O’KELLY, William Historica Descriptio Hiberniae, seu majoris Scotiae, insulae sanctorum / Auctore Perillustri Domino Guil. D. O’Kelly. Hoc opus editum est de nova a Patricio O’Kelly.


1 in stock

Dublinii: Typis R. Graisberry, 1838. Crown octavo. pp. 242. Green cloth, title on printed label on spine. Fraying to spine-ends. A very good copy. Extremely rare.

COPAC locates 4 copies only.
Count William O’Kelly (1670-1751 ) of Aughrim was born in Ireland in 1670, either in Co. Galway, or in Dublin (both locations have been mentioned ), and left Ireland with King James II, in 1690. He studied humanities at Louvain and philosophy at Paris, and settled at Vienna in 1698 where soon he became friend and advisor to the Emperor Leopold. As a rule he signed himself in Latin - “William O’Kelly of Aughrim, chevalier of the Holy Roman Empire, hereditary Lord of Cullagh and Ballinahown, Count Palatine Imperial and Inspector of Arms of His Imperial Royal Majesty”.

He became professor of philosophy and heraldry at the Vienna Academia Nobilis. He was also Empire Herald which was a great honour for a foreigner. He was knighted by the Emperor in 1707, and in 1708, he received the honour of being created Comes Palatinus (count palatine). At the time of his death, he was Privy Councillor to Emperor Charles VI. His most famous literary work was written in Latin ‘Historica Descriptio Hiberniae’. This work was written in both prose and verse, divided into four sections dealing with Logic, Ethics, Physics and Metaphysics. Rev. Dr. Patrick K. Egan, the historian feels that O’Kelly’s claim to the title of Lord of Cullagh and Ballinahown, perhaps was “borrowed”, to improve his standing with his hosts on his arrival in Prague. Other O’Kellys used this same rouse, e.g. the O’Kelly Farrells in France.

Sir James Ware in volume 3 of his Works refers to a letter that he wrote to O’Kelly and the reply received on February 12, 1741. With a biographical testimonial in English by Walter Harris (1746). Includes index.



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