Patrick Lynch/Pádraig Ó Loingsigh, Quin Scholar

On May 13th 1818, Carrick on Suir’s local paper ‘The Carrick’s Morning Post’ carried a death notice:

‘DIED. On the l0th instant, sincerely lamented by a numerous circle of literary acquaintances, Mr. Patrick Lynch in the sixty-fourth year of his age. He has given ample proofs, by many useful and erudite publications, of his being excellently skilled in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, and he certainly was the best Critical Irish Scholar of the age, and as such his Correspondence was counted by the Gaelic Society of Scotland. His great pleasure was, gratuitously, to assist every learned undertaking, and as such his loss will be deplored and severely felt by Gentlemen engaged in the different branches of literature, and by none more than those of the Record Commission in the Castle Yard.’

Lynch was a native son of Quin. Highly erudite, he had a huge love of learning, particularly classical languages. (I gCuincheCo. an Chláir, mar a raibh feirm ag a mhuintir, a rugadh é Lá Fhéile Pádraig 1754. D’fhreastail sé ar scoil cháiliúil Dhonncha Uí Mhathúna (Donncha an Chairn) in Inis Díomáin agus d’fhoghlaim ann Gréigis, Laidin agus Eabhrais agus, is dóigh, gramadach an Bhéarla agus na Gaeilge). As a Roman Catholic his education was in the Hedge Schools, where his principal mentor was Donough O’Mahony. O’Mahony spoke no English, but taught Latin, Greek and Hebrew through the medium of Irish. Such was the desire for learning by the local Quin populace that there were eight Hedge Schools in the general area over time. (The remains of one school can still be seen in Ballyglass townland in nearby Doora). See Siobhán O’ Sullivan’s articleon this site -‘17th century Hedge Schools in Co. Clare’,https://quinheritage.ie/17th-century-hedge-schools-in-co-clare/). The Quin poet Tomás Ó Miochán, referred to the hedge master O’ Mahony as “the Star of Ennistymon.”

Lynch began work in 1778 in Cashel, County Tipperary and later in Carrick-on- Suir, only to have to abandon his teaching for five years when he was needed back on the family farm in Quin. As well as a teacher, he was also a writer of both history and language tutors. In 1815 he went to Dublin as a schoolmaster and in time became secretary to the Gaelic Society, founded for the preservation and study of the Irish language. He had a great love of Irish and published a grammar on Irish usage. Ever the scholar, Lynch produced works on mathematics and astronomy while also writing a new work on Saint Patrick.

As a fluent and skilful Irish speaker he helped with a translation of Geoffrey Keating’s History of Ireland (Foras Feasa ar Éirinn] and teamed up with Edward Bunting in collating some of his Ancient Irish Music journals. He was employed in the Records of Ireland Office, Dublin Castle until his death in 1818.He is buried in Dublin.

Dúirt P.J. Dowling, fear a bhí ina údar ar na scoileanna scairte: ‘Lynch’s career by itself is a monumental proof of the high standard of knowledge attained by the Irish schoolmaster of his day’

Two hundred years later, Patrick Lynch has largely fallen out of local memory. Nevertheless he clearly was a scholar of repute in his day.

MH  07/06/2024.

References/Sources:

http://www.ricorso.net/rx/az-data/authors/l/Lynch_P1/life.htm

Séamus Ó Casaide, ‘Patrick Lynch, secretary to the Gaelic society of Dublin’, Waterford Arch. Soc. Jn., xv (1912), 47–61;

Séamus Ó Casaide, ‘List of works projected or published by Patrick Lynch’, Waterford Arch. Soc. Jn., xv (1912), 107–20;

  1. J. Dowling, ‘Patrick Lynch, schoolmaster 1754–1818’, Studies, xx (1931), 461–72; IBL, xxii (1934), 50

Robert Welch, A history of verse translation from the Irish 1789–1897 (1988), 320