[Fr.] Patrick Dineen (1860-1934)


Life
[An tAthair Pádraig Ó Dúinnín; also Ua Duinnín; occas. err. Dinneen]; born 25 Dec., Sliabh Luachra [nr. Rathmore]; Co. Kerry, attended local primary schools Shrone and later at Meentogues NS, said to have been built of bricks from the demolished home of Eoin Rua Ó Suilleabháin, 1868-70; att. St. Brendan’s College, Killarney; joined Jesuit novitiate at Milltown Park, Dublin, 1880, studied Modern Literature and Mathematics at the Royal University, being taught by Gerard Manley Hopkins; ord. 29 July 1894; he taught unhappily at Mungret College, Co. Limerick, and Clongowes Wood, Co. Dublin; joined the Gaelic League, passed a year in retreat in Belgium before leaving the Order with consent, to study Irish full-time, 1900; occupied a caravan in Malahide; became friends with Patrick Pearse in the League; edited standard editions of the Munster poets Aogán Ó Rathaille (1900), Eoghan Rua Ó Suilleabháin (1901), Seán Clárach MacDomhnaill (1902), Seafraidh Ó Donnchadha (1902), and Tadhg Gaelach Ó Suilleabháin (1903), and also Seathrún Céitinn’s Foras Feasa ar Eirinn (1908-1914);
 
wrote fiction and plays for the League, viz., Cormac Ó Conaill (1901), a novel; Creideamh agus Gorta (Dublin 1901), a play about the Famine, as well as the later Teactaire Ó Dhia [Messenger from God] (1922) on the same subject; also An Tobar Draíochta (1902), Gírle Guairle (1904), and Comhairle Fithil (1909), issued in translation as Fitheal’s Counsels (Dublin 1909); backed Bernard Doyle, rebel editor of Fainne an Lae, in attempt to break the Gaelic League Executive’s stranglehold; supported by D. P. Moran in his preference for Munster Irish and ‘caint an ndaoine [language of the people’] as propounded by Peadar Ó Laoghaire; contrib. over a thousand articles for The Leader between 1906 and 1929; issued Foclóir Gaedhilge agus Béarla/Irish-English Dictionary (ITS 1904; 2nd Edn. 1927); Dictionary stereo-typed book plates destroyed by fire at Sealy, Bryers and Walker Ltd., during the 1916 Rising - when he claimed £27 compensation while living at 70 Eccles St, and was given £24 by the Committee [see National Archive]; also Lectures on the Irish Language Movement (1904), especially deploring English influence on Irish culture; collapsed on the steps of the National Library (Dublin), where he was a familiar figure; d. shortly after on 29 Sept.; bur. Glasnevin; there is a portrait of 1921 in oil by Estella Solomons [var. John B. Yeats]. DIW DIB OCIL FDA
[ top ]

Dinneen by John Butler Yeats
Portrait of Dinneen, by John Butler Yeats

 

[ top ]

Works
Fiction & Drama
  • Cormac Ó Conaill (Dublin 1901), and Do. (2nd edn. 1902) [with glossary & English synopsis], & Do. [rep. edn.] (Dublin 1952);
  • Creideamh agus Gorta (Dublin 1901);
  • An Tobar Draíochta (Dublin 1902), Do. [2nd edn.] (1904);
  • Gírle Guairle (Dublin 1904);
  • Comhairle Fithil (Dublin 1909), and Do. [in translation] as Fitheal’s Counsels (Dublin 1909);
  • Teactaire Ó Dhia (Dublin 1922).
Lexicography
  • Foclóir Gaedhilge agus Béarla/Irish-English Dictionary (Dublin: Irish Texts Society 1904), and Do. [rev. & enl.] (1927), with 3rd edn., enl. (1934); also and Do. [as concise school edn.] (1910; 1912).
Edited texts
  • Aogán Ó Rathaille (1900);
  • Eoghan Rua Ó Suilleabháin (1901);
  • Seán Clárach MacDomhnaill (1902);
  • Seafraidh Ó Donnchadha (1902);
  • Tadhg Gaelach Ó Suilleabháin (1903);
  • Piaras Feritéir (1903);
  • Foras Feasa ar Eirinn by Seathrún Céitinn [Geoffrey Keating] (1908-1914).
Miscellaneous
  • Lectures on the Irish Language Movement (Dublin: Gill & Son 1904)

[ top ]

Criticism
An Duinníneach: an tAthair Pádraig Ó Duinín, a shaol, a shaothar agus an réinar mhair sé, [le] Proinsias O´ Conluain agus Donncha O´ Ceileachair (1976).

[ top ]

References
Brian Cleeve & Anne Brady, A Dictionary of Irish Writers (Dublin: Lilliput 1985), characterises him as ‘one of the greatest names in the Language Movement and one of the greatest characters in Dublin. Every user of the National library in the 20s & 30s remembers the gentle, shabby, old man chewing apples and raw carrots with a pile of books around him like a rampart [… &c.].

