O’BRIEN, Rev. Paul. A Practical Grammar of the Irish Language.


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Dublin: Printed by H. Fitzpatrick, 4 Capel- Street, Printer and Bookseller to the R.C. Coll. Maynooth, 1809. First edition. Octavo. pp. x, [1], 4-214. Printer’s device on titlepage. Folding table of Ogham characters. Contemporary full calf, title in gilt direct on titlepage. Minor wear to extremities and rubbing to joints. Signature of John McGreevy, Mourne, dated May 10th 1825 on dedication leaf. A very good copy.
Paul O’Brien (1750-1820), Professor of Irish at Maynooth, was born near Moynalty, County Meath. He was a great- grand-nephew of Turlough O’Carolan, the great Irish harper, and great-grandson of William O’Brien, a poet of County Clare, who married a daughter of Bethagh, owner of Moynalty. His grammar was published in 1809. Seven stanzas of Irish verse by the professor are prefixed, in which Fodhla or Ireland is made to incite her children to the study of their ancient speech. John O’Donovan (‘Irish Grammar’, preface) speaks of O’Brien’s work as: “the worst of Irish grammars, but it has some interest as illustrating the dialect of Meath”. It was intended for the clerical students of Maynooth. The publisher Hugh Fitzpatrick in the preface to this work states: “Three years have elapsed since the Manuscript Copy of the following work was delivered to me by the Rev. Doctor O’Brien … All necessary arrangements were then made for its being immediately committed to press; nay, so certain was I of being enabled in a short time to gratify the under- graduates of Maynooth, for whose particular use it was originally designed, and the lovers of Irish literature in general, that I actually announced, in my Catalogue, its speedy publication.”

[L1BC 2A]


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