Storyteller Tadhg Ó Ríordáin’s grave marked at commemoration
The grave of storyteller Tadhg Ó Ríordáin, one the Four Masters of Baile Mhúirne, is now marked with a commemorative stone, following an unveiling ceremony held last Sunday.
The last resting place of the noted Irish speaker, who died in 1926, is the sixth grave in the old Reilig Ghobnatan graveyard in Baile Mhúirne to be researched, documented, and commemorated by the Gaeltacht ‘hedge university’ Acadamh Fódhla.
It follows the marking of the graves of Whiteboy Amhlaoibh Ó Loingsigh, singer Elizabeth Cronin, poet George Curtin, writer Pádraig Ó Cruadhlaoich or “Gaedheal na nGaedheal” and last year’s commemoration at the grave of poet Séamus Mór Ó Muimhneacháin.
Tadhg Ó Ríordáin, born in Doirín Álainn in around 1854, was known as one of the Four Masters of Baile Mhúirne. Along with former national school teacher Micheál Ó Briain, Maidhc Mór Ó Loingsigh, and writer Conchubhar Ó Deasmhumhna, all of whom lived in close proximity, he was part of a linguistic and cultural revival in the village at the time of entrepreneur Dr Dónal Ó Loingsigh. The Four Masters were credited by An tAthair Pádraig Ó Duinnín as a source for his seminal 1927 Irish-English dictionary.
According to UCC lecturer Seán Ua Súilleabháin, who gave an address at the grave of Ó Ríordáin during Sunday’s commemoration, the storyteller emigrated to America but later returned and bought a farm in Baile Mhic Íre.
He won second prize for “the best unpublished story in Irish, taken down from oral narration” at the Irish language Oireachtas of 1899.
“Micheál Ó Briain is said to have been given the prize for writing it and Tadhg for narrating it. The story was ‘An Machaidhe Mór’,” he added.
Peadar Ó Riada, founder of the Acadamh Fódhla, said of Ó Ríordáin: “He was a fantastic storyteller with a great command of the language — a very rich, wide vocabulary.
“He would tell stories and Conchubhar Ó Deasmhumhna wrote them down.
“Ó Ríordáin and Ó Deasmhumhna were great friends and, as far as I know, Ó Deasmhumhna gave him the land to build his own house on. He [Ó Ríordáin] was a car man, drawing goods with a horse and dray.”
The marking of historic graves in Reilig Ghobnatan is one facet of the work of the history faculty of the Acadamh Fódhla. The “hedge university” has four faculties, each meeting weekly at the Mills Inn in Baile Mhúirne. Its energy and land-lore faculties meet on Tuesdays at 9pm; a sean-nós singing research group on Wednesdays at 8pm; and the history section on Thursdays at 8.30pm. New members are welcome.
Adam O’Riordan places a wreath at the newly-unveiled memorial gravestone to storyteller Tadhg Ó Ríordáin in Reilig Ghobnatan, Baile Mhúirne, on Sunday morning, watched by members of the Acadamh Fódhla.