An Introduction to the Irish Language. In Three Parts. Original and Comprehensive Grammar. [II] Familiar Phrases and Dialogues. [III] Extracts from Irish Books, and Manuscripts, in the Original Character. With Copious Tables of the Contractions. With six plates to rear Achill: The 'Mission Press', 1843. Pp [Part 1] viii, 129. [Part 2] 68; (Part 3) 22, with six plates depiction samples of Gaelic script. Publisher's cloth boards, title label to spine. A very good copy.
First published in Dublin by P. Wogan in 1808, this edition was one of a small number published on Achill island for members of the Achill colony of Protestant missionaries, established by Edward Nangle in 1834.
William Nelson was born in 1774 in Rademon, Kilmore, Co. Down, where his father, the Rev. Moses Neilson, ministered to a mainly Irish speaking Presbyterian congregation. The Rev. Moses was fluent in Irish, Latin, Greek and Hebrew. In 1808 he published this, his best-known work, 'An Introduction to the Irish Language.' Financial support for Neilson’s Introduction came from a long list of subscribers, headed by two peers, both lord lieutenants of Ireland. In his preface, Neilson mentions the historical and poetic value of the language, but stresses that his purpose is primarily practical: “It is, particularly, from the absolute necessity of understanding this language, in order to converse with the natives of a great part of Ireland, that the study of it is indispensable. In 1818 Neilson was appointed professor of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Irish and Oriental languages at the Belfast Academical Institution. He was elected to the Chair of Greek at Glasgow University in 1821. But before he could take up his appointment he died of rheumatic fever, aged on 46, leaving a widow and four children.