"Brian Merriman or in Irish Brian Mac Giolla Meidhre (c. 1747 – 27 July 1805) was an Irish language poet and teacher. His single surviving work of substance, the 1000-line long Cúirt An Mheán Oíche (The Midnight Court) is widely regarded as the greatest comic poem in the history of Irish literature. In its frank and satirical treatment of sexuality, ironic parody of the battle of the sexes, and its biting social commentary, Cúirt An Mheán Óiche is a unique document in the history of Irish poetry in either language. The language of the poem is essentially the everyday Munster Irish of the time, the vernacular of Clare and was preserved, like much Gaelic poetry, in an oral format.
He was said to have been born illegitimately in Clondagad or Ennistymon, County Clare. His mother was surnamed Quilkeen and his father's identity remains unknown. Shortly after his birth, his mother married a stonemason who was working on the walls of the Deerpark estate in Ennistymon. The family moved to Feakle and some years later Merriman is known to have owned a 20-acre (81,000 m²) farm near Loch Gréine. He was a teacher of mathematics and is known to have taught the hedge school nearby in the townland of Kilclaren. He married around 1787 and had two daughters. In 1797, the Royal Dublin Society awarded him two prizes for his flax crop. Around 1800 he moved to County Limerick, where he ran a school until his death. He is buried in Fiacla graveyard."
Founded in 1967 to promote the poet's work, Cumann Merriman run an annual Merriman Summer School in County Clare each August and a Merriman Winter School each January.
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|Date of Birth||1747 (circa)|
|Date of Death||1st Jul 1805|