Hardiman, James (DNB00)

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HARDIMAN, JAMES (1790?–1855), historian, born in Connaught about 1790, came of a family known in Irish as O'Hartigan. His father owned a small estate in Mayo. After school education he went to Dublin, studied law, and obtained employment in the castle, where he was appointed a sub-commissioner of public records. He became an active member of the Royal Irish Academy and of the Iberno-Celtic Society. In 1820 he published 'A History of the County and the Town of Galway,' one of the few good county histories to be found in Ireland. Irish was his mother tongue, and in 1831 he published in 2 volumes 'Irish Minstrelsy or Bardic Remains of Ireland, with English Poetical Translations.' The book was printed an London. The Irish is in a curious type, full of oblique lines. The metrical versions are by Furlong, Curran, and others. The collection is an interesting one, but its value is diminished by the absence of clear statements as to the authorities for each poem. The majority are probably taken from manuscript collections, such as were common in Ireland till harpers became extinct. Hardiman's next publications were 'An Account of two Irish Wills,' and 'The Statute of Kilkenny,' Dublin, 1843. In 1846 he edited Roderick O'Flaherty's 'West Connaught' for the Irish Archæological Society. Soon after its foundation he became librarian of Queen's College, Galway, and there died in November 1855. His education was imperfect, and he was not deeply read in Irish literature, but he had considerable knowledge of general and local Irish history, and his works have some permanent value.

[Webb's Compendium of Irish Biog., Dublin, 1878; notes in Hardiman's Works.]

N. M.