Connellan, Owen (DNB00)

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CONNELLAN, OWEN (1800–1869), Irish scholar, a native of co. Sligo and son of a farmer who claimed descent from the chiefs of Bunnyconnellan in Mayo, and through them from Laoghaire MacNeill, king of Ireland, was born in 1800. He studied Irish literature, and obtained employment as a scribe in the Royal Irish Academy, where he worked for more than twenty years, and copied a great part of the large collections of Irish writings known as the Books of Lecan and of Ballymote. After George IV's visit to Ireland he was appointed Irish historiographer to the king, a post which he also held throughout the reign of William IV. Shortly after the establishment of queen's colleges Connellan was made professor of Irish at Cork, and held the chair till his death, which took place in Dublin in 1869. He published in 1830 a ‘Grammatical Interlineary Version of the Gospel of St. John,’ ‘Grammatical Praxis on the Gospel of St. Matthew,’ ‘Dissertation on Irish Grammar,’ 1834, and compiled the ‘Annals of Dublin’ in Pettigrew and Oulton's ‘Directory’ for 1835. In 1844 he published a ‘Practical Grammar of the Irish Language.’ He admired Sir William Betham, whose ‘Etruria Celtica’ had, he thought, proved the identity of the Irish and Etruscan languages; but the grammar is nevertheless of value as preserving the idiom and pronunciation of Irish in the north of Connaught. In 1846 he published, in a large quarto volume, ‘The Annals of Ireland, translated from the Original Irish of the Four Masters.’ This creditable work was superseded by the publication of the full Irish text of the ‘Annals,’ with a translation by O'Donovan. In 1860 Connellan's most important work appeared—a text with translations and notes of the interesting ‘Imtheacht na Tromdhaimhe,’ an ancient tale, which relates how the ‘Tain Bo Cuailgne,’ the most famous story of the Irish bards, was recovered in the time of St. Ciaran.

[Works; information from Connellan Grésaidhe Piobaire, his relative.]

N. M.