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Notes on the Poets of Clare by Thomas F. O’Rahilly

Seán do Hóra

Like Seán Lloyd, Seán do Hóra [10] (John Hoare) was a Clareman only by adoption, although recent local tradition appears to have quite forgotten this. “Hoare”, says O’Curry, “was a native of the County of Cork, but went to Clare when a young man, at the request of Charles [i.e. Sorley, Samhairle] MacDonnell, Esq, of Kilkee”. He was by profession a blacksmith, and in early life resided at Doonaha, south of Kilkee. His poetic career began at least as early as 1736, when he composed a song in honour of the birth of a son, Charles, to Sorley MacDonnell; thirty-seven years later, in 1773, the same Charles died at Newhall, Killone (south of Ennis), and Seán do Hóra mourned him in an elegy. In 1750 Mary (Máire bhán), daughter of Sorley MacDonnell, married Murtagh MacMahon (Mhuircheartach Mac Mathamhna) of Clooneenagh (west of Doonbeg). Like her mother, this lady was, as O’Curry says, “a very liberal patroness of the Munster bards;”[11] and it was doubtless on her invitation that Seán do Hóra left Doonaha and set up his forge at the gate of Murtagh MacMahon’s house at Clooneenagh, where he continued to reside for many years. He afterwards returned to Doonaha, - probably after the death of his patroness. The date of his death is uncertain, but O’Looney was informed that he died “about the year 1780,” and there is no reason to doubt the substantial accuracy of this. Seán do Hóra’s best known peom, the Aithrighe, is found in two or three MSS. written in or about the year 1778. His feart-laoi, or verse-epitaph, by Tomás Ó Míocháin, is found in a MS. of 1786.[12] Séamus Mac Consaidín wrote an elegy on his death.

O’Curry says that “Hoare lived and died respected by the most respectable families in Clare”; and he adds that he had been personally acquainted with two sons and two grandsons of his, - all blacksmiths.[13] One of these grandsons was still living in Doonaha about 1839, when O’Curry wrote the above; and at the present day descendants of the poet’s still reside in the same neighbourhood.

Dánta Sheáin de hÓra


Mícheál Coimín


Seón Lloyd