FIRST BOOK ON IRISH BIBLIOGRAPHY
Dublinii, Ex typographia Societatis Bibliopolarum, 1639. pp. [vi], 142. With arms of the dedicatee Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, on Verso of title-page. Fine in recent full calf. Very scarce.
Wing W 25066 Sweeney 5536 S.T.C. 25066
Sir James Ware (1594-1666), antiquary and historian, was born at his father’s house, Castle Street, Dublin, on 26 November, 1594. Educated at TCD. He collected and studied manuscripts and charters from an early age. Knighted in 1629, he succeeded his father as Auditor-General for Ireland in 1632 and became MP for Dublin University and member of the Privy Council. During the Civil War he was imprisoned by the Parliamentarians as a Royalist and then expelled from Dublin in 1649. After a year and a half in France, Ware settled in London and pursued his studies there until the Restoration of 1660, when he returned to Dublin and was re-appointed Auditor-General. From his emoluments of office he made generous contributions to widows and to fellow-Royalists who had been ruined by the war, while continuing to collect and preserve valuable historical material on Gaelic Ireland. It was around this time that he employed Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh to prepare transcripts and translations from Irish manuscripts. He published a number of treatises in Latin on Irish and ecclesiastical antiquities, as well as editions of Campion’s ‘History of Ireland’ and Spenser’s ‘View of the State of Ireland’. His son, Robert Ware, translated and re-published his works, which gained wide circulation. ‘The Whole Works of Sir James Ware’ was published in Dublin (1739-1746) by Walter Harris who married Ware’s grand-daughter.
The establishment of Irish literature and history as subjects of study in the general world of learning in modern times is due largely to the lifelong exertions of Sir James Ware. Sir Frederick Burton in his fine drawing of the three founders of the study of Irish history and literature, has rightly placed him alongside his contemporaries, Michael Ó Cléirigh, the hereditary chronicler, and John Colgan the Irish hagiologist.
Ware died at his family house in Castle Street, Dublin on 1 December, 1666 and is buried in St. Werburgh’s Church. His manuscripts are in the Bodleian and British Libraries.
The earliest Irish bibliographical work, much enlarged in the first English translation which appeared in 1704/5.