by ehistoryadmin on November 11, 2020

When I first published All that Delirium of the Brave in 1997 I could find no author to the poem or ballad entitled The Battle of Prosperous which I found in a booklet by an t-Athair Seosamh O’Muirtile produced by the National Graves Association in 1948. It was supposedly written in the late 1800’s but it was not known by whom and this was reciprocated by Peadar Mac Suibhne in his Kildare in ’98.

Darren Brereton put the poem to music in 2018 and this was also included in the album Songs of the Short grass in 2019 published by the Co. Kildare Federation of Local History Groups both of which were supported by the Co. Kildare Decade fo Commemorations Committee.

According to the Leinster Leader 23 August 1913 it was written by a Gaelic teacher for the Aeridheacht in Prosperous in 1913  – Seán O’Connor  from North Kildare. The newspaper carried a transcription which could have been lost otherwise. It included a couple of verses I have not seen previously.

Authorship was re-iterated by the same paper of 19 September 1914 –somehow Edmond Laidir was written as Edmond Caidir in the 1913 version but it does seem at least we have an author at last.

Seán O’Connor wrote the piece especially for the Aeridheacht at Prosperous on Sunday 3 August 1913 which was opened with an address from A. J. O’Connor of Celbridge. The Leinster Leader 9 August gave a thrilling report on the festivities and again credited Seán O’ Concubair as the author of The Battle of Prosperous.

I believe this may be Seán O’Connor who left Killaloe in Co. Clare where he was a teacher to serve as the organsier of the Celbridge branch of the Gaelic League in November 1912 (Nenagh News 23 November 1912). He took part in the Howth gun running in 1914 with the eldest of his sons. Two of his sons joined the Celbridge Volunteers in 1914 and tried to take a part in the 1016 Rising being arrested and thrown in jail for a few days by the British.

Mario Corrigan


See also the Dictionary of Irish Biography – Ó Conchubhair, Pádraig by Aaron Ó Maonaigh

and Witness by Mario Corrigan


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