William Haliday

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Haliday, William, a promising Irish scholar, who died at an early age, the son of a Dublin tradesman, was born about 1788. He studied Irish as a dead language, and produced a grammar in his nineteenth year. He was one of the founders of the Gaelic Society, and projected a translation of Keating's History of Ireland with the Irish text and a memoir of the author, only one volume of which (8vo. Dublin 1811) had appeared at the time of his death, aged 23, on 26th October 1812. Edward O'Reilly, in the preface of his Irish Dictionary (1821), acknowledges in warm terms his obligations to him. The inscription on his tomb in Dundrum churchyard, County of Dublin, was written by his friend Dr. Lanigan.

He is thus spoken of in the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, vol. xv.: "A Grammar of the Irish Language, Dublin, 1808, published in 8vo. under the fictitious signature 'E. O. C'; but the author was William Haliday, a native of Dublin, and a singularly gifted youth, who not only compiled this grammar, but published the first volume of a most excellent translation of Keating's History of Ireland, with the original on collateral pages. He also proceeded on a lexicon of the language, which he would have published, but was prevented by a premature death at the early age of twenty-three. Had this young gentleman lived he would most probably have achieved more for the ancient literature of Ireland than any other individual of his time. His early display of talents, and deep knowledge of the Greek, Latin, and some of the Oriental languages, joined with unwearied antiquarian research and an enthusiastic zeal for devoting his talents to the service of his country, would have rendered him one of its brightest literary ornaments."

Sources

208. Lanigan, Dr., and Irish Wits and Worthies: William J. FitzPatrick, LL.D. Dublin, 1873.
Lanigan, Rev. John, see No. 119.

233. Manuscript and Special Information, and Current Periodicals.

323b. Tomb Stones and Monuments.

349. Worthies of Ireland, Biographical Dictionary of the: Richard Ryan. 2 vols. London, 1821. Wyse, Thomas, see No. 73.

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