A bhailéad ‘The Peeler and the Goat’ a chuir a ainm i mbéal phobal na hÉireann an chéad uair breis agus 150 bliain ó shin; cuireadh i gcló é in The Citizen (1839–). Dar le Georges-Denis Zimmerman (Songs of Irish rebellion, 1967) gur fhoilsigh Henry Hudson leagan den amhrán in Dublin Monthly Magazine, Samhain 1842: ‘According to Hudson this satire on the police force introduced to Ireland by Sir Robert Peel “spread like wildfire throughout the length and breath of the land and there was scarcely a village in the whole country where the itinerant ballad singer did not reap a rich harvest by shouting forth the popular song”.’ Deirtear gur le fonn díoltais a scríobh sé é tar éis do phílir é a chur i bpríosún Chluain Meala i ngeall ar a bheith i láthair ag crúinniú in aghaidh na ndeachúna a raibh toirmeasc air. Pílear a ghaibhnigh gabhar a thug an deis áirithe dó.

Tá cuntais ag Donnchadh Ó Duibhir (‘Diarmaid Ó Riain’) agus ag Pádraig Ó Fiannachta (‘Diarmaid Ó Riain agus a Bharántas’) i gcló in Dúchas 1886-1989, 1990 in eagar ag Liam Prút. Tá curtha ag Donnchadh Ó Duibhir leis an eolas ar a bheatha, agus go háirithe ar a shaothar in An Linn Bhuí: iris Ghaeltacht na nDéise 7, 2003 (‘Diarmaid Ó Riain’). I Scairt a’ Bhile in aice na Báinsí, Co. Thiobraid Árann, a rugadh é. Tuairimítear go raibh sé ag dul le sagartacht ar feadh tamaill, ar an mór-roinn, b’fhéidir, go dtí gur maraíodh a dheartháir mór i gcath faicseanaíochta. Dúirt Séamus Ó Casaide in Irish Book Lover, Márta 1915 gur James a bhí ar a athair, gur bean den sloinne Hally a mháthair (‘Darby Margaret Nellie’ a thugann Ó Fiannachta air) agus gur phós sé Mary Desmond. Fuair an Casaideach an t-eolas i dtaobh na dtuismitheoirí ón timire Gaeilge, Seán Ó Gruagáin (23, An Phríomhshráid, Biorra) arbh é Darby a shin-seanathair; bhí an Gruagánach seo ag beartú scéal a bheatha a scríobh agus bailiúchán dá véarsaí a chur ar fáil. Is dóigh gurb in é an cuntas atá aige in Clonmel Historical and Archaeological Society Journal 1-2 (1953-54), ‘The Story of Darby Ryan, poet of Co. Tipperary’, arb athchló é ar rud a bhí aige uair in Clonmel Nationalist. Thabharfá leat as an gcuntas sin gur trí thionchar an Athar Tiobóid Maitiú a cuireadh go coláiste é, gurbh i dtithe mhuintir Mhaitiú agus ina leabharlanna a dhéanadh sé staidéar agus gur chun a bheith páirteach in Éirí Amach 1798 a d’fhág sé an coláiste.

Sa nóta sin, luann Ó Casaide ceithre dhán Gaeilge leis: ‘Aréir cois taobh na hEatharla’, ‘An Dair Chumhra’, ‘An Chuilith Éadaigh’ agus ‘Barántas ar Chionntughadh Thaidhg Finín Mhac Cárthaigh’. Tagraíonn James Buckley (Waterford and South East of Ireland Archaeological Society Journal, Deireadh Fómhair-Nollaig 1912) do litir a scríobh Seán Ó Dálaigh chuig Maurice Lenihan, staraí Luimnigh: ‘I saw one copy of Darby Ryan’s Poems and one only; but I considered it of no value whatever, yet they may be curious. The only poem or song of his that I admired is the one beginning: “Araoir le taoibh na hEatharla ...”.’ Deir Ó Fiannachta i dtaobh an bharántais a chum sé: ‘Tá sé ar na haistí spóirt is fearr sa Ghaeilge, tá greann, searbhas, áibhéil, ealaín, agus réalaíocht seoigh ina n-orlaí tríd. Ealaíontóir den scoth ab ea Diarmaid sa Ghaeilge, agus dá fheabhas é “The Peeler and the Goat”, is fearr go mór é seo.’ D’éag Diarmuid Ó Riain Márta 1855, de réir D.J. O’Donoghue in Poets of Ireland. Tá sé curtha i reilig na Báinsí. Chuir Pádraig Ó Meára agus Tomás Mac Domhnaill cuid dá shaothar fileata i gcló in The Spirit of Tipperary, c.1939.

