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Cuimhní Oisín (Oisín Remembers) – Ireland

Signed copy. Includes postage & packaging within Rep. of Ireland. If you would prefer an unsigned copy or would like to request a personalised dedication, please send a message using the contact form.

€14.00

Cuimhní Oisín (Oisín Remembers) – International

Signed copy. Includes postage & packaging. If you would prefer an unsigned copy or would like a personalised dedication, please send a message using the contact form.

€16.50

Translated from the original Irish by Annraoi de Paor

Illustrations by Tim Halpin

Printer: Lettertec, Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork. ISBN: 9781912606948

Preface

For ages past, the country people of Ireland derived great pleasure from gathering around the fireside at night and listening to the lays and prose stories of the Fianna. The Fianna were said to be a standing army under the High Kings, Conn Céadcathach, Art Aonair, and Cormac Mac Airt, but they were destroyed at the Battle of Gabhra in the reign of Cairbre Lifeachair. Fionn Mac Cumhaill was their most famous chief, and Oisín was one of his sons.


One day when the remnants of the Fianna, after the Battle of Gabhra, were hunting by Loch Léin in Kerry, it is claimed that there came, riding from the West on a magic horse (to which land and sea were alike), Niamh Cinn Óir, daughter of the King of Tír na nÓg (The Land of Youth). She had fallen in love with Oisín, and had come seeking him as her husband. Oisín consented to go with her, and they lived happily together in Tír na nÓg for two hundred years. Three hundred years are put in the mouth of Oisín in the poem “Oisín’s Lay on Tír na nÓg”, but that does not agree with the dates given in the Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland. Of course, one could forgive Oisín his confusion, as he was an old, addled man when he dictated his poems to Brógán, St Patrick’s scribe. Oisín eventually returned to
Ireland on a visit, had an accident in Gleann an Smóil near Dublin, fell off the magic horse and, on contact with the soil of Ireland was transformed into an ancient, spent, blind man. Patrick and his company came by in a short time, took the piteous old warrior into their care and got the lays from him before he died as a Christian.


I fell under the spell of the lore of the Fianna when I was in secondary school between 1952 and 1957. We had a little red book Filíocht Fiannaíochta (Educational Company of Ireland, 1954), edited by An Seabhac (Pádraig Ó Siochfhradha). I thought that the poems in it were beautiful beyond compare. I devoured them avidly and my love for them has endured ever since. A few years after I left school, graduated as an engineer and embarked on my career as lecturer and professor of engineering, I had the luck to come upon a large tome, Laoithe na Féinne, also under the editorship of An Seabhac, published by the Folklore Society of Ireland in 1941. In that book I found a rich harvest of additional poems, along with fuller versions of some which had been abbreviated in the schoolbook.
It is from the two books mentioned above that I took the poems in this collection. I have three other lovely volumes of lays of the Fianna, which were given to me as presents by my son, Niall, over the years. They are Duanaire Fhinn (Irish Texts Society, 1904, 1933 and 1954). This collection was put together for Captain Somhairle Mac Dónaill in Louvain in Belgium in the seventeenth century. Although I love that collection too, I did not take anything from it on this occasion.

Of course, we don’t really know if Oisín ever lived, although the Four Masters, who wrote the Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland, were in no doubt about his father, Fionn—Finn Ua Baisccne as they called him when recording his death in 283 a.d. If Oisín lived, we have no idea whether he was a poet. All we know for certain about the lays is that it was Mícheál Ó Coimín from County Clare who wrote “Oisín’s lay on Tír na nÓg” in the middle of the eighteenth century and it was myself who wrote “Fionn’s vision at Domhnach Broc” in 2004.

I did some light editing on the Irish versions of the lays in a few places, to
remove some archaisms, for example “úirlis ceoil” in place of “ábha ciúil”
in the lay “Ceolta na Féinne”. Then I made lyrical translations into English
(although that is treason, according to the Italians!), in an attempt to share
my joy with those who are not fluent in Irish. Tim Halpin, while he was
a PhD student in Engineering at University College Dublin, agreed to
illustrate the book for me. There are also a few photographs here of places
mentioned in the lays, or reputed to have been associated with Óisín.
I hope that the readers will enjoy these lays of Oisín and my attempts to bring them into English.

Annraoi de Paor

Réamhrá

Leis na cianta, ba mhór an caitheamh aimsire ag muintir na hÉireann
cruinniú cois teallaigh istoíche chun éisteacht le laoithe agus le scéalta próis na Fiannaíochta. Sort arm seasta a deirtear a bhí sa bhFiann, faoi na hArd Ríthe, Conn Céadchathach, Art Aonair agus Cormac Mac Airt, ach ar rinneadh iad a dhíothú ag Cath Gabhra faoi réimeas Chairbe Lifeachair. Fionn Mac Cumhaill an Taoiseach ba mhó cháil orthu, agus mac leis abea Oisín.

