FIRST EDITION WITH PARALLEL ENGLISH TEXT
[BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER IN IRISH] Leabhar na Nornaightheadh Ccomhchoitchionn, agus Mhiniostralachda na Saceaimeinteadh, agus Resadh agus Dhearghnath na Heaglaise, do reir usaide Eaglaise na Sacsan; Maille ris an Tsaltair no Psalmuibh Dhaibhidh. In Irish and English. London: Eleanor Everingham, at the Seven-Stars in Ave-Mary-Lane, near Ludgate, 1712. First Irish edition, with parallel English text. Bound in modern antique style panelled calf, title in gilt on maroon morocco label on spine. Occasional light toning. A very good copy. “This edition of ‘Leabhar na Nornaightheadh Ccomchoitchionn’ was translated by John Richardson (1664-1747), the son of Sir Edward Richardson, from Armagh, (see Griffiths’ ‘The Bibliography of the Book of Common Prayer 1549-1999’). Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, he graduated B.A. in 1688. After ordination he was appointed in 1693 to the rectory of Annagh, a parish in Co. Cavan, which included the town of Belturbet. He was single-mindedly determined to convert the Irish Roman Catholics by means of the Bible and liturgy in the native language:
“”And as our happy Constitution stands, both in Church and State, we are … oblidged to publish the ‘Common-Prayer-Book’ in Irish, that the Ordninances of Religion may be administered to them in a known Tongue.”” In 1711 he published ‘A Proposal for the Conversion of the Popish Natives of Ireland to the Established Church’ at the New Post-office Printing House in Essex Street. Richardson was appointed chaplain to James, Duke of Ormonde, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and in 1710 visited London to obtain help in printing religious books in Irish:
Contemporaries give us a vivid picture of this energetic clergyman. Swift in his ‘Journal to Stella’ for March 6th 1710-11, wrote: “”I presented a Parson of the Bishop of Clogher’s, one Richardson, to the Duke of Ormonde today; he is translating prayers and sermons into Irish.””
Richardson advocated the ordination of Irish-speaking ministers, the distribution of Irish Bibles, common prayer books, and catechisms, and the establishment of charity schools. He was grant-aided by the new Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge in his project of printing with the provisio for distribution in Scotland also. The main body of the text was printed in Moxon’s Irish type. He incurred huge money losses in his printing operation, and although recommended more than once for a benefice he received only the small deanery of Kilmacduagh. He was a friend of Philip MacBrady, Vicar of Innishmacgrath, County Leitrim and John O Mulchonry, from whom he received much information on Irish literature, language, and history. In contradistinction to Daniel’s (O Domhnaill) translation of the first edition, published in 1608, Richardson’s version is complete.
The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, together with a note on ‘Elements of the Irish Language’ are at the end. The Everinghams father and daughter were well accomplished in printing in Irish, Robert printed the first edition of The Old Testament Leabhuir na tSean Tiomna in Irish in 1685. This was followed by the 1690 edition for the Gaelic-speaking Highlanders. Eleanor also published ‘Seanmora ar na Priom Phoncibh na Creideamh’, translated into Irish by Philip MacBrady and John O’Mulchonri in 1711.”
1712 BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER IN IRISH.