Edward O'Reilly (
6 December 1765– 26 August 1830) was an Irish scholar in the first half of the 1800s.
Harold's Cross, Dublin, of recent Cavan parentage, O'Reilly undertook the compilation of the work for which he is best remembered, his "Irish-English Dictionary" published in 1817. He was appointed assistant secretary to the Iberno-Celtic Society on its foundation the following year with the purpose of preserving and promoting Irish literature. His work during the 1820s included a Dictionary of Irish Writers and catalogues of Irish manuscripts in Dublin libraries including Trinity College. In May 1830, he was contracted to advise on Irish nomenclature for the early Ordnance Survey maps but spent only four months on this work before his death, also in Harold's Cross. Never a formal employee of the Survey, he was probably paid for his professional services. John O'Donovan replaced him in October 1830.
Although very well known at the time, and proficient at translating manuscripts, the standard of his scholarship is recognised today as low. It was also thought that the best parts of his "Dictionary"were based on unpublished work accumulated by a man named Henry McAteer at the end of the 1800s. When McAteer left Ireland for America, O'Reilly took possession of his library.
*Ni Mhurchú,. Maire and Breathnach, Diarmuid, "Beathaisnéis" vol. II (1782-1881), 1999, pp 127-29.
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