Daniel Considine, Scribe

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Daniel Considine, Scribe

Post by Sduddy » Sat Mar 11, 2017 2:20 pm

Daniel Considine, Michael Considine and Michael Considines were scribes in the Irish language and lived in Ennis in the 19th century. I am interested in Daniel Considine in particular. Almost all my information on him is from an article by Eilis Ni Dhea, in The Other Clare, Vol. 26 (2002): “Na Consaidinigh: Grafnoiri na hInse sa 19u haois” (The Considines, Scribes of Ennis in the 19th century). Some of Daniel’s manuscripts are held in the archives of Irish universities, U.C.D, U.C.C., N.U.I.G. and also in Cambridge.
He does not seem to have had a patron, but had contact with other Irish scholars, including Douglas Hyde. He was very friendly with Bryan O’Looney, from Monreel, Rath, and some of the correspondence between them has survived.
Daniel was from Caherbannagh, Kilnamona. He writes at the end of one of his manuscripts that Caherbannagh is three miles North-West of Ennis (I think these must be Irish miles). By 1855, he was giving Jail Street, Ennis, as his address, but he must have continued to visit Caherbannagh - a letter written in 1861 gives that address.
Eilis Ni Dhea does not give his date of death, but the Calendar of Wills shows that he died on 21st Feb. 1877. Administration of his estate (less than £50) was granted to his brother, Patrick, from Caherbannagh. Daniel’s occupation is given as Shop Assistant, and this is the occupation given for him in the civil record of his death (caused by a visitation by God). He was aged 56 then, so he must have been born about 1820.
“Donald MacConsidine”, as he sometimes signed himself, gets a mention (not very complimentary) in James Joyce’s Ulysses, in the Cyclops chapter, where his poetry is compared to the growlings of Citizen’s dog, Garryowen https://www.jstor.org/stable/25486786?s ... b_contents.

I would like to know more about him. For instance I would like to know who it was that kept some of his papers and gave them to the institutions where they have been preserved. And I would like to know if any article, apart from the one by Eilis Ni Dhea, has been written on him. Indeed I would be glad any bit of information at all.


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Re: Daniel Considine, Scribe

Post by Sduddy » Mon Dec 09, 2019 10:58 am

I have put together some more information on Daniel Considine, from Caherbanna, Kilnamona, which has led me to believe that he was a shop assistant at Myles Keane’s shop at No. 9 Jail Street Ennis (later part of No. 15 O’Connell Street - two shops, Nos. 9 and 10, seem to have been incorporated into one).

But first I want to clarify something about Daniel Considine as it seems some people believe that he composed the poems, “Maire Beag na Gruaige Báine” (Little Mary of the Fair Hair) and “Bean Dubh an Ghleanna” (The Dark Woman of the Glen”,) which were included in Love Songs of Connacht by Douglas Hyde and translated into English by him, but Considine did not compose those two poems; he simply submitted (to Hyde) the versions he, himself, was familiar with. In discussing the possible origin of the poems, Hyde looks at other versions; it was the wording and phrasing used by Considine that led Hyde to believe that these poems had originated in Connacht. I think the misunderstanding may have arisen from a piece on the Considines, one of a series of short articles by Gerald O’Connell (1918-1991) published in the Clare Champion. These are available on clarelibrary.ie under the heading “The Learned Families of Thomond”: http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclar ... family.htm. In the last paragraph the O’Connell says, "Domhnall MacConsaidin, another fine Irish scholar, is remembered for his two love-poems "Maire Beag na Gruaige Báine" (Little Mary of the Fair Hair) and "Bean Dubh an Ghleanna" (The Dark Woman of the Valley) which were transcribed by Doughlas de h-Ide and also received favourable comment in his book "Love Songs of Connacht"". I think O'Connell intends “his” to be understood as “his version” and that the word “version” is tacit.

Daniel Considine did write some poetry himself, but nothing that is well known; he was a scribe, mainly. I think he is a very interesting figure, not just in himself, but for what he represents, i.e. a group of people who had been taught by hedge school teachers to cherish what remained of Irish literature, and of oral tradition, and of the art of writing in Gaelic script. So I think it’s possible that there were others like him at that time, who have left no trace of their work - at least nothing that has survived. Daniel Considine also wrote very polished English and probably had no difficulty corresponding with the posh members of the Ossianic Society*. Other scribes, just as good in other ways, may not have had that facility.

