John O'Donovan
John O'Donovan
    John O'Donovan
     Catholic_Encyclopedia John O'Donovan
    Irish historian and antiquarian, b. at Atateemore, County Kilkenny, Ireland, 1806; d. at Dublin, 9 Dec., 1861. Coming to Dublin in 1823, he was sent to a "Latin School" to prepare for entrance to Maynooth, but later, finding he had no vocation for the priesthood, turned his attention to the study of Irish. O'Donovan himself states that, at the age of nine years, he commenced the study of Irish and Latin, and that in 1819 he could "transcribe Irish pretty well". In Dublin he was soon employed by James Hardiman, antiquarian and historian, to transcribe Irish manuscripts, and through him he was introduced to the Royal Irish Academy circle. Here he met Petrie, and the foundation of a lasting friendship was laid. Petrie's accurate antiquarian sense was supplemented by O'Donovan's knowledge of the native tongue and his ever-growing store of oral and written tradition. Aided by Sir Samuel Ferguson, they helped to destroy the influence of the fanciful theories which then held the field, championed by Betham and Vallancey. An early example of O'Donovan's historical method is to be found in his edition and translation of the Charter of Newry (Dublin Penny Journal, 22 Sept., 1832). From this on he shared with his brother-in-law, Eugene O'Curry, an undisputed position as supreme authority on the Irish language and Irish antiquities. He may be said to have been the mainstay of the archæological societies and journals of his day — the Kilkenny Archæological Society, the Ulster Journal of Archæology, and the Celtic Society. The foundation by the Government of the Ordnance Survey Department of Ireland gave O'Donovan his chance. In Petrie's house, 21 Great Charles Street, the antiquarian section had its offices, and here O'Donovan had as colleagues, among others, Petrie, O'Curry, Mangan, and Wakeman. From the preparation of lists of names of townlands and places, O'Donovan was soon sent by Larcom, the head of the Ordnance Survey, to work "in the field".
    From the various places throughout Ireland which he visited, he despatched in the form of letters to Larcom accounts of antiquities and traditions which, collected in 103 volumes and at present deposited in the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, are popularly known as "O'Donovan's Letters". They are not heavy with more erudition, but are enlivened with flashes of humorous anecdote and many a merry "quip and crank and jest". He was engaged on the Survey from 1830 to 1842. In 1836 he commenced the catalogue of Irish MSS, in Trinity College; and to aid him in his work of editing and translating MSS., Todd sought a grant in aid from Government. It was refused, and was followed up by the suppression in 1842 of the archæological section of the Ordnance Survey. Private effort had, therefore, to be relied upon, and, with the assistance of the members of the Archæological Society and the Celtic Society, O'Donovan was able to publish his well-known editions of Irish texts with his invaluable introductions and notes. From 1842 till his death in 1861 no year passed without some noteworthy edition of an Irish text appearing from his hands. A complete bibliography of his works was published by Henry Dixon (Dublin). We can only refer to two of his works with which his name is popularly connected — his "Irish Grammar" and his edition and translation of the Annals of the Four Masters. His grammar was published in 1845, and at once elicited the praise of Grimm, on whose recommendation he was elected in 1856 a corresponding member of the Royal Academy of Berlin, an honour which he shared with Zeuss whose epoch-making "Grammatica Celtica" appeared in that year. He was then appointed Professor of Celtic in Queen's College, Belfast. In 1848 appeared the first part of his edition of the Annals of the Four Masters (q.v.)., which won for him the Cunningham Gold Medal of the Royal Irish Academy and the LL.D. degree of Trinity College, Dublin. The edition was completed in 1851, and the Government bestowed on him a pension of £50 a year. O'Donovan had decided to go to America, but the establishment of the Brehon Law Commission helped to retain his services for Ireland. He continued his work on the Brehon Law Tracts till his death in Dublin from rheumatic fever, the tendency to which was due to exposure on the outdoor work of the Ordnance Survey.
    Besides his works (especially his edition of the Four Masters and MS. Letters in R. I. Academy) consult: Memoir by Sir J. Gilbert (London, 1862); Lady Ferguson, Life of Bishop Reeves (London, 1893); Lady Gilbert, Life of Sir John Gilbert (London,1905); Webb, Compendium of Irish Biog. (Dublin, 1878); Journal of Librarians' Association, II, n. I. (Dublin); MacSweeney, Centenary Address; Carrigan, Hist. and Antiq. of the Diocese of Ossory (Dublin, 1905).
    Transcribed by William D. Neville

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. — New York: Robert Appleton Company. . 1910.

Catholic encyclopedia.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • John O'Donovan — may refer to: John O Donovan (scholar) (1806–1861), Irish language scholar and place name expert John O Donovan (politician) (died 1982), Irish TD and Senator John O Donovan, guitarist with The Adolescents punk band See also John Donovan… …   Wikipedia

  • John "Johnny" Donovan — Infobox character name = John Dustin Donovan first = July 2005 last = December 2006 reason= KidnappedJohn Dustin Donovan was a character on As The World Turns . He is the only son of Jennifer Munson Donovan. He is the son of Craig Montgomery, but …   Wikipedia

  • John J. Donovan — Infobox Celebrity name = John J. Donovan birth date = 1942 birth place = Boston, Massachusetts death date = death place = occupation = Chief Executive Officer networth = profit $100 million USD (2005)John J Donovan (born 1942) is a former… …   Wikipedia

  • John O'Donovan (scholar) — John O Donovan (25 July 1806 ndash; 10 December 1861), from Atateemore, in the parish of Kilcolumb the Barony of Ida, County Kilkenny, and educated at Hunt s Academy, Waterford, is recognised as one of Ireland s greatest ever Irish scholars and… …   Wikipedia

  • John O'Donovan (politician) — John O Donovan (died 17 May 1982) was an Irish politician. He was first elected to Dáil Éireann at the 1954 general election as a Fine Gael TD. On his first day in the Dáil, O Donovan was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Government. He… …   Wikipedia

  • Donovan (name) — Donovan Donovan may be both a surname and a given name. Some people with surname include: Art Donovan, NFL Hall of Famer Bill Donovan (1876 – 1923), a pitcher and manager in Major League Baseball Bill Donovan (Boston Braves pitcher) (1916 – 1997) …   Wikipedia

  • John Perrot — Sir John Perrot, grabado de George Powle …   Wikipedia Español

  • John Norreys — Sir John Norreys frequently referred to as John Norris (1547? ndash; July 3 1597) was an English soldier of a Berkshire family of court gentry, son of Henry Norris, 1st Baron Norreys a life long friend of Queen Elizabeth. He participated in every …   Wikipedia

  • John Norreys — Sir John Norreys (1547 – 3 de julio de 1597), escrito frecuentemente John Norris fue un militar inglés de la época isabelina. Hijo de Henry Norris, I Baron Norreys, amigo personal de Isabel I, Norreys participó activamente en las operaciones… …   Wikipedia Español

  • John Perrot — Sir John Perrot (c. 1527 September, 1592) was lord deputy of Ireland under Queen Elizabeth I of England and is best known for his part in the Tudor re conquest of Ireland. He was reputed to be an illegitimate son of Henry VIII of England.Early… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”