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

Seón Ó Huaithnin

Seón Ó Huaithnín (John Huoneen, or Huonyn) [5] was the son of Walter Huonyn,[6] of the townland of Derreen in the parish of Kilshanny, a few miles north of Ennistymon. A man of marvellous athletic powers, as well as a great natural ability, the slavery of his country shut out from him all hope of advancement; and bearing this in mind, it will not surprise us that he fell into dissipated habits, which have unfortunately left their mark on many of his songs. Several of his songs are fiercely anti-English in tone, and for one of them he was brought to trial at Ennis (in, it is said, the year 1748), but was acquitted, largely owing to the good offices of Michéal Coimin who acted as interpreter of the “treasonable verses”.[7] After this his father ineffectually made him promise not to compose any more songs for a year. The present writer has collected 19 of Ó Huaithnín’s poems, - all he has been able to find. It is possible to date only a few of them, as for instance two poems directed against those few of the Catholic clergy who took the Oath of Abjuration in 1709, and another lamenting the death of Lucius O’Brien in France in 1715.

The poet’s brother,[8] Domhnaill (he called himself at first Daniel Huonyn and afterwards Huony), went to Spain about 1713 , and entered the Spanish navy; after long and laborious service in both hemispheres he rose to the position of Admiral, and from about 1753 to 1755 he held command of the Spanish fleet stationed at Ferrol. The poet, doubtless on his invitation, went to join him in Spain, and died there, - in what part of Spain, or in what year is not known.


Aodh Buidhe Mac Cuirtín


Mícheál Coimín