And now to No. 9 Jail Street (later 15 O’Connell Street), as the place where I believe Considine worked and probably lived as a lodger during his working life: The largest body of Considine’s work (his “Duanaire” of 900 pages) is held in the Boole Library, University College Cork (Ls. 63), but there are also some manuscripts held in Cambridge University (Cambridge Ls. 26 (add. 6477)) and these are available on microfilm in NLI (National Library of Ireland). The last page has scribbled on it “Patrick Daly, Jail Street, Ennis, April 30th, 1873(?)” - see attached Daly.pdf

“O’Connell Street, Ennis”, by Larry Brennan (published in 2012 and highly praised at the time by John Grenham in his Irish Times Column), provided the information I needed: among the occupants of 15 Jail Street is a Patrick Daly – see attached O’Connell St. (1).pdf. Patrick Daly was preceded by Myles Keane, who was very likely a close relative of the Keanes of Caherbanna, Kilnamona – the Caherbanna Keanes used the name “Myles” in each and every generation.
Well, I’ve put two and two together and I figure that Daniel Considine was given a job by his neighbour, Myles Keane, and lived over the shop, probably, and maybe the later tenant, Patrick Daly, came by Considine’s papers and passed them to some collector. James Hayes, for instance, who had a bookshop in Abbey Street, also collected manuscripts. I don’t know if Hayes was involved in any way in preserving the papers of Daniel Considine which ended up in Cambridge - James Hayes is mentioned in a catalogue of the Cambridge material, but the provenance of the material in Cambridge is not at all clear - but I do believe that Patrick Daly played a role in the survival of Considine’s work.
Daniel Considine died by a Visitation of God aged only 56. If there was ever any regard for him in Ennis, that had faded by the time of his death - he got no mention in the Clare Journal, although Mr. J. B. Knox was a member of the Ossianic Society and must have been acquainted with him.

I should mention that, according to Slater’s Directory 1856, there were two Miles Keane shopkeepers in Ennis – one in Market Street (under “Shopkeepers and dealers in sundries”) and a Butcher shop in Jail Street. I suspect that they were related to each other. Slater’s Directory 1870 shows that the butcher shop had moved Market Street by 1870 and the record of the death of Myles Keane, Victualler, in 1879, gives his address as Market Street. Meanwhile the fancy goods shop had moved to Gaol Street – the 1901 census shows the Dealys (Dalys) living there; Sarah Dealy gives her occupation as Fancy Shopkeeper. And when Sarah’s daughter, Bridget, completed the census in 1911, the shop was a Stationery.


* Here is a snippet of a note made by Daniel Considine (in his papers in the Boole Library, U.C.C: Ls 63, lch. 266):
"On the 16th May 1855 I made a transcript of the two foregoing poems, namely, "The praise of William Smith O'Brien", and the elegy on Daniel O'Connell by James Mac Curtin, and sent them per post to Standish O'Grady Esq. who was then in Dublin. I also, at the same time, accompanied them (the poems) with a short recommendatory address to Mr. O'Grady, as follows: "Sin chughad, a chara chaidh... "[the opening line of a poem which continues here].

O'Connell St. (1).pdf
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Re: Daniel Considine, Scribe

Post by Jimbo » Wed Dec 11, 2019 6:04 am

Hi Sheila,

Very interesting posts. The Daniel Considine reference by James Joyce was a great find.

The Ossianic Society was in existence from 1853 through 1863. The six "annual" journals that they published during that period have been digitized by the National Library of Scotland. They are also on google books, but the NLS version is visually superior and you can search all six volumes at one time:

https://digital.nls.uk/early-gaelic-boo ... e/83054384

Daniel Considine didn't just correspond with the posh members of the Ossianic Society, he was a member. In the above link, type "Considine" into the "search within" to the left of the journal listing (not the "search" at the top), check "Include item text" and then "go". The Ossianic members and their addresses are listed at the end of each "annual" journal. Not sure why Mr. Considine is not listed in Volume 4 in the search results, because he was reported as a member from Volume 2 through Volume 6. He is reported as a "Mr." among a membership of mostly "Esq" and "Rev" members (and surprisingly several "Miss" members). His name does change from Mr. Daniel Considine to Mr. Donald Considine, but his address at "Jail-street, Ennis" was consistent.

Ennis was fairly well represented amongst its members. Do another search on "Lysacht", and you will find that "Michael Lysaght, Esq, Ennis" was not just a member, but also a council member for the Ossianic Society. In the "Third Annual Report", the author thanks "Mr. Lysaght of Ennis, who takes a warm interest in the proceedings of the Society, 'Old Thomond' has responded to the call by sending in no small number of members."

