6; De Burgo's Hibernia Dominicana; Brady's Episcopal Succession. ii. 155–6; Gams's Series Episcoporum; Moran's Spicilegium Ossoriense, iii. 36–7; O'Reilly's Irish Martyrs and Confessors. pp. 51–53, and Memorials, pp. 28-30; Renehan's Collections, pp. 275, 389, &c.; Webb's Irish Biography; Cal. State Papers, Ireland, 1574–85, p. 133.]
O'HEMPSY, DENIS (1695?–1807), Irish harper, whose name is sometimes written Hempson, was son of Brian O'Hempsy, and was born on his father's farm at Craigmore, near Garvagh, co. Derry. Local tradition assigns his birth to 1695. At three years of age he had small-pox and lost his sight, and at twelve began to learn to play the harp from Bridget O'Cahan, a female harper. He afterwards received instruction from John Garragher, Lochlann O'Fanning. and Patrick O'Connor, all Connaughtmen. When eighteen he lived for a half-year in the house of the Canning family at Garvagh. Mr. Canning, Squire Gage, and Dr. Bacon subscribed and bought him a harp. He then travelled in Ireland and Scotland for ten years. Sir J. Campbell of Aghanhrach and many other Scottish gentlemen entertained him. He paid a second visit to Scotland in 1745, and played before Prince Charles Edward at Holyrood.
Subsequently he travelled all over Ireland, and at last Frederick Augustus Hervey, fourth earl of Bristol and bishop of Derry [q. v.], gave him a house at Magilligan, co. Derry, where he ended hia days. Lord and Lady Bristol came to the house-warming, and their children danced to his harp. In 1791, at the reputed age of eighty-six, he married a woman from the opposite coast of Inishowen, and had one daughter. He attended the Belfast meeting of harpers in 1792. He used to play the harp with his long crooked nails, catching the string between the flesh and the nail. Edward Bunting, who heard him, says that the intricacy and peculiarity of his playing amazed him, and that his staccato and legato passages, double slurs, shakes, turns, graces, &c., comprised as a great a range of execution as has ever been devised by modern improvers. His harp, which was long preserved at Downhill, co. Derry, was made by Cormac Kelly in 1702 of white willow, with a back of fir dug out of the bog. The day before he died O'Hempsy sat up in bed and played a few notes on his harp to the Rev. Sir Harvey Bruce. He was temperate throughout life, drank milk and water, and ate potatoes. He died in 1807, having, according to the current belief in the north of Ireland, attained the age of 112. His portrait was published by Bunting. He