O’REILLY, Edward. An Irish-English Dictionary
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Containing upwards of twenty thousand words that never appeared in any former Irish lexicon; with copious quotations from the most esteemed ancient and modern writers, to elucidate the meaning of obscure words and numerous comparisons of Irish words, with those of similar orthography, sense, or sound, in the Welsh and Hebrew Languages. In their proper places in the dictionary are inserted, the Irish names of our indigenous plants, with the name by which they are commonly known in English and Latin. The Irish words are first given in the Original Letter, and again in Italic, for the accommodation of those who do not read the Language in its ancient Character. To which is annexed, a compendious Irish Grammar. A new edition. With list of subscribers. Dublin: Printed for the Author, by A. O’Neil, 1821. Quarto. pp. , 28, iii, . Contemporary half morocco on cloth boards, title in gilt direct on spine. Signature of previous owners. Some staining to titlepage. An unsophisticated ex libris copy.
Edward O’Reilly (1765-1830) Irish scholar and Lexicographer was born in Harold’s Cross, Dublin, of Cavan parents. O’Reilly undertook the compilation of the work for which he is best remembered, his ‘Irish-English Dictionary’ first published in 1817. In the following year he was appointed assistant secretary to the Iberno-Celtic Society with the purpose of preserving and promoting Irish literature. His work during the 1820s included a Dictionary of Irish Writers and catalogues of Irish manuscripts in Dublin libraries including Trinity College. In May 1830, O’Reilly was contracted to advise on Irish nomenclature for the early Ordnance Survey maps but spent only four months on this work before his death, also in Harold’s Cross. Never a formal employee of the Survey, he was probably paid for his professional services. John O’Donovan replaced him in October 1830. Although very well known at
the time, and proficient at translating manuscripts, the standard of his scholarship is recognised today as low. It was also thought that the best parts of his “Dictionary” were based on unpublished work accumulated by a man named Henry McAteer at the end of the 1800s. When McAteer left Ireland for America, O’Reilly took possession of his library.
The Earl of Charlemont bought 10 copies. Sir William Betham 4 copies. Sheffield Grace, James Hardiman, Lord Norbury, Rev. Paul O’Brien, Daniel O’Connell and Henry Grattan also subscribed. Provenance: From the library of Alfred Moore Munn author of Notes on the Place Names of the Parishes and Townlands of the County of Londonderry, with his signature on titlepage.
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