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'Literature of Irish Exile' Autumn School, 20 October 2007

Dr Nollaig Ó Muraíle - Keynote speaker at the LIE 2007

Nollaig Ó Muraíle, is an Irish historian who published an acclaimed edition of Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh's Leabhar na nGenealach in 2004.

Life and career

A native of Knock, County Mayo, Ó Muraíle attended National University of Ireland, Maynooth where he was a postgraduate student enrolled for a Phd. Placenames Officer with the Ordinance Survey of Ireland 1972-1993. Reader in Irish and Celtic Studies at Queen's University Belfast to 2004. Senior Lecturer at the School of Irish, National University of Ireland, Galway from 2005. Married to Tresa Ní Chianáin with children Róisín and Pádraic. Lives in Dublin.

Ó Muraíle and Mac Fhirbhisigh

In 1971, at the suggestion of an tAithair Tomás Ó Fiach (later Tomás Cardinal Ó Fiaich), then Professor of Modern History at Maynooth, Ó Muraíle began work on Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh's Leabhar na nGenealach. This was continued under the directior of Professor of Old and Middle Irish, an tAthair Pádraig Ó Fiannachta.
Upon joining the Placenames Branch of the Ordnance Survey in late 1972, Ó Muraíle had already translated over one hundred pages, albeit from Eugene O'Curry's copy. Access to the autograph of Leabhar na nGenealach however remained difficult; only on 28 August 1979, at University College Dublin's new home of Belfield, was he able to begin transcription of the original, which he finished on 10 September 1981. It had taken a total of 88 sessions in UCD Special Collections Reading Room.
Typing began in late 1982 and was complete by 4 September 1984. By early 1988, after much tedious work, the Cumire was also successfully in transcript. His PhD dissertation, submitted in September 1991 on the life, background and work of Mac Fhirbhisigh, was fully two volumes totally 1,086 pages.
Early in 1998, Ó Muraíle was approached by fellow Mayoman, Eamonn de Burca, with an offer to publish his edition of Leabhar na nGenealach. De Burca insisted on a full translation of the text into English (with the original Irish text on the facing page) in opposition to Ó Muraíle's wish to publish with Irish text only. De Burca prevailed, and the book, titled The Great Book of Irish Genealogies, was published in five volumes (vols. IV and V alone consisting of indices) in 2004, with ver 3,100 pages in a full buckram gilt presentation box. It remains Ó Muraíle single greatest contribution to Irish scholarship, and has being described as one of the the most important contributions to Irish history ever.


The following is a provisional list of Ó Muraíle's publications.

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