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Sylvester O’Halloran

Sylvester O’Halloran (1728-1807), surgeon, historian and antiquary was born in Limerick, the son of Michael O’Halloran and Mary MacDonnell, a relative of the poet Seán Clarach MacDonnell. He became an outspoken critic of the Anglo-Irish chroniclers in response to Hume, Leland and Stanihurst. His own history defended the civilisation of pre-Norman Ireland and O’Halloran’s antiquarian nationalism was attractive to the liberal wing of the ascendancy, but not to Ledwich who saw it as Roman Catholic intrigue. Maria Edgeworth merged him with Henry Brooke to create a studious Catholic gentleman in ‘The Absentee’, (1812) and W.H. Maxwell attached the genteel association of his name with the title-character in ‘The Fortunes of Hector O’Halloran’ (1842).
List of plates: Plan of Elevation of a Building in the Church of Holy Cross; Mausoleum of Donald O Brien, King of North Munster; Plan of the Cathedral of Cashel & of King Cormac’s Chapel; Inside of King Cormac’s Chapel at Cashel; St. Boyne’s Cross near Drogheda – A Round Tower; Part of the Abbey of Mellifont – Gothic entrance into the chapel of the Abbey of Mellifont.


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