The "annual report" of each journal (go to around page 13 or so, never open the entire document) is interesting to read. By Volume 6, the last edition, it is obvious, with many members not paying their annual dues, that the society was about to fail. Their offer in Volume 6 of a "life membership" for 5 pounds, was a clear signal of impending doom!

I reckon most members outside of Dublin (including many from Philadelphia) simply paid the annual subscription to obtain "Transactions of the Ossianic Society" and had very limited involvement. But Daniel Considine, although not a member of the council, appears to have actually attended the council meetings at No. 9, Anglesea Street, Dublin. Here at their 1856 council meeting, Michael Lysacht and Daniel Considine propose several other members from Ennis:

The council met on Monday evening, at No. 9, Anglesea-street, for transacting business.

Rev. James Goodman, A.B., in the chair.

After the minutes of the last meeting had been confirmed, the following were elected members of the society:— Lady Inchiquin and Lord Inchiquin, Drumoland House, Newmarket-on-Fergus, proposed by the president of the society; . . . . Very Rev Francis M'Loughlin, O S F, Willowbank Convent, Ennis; Rev Edward Tanplin, P P, Doora and Kilraghtis, Ennis; Marcus Talbot, Esq, Ennis; Thomas Green, Esq, Ennis; and William Stamer, Esq, M D, Kilmaly Dispensary, Ennis, proposed by Michael Lysaght, Esq, Ennis; Patrick Moloney, Esq, Jail Street, Ennis; and Patrick O'Driscoll, Esq, C E, Ennis, proposed by Daniel Considine, Esq, Jail Street, Ennis; . . . .

. . . . . [other financial and publishing matters]

Presentations received since last meeting:—The Cambrian Journal No. 8; the Translations of the Kilkenny and South East of Ireland Archaeological Society, bi-monthly part of January, 1856.

The meeting then adjourned.

The Freeman's Journal, Dublin, 8 May 1856
Sheila, have a read of this biography, by UCC, of Douglas Hyde, the Irish scholar and first President of Ireland. He was born in 1860 and published "The love songs of Connacht" in 1893. Daniel Considine, who died in 1877, would not have communicated with Douglas Hyde.

https://web.archive.org/web/20111001215 ... 3344120424

As far as how Daniel Considine's manuscripts made it to the various universities, is it possible to determine when each body of work was first created or published (if ever published)? Could he have submitted this material to the Ossianic Society, and that's how they made it to the university collections? Any evidence that Daniel Considine was active as a scribe in the late 1860's, after the Ossianic Society folded, until his death in 1877? Was there a similar type of society formed locally in Ennis? Researching Michael Lysaght and the other Ennis members of the Ossianic Society might provide a few important clues.

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Re: Daniel Considine, Scribe

Post by Sduddy » Wed Dec 11, 2019 3:34 pm

Hi Jim

Thank you very much - your reply is very helpful – I made a bad error when I said that Considine submitted his versions of some poems to Douglas Hyde and thanks to you I can correct that now. Clearly Hyde came by them in some other way.
I’ve re-read the article by Eilís Ní Dheá and I can see now that what has survived of Considine’s work dates from 1845 – 1861. The earliest manuscripts, dated 1845, are the ones quoted by Hyde. These are among the Hyde collection held in the Hardiman Library, National Univeristy of Ireland Galway (N.U.I.G.). I went there to look at it (having sought permission). I wish a couple of pages could be made available to look at online. Very few people would understand the content (it's too difficult for me), but the lettering is simply beautiful in itself.

I did know that Considine was a member of the Ossianic Society. It was he who proposed Bryan O’Looney for membership; you would imagine it should be the other way about since Bryan O’Looney is a much more important Gaelic Scholar. Reading this article:http://www.ucd.ie/pages/99/articles/somewood.html, my impression is that the Ossianic society was a right nest of vipers.

