Author / Genealogist / Nationalist
This very interesting man devoted his life to Antiquarian and Genealogical research. His legacy of “Irish Pedigree” has been perused down through the years.
John O’Hart was born in Crossmolina, Co. Mayo during December 1824 his parents were Nora (daughter of Mary Geraghty and Peter Kilroy of Keenagh, Glenhest) and Shane / John O’Hart. He had six brothers and four sisters. He received his education at Crossmolina National School, aged ten years he was educated at the local Classical school. He had an intention to join the priesthood but due to circumstances he became an Associate at Queen’s University, Belfast, he was a very active member of several scholarly societies. He married Elizabeth Burnett on 25th May 1845 (daughter of Margaret Bourke and Patrick Burnett of Enniscrone. They had three sons; Patrick Andrew, John Anthony, Francis Joseph, plus daughters; Fanny – Mary, Mary – Elizabeth, Margaret, Eliza, Anna and Louisa. [i]
John O’Hart joined the Royal Irish Constabulary; he was placed in Ballinrobe Depot, he transferred as Assistant Clerk in the County Inspectors office in Oughterard, Co. Galway. He commenced employment with the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland in1854. He was appointed to the staff of Ringsend School Dublin during 1856.
John O’Hart produced his work “The Irish Landed Gentry when Cromwell came to Ireland” in 1887 James Duffy Dublin which later was re-printed with an introduction by Edward Mac Lysaght, the First Chief Herald of Ireland during 1869. His unique “Irish Pedigree; or The Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation” in two volumes was produced during 1876 and 1884. He studied the Annals of the Four Masters for the medieval period plus used works by Bernard Burke, John Collins and others for the periods from the 17th Century onwards. [ii] He proved that Queen Victoria was actually descended from the High Kings of Tara in his masterpiece! [iii] He continued to re-work subsequent editions thus added greatly to his workload and output. O’ Hart produced the 800 page “The Irish and Anglo – Irish Gentry” 1884 H. M. Gill [iv] He wrote “The Last Prince of Tara” plus contributed articles to the London monthly magazine “Hibernia.” [v]
He died at Clontarf in Dublin during 1902 aged 78 years. [vi]
The National Library has given this mention of John O’Hart “It is clearly the duty of Irishmen to support and encourage native literature. Here is a countryman of ours who has attained a high rank among contemporary archeologists by perseverance in face of circumstances after adverse, and it is were surely a disgrace and stigma on cultural Irishmen if his works should fail their well – won need of recognition and reward.” [vii]
He was adopted as the Patron of Crossmolina Heritage Society’s Summer School. [viii]
Belfast Linen Hall Library hold the 1876 Edition of the “Irish Pedigree; or The Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation.” [ix]
The National Library holds a letter from John O’Hart to Chrissie M. Doyle stating that she may keep his books until the end of the month and he hopes that they may provide the information for her work. (August 7th 1898).