Sto­ry­teller Tadhg Ó Ríordáin’s grave marked at com­mem­o­ra­tion

Irish Examiner - County - - News - Pet O’Con­nell

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.

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