O Rathaille, by one of Ireland’s great contemporary poets, forms, with his O Bruadair and Haicéad, an indispensable trilogy.
Michael Hartnett’s masterly translations of Aodhagan O Rathaille (c.1670-1729) grant us entry into issues of religious, political and economic conflict. They marry the energy of the original metres to the vitality of fervent speech. A variety of Gaelic forms – including the aisling (‘dream’ or ‘vision’ poem), elegy, occasional and satirical verse – pulses with excitements and anxieties. The laments fuse personal and cultural sorrows and proffer reports of the death of an entire civilization.