Haliday, William (DNB00)

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HALIDAY, WILLIAM (1788–1812), Irish grammarian, born in Dublin in 1788, was son of William Haliday or Halliday, an apothecary, and elder brother of Charles Haliday [q. v.] He was bred a solicitor, and learnt Irish from three Munstermen who lived in Dublin, MacFaelchu, O'Connaill, and O'Cathasaigh; and so despised in his middle sphere of society was the native language of Ireland that Haliday assumed the name of William O'Hara when he began to take lessons from O'Cathasaigh. In 1808 he published in Dublin 'Uraicecht na Gaedhilge: a Grammar of the Irish Language,' under another assumed name, Edmond O'Connell. This is a compilation based upon Stewart's 'Gaelic Gramir.' He was one of the founders in 1807 of the Gaelic Society of Dublin, established for the investigation and revival of ancient Irish literature, and in 1811 published in Dublin the first volume of a text and translation of Keating's 'History of Ireland.' He had begun an Irish dictionary when he died, 26 Oct. 1812. He was an enthusiastic student of Irish literature of the same kind as O'Reilly the lexicographer. Their work is defective in thoroughness, because of their imperfect training, but has been of great service to many more learned persons, and has given much enjoyment to many of the unlearned.

[Webb's Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878; O'Donovan's Grammar of the Irish Language, 1845, preface; O'Reilly's Irish-English Dictionary, 1821, preface; Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Dublin, 1808.]

N. M.