Ó hALLMHURÁIN, Silbhester (1728-1807) Silbhester Ó hALLMHURÁIN 1728 1807 Cathair Dháibhín, Co. Luimnigh M scríbhneoir máinlia Diarmuid Breathnach Máire Ní Mhurchú Fiontar, Ollscoil Chathair Bhaile Átha Cliath i gcomhar le Cló Iar-Chonnachta agus bunúdair na mbeathaisnéisí, Diarmuid Breathnach agus Máire Ní Mhurchú Foilsiú ar líne These pages may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Please go to http://www.ainm.ie/ for more information. 2010

I gCathair Dháibhín, Luimneach, an 31 Nollaig 1728, a rugadh an máinlia cáiliúil seo. Tá cuntais air: in Old Limerick Journal, 1995 (‘A Forgotten Limerick Genius’) ag Kevin Hannon; in Dictionary of national biography; agus ag J.B. Lyons in Brief lives of Irish doctors, 1978 agus in Irish Journal of Medical Science, Bealtaine agus Meitheamh 1963. Ba é Michael O’Halloran a athair agus ba í Mary McDonnell, bean a bhí gaolmhar le Seán Clárach Mac Domhnaill (1691-1754) a mháthair; deirtear uaireanta gur deirfiúr leis í. Fuair sé féin agus a dheartháir, a bhí ar ball ina Íosánach, oiliúint i scoil a bhí ag Robert Cashin, ministir Protastúnach sa chathair, agus, deirtear, ó Sheán Clárach féin. Ansin chuaigh sé go Leyden, go Páras agus go Londain ag foghlaim na máinliachta. I Londain dó i 1745 rith sé leis liostáil in arm Shéarlais Óig Stíobhart. Scríobh sé a thráchtas ar ghalair súl le linn dó a bheith i bPáras. D’fhill sé ar Luimneach i 1750 agus foilsíodh an tráchtas an bhliain sin mar A new treatise on the glaucoma, or cataract. Ba í an chéad leabhar dá sórt í a foilsíodh in Éirinn. Bhain sé an-chlú amach mar dhochtúir súl.

I measc na bpáipéar a d’fhoilsigh sé tá ‘A new Treatise on the different Disorders arising from external Injuries of the Head’, saothar a d’éirigh as an gcóir leighis a chuireadh sé ar dhaoine a gortaíodh san fhaicseanaíocht. Deir sé ann: ‘I have had no less than four fractured skulls to trepan on a May morning. There is no part of the habitable globe, that for a century past afforded such an ample field for observations on injuries to the head, as Ireland in general: this province of Munster in particular, for our people, invincibly brave, not withstanding the cruel oppressions they have suffered for a century past, and highly irritable, soon catch fire: a slight offence is frequently followed with serious consequences; sticks and stones, and every other species of offence next to hand, are dealt out with great liberality.’ Deir Robert Herbert in Worthies of Thomond: ‘O’Halloran’s pride in his ancestry led him to revive the old family motto—“Lotaim agus marbhaím”—I destroy and kill—a not too suitable motto for an eminent surgeon.’ Ba é ba mhó a d’fhéach chuige go mbunofaí Otharlann an Chontae i 1760 agus síltear gurbh é a Proposals for the advancement of surgery in Ireland faoi deara gur bunaíodh Coláiste Ríoga na Máinlianna in Éirinn; ainmníodh é mar bhall onórach den choláiste. Mar seo a cuireadh síos air: ‘The tall thin doctor in his quaint French dress, with his gold-headed cane, beautiful Parisian wig and cocked hat, turning out every day responsibly to visit his patients.’

Deir Gearóid Mac Spealáin[B5] in Cathair Luimnighe, 2 iml., 1948-50 gur ó Sheán Clárach Mac Domhnaill féin a fuair sé an t-eolas cruinn a bhí aige ar an nGaeilge. Cé go raibh cloiste aige gur fhág Seán a lámhscríbhinní le huacht aige, níor éirigh leis teacht orthu. Scríobh sé litir, ‘To Macpherson’, in Wilson’s Dublin Magazine, 1763 (i gcló ag J.B. Lyons in North Munster Antiquarian Journal 1962-65) ag bréagnú éilimh James Macpherson[q.v.]. D’fhoilsigh sé Insula Sacra,1770 d’fhonn an tábhacht a bhaineann le hannála na hÉireann a léiriú. Foilsíodh An introduction to the study of the history and antiquities of Ireland, 1772 inar ionsaigh sé dearcadh na staraithe Sasanacha ar Éirinn. Freagra ar History of Ireland le Thomas Leland[q.v.] is ea Ierne Defended, 1774. Chuir sé béim ann ar thábhacht na lámhscríbhinní. Ba é a General history of Ireland, 1774 agus A history of Ireland, 1803 a mhúscail spéis Standish James O’Grady i dtraidisiúin liteartha na nGael. Deir an Oxford companion to Irish literature: ‘O’Halloran’s antiquarian nationalism was attractive to the liberal wing of the ascendancy but not to those such as Edward Ledwich[q.v.] who saw it as a Roman Catholic intrigue’. Deir Diarmaid Ó Muirithe in Eighteenth century Ireland, 1986 (‘Dán in Ómós do Shilbheastar Ó hAllmhuráin, 1728-1807’): ‘Go deimhin féin, ní raibh na leabhair seo thar moladh beirte agus bhí an ceart ag an bhfear a chomharlaigh dó: “... drop any more scribbling, and mind the Systole and Diastole of the human body, which I suppose you are better acquainted with than history”.’

Labhair sé go tréan in aghaidh Act na hAontachta. Deirtear in iontráil an DNB gur chothaigh sé cumann liteartha, an Free Debating Society, i Luimneach agus gur theip air seo i ndiaidh a bháis. Tugadh cuireadh dó a bheith ina bhall comhfhreagrach d’Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann agus deir Desmond Ryan (The sword of light, 1939) go raibh sé ar na daoine ba ghníomhaí i roinn na seandálaíochta ann.

Phós sé Mary O’Casey ó Bhaile Uí Chathasaigh i 1752 (d’éag sí 1782) agus bhí iníon agus triúr mac acu. Cailleadh an iníon go hóg. Bhain a mac Joseph cáil amach in arm na Breataine agus tugadh saoirse Luimnigh dó in 1838. Ag deireadh a shaoil bhí cónaí ar Silbhester ag Cé an Cheannaí i Luimneach. D’éag sé ar 11 Lúnasa 1807 agus cuireadh lena mhuintir é i gCill Liadhaine. Deir Lyons: ‘In recent decades that walled cemetery of Kileely, obscurely confined among Corporation houses, was a picture of ruin and neglect; somewhere among nettles and waist-high grasses, apparently forgotten for all his native city cared, lay the mortal remains of Sylvester O’Halloran—a regrettable situation rectified in 1978 when a local group erected a fitting monument.’ Luann Kevin Hannon nóta a bhí in Dublin Evening Post: ‘... he was highly learned in the Irish Language and Irish Laws and was remarkable for his loyalty and attachment to the house of Brunswick, a steady supporter of its constitution, and a warm advocate of the honours and interests of his native country.’