Deir Buckley: ‘There is a slender octavo volume of doggerel English entitled The Tipperary Minstrel. Being a Collection of the Songs written by the late Mr Jer. Ryan of Ashgrove, Bansha, County Tipperary, commonly known as Darby Ryan, The Poet. Dublin, 1861. Tá sa leabhrán sin 15 dá dhánta agus dá amhráin Bhéarla, 'The Peeler and the Goat' ina measc. Can this be the same Darby? If so, his fame must rest on his Irish muse for the English volume (sold at eight pence) which appears to be a semi-anthology, un-acknowledged, will not help very far to perpetuate it.’ Leagtar ‘The Galbally Farmer’ air. Chuir Leabharlann na Breataine athchló den leabhrán sin ar fáil mar chuid dá 'Historical Collection from the British Library'. Níl aon chuid dá chumadóireacht Ghaeilge ann. Ocht bpingin an praghas a bhí air ag am a fhoilsithe.

Ní foláir nó scríobh sé i bhfad níos mó dánta Gaeilge ná tá ar marthain; is léir ar véarsa de dhán le Séamus Ó Caoindealbháin—i gcló ag Ó Duibhir—gurbh eol a ainm i bhfad ó bhaile. B’eol d’Eoghan Caomhánach é. Deir Ó Duibhir freisin, agus litir mar fhianaise aige air, go raibh cuid mhaith lámhscríbhinní ina sheilbh go dtí gur chroch cara leis iad chun na hAstráile. Tá fianaise aige freisin gur mhaith le timire an Irish Society é a fhostú mar mhúinteoir agus gur thug beirt acu cuairt air: tá cuntas ag Pádraig de Brún ar a chaidreamh leis an gCumann in Éigse, Iml. XXV, 1991 (‘The Irish Society’s Bible Teachers, 1818-27’) agus ar an bhfoclóir agus ar an airgead a thug siad dó idir 1825 agus 1827. Seo é an cur síos a rinne timire an chumainn sin air (i gcló ag an mBrúnach): ‘We proceeded to the Glen of A[herlow] to a man of the name of D.R., who has a little farm on the bank of the river A[herlow]; the day was excessively warm, and our journey lay through the fields. We found D. at home—he is a noted Irish scholar. We proposed to him the plan of establishing Irish schools, and conversed for a long time on the best and most effectual plan of proceeding. Indeed the proposal was but made when he took fire;—though about fifty years of age, yet it seemed to restore him to youth. He is a very decent man, has a comfortable farm, and from his great influence will be exceedingly useful in all of that part of the country.’

Deir an Gruagánach: ‘I knew only one person who remembered seeing Darby Ryan. He was Donal Ó Riain of Rossadrehid, a relative of the poet and the last Irish speaker in the Glen. Donal, who died in 1910, described the poet as being well over medium height, healthy and robust. His dress was typical of the time—frieze coat, corduroy knee breeches with gilt buttons, sheeps-grey stockings, semi-Billy Gladstone collar and tie. Of course he wore the ordinary “bawneen” when working—one spun by the local weaver, Pat Fitzgerald, who died about 1894.’

Diarmuid Breathnach

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