O'Daly, Muiredhach (DNB00)

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O'DALY, MUIREDHACH (fl. 1213), Irish poet, was of the family of Maelisa O'Daly (in Irish Ua Dalaigh), ‘ollamh Ereann agus Alban’ (literary professor of Ireland and Scotland), who died in 1185. His home was on the shore of Lough Derryvarra, co. Westmeath, and he calls himself O'Daly of Meath, to distinguish him from O'Daly of Finnyvarra, co. Clare, also a poet in the thirteenth century. He was living at Drumcliff, co. Sligo, in 1213, when Fionn O'Brolchain, steward or maor of O'Donnell, came to Connaught to collect tribute. The steward visited his house, and began to talk discourteously to the poet, who took up an axe and killed him on the spot. Domhnall O'Donnell pursued him. He fled to Clanricarde, co. Galway, and Burke at first protected him, and afterwards enabled O'Daly to flee into Thomond. Thither O'Donnell pursued him and ravaged the country. Donough Cairbreach O'Brien [q. v.] sent the poet on to Limerick, and O'Donnell laid siege to the city, and O'Daly had to fly from place to place till he reached Dublin, being everywhere protected as a man of learning. O'Donnell later in the year marched on Dublin, and the citizens banished O'Daly, who fled to Scotland. When in Clanricarde he composed an explanation of his misfortune in verse, and mentioned that he loved the English and drank wine with them. In Scotland, however, he wrote three poems in praise of O'Donnell, which led that chief to forgive him, and in the end to grant him lands and cattle.

He is to be distinguished from Muirhedhach O'Daly, who was also a poet, who lived in 1600, and wrote the poem of 396 verses, ‘Cainfuighear liom lorg na bhfear’ (‘The race of men shall be sung by me’), which tells of all the branches of the house of FitzGerald.

[Annala Rioghachta Eireann, ed. O'Donovan, vol. iii.; Trans. of the Iberno-Celtic Society, Dublin, 1820; O'Grady's Cat. of Irish Manuscripts in the Brit. Mus.]

N. M.