Deirtear gurb é a chum an t-amhrán ‘Cáit ó Gharrán a’ Bhile’ ach is annamh aon tagairt dó mar fhile ag lucht litríochta. Cad eile a chum sé? Tá dán dar céadlíne ‘Ba uaithne iad na mullaigh’ (‘Green were the fields where my forefathers dwelt’), arb aistriúchán é, is dóigh, ar ‘The Exile of Erin’ le George Nugent Reynolds, i gclár lámhscríbhinní Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann. In Irish wits and worthies tugann W.J. Fitzpatrick sliocht as litir a scríobh an Déan Kenny, Cill Dalua, in 1871: ‘In my early days, before the publication of Moore’s Irish melodies, the songs of Ned Lysaght were much prized in the county Clare but especially in rebel circles. Some of them re-appeared during the days of Davis; the best of them, which were in the mouth of everyone in Clare seventy years ago, and many of which, when a boy, I could myself repeat, cannot now be had.’ Sa teach ‘Brickhill’ sa Chreatalach i gContae an Chláir a rugadh é ar 21 Nollaig 1763. Protastúnach a athair John agus ba í Jane Eyre Dalton a mháthair. Tar éis a bheith ar scoil cháiliúil an Urr. Patrick Hare i gCaiseal chuaigh sé go Coláiste na Tríonóide agus ina dhiaidh sin go hOllscoil Oxford mar a bhfuair sé céim mháistir i 1788. An bhliain chéanna sin rinne abhcóide de i Sasana agus in Éirinn. Chaith sé tamall ag cleachtadh na gairme i Sasana sular fhill sé ar Éirinn mar a dtéadh sé ar cuaird na Mumhan. Bhí cleachtas measartha maith aige. I mBaile Átha Cliath a bhí sé ag cur faoi an chuid is mó den am ó 1794 amach agus ceapadh é ina Choimisinéir i gCúirt na gClisiúnaithe. Tamall roimh a bhás ceapadh é ina Ghiúistís Póilíní. Bhí cáil air mar bon vivant agus mar chomhráití deisbhéalach tráthúil. ‘Pleasant’ Ned Lysaght a thugtaí air. Bhí a ainm in airde freisin mar phaimfléadaí agus mar aorthóir polaitiúil. Deir Edward MacLysaght in Irish families gur chomhraiceoir aonair é. B’fhéidir a mhaíomh gur tírghráthóir ba ea é. Chum sé an t-amhrán ‘The Man who led the Van of the Irish Volunteers’ le casadh le fonn ‘The British Grenadiers’. Bhí sé in aghaidh Acht na hAontachta, cé gur ghlac sé, más inchreite focal Sir Jonah Barrington (1760-1834), le £400 ón Tiarna Castlereagh chun an Aontacht a mholadh. Is iad na hamhráin is aitheanta dá dhéantús ‘The Rakes of Mallow’, ‘Kitty of Coleraine’ agus ‘Down by the Tanyard side’. Deirtear gurbh éigean dó tearmann a fháil i gColáiste na Tríonóide ar feadh tamaill nuair a bhí sé báite i bhfiacha. ‘Lysaght died in 1811 in very embarrassed circumstances’, dar leis an iontráil in Dictionary of National Biography agus b’éigean do lucht dlí bailiúchán airgid a dhéanamh dá bhaintreach agus dá bheirt iníonacha. Ní luaitear in aon chuntas cár cuireadh é. Níltear cinnte i dtaobh dháta a bháis ach gur uair éigin idir 1809 agus 1811 é; in 1811 a foilsíodh Poems of the late Edward Lysaght, with prefatory memoir and portrait., cnuasach ar fágadh an t-ábhar tírghrách ar lár as.

I Luimneach a d’éag sé agus tá cuntas air in Old Limerick Journal, 1981 ag Gerald O’Connell. 1809 a thugann seisean mar bhliain an bháis. Agus sa dara heagrán de Dictionary of Irish literature in eagar ag Robert Hogan deirtear: ‘In 1909 a Dublin newspaper gave the date of his death as 28 February 1809, but it seems more likely that he died in 1810 or 1811.’ Tá i gcló ag George U. MacNamara, in ‘Letters of an Exile’ (in Limerick Field Club Journal 1905–8 agus in North Munster Archaeological Society Journal 1909–11) nóta gur phós sé iníon le Solomon Salmon, ar dóigh gur bhaincéir Sasanach é, ‘and died in his house in Great Britain Street, Dublin, on the night of Tuesday February 28th, 1809 in the 45th (46th?) year of his age, as may be proved by reference to the Clare Journal of March 7th of that year’. Le litir a chuir an tAimiréal Dónall Ó hUaithnín, ar dheartháir é le Seon Ó hUaithnín, chuig a gharnia Andrew Lysaght, uncail Edward Lysaght s’againne a bhaineann an nóta. Seo a leanas an rud atá in The Clare Journal and Ennis Advertiser Dé Máirt 7 Márta 1809: ‘On Tuesday night last, at his house in Great Britain-Street, Dublin, departed this life in the 45th year of his age, Edward Lysaght, Esq., Barrister at Law and one of the Divisional Justices appointed under the new Police Establishment of that city. In his melancholy dissolution not only do a numerous and respectable circle of relatives and friends lament the loss of an amiable and beloved kinsman and acquaintance, but society mourns her brightest ornament. He was a man of extraordinary poetical ability and his songs, whether amorous, comical or political, hold the first rank in that species of composition.... Mr Lysaght was one of those admired characters who have acquired merited popularity and esteem from a grateful people for genuine patriotism and a firm adherence to the equity of the British constitution.’

Bhí ardmheas ag Thomas Moore air: ‘I look back on Lysaght with feelings of love; his words were like drops of music.’ Cara mór ó bhí siad ar scoil le chéile i gCaiseal ba ea John Lanigan agus deir Fitzpatrick fúthu: ‘In “pleasant Ned Lysaght”, who was a contemporary with him at Mr Hare’s school, John Lanigan found a kindred spirit as far as inherent talent was concerned, though in moral attributes they differed widely . . . . Lysaght lived for little beyond poetry, pistols, wine and women; and the sermons and soda-water of the day after seem to have had small effects in mending his ways—or his health which soon began to break.’

Tá na leaganacha Béarla agus Gaeilge de ‘Cáit ó Gharrán a’ Bhile’ i gcló le hais a chéile in Irisleabhar na Gaedhilge, Uimh 32, Iml.III, 1889, agus an ceol i gcló leis an leagan Gaeilge. ‘These versions have the rare merit that it is hard to decide which is the original; at all events the two versions must be the compositions of one and the same author, “Pleasant Ned Lysaght” . . .’, a deirtear sa nóta i dtaobh an amhráin. Deirtear freisin ann gur dhá mhíle laisteas den Chathair i gContae Thiobraid Árann ar bhruach na Siúire atá Garrán an Bhile agus gur dóigh gurbh aint í Cáit seo an amhráin (‘one of the belles of Tipperary’) do William Archer Butler (1814-48), Ollamh le Fealsúnacht Mhorálta i gColáiste na Tríonóide, gur Nagle ba shloinne di agus go raibh a hiníon pósta ar an gCaptaen W. Palliser R.N., Cnoc Lochta, Cluain Meala.

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Diarmuid Breathnach

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