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

Seón Lloyd

Seón Lloyd (John Lloyd) was a native of Co. Limerick.[14] When about thirty years old he migrated into Clare, and taught school in the south-western part of the county for a number of years , - first at Furroor (south of Kilkee) and afterwards at Kilrush and Kilmihil. Subsequently he moved to Ennis, where he became intimate with Thomás O Míocháin. In 1765 we find him addressing a Jacobite song to a fellow-Limerickman and poet, Father Liam Inglis, O.S.A., then resident in Cork. In 1773-4 he was in Limerick city; but for the most part his later years were spent in the district between Tulla and Newmarket-on-Fergus. In 1780, when he was engaged in teaching in Tooreen, “two miles east of Ennis” he published in the latter town a small book in English entitled “A Short Tour, or an Impartial and Accurate Description of the County of Clare.”

Lloyd was always a victim of intemperate habits and his end was unfortunate. He was found dead by the roadside - drowned in a boghole, O’Curry says - near Tooreen, about 1786.

About fifteen poems of his remain. The earliest of them, so far as they can be dated, is his welcome to Prince Charles in 1745.

Lloyd’s best known song, and one of the very few of his that have been printed, is his Cois leasa dham go huaigneach, which he composed in 1773 to the air of “The Flowers of Edinburgh”.[15] Perhaps more than other Clare poets Lloyd possessed the gift in which his contemporary, Eoghan Ó Súileabháin, excelled, - a facility for weaving melodious words to intricate metres. He is entitled to this credit, too (which he shares with Seán do Hóra), that his songs are free from those lapses into coarseness in which others of the poets (Thomás Ó Míocháin, for instance) occasionally indulged.

[Seán Lloyd is still traditionally remembered by Irish speakers in S. W. Clare. According to a tradition noted by the present writer from Tadhg Ó Seasnáin in Cross a few years ago, Lloyd was a native of that village and the son of a weaver. The O’Brien families of Dromoland and Newhall (Killone) had some genealogical dispute; and Lloyd was sent to solve it. On his way home he was murdered, and his body buried in a bog by the roadside. It was not until several years afterwards that the body was discovered, attention having been drawn to it by a dog, and the poet’s shoe-buckle serving as evidence of identification. This tradition is interesting; but much of it is quite unreliable.]


Seán do Hóra


Séamus Mac Consaidín