Lá dá raibh iarmhír na Féinne, tar éis Chatha Gabhra, ag seilg cois Locha Léin i gCiarraí, maítear gur tháinig chucu aniar ar capall draíochta (ar chomhionann leis muir agus tír) Niamh Cinn Óir, iníon Rí Thír na nÓg. Bhí sí tar éis titim i ngrá le hOisín, agus tháinig sí á lorg mar fhear chéile. Thoiligh Oisín imeacht léí, agus mhaireadar go sona i dTír na nÓg ar feadh tuairim is dhá céad bhliain. Trí céad a chuirtear i mbéal Oisín san dán “Laoi Oisín ar Thír na nÓg”, ach níl sin ag réiteach leis na dátaí in Annála Ríochta Éireann. Dar ndóigh ní tógtha air an t-iomrall, mar seanfhear ar sheachrán intinne abea é faoin am a maítear gur rinne sé na laoithe a dheachtú le Brógán, scríobhaí Phádraig Naofa. D’fhill Oisín ar cuairt chuig Éire faoi dheireadh, bhain taisme de i nGleann an Smóil gar do Bhaile Átha Cliath, thit sé den chapall draíochta, agus rinneadh seanfhear críon, caite, dall de ar a theagmháil le ithir na hÉireann. Tháinig Pádraig agus a chuallacht ar an láthair go luath, thógadar an sean laoch dearóil faoina gcúram
agus fuaireadar na laoithe uaidh sula bhfuair sé bás ina Chríostaí.


Thiteas féin faoi dhraíocht na Fiannaíochta ar an mheánscoil dom idir 1952
agus 1957. Bhí leabhar beag dearg againn, Filíocht Fiannaíochta (Comhlucht
Oideachais na hÉireann, 1954), arna chur in eagar ag An Seabhac (Pádraig Ó
Siochfhradha). Cheapas nárbh áilleacht go dtí é na dánta a bhí ann. D’alpas iad go cíochrach agus mhair mo ghrá dóibh le linn mo shaoil ó shin. Roinnt bhlianta i ndiaidh dom an scoil a fhágáil, céimniú mar innealtóir agus cromadh ar mo ghairm mar léachtóir agus ollamh le hinnealtóireacht, bhí sé de ádh orm teacht ar cnuasach toirtiúil, Laoithe na Féinne, arís faoi eagarthóireacht an tSeabhaic, a d’fhoilsigh An Cumann le Béaloideas Éireann i 1941. San leabhar sin fuaireas saibhreas de dhánta breise, maille le leaganacha níos iomláine de roinnt dánta a raibh coimriú déanta orthu san leagan scoile.


As an dá leabhar thuasluaite a bhaineas na laoithe atá anseo. Tá trí imleabhair ghleoite eile de laoithe na Féinne in mo sheilbh, a fuaireas mar bhronntanais ó mo mhac Niall thar na blianta, mar atá Duanaire Fhinn (Cumann na Scríbheann Gaedhilge, 1904, 1933, 1954). Cuireadh an cnuasach sin le chéile don Chaptaen Somhairle Mac Dónaill i Lóbháin na Beilge san seachtú haois déag. Cé gur iontach liom na leabhair sin níor bhaineas aon nídh astu an iarracht seo.


Dar ndóigh, níl a fhios againn go cinnte ar mhair Oisín riamh, cé nach raibh
Na Ceithre Máistrí, a scríobh Annála Ríochta Éireann, in aon amhras faoina
athair, Fionn—Finn Ua Baisccne mar a thugann said air, agus a bhás á ríomhadh acu faoi 283 a.d. Má mhair Oisín, ní heol dúinn arbh fhile é. Níl de eolas dearfa againn faoi údair na laoithe ach gurbh é Mícheál Ó Coimín as Chontae an Chláir a chum “Laoi Oisín ar Thír na nÓg” i lár an ochtú haois déag, agus gur mé féin a chum “Fís Fhinn i nDomhnach Broc” sa bhliain 2004.


Rinneas eagarthóireacht bhog ar an nGaeilge in áiteacha fánacha chun ársaíocht a ruaigeadh—mar shampla “úirlis ceoil” in áit “ábha ciúil” sa laoi “Ceolta na Féinne”. Ansin chumas aistriúcháin liriciúla go Béarla (ainneoin gur tréas é, dar leis na hIodáiligh!), chun iarracht a dhéanamh mo ghliondar a roinnt le daoine nach bhfuil an Ghaeilge ar a dtoil acu. Thoiligh Tim Halpin, tráth bhí sé ina mhac léinn PhD san Innealtóireacht i gColáiste Ollscoile Bhaile Átha Cliath, an leabhar a mhaisiú dhom. Chomh maith leis sin, tá dornán de ghriangrafanna anseo de roinnt de na háiteacha a luaitear ins na dánta, nó a deirtear a raibh baint acu le hOisín.

Tá súil agam go mbainfidh na léitheoirí taithneamh as laoithe seo Oisín agus as mo iarrachtaí iad a thabhairt liom trí Bhéarla.

Annraoi de Paor

Other Publications

In addition to a long career of academic writing and publication, Annraoi de Paor has written four Irish language books, all published by Coiscéim and available to order through their website: http://www.coisceim.ie :

Buan ar Buairt (1985) le Annraoi de Paor (úrscéal)

Dubček faoi cháil is faoi scáil (1997) le Tereza Michalová, arna aistriú ag Annraoi de Paor (bailiúchán d’ailt)

Beirt Mhairnéalach (2003) le Alfred Tennyson & Samuel Taylor Coleridge, arna aistriú ag Annraoi de Paor (leaganacha Gaeilge de “Ulysses” Tennyson agus “Ancient Mariner” Coleridge)

Duanaire Daonscoile (2014) le Annraoi de Paor (Eagarthóir)

In 2013, Tyndall Scientific published Annraoi’s “An Illustrated Collection of Limericks for Engineers & Physicists”, with cartoons by Jane Courtney. Although now out of print, it is available to view online at the following link: http://limericks-depaor.localdem.net/index.html