Irish scribes were to be found, and he thus early formed a taste for Irish verse. After school education he was ordained priest, and in July 1802 he was appointed to the professorship of the Irish language which Mr. Keenan had founded at St. Patrick's College, Maynooth. The endowment was only 60l. a year. The professor became an active member of the Gaelic Society of Dublin, and when the first and only volume of its transactions appeared in 1808, he wrote for it an introductory address of seventeen four-line stanzas of Irish verse. In 1809 he published a ‘Practical Grammar of the Irish Language,’ of which the manuscript had been completed and sent to H. Fitzpatrick, the publisher, in 1806 (Fitzpatrick's advertisement). Seven stanzas of Irish verse by the professor are prefixed, in which Fodhla or Ireland is made to incite her children to the study of their ancient speech. It is curious that, though a native of Meath, he speaks of Tara as the chief place of Leinster as Eamhain was of Ulster and Cruachan of Connaught, an error of scholarship; for in Irish literature Tara, the capital of all Ireland, always appears as the enemy of Leinster, and never as part of it. John O'Donovan (Irish Grammar, Preface) speaks of O'Brien's work as the worst of Irish grammars, but it has some interest as illustrating the dialect of Meath. It was intended for the clerical students of Maynooth, and this is probably the reason that the author only gives two examples from the poetic literature of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with which he was so well acquainted that he could repeat a greater part of the works of O'Carolan, Cathaoir MacCabe [q. v.], Brian O'Clery (1730), Colla MacSeaghain (1726), Brian O'Reilly (1725), John O'Neill (1722), Fiachra MacBrady [q. v.], James MacCuairt [q. v.], William MacCartain [q. v.], William O'Ciarain (1750), and Maurice O'Dugan (1660). He was generous to other scholars, and gave Edward O'Reilly [q. v.] much valuable information, and wrote an introductory poem in Irish for his ‘Irish-English Dictionary.’ He continued to be Irish professor at Maynooth till his death, on 20 May 1820.
[O'Reilly's Chronological Account of Irish Writers, Dublin, 1820, and Irish-English Dictionary, Dublin, 1821; Anderson's Historical Sketches of the Native Irish and their Descendants, Edinburgh, 1830, pp. 100, 125; Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Dublin, 1808, vol. i.; O'Donovan's Grammar of the Irish Language, Dublin, 1845, p. lxi.]
O'BRIEN, TERENCE or TOIRDHELBHACH (d. 1460), bishop of Killaloe, second son of the lord of Thomond, was appointed bishop of Killaloe by papal provision, apparently in succession to James O'Ghonelan, or O'Conghalain, who held the see in 1441. He was treacherously slain at Ennis in 1460 by Brian-an-Chobhlaigh O'Brien (Brian of the Fleet), one of his own kinsmen.
[Ann. of the Four Masters, iv. 1005, ed. O'Donovan; Ware's Works, i. 594, ed. Harris; Cotton's Fasti Eccl. Hibern. i. 400.]
O'BRIEN, TERENCE ALBERT (1600–1651), bishop of Emly, was born at Limerick. Reputed to be of ancient family, he was educated mainly by his uncle, Maurice O'Brien, prior of the Limerick Dominicans. In 1620 O'Brien, who had been received into the order, was sent to Toledo, where he lived eight years, and was ordained priest. He then returned to Limerick, and was elected prior there, having first filled that office at Lorrha in Tipperary. In 1643, when the confederate catholics had established their government at Kilkenny, O'Brien was elected provincial of the Irish Dominicans at a chapter held there. He was one of two representatives of his province in the general chapter held at Rome early in 1644 (Hibernia Dominicana, p. 115). He had a special letter of recommendation from the supreme council of the confederation (Gilbert, Confederation and War, ii. 99). From Rome O'Brien went to Lisbon, whence he was recalled to Ireland by a report that he had been made Bishop of Emly, but his preferment was delayed by the death of Urban VIII on 29 July 1644. As provincial of the Dominicans, he signed the protest, dated at Kilkenny 6 Feb. 1645–6, against the peace with Ormonde, but resigned not long afterwards, for Gregory O'Ferrall was provincial in August following (Hibernia Dominicana, p. 659).
On 31 Dec. 1645, the Nuncio Rinuccini, in a letter to Cardinal Pamphili, recommended O'Brien for the episcopate as ‘a man of prudence and sagacity, who has been in Italy, and is so expert in the management of church revenues that happy results might be expected from his care.’
Rinuccini again recommended O'Brien on 11 Aug. 1646, and on 11 March 1647 (n.s.) he was appointed by papal provision to the see of Emly (Brady). While Inchiquin harried his diocese, the confederate catholics fought among themselves, and it was to Rinuccini's party that O'Brien attached himself. He was at or near Kilkenny during a great part of 1648, and was one of five bishops who on 9 May 1648 wrote to the pope recommending that Thaddeus or Tadhg O'Clery, prior of St. Patrick's Purgatory, should be made bishop of Derry (Spicilegium