Tugtar Aonghus na n-Aor agus an Bard Rua air. Maireann a chlú ar an aoir a scríobh sé ar sheanteaghlaigh na nGael. In The Tribes of Ireland, 1852, le nótaí Sheáin Uí Dhonnabháin, a d’fhoilsigh Séan Ó Dálaigh, tugtar ginealeach mhuintir Dhálaigh mar a leag an Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh amach é. Chreid Ó Donnabháin gur dhuine de Dhálaigh Mhuintir Bháire i bparóiste Chill Chrócháin i gContae Chorcaí ba ea Aonghus: níl ginealach na géige sin ag Mac Fhirbhisigh agus deir Ó Donnabháin nach mbeidh fáil choíche air. Bhí cónaí ar thaoiseach na nDálach sin i nDroim Naoi sa pharóiste céanna. Bhí cáil na filíochta agus an léinn orthu. Ba dhóigh le hÉadbhard Ó Raghallaigh (A Chronological Account of Nearly Four Hundred Irish Writers, 1820) freisin gur den treibh sin Aonghus na nAor agus gurbh é an tAonghus ó Bhaile Oiriúin é a d’éag 16 Nollaig 1617 agus a luaitear i bhfiosrú i gCorcaigh 18 Meán Fómhair 1624. 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’): ‘(a) “Eneas O daly, of Moyntervarye,” 31 Aug., 1590 [no. 5456]. (b) “Eneas Odaly otherwise O’Daly of Cahir.” Co. Cork, described as “yeoman,” 20 Feb., 1604. This Aonghus (caoch) Ó Dálaigh must be the Aonghus Ó Dálaigh who lived at Ballyroon, in S.-W. Cork (where he died in 1617), and to whom the satire on Irish families is ascribed. “Cahir” is the townland of Caher, adjoining Ballyroon, and like it situated in Muntervary (Muinntear Bháire). i.e. on the promontory separating Bantry Bay from Dunmanus Bay. From the pardon of 1604 we infer that Aonghus was then Ó Dálaigh Cairbreach, head of the Carbery branch of the family.’

Deir an Donnabhánach: ‘... the widow Connell alias Mary D, now in the Bantry work-house, is believed to be the nearest akin to him now living. Her friends have emigrated to America.’ Bhíothas in ann go fóill cuid de sheanbhallaí theach Aonghuis a thaispeáint. Deir Ó Raghallaigh gur chum Fearfeasa Ón Cháinte dán 180 véarsa air tar éis a bháis. Deir an Donnabhánach gurbh é Aonghus a chum ‘Tháinig léan go Leath Mhogha’, tuireamh ar Dhonnchadh Fionn Mac Cárthaigh. In Celtica I, 1950 chuir Brian Ó Cuiv eagar ar ‘Fada mé ag mearughadh sligheadh’, dán a leagtar ar Aonghus. Deir Ó Cuiv: ‘The lack of further information leaves the authorship a matter of doubt.’

Deir Ó Donnabháin: ‘He lived in the reign of Elizabeth, and is said to have been specially employed by the agents of Lord Mountjoy and Sir George Carew to write this poem, which is a bitter satire, lampoon, or burlesque, directed against the chiefs of the ancient Irish families... in order that an easy conquest might be made of the country by dint of assertion and bare-faced effrontery, which were likely to stir up their angry passions. The boast of the Irish was hospitality.... Aonghus executed his task, by attempting to prove in detail, by force of assertion, that they were not hospitable nor generous; that they were too poor to afford being so; which was the mode of proceeding to excite their anger.’ Chreid Ó Donnabháin gurbh é Finín Mac Cárthaigh agus é i dTúr Londan i Lúnasa 1602 a chuir an tseift seo i gceann an rialtais, ‘advising the bribing of the Bards to bring over the Irish gentry’.

Thimpeallaigh Aonghus Éire ag scigmhagadh faoi na huaisle. Bhí muintir Uí Sheachnasa i nGort, Co. na Gaillimhe, síolraithe ó Ghuaire an Oinigh, mar shampla, ach dúirt Aonghus fúthu: ‘Do bhádhas oíche gan digh, / I dtigh an Ghiolla Dhuibh, is gan bhia, / Ní buíoch fear aon uaire, / I nGort Inse Guaire riamh.’ Ach ba mheasa fós an dara ceathrú: ‘Ní aoraimse ach mná maithe, / Clann rithe nó ró-fhlatha, / Atá sibhse saor, mar sin, / Níor aor mise bhur máthair.’ Tháinig sé ar deireadh go teach Uí Mheachair i nDroim Saileach in aice le Ros Cré. ‘Éiríos feidhmeannach de mhuintir Mheachair, agus dúirt nach n-aorfadh an Bard Rua Meachair go brách... agus leis sin do thug sá santach den scian scothghéar a bhí ina lámh dea-thapa dheis i mbráid Aonghuis, go raibh ag brúchtadh fola a choirp ar an láthair sin. Ligeann Ó Donnabháin liú míchuíosach neamhscolártha áthais ag an bpointe sin: ‘Hurrah for Tipperary, the County Palatine of the Earl of Ormonde!’. Scríobh James Clarence Mangan leagan Béarla den aoir (i gcló in The Tribes of Ireland). Is léir gur chaith Seán Ó Dálaigh dúthracht le foilsiú an dáin. Bhí lámhscríbhinn roghnaithe ag an Donnabhánach (‘the best we remember having ever seen’) ach chuir Ó Dálaigh de dhua air féin é a chur i gcomparáid le gach leagan san Acadamh Ríoga agus fuair véarsaí breise. Thug Owen Connellan ar iasacht dó cóip a bhí leasaithe agus ceartaithe ag Peadar Ó Conaill; i seilbh an Tiarna George Augusta Hill a bhí an bhunscríbhinn. Is léir ar an aiste ‘Aonghus nan Aoir, or an Irish bard in the highlands’ le George Henderson (Inverness Gaelic Society Transactions XXVI, 1904–1907) gur chaith sé tamall in Albain. Tharraing Henderson samplaí dá ranna aoracha ar uaisle Gaelacha na hAlban as lámhscríbhinn Mac Nicol chomh maith leis an ngearrthuairisc seo: ‘Anghus nan Aoir possessed an estate in Ireland, which was forfeited in Queen Elizabeth’s reign. This change in his circumstances soured his temper and made him turn lampooner. He never said good of any person but the Laird of Glenlion (Glen Lyon).’

Diarmuid Breathnach

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