[ top ]

Quotations
Irish Language Movement’ (1904): ‘With a foreign language come foreign modes of thought, foreign ideals in art and liteature, foreign customs, foreign manners, the spread of all that is debasing in foreign literature .. no genuine native school of literature, or of art, can ever be created from foreign or Anglo-Irish models.’ (Lectures on the Irish Language [Revival] Movement, Gill & Sons 1904, pp.42-43; cited in Gearóid O’Flaherty, ‘George Bernard Shaw and the Irish Literary Revival’, in P. J. Mathews, ed., New Voices in Irish Criticism, Four Courts Press 2000, pp.33-42; p.39.) Further, ‘This country is to a large extent still untained by the teaching of the postivist, the materialist, the hedonist, which pervades English literature whether serious or trivial […] it will be difficult to prevent that literature from planting the seeds of social disorder and moral degeneracy among even our still untainted population.’ (Quoted in Máirín Nic Eoin, An Litríocht Réigiúnacht, Baile Átha Cliath: An Clóchomhar Tta 1982).

[ top

Foclóir Gaedhilge agus Béarla/Irish-English Dictionary [1904] (2nd Edn. 1927); ‘The folklore, the habits and beliefs, the songs and tales, the arts and crafts [...] the history, topography and antiquities of the country have been pressed into service to throw light on the meanings of words’, making reference to ‘twenty years of severe labour’ prompted by ‘the pathos of the unfinished or undeveloped undertakings’. (Q. source.)

Mountain butter: Dinneen’s review of Patrick Pearse’s Poll an Phíobaire (1906) contrasted the author’s urban Irish with the Connemara dialect which he likened to mountain butter: ‘It may at times be over-salted and over-dosed with the water of Béarlachas but it is genuine mountain butter all the same and not clever margarine. I am afraid the storyette about the Píobaire smacks more like the margarine of the slums than pure mountain butter.’ (Quoted in Louis de Paor, review of Máirín Nic Eoin, Trén bhFearann Breac: An Díláithriú Cultúir agus Nualitríocht na Gaeilge, in The Irish Times, 6 Aug. 2005, Weekend.)

The Moving Bog: On 28 Dec. 1896 part of a bog slipped off a hillside near Rathmore [nr. Killarney] killing the Donelly family. Dineen wrote in an elegy on the subject: “The parents with their nurslings (oh, cause to fear and weep!), / Were buried by the bog-slip in one submersion deep!” (See further under Dunsany, Notes, “Moving Bog” [infra].)

The English bug: ‘This country is, to a large extent, still untained by the teaching of the positivist, the materialist, the hedonist, which pervades English literature whether serious or trivial ... It will be difficult to prevent that literature from planting the seeds of social disorder and moral degeneracy against even our still untainted population.’ (Addressing the Keating Branch of the Gaelic League, 1904; quoted in Alan Titley, Nailing Theses: Selected Essays, Belfast: Lagan Press 2011, p.134; citing Philip O’Leary, the Prose Literature of the Gaelic REvival 1881-1921: Ideology and Innovation, Pennsylvania State UP 1994, p.21.)

[ top ]

Notes
1916 and All That: The Irish Book Lover [Vol. VIII, Nos. 1 & 2] (Aug. & Sept. 1916), reports: ‘In Sealy, Bryers the stereotype plates of the well-known Thom’s Directory were reduced to a molten mass of metal, and it is doubtful if it will ever appear again. A similar fate befell the plates (and stock) of Father Dineen’s great Irish English Dictionary, the property of the Irish Texts Society, valued at a thousand pounds. (p.12.)

J. M. Synge - Synge speaks of Dineen’s Faith and Famine [q.d.]: ‘where we have vigour and talent, using a form and psychology that recalls the predecessors of Titus Andronicus or Tamburlaine.’ (“The Old and New in Ireland”, in J. M. Synge, Collected Works, II, “Prose”, 1966, p.384.)

[ top

James Joyce: Dineen’s Irish Dictionary is mentioned in “Scylla & Charybdis”, the Library Scene of James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922).

Kate O’Brien: in a memoir of UCD in her student days, O’Brien recalls the National Library and writes: ‘With generations I remember Father Dineen’s his messy bags of food.’ (University Review, Summer 1963, p.7.)

[ top ]

Peter Costello writes that Dineen was ‘unhappy at Clongowes, later left the Jesuits’ (Clongowes Wood, 1991, p. 67).

Dineen Castle: Note that in 1929 Francis and Iseult Stuart settled at Laragh Castle - actually a cottage with a castellated facade - in Laragh, Co. Wicklow, and called it Dineen Castle in his Black List, Section H, where he identifies it as ‘just the place in which to start a new unpredictable phase of their lives’ in view of its ‘granite walls and fake battlements’ (1971; 1975 Edn., p.147).

[ top ]