Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/MacBruaidedh, Tadhg

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MACBRUAIDEDH, TADHG (1570–1652), Irish poet, commonly called by Irish writers Tadhg MacDaire, from his father Daire, was born at the castle of Dunogan, barony of Ibrican, co. Clare, the seat of his branch of the literary family of MacBruaidedh, in 1570. He succeeded his kinsman Maoilin the younger [q. v.] as ollav to Donogh O'Brien, fourth earl of Thomond [q. v.], in 1603. His earliest poem is one of four stanzas of advice for a chief, beginning ‘Mo cheithre rann duit a Dhonchaidh’ (‘My four verses to thee, O Donogh’). They are printed in the ‘Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Dublin,’ i. 229. A poem of 220 verses, beginning ‘Mor ata air teagasg flatha’ (‘Much depends on the instruction of a prince’), was probably written in 1605, when Donogh O'Brien was made president of Munster (Lodge, Peerage of Ireland, i. 260). The poem is based on a famous piece of Irish literature called ‘Teagasc Cormaic,’ in which Cormac MacAirt, king of Ireland, is supposed to give advice to his son, Cairfre Liffeachair. MacBruaidedha also alludes to the advice of Torna Eigeas to Niall Naighiallaigh [q. v.], and, after general precepts, goes on to some personal flattery, and praises the countenance, eyes, teeth, neck, hands, and whole form of Donogh, as well as his character and disposition, and his munificence to poets. He is addressed as ‘ri Luimnigh’ (king of Limerick). This poem was printed, with notes and a Latin version, by Theophilus O'Flanagan in 1808. His next poem, which was probably also written in 1605, begins, ‘Olc do thagras a Thorma’ (‘Ill hast thou argued, O Torna!’). It consists of 144 verses, and is an attack on Torna Eigeas, an Ulster poet of the fifth century, who wrote on the dignity of Niall Naighiallaigh and his descendants. This poem declared that the Munster tribes, as descended from the elder son of Milesius, the reputed ancestor of the race, ought to rank before the northern tribes. It was answered by Lughaidh O'Clery [q. v.], chief poet of Tirconnel, in a poem beginning, ‘A Thadg na tathoir Torna’ (‘O Tadg, do not revile Torna’). MacBruaidedha replied in a poem of 685 verses, ‘Eisdi Lughaidh rem labhradh’ (‘Listen, Lughaidh, to what I say’). Lughaidh replied in a still longer poem, and his opponent rejoined, ‘A Lughaidh, labhram go sheimh’ (‘O Lughaidh, let us speak mildly’), a poem of 124 verses. Other poets now joined in the controversy. The southern half of Ireland, known as Mogha's half, and consisting of Munster and Leinster, brought forth Toidhelbhach O'Brien of Cahirmannan, Art O'Caimh the younger, and Fearfasa O'Cainte [q. v.], who sided with Tadg; while the northern, called Conn's Half, made up of Ulster, Meath, and Connaught, was defended, in addition to Lughaidh, by Aodh O'Donnell, Robert MacAirt of Louvain, Baoghalach Ruadh MacAedhagain, his kinsman Anluan MacAedhagain, MacDermot of Moylurg, and John O'Clery. MacBruaidedha wrote two poems to Baoghalach MacAedhagain, ‘A dhuine labhras an laoi’ (‘O wight a-speaking the lay’), and ‘Ni theithim ria tagra mhaoith’ (‘I fly not before a boasting argument’); and two poems, one of forty-four verses, ‘Ni gnais leam turchar a Aodh’ (‘Not dangerous to me is thy throw, O Aodh!’), and another of 688 verses, ‘Ni bhreith orm do bhreith a Aodh’ (‘Thy Decision is no Decision for me’), in reply in 1607 to Aodh O'Donnell. He also replied to the Franciscan Robert MacAirt, ‘Go ccead dot ghairm a brathair’ (‘First to thy vocation, Friar’). After an interval MacBruaidedha wrote a final rejoinder of 108 verses, ‘Foiridh mo leisge a leith Cuinn’ (‘Wait for my Indolence, O Conn's Half!’). The whole poetic controversy occurs in manuscripts under the title, ‘Iomarbhaidh leithe Cuinn agus leitha Mogha’ (‘The Contention of Conn's Half and Mogha's Half’). In some manuscripts the poem of MacBruaidedha, ‘Ni bhreith orm do bhreith a Aedh,’ and that of O'Donnell, ‘Measa do thagrais a Thaidg’ (‘Worse thy Argument, O Tadg!’), are arranged as a dialogue, verse and verse about. He also wrote a poem on the Nativity, ‘Deanaidh go subhach a shiol Adhaimh’ (‘Rejoice, O Seed of Adam!’); a lament for ten dead O'Briens, of 140 verses, ‘Anois diolaim an deachmhadh’ (‘Now I pay the Tithe’); an address to the O'Briens, ‘Tairgidh mo sheachna a shiol mbriain’ (‘Accept my Warnings, Oh Seed of Brian Boroma!’); a lament of 244 verses for the Earl of Thomond, written on his death in 1624; an address of sixty verses to Diarmait MacMurchadha O'Brien; a poem in praise of poverty, ‘Rogha gach beatha bheith bocht’ (‘The best Life of all is to be Poor’); and one, of 112 verses, ‘Astraigh chugam a chroch naomh’ (‘Come to me, O Holy Cross’). His estate was granted to a Cromwellian, who, finding him on it in 1652, prepared to dispute possession, flung him over a cliff, with the words ‘Abair do rainn anois fhir bhig’ (‘Say thy verses now, little man’).

[Gaelic Society of Dublin's Transactions, 1808; Iberno-Celtic Society's Transactions, 1820, ed. E. O'Reilly; Annala Rioghachta Eireann, ed. J. O'Donovan, vol. vi.; Egerton 149, a manuscript in the British Museum, contains a copy of the Iomarbhaidh.]

N. M.