A pháirt mhór in Iomarbhá na bhFilí a dheimhnigh go mbeadh a ainm chun tosaigh i stair na litríochta. Tá cur sios air: in Iomarbhúgh na bhFileadh. The Contention of the Bards...., 1918–20 in eagar ag Láimhbhearlach Mac Cionnaith; ag Norman Moore in Dictionary of National Biography; ag Cuthbert McGrath [Cuthbert Mhág Craith in Éigse IV, Cuid I, 1943 (‘Materials for a history of Clann Bhruaideadha’); in The contention of the bards (Iomarbhágh na bhFileadh) and its place in Irish political and literary history, 1994 (Cumann na Scribheann nGaedhilge), mar a gcaitheann Joep Leerssen amhras ar chuid dá ndeirtear ina thaobh; é i gcomhthéacs an aosa léinn agus litríocht pholaitiúil na Gaeilge ag Breandán Ó Buachalla in Aisling Ghéar ..., 1996; in The Parish of Kilkeedy ..., 1998 le Frank Brew (‘The McBrody Family’); in ‘The Origins of Clann Bhruaideadha’ in Éigse 31, 1999, le Diarmuid Ó Murchadha; agus in The contention of the poets: an essay in Irish intellectual history, 2000, le John Minahane.

Tagraíonn scoláirí de ghnáth, agus McGrath go háirithe, do na tuairiscí sa 17ú haois: Propugnaculum Catholicae Veritatis ..., 1669 le Antonius Bruodinus [Antoine Mac Bruaideadha q.v.], garnia le Tadhg, sa Bhoihéim; do chuntas Theophilus O’Flanagan in Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Dublin, 1808, an té ba thúisce a luaigh 1570 mar bhliain a bhreithe; agus do chuntas Éadbhard Ui Raghallaigh in A chronological account of nearly four hundred Irish writers, 1820. Ó aimsir Uí Raghallaigh anuas, níl na scoláirí ar aon fhocal i dtaobh chúiseanna na hlomarbhá. Is é an cuntas a thugann Leerssen air: ‘What the Contention shows is poets beginning to address each other. This reflects an upheaval of Irish culture after Kinsale .... Thus the Contention marks the origin of one modality in which Gaelic poetry copes with the breakdown of Gaelic society...’. Ní thagann Ó Buachalla leis an téis sin: ‘Leanúnachas an tsaoil – agus ní briseadh, díothú, ná scrios – atá le léamh ar phríomhshaothar fileata thús na haoise – Iomarbhágh na bhFileadh – a cumadh, ní foláir, sna blianta 1617–8.’

Bhí tiarna agus pátrún Mhic Bruaideadha, Donnchadh Ó Briain, 4ú hlarla Thuamhumhan, ag tacú leis na Sasanaigh le linn réimeas Eilíse agus ba Phrotastúnach é. Tuairim 1617, chuir Tadhg tús leis an Iomarbhá le ‘Olc do thagrais, a Thorna’, é ag gearán gur thug file sin an 5ú haois tosach do Leath Chuinn; thug Lughaidh Ó Cléirigh freagra air. Shíl cuid de na filí a ghlac páirt, Mathúin Ó hlfearnáin, mar shampla, go mba chonspóid neamhthairbheach í. Thug Bruodinus ‘magna sed inutilis controversia’ air agus scríobh Flaithrí Ó Maoil Chonaire: ‘Lughaidh, Tadhg agus Torna, / filí eólcha bhur dtalaimh, / coin iad go n-iomad feasa / ag gleic fan easair fhalamh’. Deir Leerssen: ‘Tadhg Mac Bruaideadha is usually mentioned as one of the leading literati of his day, and his family as one of the great bardic families, alongside the Ó Dálaigh, Ó hUiginn, Mac Aodhagáin, Ó Cléirigh and Mac an Bhaird poets. That picture seems to be somewhat flattering, and is probably partly due to the éclat Tadhg gained for himself as a result of the Contention which he instigated.’

