O’FLAHERTY, Roderico. Ogygia: Seu, Rerum Hibernicarum. Ex Pervetustis Monumentus sideliter inter se collatis eruta, atque è Sacris ac Prophanis Literis primarum Orbis Gentium tam Genealogicis, quam Chronologicis susslaminata praesidiis … Prima Ogygiae Insula; seubrevis Tractatus de Hiberniae Insula … Secunda Ogygiae Extera; seu Synchronismus, in quo Hibernorum tempora pariter, ac generationes cum Exetris accurate conferuntur. Tertia Ogygiae Domestica; seu Rerum Hibernicarum plenior, ac susior fissertatio … Quibus Accedit, Regum Hiberniae, Christianorum ab anno 428 ad annum 1022; aliorumque eventuum as jam regnantem Carolum 2. brevis Chronologica Tabula. Deinde Carmen Chronographicum summam omnium … Diluvio ad praesens tempus complectens. Postremò Catalogus Regum in Brittannia Scotorum, ex Hiberniae Monumentis. London: Typis R. Everingham, Sumptibus Ben. Tooke, ad insignia Navis in Coemeterio D. Pauli, 1685. pp. , [xvi], 44, 503, 604-700 [i.e. 510]. Small quarto. Later half vellum on marbled boards, title in gilt on black morocco label on spine. Ex libris Milltown Park Trust, with stamps. From the library of J. Ryan, M.D. on titlepage. All edges marbled. A fine copy.
Wing O 160. Sweeney 3257. COPAC locates only 5 copies.
Roderick O’Flaherty, the noted historian and antiquarian of west Connaught was born at Moycullen Castle, County Galway, in 1629. His father Hugh, was the last chief of that proud race. He devoted his life to the study of Irish history and antiquities and was a contemporary of Dr. John Lynch, Bishop Kirwan of Killala, and he studied Irish literature and history under Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh of Lecan, then resident in the college of St. Nicholas in Galway. In 1652 without having taken part in rebellion, he was included in the general Cromwellian proscription. He appealed to the Commissioners at Athlone, and was allowed a portion of his family’s estate in Iar Connaught. Afterwards he wrote: “I live a banished man within the bounds of my native soil; a spectator of others enriched by my birth-right; an object of condoling to my relatives and friends, and a condoler of their miseries”.
His first important work was a reply to ‘Dr. Borlace’s History of the Rebellion’. He also wrote ‘A Description of West or hIar Connaught’ which was first published by the Irish Archaeological Society in 1846. His magnum opus however was the present work on offer here, the ‘Ogygia’, which according to Hardiman “remains a lasting monument of our author’s learning and genius”. Immediately on its appearance it excited the curiosity and attracted the attention of the learned of Europe, many of whom testified their approbation of the work in the most flattering terms. Our ablest antiquaries since that time have admitted that in it he has given secure anchorage to Irish history.
A monumental work on the history of Ireland from the earliest times to the year 1684. O’Flaherty consulted the ‘Book of Lecan’, the chronicle of Tighearnach O’Braein, the ‘Liber Migrationum’ of Michael O’Cleary, and numerous other Irish medieval manuscripts. The Irish type used in quotations and in giving the true forms of names is also the one used in ‘Seanmora ar na Priom Phoncibh na Creideamh’, translated into Irish by Philip MacBrady and John O’Mulchonri, and published in 1711 by Elinor Everingham.
Edward Lloyd of Oxford, who visited O’Flaherty in 1700, described him as “affable and learned”, but added the revolutions in Ireland had “reduced him to great poverty, and destroyed his books and papers”. In 1709, Sir Thomas Molyneux visited Roderick O’Flaherty in his castle at Moycullen in Connemara, and he wrote of his trip: “I went to visit old Flaherty, who lives very old, in a miserable condition … I expected to have seen here some old Irish manuscripts, but his ill-fortune had stripped him of these as well as his other goods, so that he had nothing now left but some few pieces of his own writing and a few old rummish books of history, printed”.
He died in 1718 in his 89th year, leaving an only son Michael, to whom, in 1736, a portion of the family estates were restored.
O’Flaherty’s other great work. “Chorographical Description of West or H-Iar Connaught” achieved its first publication under the editorship of James Hardiman in 1846.