Biography – Very Rev. Geoffrey Keating, D.D.

Geoffrey Keating is perhaps the most famous of the Keating family, having written an acclaimed history of Ireland. A brief biography from Anglo-Irish and Other Genealogies can be found after the jump. The Very Rev. Geoffrey Keating, D.D., a distinguished Irish historian, was born about 1550, at Burges or Tubrid, near Clogheen, in the county Tipperary. He went to school at an early age, and at sixteen was sent to a foreign college (probably Salamanca), to complete his studies and qualify himself for the priesthood. He returned to Ireland in 1610, after twenty-four years’ residence abroad, and was appointed curate to the Rev. Eugene Duhy in his native parish. His fame as a preacher soon extended; and the building of a new church at Tubrid occupied his care. About that period he produced some religious works, and conceived the idea of collecting materials for, and writing, an Irish history. In one of the seasons of Catholic persecution which then occasionally swept over Ireland, when laws, always in force, were attempted to be carried out, he was obliged to secrete himself for many years in the fastnesses of the Glen of Aherlow, and thus found leisure for the completion of his great work. According to one account, the Uniformity Act was put in force specially against him, for having dared to protest aginst outrages perpetrated upon some of his flock by a neighbouring magnate. Speaking of Keating’s History of Ireland, which was written in Irish, O’Curry says: “This book is written in the modified Gaedhlic of Keating’s own time; and although he has used but little discretion in his selections from old records, and has almost entirely neglected any critical examination of his authorities, still his book is a valuable one, and not at all, in my opinion, the despicable production that it is often ignorantly said to be” … Keating’s History extends from the earliest times to the Anglo-Norman invasion. It is specially valuable as containing numerous references to MSS. which are no longer in existence … Two excellent MS. copies of the original Irish, by John Torna O’Mulconry, a contemporary of Keating, are now in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin. — Webb.

(Source: Anglo-Irish and Other Genealogies, Chapter V, “Irish Pedigrees”, Page 271.)

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