The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/O'Curry, Eugene
O'CURRY, ō-kŭr'ĭ, Eugene, Irish scholar: b. Dunaha, County Clare, 1796; d. Dublin, July 1862. He was son of a rather gifted farmer. Though lame he worked on the farm until 1834. He was for three years employed on the Ordnance Survey; and after several years spent in copying Gaelic manuscripts and writing translations for the Royal Irish Academy, Trinity College (Dublin), the British Museum and other learned institutions, he was called, in 1855, by John Henry Newman to the chair of Irish history and archæology in the Catholic University of Ireland, then just founded. There he displayed a wonderful knowledge of all the sources of Irish history, literature and civilization from the earliest times. His lectures, published in 1860, as ‘Manuscript Materials of Irish History,’ are accounted the best single work on mediæval Irish literature. A second series of his lectures, ‘The Manners and Customs of the Ancient Irish People,’ made up of his later lectures, appeared in 1873. O'Curry prepared the catalogue of the Irish manuscripts in the British Museum, and with John O'Donovan (q.v.) worked on the compilation of the ancient laws and institutions of Ireland. Consult Hyde, Douglas, ‘Literary History of Ireland’ (London 1906); Webb, ‘Compendium of Irish Biography’ (Dublin 1878).