An Flanagánach a dúirt gur i gCaisleán Dhún Ógáin, i mBarúntacht Uí Bhreacáin i gContae an Chláir, a rugadh Tadhg, rud a bhfuil amhras ar Leerssen faoi. Tugann Vincent Morley le fios in DIB gurbh é Dáire Mac Bruaideadha a athair. Ba í Fionnghuala Gray a mháthair. Phós sé Ann Mahony. A mhac James a tháinig in oidhreacht air. Tá an tagairt seo dó ag Tomás Ó Rathile in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy XXXVI, C, 1922 (‘Irish poets, historians, and judges in English documents, 1538–1615’): ‘Teig McBrodie, of Knockinalbie' 18 May, 1586 [no.4860. (b) 'Teige McBrody, of Knockan albany, gentleman,'1 May, 1602 [no. 6615]. Here we have Tadhg Mac Bruaideadha, i.e. Tadhg Mac Dáire, who, as we also know from another source, resided at Knockanalban (Cnoc an Albanaigh) in the par. of Kilmurry, in the west of Co. Clare.’ Deir Mac Cionnaith gur ar a fhear gaoil Domhnall Mac Bruaideadha a tháinig sé i gcomharbacht i 1603 mar ollamh do Dhonnchadh Ó Briain, 4ú Iarla Thuamhumhan; ar Mhaoilín Óg Mac Bruaideadha a deir Norman Moore. Ní léir do Leerssen go raibh an teideal riamh aige. Deir McGrath, agus é ag tagairt do chuntas Bruodinus, gurbh é oide múinte Dhonnchaidh é go dtí go raibh seisean bliain is fiche d’aois nuair a chuaigh sé go Sasana mar ar chaith sé dhá bhliain: ‘He did not go to England without his tutor; who, however, was the sorry witness of his pupil’s defection from the faith of his ancestors – a course of action persuaded by Thomas Butler, so that Donough might win the Queen’s favour. They returned two years later, and then Tadhg married Anna Mohuny of Tuonafarna.’ Is i 1577 a bhí an Brianach óg i gcúirt Eilíse agus deir Leerssen i dtaobh Thadhg a bheith ina theannta: ‘That seems difficult to reconcile with Tadhg’s birth-date of 1570 as given by O’Flanagan.’ Deir Bruodinus go raibh sé oilte sa Laidin, sa Ghréigis, sa Bhéarla agus sa Ghaeilge. Is do Dhonnchadh a scríobh sé a chéad dán ‘Mo cheithre rann duit, a Dhonnchaidh’. Scríobh sé ‘Mór a-tá ar theagasc flatha’ nuair a ceapadh Donnchadh ina uachtarán ar an Mumhain i 1605; tá sé bunaithe ar ‘Tecosca Cormaic’ a leagtar ar Chormac Mac Airt. Chuir Theophilus O’Flanagan an dá dhán i gcló in Transactions of the Gaelic Society..., 1808. Deir McGrath gur ceapadh Tadhg mar shirriam (‘District Sheriff’) i gContae an Chláir ach arís caitheann Leerssen amhras air sin: ‘Tadhg’s complete absence from the archives which between them document county business conducted during his lifetime, seems to belie the idea that he held important offices, like that of district sheriff as is sometimes claimed.’

Chum sé dánta diaga agus chaoin sé Donnchadh Ó Briain (d’éag 1624). Mhúin sé féin agus Conchubhar Mac Bruaideadha Gaeilge do Matthew de Renzy (Éigse XXVII, 1993: ‘Conchubhar Mac Bruaideadha and Sir Matthew De Renzy [1577–1634]’ le Brian Mac Cuarta). An Flanagánach a scríobh go ndúirt Cromaileach le Tadhg agus é á chaitheamh le faill. ‘Abair do rainn anois, a fhir bhig’. Deir Leerssen: ‘Our only authority for the murderous Cromwellian gaedhilgeoir is the romantic antiquary, Theophilus O’Flanagan. Tadhg succeeded his father Dáire as proprietor of the Knockanalban estate in Ibrickan and was in turn succeeded by his son Séamus. That does not seem to indicate a violent disruption of material circumstances.’ Deir McGrath nach dtugann Bruodinus ná Carew aon leide go bhfuair sé bás ar an gcuma sin.

Tugann Mac Cionnaith teidil 16 dá dhánta; tá cuid díobh i gcló ag an eagarthóir sin in Dioghluim dána ..., 1938 agus in Aithdioghluim dána ..., 1939–40. Deir Minahane gurb aige féin is túisce atá an dán ‘Mall an deithfir-se ar Dhonnchadh’ i gcló.

Diarmuid Breathnach

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