William Neilson

(1774—1821) minister of the Presbyterian General Synod of Ulster and grammarian

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(1774–1821), grammarian and lexicographer; born in Rademon, Co. Down, where his father, a Presbyterian minister, ran a school. He was educated locally, where he was taught Irish by Patrick Lynch, and at Glasgow University. He was licensed in 1796 and became a minister in Dundalk. In 1798 he was seized by the authorities as he was about to preach at his father's church, but released when his sermon was shown to be free of United Irishmen leanings. His Introduction to the Irish Language (1808), a grammar, also comprised a collection of words, phrases, and short dialogues, together with a selection from Irish manuscripts, and is particularly valued for its record of the Irish dialect of Co. Down. At the Belfast Academical Institution he taught the future Gaelic patron Roibeárd Mac Ádaimh.

From The Concise Oxford Companion to Irish Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

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