Easpag Seán Ó hArt - Dr. John Hart
Bishop of Achonry

bird flying

Bishop John Hart was known for his hospitality and kindness. He reportedly released caged birds whenever possible and legend has it that when Dr. John Hart died all the birds in the area assembled and sang his requiem.

Under the Penal Laws, Bishop John Hart, a Catholic, was forbidden to own land. He, like many others, placed his property, Cloonmahon of County Sligo, in trust with a Protestant neighbor named Betteridge. Betteridge repudiated the trust and took the land. Without recourse, Dr. Hart was taken in by another Protestant neighbor, O'Hara of Annaghbeg. Charles O'Conor (a contemporary of Dr. Hart) states that Carolan's composition honoring Dr. Hart was suppressed.

Bhéara mé anois an chuairt seo gan bhréig,
Mar a bhfuil an sagart geanamhuil, d˙ais libh árd Gaodhal:
Fear breágh í oghmhar tapuidhe,
Fear a riaradh gastruidhe.

I bring now this witness true
Where is the priest, pure of heart, prize of high Gaeldom:
A fine, youthful, athletic man.
A man who would administer to a large congregation.

Ar Seán Ó hAirt go ceart a labhraim-se féin:
Fear don aicme scapadh fíon go réidh,
Is d'olfadh go fras le mac a'cheóil is a léighin;
Dá mbéinnsam Róimh ar bh'ait liom.

Of John Hart, truly, I speak:
A man of the cloth who shared wine easily
And would drink generously with students of music and learning;
If I were in Rome, as I would like to be

Is bíodh mo roghain ion ghlaetha,
Is cinnte go dhéanfainn easpag mór dhíot féin.

And had my choice of things to do
Certainly I would make an archbishop of you - John Hart yourself.



Irish Text: Carolan, the Life and times of an Irish Harper by Donal O'Sullivan, 1958 Vol 2 pg 33 No 53.
Final verse from Poems of Carolan by Tómas Ó Máille Irish Text Society,1916. pg. 121 No 10.
Translated into English by Francis Osborne.
Replay background music: Bishop John Hart
For phonetics consult the pocket dictionary Fóclóir Póca.

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