Somebody may be interested in Daniel Considine, and might like to know more of what Eilís Ní Dheá has written in her article in The Other Clare. She seems to be the only person who has taken an interest in him. She writes in Irish, so anyone without the language is at a disadvantage. So I will give what she says of his work, i.e. just part of the article (p 73). My translation is not intended to be exact:

Mac Consaidín gave about twenty of years of his life to collecting poems, stories and Irish sayings. Fourteen manuscripts have survived (some are not complete): Lsí. 14, 17, 46 and 64 in the Hyde collection in N.U.I.G.; Ls 26 in Cambridge Library; Lsí. G 182 (a single page), G 634 (c), G. 634 (d), G 588, G 701 (a photostat copy), G 711, G 712 and a large book of poems (Duanaire) – almost 800 pages – Ls. 63 in the Uí Mhurchú collection, University College Cork.
He had several sources, among them manuscripts which he had on loan, printed books, and oral/folklore. His penmanship is beautifully clear, and he often makes corrections and amendments. He has excellent English also and his work has notes made in English, giving added information on background history, and biographical detail on various poems and poets. The earliest surviving manuscript is a collection of poems made by him in 1845 (de Híde 64: lgh. 1 – 137). He finished copies of ‘Achtara Chonuill Gholban’ and ‘Sgiath Luigheartach Mhuire’ ‘An Síoguidhe Romhánach’ etc. ‘in the last month of winter’ 1847. In that year also he made of collection of poetry of Co. Clare in which he includes work by the poets who preceded him, e.g., Tomás Ó Míocháin, Seón Lloyd, Seón Ó hUaithnín and Tomás Conduibh, but the work of his contemporaries is also included, that of Tomás Ó hAllmhúráin, Séamas Mac Cuirtín and Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh. He gave due recognition to Co. Limerick and Co. Cork poets also; he has poems by Muiris Ó Gríofa, Tomás Ó Glíosáin, Tadhg Gaelach, Eoghan Ó Caoimh, Uilliam Rua Mac Coitir and even a poem from Co. Waterford attributed to Mícheál Ó hAthairne. Again, the manuscript is dotted with notes on the background to the poems and lives of the poets. No patron is ever mentioned; it appears that he wrote for himself.
He often quoted from printed history books. For instance, a manuscript signed by him in 1853, Ls. 26 (add. 6477) in Cambridge, has some 90 pages (lgh. 1 – 93) on the history of Ireland from the time of Thurgesius to the battle of Clontarf, which he has copied from Sylvester O’Halloran’s, History of Ireland, first published in London in 1774. He copied lays of the Fianna also.
Shortly after this, Considine moved to Jail Street, Ennis. Between 1855 and 1858/59, he made a large collection of poems (mostly Munster poetry and some classical poetry) – almost 800 pages, containing, also, biographical notes on the poets: Ls. 63 in the Uí Mhurchú collection in Cork. One reference he makes, on page 337, is to one of his sources, i.e. a manuscript by another Clareman, Mícheál Ó Deabhthadh, made in 1838. He also copied from a manuscript made by Pádruig Ua Briain in Co. Galway c. 1814-1818, now held in Cambridge, Ls. 36 (Add. 6556). He used Edward O’Reilly’s Irish Writers (1820) as a source for some of his notes on the poets. It appears that he also used James Hardiman’s Irish Minstrelsy i – ii, published in London 1831 and Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Dublin (1808). In this large Duanaire (collection of poems) we get a good sense of his knowledge of lesser known poets, of the breadth of his reading and of the circle of co-writers. In 1858, Mac Considine made a copy of poems from ‘Iomarbháidh na bhFilidhe’. In 1859, he signed his name to a collection of poems ‘for the use of my dear friend, Pádraig Ó Lochlainn’. All we have today are photostats of a couple of pages from that manuscript, Ls. G 701, in the National Library. In that library also is the last manuscript made by this scholarly writer.

That outline by Eilís Ní Dheá, on the work of Daniel Considine, occupies just part of her article on him. It is preceded by a piece on his correspondence with one F. G. Quinn, regarding the origin of the Considine name. And it is followed by a piece on his correspondence with Bryan O’Looney and with Standish Hayes O’Grady. There is also a mention of another writer from Kilnamona, i.e. Seán Ó Briain (John O’Brien): she says that Considine had borrowed a manuscript by Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh from O’Brien in 1852 and had forgotten to return it. O’Brien sent for the manuscript and Considine sent it to him together with a short poem, apologizing and thanking him: A Sheaghain fhéil gan falcaireacht, is mithid dom go deimhneach. ...(Ls. 63, lch. 481). I wonder who this John O’Brien from Kilnamona is.

Eilís Ní Dheá then goes to write short pieces on the other two Considine scribes, Michael Considine who also lived in Jail Street and whose work is dated 1855, and another Michael Considine who lived in Bothreen, Ennis, in the earlier part of the 19th century – his work is held in the De Valera Library, Ennis. There is a small photo of a page of his manuscript included by Gerard O’Connell in his piece on the Considines – I would love to see a larger image.


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