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Sullivan, Timothy (DNB00)


SULLIVAN, TIMOTHY (1710?–1800), Irish poet, called in Irish Tadhg Gaolach, or Irish Teague, was born in co. Cork about 1710, and, after school education, became an itinerant poet, living chiefly in Paoracha, a district of co. Waterford. He wandered from house to house composing panegyrics, of which the best known are ‘Nora ni Ainle,’ in praise of Honora, daughter of O'Hanlon; ‘Do Sheoirse agus do Dhomhnall O'Faolain,’ to the brothers O'Phelan of the Decies, co. Waterford; ‘Chum an athar Taidhg Mhic Carrthaidh,’ to the Rev. T. MacCarthy; and sometimes satires. The subject of one of his satires cast the poet's wig into the fire, whereupon he wrote the poem ‘Ar losga a liath wig,’ on the burning of his wig. He also wrote an address to Prince Charles Edward, called ‘An Fánuighe,’ the wanderer, and several laments for Ireland, of which that in which his country is personified as a beautiful young woman, ‘Sighile ni Ghadhra,’ was long popular in Munster. Later in life he wrote only religious poems, addresses to the Trinity, to Christ, and to our Lady, a poem on St. Declan, patron of Ardmore, co. Waterford, and in 1791 a poem on the world, entitled ‘Duain an Domhain.’ These were often set to popular tunes, and had a wide circulation throughout the south of Ireland. Sullivan died at Waterford in May 1800, and was buried fourteen miles off at Ballylaneen. His epitaph was written in Latin verse by Donchadh Ruadh MacConmara, a celebrated local poet and schoolmaster. A collection of Sullivan's poems was published as ‘A Spiritual Miscellany’ at Limerick during his life, and another at Clonmel in 1816. John O'Daly published a fuller collection as ‘The Pious Miscellany’ in Dublin in 1868, with a short memoir in English.

[O'Daly's Memoir; Adventures of Donnchadh Ruadh MacConmara, Dublin, 1853 (this work, of which the author was Standish Hayes O'Grady, describes the literary society in which Sullivan lived).]

N. M.