Osborn Bergin

Bergin in the centre, in Ballingeary, 1912
(Credit: Barra Ó Suibhne)
(Colourised: Matt Loughrey, 2020)

Osborn Joseph Bergin (1873–1950). Born in Cork city to a Quaker family, Bergin was educated at Cork Grammar School and QCC, where he studied classics (BA 1895). He was a Celtic scholar and poet.

He joined the Gaelic League and spent time on the Beara being taught to speak, read, and write excellent Irish. In 1897, at the first Oireachtas na Gaeilge, he was awarded a gold medal for three poems in Irish.

In 1904, he attended the summer school of the School of Irish Learning, founded in 1903 by Kuno Meyer, and was awarded a scholarship by the school in the same year.

He travelled to Germany to study under Heinrich Zimmerin Berlin and under Rudolf Thurneysen in Freiburg; he received his doctorate from the University of Freiburg (1906).

Bergin believed that West Munster Irish was the best dialect to learn because it was the closest to the literary classical language of the 17th century.

In 1907, he began to devise a simplified spelling for Irish along with Shán Ó Cuiv and Fr Dr Risteárd Ó Dálaigh. He taught Historical Irish Grammar at Coláiste na Mumhan in the 1909 session.

Bergin’s Law is a grammatical law of Old Irish.


Foinse/source: Ainm.ie [ar líne/online]: https://www.ainm.ie/Bio.aspx?ID=0122 (ceadaithe/accessed 20/10/2020); L. de Roiste, Colaisde Muinteoireachta Na Mumhan (Unpublished, n.d.); T. Garvin, The Lives of Daniel Binchy: Irish Scholar, Diplomat, Irish Intellectual (Dublin: IAP, 2016).


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