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

Tomás Ó Míocháin (d. 1804)

Tomás Ó Míocháin [17] (Thomas Meehan) was born near Quin, the son of a tailor who was also “a poet, a scholar, and an honest man”. It is clear that at one period of his life he resided near the coast of Malbay, for several of his poems are ‘located’ in the distinct;[18] and not improbably it was here he first became acquainted with Seán Lloyd. Subsequently he conducted a school in Ennis for many years. Like his contemporaries, Seán Ó Tuama and Éoghan Ruadh, he sometimes tried his hand at English verse. To the “Short Tour” published by Lloyd in 1780, Meehan contributed a poetic introduction addressed to his “friend sincere,” “dear Lloyd,” and also some other English verses dated from Ennis 1774, 1776 and 1779. In this book Meehan is described as “teacher of accompts and mathematics in Ennis.”

Meehan’s Irish poems (at least twenty-seven remain) include an address to the poet Tadhg Gaedhlach, a poem in praise of Sylvester O’Halloran of Limerick (author of a “History of Ireland”, 1772), a song in praise of whisky, some love songs, and political songs dealing with the war of American Independence and with the Irish Volunteers. The date of his death is not known. He survived Seán do Hóra, and also, it is probable, his other poetic friends, Mac Consaidín and Lloyd. So far as his poems can be dated they belong to the period 1765-1784.[19]

Domhnall O Míocháin, of Ardcollus, brother of Tomás, was also a poet, though only one of his compositions appears to have survived, namely, a dialogue in verse between the poet and the Protestant church of Kilmurry (north of Sixmilebridge), written after the passing, in 1793, of the act which gave Catholics the franchise. A note of O’Curry’s gives one to understand that this Domhnall was living as late as 1814 or thereabouts. Another brother of Tomás, and who also lived at Ardsollus, was father of Rev. James O’Meehan sometimes P.P. of Kilballyowen and Moyarta, and grandfather of the Father O’Meehan who in “souper” days built the “Ark” in the district.


Séamus Mac Consaidín


Brian Merriman