Pádraig Ó Fágáin (1922–2011)

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, Issue 1(Jan/Feb 2012), News, Volume 20

Pádraig Ó Fágáin (1922–2011)

Pádraig Ó Fágáin (1922–2011)

Writer/historian from Farrancallin, Co. Westmeath. He achieved 257 marks in history in the Intermediate Certificate, i.e. full marks plus seven extra for doing the exam through the medium of Irish! He left school without sitting the Leaving Certificate. He wrote plays, short stories, poems and books in Irish, for example Bíonn an fhírinne searbh (1982) and Fíon an ghrá agus drámaí eile (1983). His book Éigse na hIarmhí (1985) deals with the works of poets in Westmeath, including their translations. It also deals with the decline of the Irish language in the county, a topic that had not previously received much consideration. His historical works include Divided loyalties: the question of an oath for Irish Catholics in the eighteenth century (1977), The second city: a portrait of Dublin 1700–1760 (1986) and A Georgian celebration: Irish poets of the eighteenth century (1989). He wrote two biographies, Dublin’s turbulent priest: Cornelius Nary 1658–1738 (1991) and An Irish bishop in penal times: the chequered career of Sylvester Lloyd OFM, 1680–1747 (1993). He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the National University of Ireland in 2000. Despite this, he felt that he was never given his due as a historian:‘. . . the reality is that, as far as academia in the round is concerned (I know there are exceptions), I do not rate at all, or very little, as a historian. There appears to be a great stigma attached (by the academics, of course) to those historians who come in by the back door, as it were . . .’

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