Mayor pays tribute to scholar Séamus
GREYSTONES FAREWELL TO ‘REAL MAN OF LETTERS’
MAYOR OF GREYSTONES, Cllr. George Jones, has paid tribute to the late Séamus Ó Saotharí, archivist, historian and journalist, who has died at the age of 81.
Seamus played an active role in the community, said Mayor Jones, having been one of the first to sit on the La Touche Legacy Committee and contributing to many articles and pamphlets regarding the history of the area. He also wrote the history of the Presbyterian Church in Greystones.
‘Besides being of a scholarly nature, Séamus was above all a gentleman,’ said Cllr. Jones, before expressing his sympathy to his wife Minella and their family.
Séamus wrote a number of books, including a study of the women of the 1798 rebellion, and a biography of the Irish-speaking Presbyterian minister and scholar William Neilson. He had a vast knowlege of history and was particularly interested in the history of late 18th-century Ulster.
A singer of some renown, he adjudicated at an annual ballad copetition in Northern Ireland, thereby adding many songs to his extensive repertoire.
A native of Westmeath, before settling in Greystones with his family, he attended school at St. Mary’s in Mullingar. He worked in a hardware store in Dublin before joining the army during WWII. He later worked for the Glún na Buaidhe weekly, Inniu, then as a librarian and publisher for the Department of Educa- tion. He was also registrar of the National Gallery of Ireland for a time.
In the early 1960s he took up journalism, working for Radio Telefís Éireann. He was based in Connemara while Raidió na Gaeltachta was being set up in 1972. He wore many hats over the years, in the worlds of journalism and history.
He was ‘a real man of letters and a scholar whose erudition didn’t belong to an ivory tower but among the ordinary people among whom he lived and about whom he wrote’, said Rev. David Montgomery at his funeral.
Seery lived with his family in Greystones, Co Wicklow, and took a deep interest in the history of the locality. He was a life president of the Friends of Historic Rathdown and was associated with the annual La Touche Legacy seminars.
Those who knew the popular local remember him as full of charm, fun and a great speaker of Irish.
He is survived by his wife Minella, daughters Ita, Dympna and Gráinne and sons Hugh, Conall and Garret.
The late James Seery.