O Laoire - noted Irish language scholar
Thirty-five years ago, the noted Irish Language enthusiast
Padraig O Laoire, a native of Inches, Eyeries, was honoured
in his native Beara, and a fitting tribute was paid to his
memory and to his work for an Ireland both Gaelic and free.
A memorial tablet was unveiled over his grave at St. Finians
Cemetery, Foildarrig, Castletownbere, which reads: PADRAIG
O LAOIRE - 1871-1896 - UDAR AGUS SCOLAIRE - SOLUS NA BHFLAITHEAS
The simple and impressive ceremony was preformed by Padraig
O Laoire of Inches, Eyeries, a nephew of the celebrated
scholar. Two wreaths were laid on the grave, specially sent
to mark the occasion, from Ruairi O Bradaigh President of
Sinn Fein, and from Joe Cahill of the Provisional IRA, in
recognition of O Laoires work in Belfast during the
1890s, both as a language enthusiast and as a member of
Diarmuid O Suilleabhain, a native of Eyeries, in the course
of his oration in Irish remarked that the casual observer
might think that we of the Celtic race had something akin
to an obsession with the dead and to the gatherings at the
gravesides of such men, diverse perhaps in character, but
united in their love for Ireland, as ODonovan Rossa,
Sean O h-Eicheartaigh and Mairtin O Cadhain were not occasions
of idle and futile mourning but were a manifestation of
the resolve of those present to carry on the torch.
They had gathered to pay tribute to O Laoires
memory and to resolve anew to re-dedicate themselves to
those ideals for which Padraig O Laoire and the young men
and women of his generation laboured so heroically to achieve.
He hoped that the young men and women of Beara would learn
to appreciate the strength of character, the integrity to
bring the ideals for which he laboured to fruition.
Following the oration a decade of the Rosary in Irish was
recited by Liam ODwyer of Ardgroom. The three-day
commemoration programme, began with a social evening of
traditional Irish music, song and dance at Cametringane
House Hotel, Castletownbere. The official opening was performed
by Sonnaca O hAodha, Ard Runai of Conradh an Gaeilge, who
paid tribute to the great work done by Padraig O Laoire
at the turn of the century for the advancement of the Irish
language and Irish nationality.
Members of the Bantry branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoitiri Eireann
supplied music for the evenings entertainment. At
the Berehaven Hall, a lecture entitled Padraig OLaoire,
a shaol agus a scribhneoreacht was given by Diarmuid
O Sulleabhain, the well-known author in modern Irish, from
In the course of his lecture, he outlined the life and work
of O Laoire both at home in his native Beara, and in Dublin.
OLaoire taught Irish to Padraig Pearse, who was then
a young schoolboy and, no doubt, due to his influence as
a teacher, in later life, composed the poem Mise Eire,
sine me ina an Cailleach Beara, a poem that will be
remembered forever in Ireland.
The great friendship that existed between O Laoire and Eoin
MacNeill was not without significance. Whatever some historians
had said about him, his work and devotion to Ireland should
be remembered and due recognition given to his greatness.
O Laoires visits to London and Belfast were undertaken
both as a language enthusiast and as a member of the IRB.
His name and work were well known by freedom fighters in
The speaker made reference to the slavish and defeatest
attitude of some members of Cork County Council towards
the Irish language during a recent debate in that body.
He said that: This gathering here was proof positive
that Irish was a living tongue and was a force to be reckoned
In proposing a vote of thanks to the lecturer, Sean Nash
of Bantry thanked the speaker for his well informed and
inspiring talk. They all felt enriched in knowledge as a
result of it and his only regret was that it was confined
to the audience in the hall, such an inspiring address deserved
a place in the programmes of RTE. Michael Breathnach, Beara,
seconded the vote of thanks.
Olivear O Murchu, Cathaoirleach, Craobh Beara, Conradh na
Gaeilge, in the course of a talk, outlined the history of
Beara from the early Celtic settlements to the death in
a feud of Morty Og OSullivan and John Puxley in 1754.
During the weekend commemoration, an historical exhibition
of items of local and national interest was held in the
Berehaven Hall. Padraig OLaoire died at the early
age of 25 years.
Courtesy of the Southern Star
23rd July 2005