John McNamara (c.1764–1822), Coolnahilla, Killuran.

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John McNamara (c.1764–1822), Coolnahilla, Killuran.

Post by Sduddy » Mon Mar 15, 2021 1:50 pm

John McNamara from Coolnahella was a collector of old Irish manuscripts. A short biographical piece on him is given here: The contributers of the biographical piece are Diarmuid Breathnach and Máire Ní Mhurchú.

This is my translation - not to be entirely relied upon for accuracy:
John McNamara (c.1764 – 1822) was from the Tulla district in East Clare. He was vice-president of the Gaelic Society. He lived at 9 Anderson’s Court, Greek Street, near the Four Courts at the time of the establishment of that society in 1806. It appears, from that address, and from the number of his law books which were auctioned in 1822, that his livelihood was in connection with the Law. A paper, read by Séamus Ó Casaide to the Bibliography Society of Ireland on 31 November 1932 (published with a list of his manuscripts in Irish Book Lover, May-June 1933) provides us with what is known of him (John McNamara). At the first meeting of the Gaelic Society it was ordered that he should receive correspondence. It is clear from various references to him, and the long list of manuscripts (owned by him), that he was a diligent collector. The following, regarding the Gaelic Society, is published in History of Dublin, 1815, Warburton and Whitelaw: ‘This clerk [James Woulfe] copied may volumes of the ancient Brehon laws from manuscripts lent to the Society for that purpose by John McNamara now of Sandymount, one of the vice-presidents, in whose library fair transcripts lie ready for publication.’ John McNamara had moved to Sandymount when his health was failing in 1814. On the visit of King George IV to Ireland, it fell to Éadbhard Ó Raghallaigh to translate into Irish the address which was to be presented to the king, and it was to McNamara that Ó Raghallaigh turned to read over and amend the translation. The Freeman’s Journal of 7 November 1822 reported his death: 'On the 3rd inst. at Sandymount, after a long and tedious illness, John M’Namara, Esq, formerly of Coolnahella, Barony of Tulla, Co. Clare. This Gentleman was profoundly skilled in the history and antiquities of Ireland and was universally esteemed one of the most profound Irish scholars of his day. His MS collections relating to the language and literature of his native country are rare, curious, and valuable.’ Robert Herbert in Worthies of Thomond iii, 1946, says that a list of 67 volumes of his manuscripts, along with books and artefacts [I think artefacts is the English word for séadchomharthaí], among which are four clasps made from old Irish gold, not seen since [I'm not sure if "not seen since" is the correct translation]. His burial place is St Matthew’s graveyard in Rinn, Dublin; the inscription on his gravestone gives his age as 58.

John McNamara's gravestone (findagrave): ... n-mcnamara

John McNamara was most likely closely related to Denis McNamara who died in Coolnahella on 1st January 1872, aged 96. The report of his death in the Clare Journal of Thur 4 Jan 1872 describes him as a patriarch:
Death of Denis Macnamara, Coolnahella, O’Callaghan’s Mills. It is with deep sympathies we announce to the public the death of the above named venerable patriarch. After a long life of indefatigable exertions, both for his family, his friends, and towards his God, death terminated his life on Monday morning last in this probationary world, but we hope that he finds himself now happy for not being taken unawares until duly fortified by all the rites of religion. His name shall be long remembered in this transitory world, especially by his children and children’s children and great-grandchildren – of whom he has left a host to mourn his irreparable loss, who shall never cease to nourish in their hearts due senses of gratitude towards him for favours so unparalleled towards them. He was born in the year 1776, and thenceforth down to the moment when he was penetrated by the bitter pangs of death, his character and reputation was never disgraced by any act of utter degradation; but whose name has been followed to the grave with many panegyrics. It may also be emphatically stated that among the many Macnamaras that have bloomed within his period, his life was the longest, he himself the bravest, the worthiest, the most respected, and deserving of the highest eulogium. His last and latest public appearance was at the great Jesuit mission at O’Callaghan’s Mills, in August, 1869. He was, before the pressure of old age came upon him, a gentleman of taste and refinement, and endeared to his family by every tie which parental love inspires, a devoted husband, a good father, grandsire, and great grandsire. He was beloved, too, by his friends and for his dignified yet gentle spirit and courteous bearing which characterized him in the social circle in which he moved, and which elicited the respect and esteem of all that knew him. The deceased died in the ninety-sixth year of his age. His funeral cortege, which took place at one o’clock, on Tuesday, was as large and as respectable as ever marched towards the burial ground, attended by the clergy, who moved in solemn procession to Killuran Cemetery, where he has been laid with all due honor, there to remain mouldering with the rest of his predecessors amog the ashes of Erin’s gallant sons. R.I.P. (communicated).

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