[Rev.] John Healy

Life
Archbishop of Tuam; author of Ireland’s Ancient Schools & Scholars (1902, 4th edn.); Life and Writings of St Patrick (1st ed. 1905), xi+754pp., front. port.; Papers and Addresses, Theological, Philosophical, Biographical, Archaeological (1909), port.; Round Towers of Ireland, Holy Wells of Ireland (CTSI [1900]), 24pp. ill.; also, A Centenary History of Maynooth.

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Works
Ireland’s Ancient Schools and Scholars (Insula Sanctorum et Doctorum) (Dublin: Sealy 1890), xviii, 638pp., folding col. Map.; Some Irish Graves in Rome (Dublin: CTS [n.d.]); The Life and writings of St. Patrick. With Appendices. (Dublin: Gill 1905), 754pp., front. port.

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Quotations
The Round Towers and Holy Wells of Ireland (Dublin: CTS [1898?]). 28pp. [the latter title printed first]; excerpt, ‘There are certain superior persons, even amongst Catholics, who deem any religious reverence paid to those holy wells to be superstitious; and they are inclined to sneer at the ignorant pity of the simple faithful who perform their devotions at the sacred springs, or attribute any healing efficacy to their waters ... But the waters of Jordan alone could cleanse the leprosy of the scoffing Syrian, and so we can hardly blame our poor people, who, in their strong and simple faith, believe that the prayer at the blessed well and the washing in its waters have more value than the doctor’ medicine. With non-Catholics, who do not reverence even the Cross of Christ, we do not reason here. But Catholics ought to know better than regard all these observations as superstitious. It is true that they may sometimes degenerate into superstition; but the Catholic instinct that shows reverence to the relics of the saints, and venerates the holy fountains which they blessed and used in the service of the Church, is not supersitious. We may, indeed, well venerate them, for some of the ancient holiness lingers round them still, and it is not too much to hope that the saints who blessed them may still look down from their high place in Heaven [... ...] the Church has no sympathy with the hollow smile and frozen sneer of those superior persons who, with all their wisdom, do not understand the things of the Spirit of God [13-14]. Round Towers makes reference to present republication of O’Brien’s Essay on the Round Towers (new ed. Lon. 1898), and calls it ‘not worthy of a serious refutation’, the style ‘puerile and turgid’, and the alleged facts unfounded; quotations inaccurate, &c.

The Four Masters [paper prev. read as lect. to Maynooth students in aula Maxima] (no title-page; 16pp.); quotes O’Curry, ‘It is no easy matter for an Irishman to suppress feelings of deep emotion when speaking of the Four Masters; and especially when he considers the circumstances under which, and the objects for which, their great work was undertaken.’; Kilbarron Castle described in sonnet by ‘poor D’Arcy M’Gee’. Further quotes: ‘Never unto green Tirconnell / Came such spoil as Brother Michael / Bore before him on his palfrey. / By the fireside in the winter / By the seaside in the summer / When the children are around you/And your theme is love of country / Fail not then, my friends I charge you / To recall the truly noble / Name and works of Brother Michael / Worthy chief of the Four Masters / Saviour of our country’s Annals.’ The reverend author concludes, At the very time that the Masters were writing, Strafford was maturing plans in Dublin for the further despoiling the native chiefs, who had yet escaped the sword and halter. [... &c.; 16]

The Life and Writings of St Patrick, with appendices, by the Most Rev. Dr. Healy, Archb. of Tuam; Dublin M. H. Gill; Sealy, Bryers, and Walker 1905, 754pp. [frontis. port.] Preface, ‘Our chief purpose in writing this new Life of St Patrick, when so many Lives already exist, is to give a fuller and, we venture to hop, more exact account of the Saint’s missionary labours in Ireland than any that has appeared since the Tripartite Life was first written. For this purpose, we have not only thoroughly studied Colgan’s great work and made ourselves familiar with the really valuable publications of our own times, but we have, when practicable, personally vidited all the scenes of the Saint’s labours, both at home and abroad, so as to be able to give a local colouring to the dry record ... /We have no new views to put forward. We shall see to follow the authority of the ancient writers of the Acts of St Patrick, which we regard as in the main trustworthy. Those who do not like miracles can pass them over, but the ancient writers believed in them, and even when purely imaginary these miraculous stories have an historical and critical value of their own.’ [iii]. NOTE that Healy categorises the Ancient authorities as pre-1172, the medieval as 1172 to 17th century; and the Modern as the rest, ‘including Colgan and Usher, who have written from that date (ad. 1600) to the present time. He does not distinguish Stokes, et al., by name.

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References
De Burca Catalogue (1997) lists Ireland’s Ancient Schools and Scholars (Insula Sanctorum et Doctorum). With large folding coloured map of Ireland shewing the Ancient Schools. Dublin, Sealy, 1890. Pages, xviii, 638. V.good. [75].

Belfast Central Public Library holds The Ancient Irish Church (1892); Insula Sanctorum et Doctorum (1893) [appar. the same].; Irish Essays (1908); Life and Writings of St. Patrick (1905); Maynooth College (1895). QRY, LIB HB holds Memories of Father Healy (London 1898; 1904).

University of Ulster Library (Morris Collecton) holds History of the Diocese of Meath, Vol. 1(APCK 1908), 3335p.[?]; Insula Sanctorum et Doctorum, or Ireland’s Ancient Schools and Scholars (1908) 651p; Irish Essays, Literary and Historical (1908); The Life and Writings of St. Patrick (1905) 754p; Maynooth College and Its Centenary (1895), 774p.

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Notes
Oliver St. John Gogarty: Gogarty draws extensively on Archbishop Healy in I Follow St Patrick (1938), p.57f.; &c. - citing him as accusing that some authors of ‘giving loose reins to their speculations as to the birthplace of Patrick’, and goes on to illustrate the Archbishop’s own improbable advocacy of Boulogne, after Lanigan; this, Gogarty holds, is likely to leave ‘an impression of confusion’ on the mind of the reader; in the lengthy passage that he cites, Healy writes with respect to Fiacc’s reference to Nemthur that ‘We find, moreover, in this very same region, the modern Tournehm (Nethur reversed)’, to which Gogarty exclaims in a single paragraph, ‘“Tournehm (Nethur reversed)!”’ without further comment; Healy is scornful of Dr. O’Brien, emertus professor of Maynooth, in his conjecture that St. Patrick was born in the Greek-speaking town of Emporium, Spain [59]; to all these conjectures, Gogarty answers by quoting Patrick on his British homeland (p.58); note that Gogarty jocosely takes issue with Healy’s account of the church measured out by Conall for Patrick [p.210],

Further: Gogarty cites at length the narrative of Eithne and her sister, converted by Patrick at the well of Cliabach or Clechach, nr. Cruachan, as narrated fully in Dr. Healy’s Life of St Patrick (1905), including verses by Aubrey de Vere’s Legends [see de Vere, RX], to all of which Healy attaches the remark: ‘We have here given the account of the Book of Armagh, word for word. To add to it would be to spoil it. The same account, in almost exactly the same words, is given in the Irish of the Tripartite; so we may fairly assume it gives us not only an exact, though brief, account of what happened by Clebach Well, but also a fair summary of St. Patrick’s preaching to the people whom he was about to baptise there. [… &c.]’ (Gogarty, p.231.)

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