Book Launch – 14th August 2021
To mark Heritage Week 2021, the Heritage Officer of Galway County Council, Ms Marie Mannion accepted an invitation from Abbey Heritage to launch the revised edition and translation by Dr Nollaig Ó Muraíle, of Mícheál Ó Conaill’s book first published in 1932.
Mícheál Ó Conaill was Principal Teacher in Duniry National School and he wrote and published the original book ‘Cinéal Féichín agus Síol Anmachadha’ in old Irish. The book deals with the history of south-east Galway from pre-Christian times to the early 19th century but when the Irish language was revised in the early 1960s the book became obsolete and was no longer of interest to a wide section of the population. When this old book came to the notice of Abbey Heritage, we were very anxious to have it translated so as to make its contents available to a wide readership.
We were fortunate that Dr Nollaig Ó Muraíle was interested in doing this work and his suggestion to rewrite the Irish text in the Cló Rómhánach (modern Irish) in addition to doing the English translation has given us this delightful bilingual book.
In line with COVID restrictions, attendance at the launch in Abbey Community Centre was restricted and people attending were asked to adhere to all HSE guidelines.
Speakers at the Book Launch in Abbey were L to R: Dr Christy Cunniffe, Frances Holohan, Abbey Heritage, Marie Mannion Heritage Officer Galway Co Council who launched the book. Photo courtesy Jim Hynes, Portumna.
The following article in relation to the book appeared in the Portumna Notes section of the Connacht Tribune of 20th August 2021
UPDATING BIBLE ON LOCAL HISTORY
A seminal – and bilingual – book outlines the story of Southeast Galway from pre-Christian times until the early 19th century, has just been relaunched. The new, revised edition of Oirhdeisceart na Gaillimhe: Gnéithe dá Stair or South-east Galway: aspects of its history – first published in 1932 by Mícheál Ó Conaill – now boasts a new translation by Dr Nollaig Ó Muraíle. Dr Ó Muraíle is a member of the Royal Irish Academy, former Placenames Officer with the Ordnance Survey of Ireland, and a retired University lecturer.
The initial impetus for the translation project came from Frances Holohan of Abbey Heritage, and Marie Mannion (Heritage Officer with Galway County Council) who contacted Dr Ó Muraíle about the project. Helping hands were available in the shape of the Abbey Heritage Society which agreed to publish the book in its present bilingual format. Dr Christy Cunniffe, equipped with unparalleled archaeological knowledge of South-east Galway, also proved invaluable.
Founded on a love of history and heritage, the volume explores a wide array of topics: from place-names to the foundation of castles and religious orders. Teachers, parents and students will also appreciate having a bilingual book with ‘side by side’ translations, making it an easy, useful resource for those learning Irish and also hoping to improve their fluency.
For the first time, this volume makes accessible a work exploring a little written about part of Ireland. It also adds valuable biographical information on the book’s original author Mícheál Ó Conaill.
This engaging book will appeal to anyone with ties to Galway, past or present. It is also a beautifully composed description of a long gone Ireland. Lovers of language and history alike will be clamouring to read this new edition.