File agus scríbhneoir próis i gceantar Inis Ceithleann, Co. Fhear Manach. Tá tagairtí 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’) agus deir sé: ‘According to these lists he resided in 1586 in Enniskillen; in 1591 in “Fearran amuny,” which is probably the present Farnamullan (Fearannan-mhuilinn), in the par. of Cleenish (to the south of Enniskillen), of which the Ó Corcráin family were hereditary airchinneachs; and in 1603 at Carrick, near Church Hill, Co. Fermanagh.’ Tá an tagairt seo ag George Hill in An Historical account of the Plantation of Ulster , 1877: ‘Grant to Bryan O’Corcoran, gent. The moiety of the half quarter of Anaboo, being one tate; and the moiety of the half quarter of Aghcorrboy, one tate; in all, 120 acres.’

Tá seacht gcinn dá dhánta as ‘Leabhar an Chaiptín Samhairle Mac Domhnaill’ (‘Leabhar Uí Chonchubhair Dhuinn’) in eagar ag Pól Breathnach in Irisleabhar Mhuighe Nuadhad, 1929. Bhí clú riamh ar a mhuintir mar eaglaisigh, ceoltóirí agus scoláirí. Ba chara agus ba chomharsa le hEochaidh Ó hEodhasa é. Do mhuintir Mhag Uidhir is mó a chumadh sé dánta. Do Bhrian Mag Uidhir (d’éag 1655) ceann díobh nuair a fuair sé brontanas spéacláirí uaidh. ‘Eochaidh éachtach na n-arm nglan / Ní thug acht éinshúil d’ollamh / giodh toirbheartus do thuair teann, / le bfuair oirdhearcus Éireann’ (i gcló freisin ag Osborn Bergin in Irish Bardic Poetry, 1970 faoin gceannteideal ‘A Priceless Gift’). Chum sé dán ar bhás Chúchonnacht Mhig Uidhir in Genoa 1608. Tá ocht gcinn eile dá dhánta sa scéal ‘Eachtra Mhacaoimh an Iolair’ atá i gcló in Eachtra an mhadra mhaoil. Eachtra Mhacaoimh-an-Iolair. Two Irish Arthurian Romances..., 1908 (Cumann na Scríbheann nGaedhilge), in eagar ag R.A.S. Macalister. Nuair a chuir Iorard de Teiltiún agus Seosamh Laoide eagrán amach i 1912 is é a thug siad air ‘Úrscéal a deachtaíodh sa chúigiú ceannair [sic] déag’ agus dúirt siad gurbh é ‘Brian Ó Corcrán [Biocáire Chlaoininse] a dheachtaigh’ é. Deir Bergin: ‘Brian Ó Corcrán was probably the author of Eachtra Mhacaoimh an Iolair, a romance adapted from the French, which has been attributed without sufficient reason to his namesake the vicar of Cleenish in Loch Erne who died in 1487.’ In Éigse XXXIV, 2004 tá ‘Brian Ó Corcráin agus Eachtra Mhacaoimh an Iolair’ le Caoimhín Breathnach.

Sa réamhrá nua le heagrán Macalister (Subsidiary series 7, 1998) cuireann Joseph Falaky Nagy ceist: an saothair liteartha ar nós na ságaí nó úrscéalta an lae inniu na scéalta rómánsúla? Deir sé: ‘True, we have some evidence, such as the celebrated colophon written by the scribe-author of the earliest extant text of Eachtra Mhacaoimh-an-Iolair... that evinces some of the hallmarks of a literary mentality: a pride of authorship, an assertion of literary or editorial creativity, a privileging of imported tales, and the assumption of a readership.’ Is é atá sa cholafan sin: ‘Bíodh a fhios agat, a léitheoir an sgeóil seo, gurab amhlaidh do fuair mise.i. Brian Ó Corcráin cnámha an scéil seo ag duine uasal a dúirt gurb as Fraincis a chuala sé féin dá insint é, agus mar a fuair mise spéis ann do dheachtaigh mar seo é agus do chuireas na laoithe beaga seo mar chomaoin air, agus ní raibh an scéal féin i nGaeilge ariamh go nuige sin.’ (an litriú leasaithe ag na húdair). Deir Nagy: ‘This is hardly a translation from the French, or a slavish imitation of a purportedly finer model from abroad. Rather, Ó Corcráin offers us in Eachtra Mhacaoimh-an-Iolair a thoroughly Irish product, meant to be suitable for the act of recitation and recollection that he cites as the way in which the tale came to his or his informant’s attention in the first place.’ Tá sé ar dhuine den aos léinn ar éirigh réasúnta maith leo i ndiaidh Imeacht na nIarlaí; i 1609 d’fheidhmigh sé mar ghiúróir san fhíosrú a bhí ar siúl faoi thalamh eaglasta i bhFear Manach.

Diarmuid Breathnach

Máire Ní Mhurchú