Having established a tenuous link with the aforesaid Eoghan Ruadh--we are both
natives of Tir Conaill--both calling for Irish unity, one in poetry the other
in prose--it may be of interest to note that existing translations of his work
done by various scholars have been the subject of debate as to which translator
hewed closer to the originals. Eugene O'Curry and John O'Donovan both supplied
the poet, James Clarence Mangan, with literal versions of Eoghan's poems and
Mangan, who knew little, if any, Irish, took the literal texts and rewrote them
in English, creating in the process some of the finest poems existing in the
English language. O'Curry was full of praise. O'Donovan questioned whether the
result was "the shadow of the shade." The story is told by Robert
Welch in his "A History of Verse Translation from the Irish1789-1897",
published by Barnes and Noble Books, New Jersey, 1988.
Welch states, at p.105:
"O'Curry supplied the literal version of Eoghan Ruadh Mac an Bháird's
"A bhean fuar faill ar an bhfeart' out of which Mangan shaped his 'Elegy
on the Tironian and Tirconnellian Princes...."
"In a letter to Charles Gavan Duffy, at the time editor of the Belfast
Vindicator, Mangan whimsically describes his translation of Mac an Bháird's
poem as a 'transmagnificanbandancial elegy' and as a 'perversion from the
Irish....which is admired by myself and some other impartial judges'."
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