Dáibhi de Barra (1757/8-1851): Farmer, Poet & Author

Memorial Unveiling Ceremony

Dáibhí de Barra Memorial
Dáibhí de Barra Memorial,
supplied by Brendan Wallace

On a beautiful summer’s evening the local community and friend from farther afield came to Carrigtwohill to celebrate the life of this unique Irish language scholar of Woodstock, for an event your Historical Society had arranged to erect a commemorative plaque at the grave of Dáibhí de Barra in the village’s Old Graveyard, which was unveiled on Friday, 31st May 2019.

The unveiling of memorial stone and the presentation of his manuscript were originally envisaged as two separate events. Then, after our AGM in March an idea began to develop that they may be amalgamated to become one. Very quickly the team had organised with stonemason, Brendan Wallace, the ordering and placing of plaque.

A brief outline of Dáibhí life’s achievements and history were presented by one of our members, Tony Ó Floinn.

Our sincere thanks must go to John Barry, a direct descendant, for his unveiling of commemorative plaque, and Father Bermingham for blessing de Barra grave and memorial.

It was the local community who made this event the overwhelming success it became, and is estimated approximately 70 were at the cemetery, with about the same number at the Community Centre.

Community Centre Presentation

Josephine FitzGerald
reading of De Barra’s poem

Later that same evening, Paul Doherty, was our guest of honour who came to Carrigtwohill from America specifically to present this original unique manuscript of Daibhí de Barra’s to the local community at the Community Centre 195 years after the poem was dated, 1825.

Our special message of appreciation must be extended to Josephine FitzGerald for her eloquent reading of de Barra’s tongue twister of a poem, who stepped in at the very last minute. No mean feat; delivered poetically as if from the man himself.

Paul then told a spellbound audience how his great-grandfather, John Doherty (1826-1887), departed Ballintubber for America in 1865, taking with him this valuable document, which Paul was delighted to return to the village.

Many of those present were direct descendants of Dáibhí while others were directly related to Doherty family; namely the Harte family of Ballintubber. It was an event many subsequently commented “it will be remembered for the rest of their lives”.

The transcription of De Barra’s poem in his own hand was undertaken by members of our Historical Society of the main part of the manuscript, telling the story of a Schoolmaster who came to Midleton, claiming to be master of all teachings, who was capable of doing everything.

Laminated copies of the transcribed poem were made available on the night. If further copies are required, we shall be delighted to forward unlaminated versions upon request.

De Barra Manuscript Handover
 to Carrigtwohill Historical Society.
L-R: Jim Barry, Paul Doherty with his wife Virginia, and Tony Ó Floinn