Kilbrittain.Net - Donn Byrne in his sleeping

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Tá mé mo codlath is na duisigh mé
I am in my sleeping and don't waken me

Brian Oswald Patrick Donn Byrne was born on 20th November 1889 in New York, his Irish parents (from county Armagh) were visiting the United States at the time, soon after the family returned to Ireland. As a teenager Byrne was introduced to the Irish volunteer movement, he developed an interest in Irish history and Irish nationalism and was fluent in both the Irish and English languages.

Byrne studied in Dublin from 1907 then later in Paris and Leipzig, in 1911 he moved to New York. Byrne married Dorothea Cadogan in New York in December 1911.

Works by Donn Byrne include: Stories Without Women, The Stranger's Banquet, Field of Honor, Hangman's, Destiny Bay, Wind, Polo and Raftery. A collection of his poetry, Poems, were published after his death.

Sometime in the 1920s the Byrne family returned to Ireland and bought Coolmain Castle, Harbour View, Kilbrittain. Byrne lived in Coolmain Castle until a tragic car accident cut short his life on 18th June 1928.

Donn Byrne is buried in Rathclarin churchyard, near Kilbrittain, the inscription on his headstone reads:

Tá mé mo codlath is na duisigh mé
I am in my sleeping and don't waken me

Donn Byrne's Headstone, Rathclarin Graveyard
Donn Byrne's Headstone, Rathclarin Graveyard, Kilbrittain
(click to enlarge)

The wind is hid in the mountain. The leaves are still on the tree.
The hawk is caged in the darkness. The field-mouse safe in the hay.
Now I am in my sleeping, and don't waken me.
Tá mé mo codlath is na duisigh mé
I am in my sleeping and don't waken me

(Note, on the headstone you will see a dot '.' over the leter 't' in 'codlat', in the Irish text above we have substituted 'th' similarly 'gh' in 'duisigh'.)



Within Rathclarin Church a plaque in memory of Donn Byrne reads:

IN MEMORY OF
DONN BYRNE
BORN 20TH NOV 1889
DIED 18TH JUNE 1928

"BEYOND THE BRONZE DOORS OF DEATH
IS SUNSHINE AND SINGING AND
OLD FRIENDSHIPS TAKEN UP AGAIN"

Donn Byrne Plaque, Rathclarin Church
Plaque in memory of Donn Byrne in Rathclarin Church, Kilbrittain
(click to enlarge)

And when the trees rustled it was not crisply, making a gay small music, but heavily, as though they were weary, weary. And that field where the Spanish men lay - you sat on the dyke of it, and there was no sweet peace there, such as smiles in our Church of Saint Columba's-in-Paganry, such as makes you feel that beyond the bronze doors of death is sunshine and singing and old friendships taken up again.

[From Destiny Bay]



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