Prionsias Ó Maolmhuaidh

LifeWorksCriticismCommentaryQuotationsReferencesNotes

Life
?1614-1684 [Francis Molloy, or O’Molloy; OFM], b. Co. Offaly, ed. St. Anthony’s Coll., Rome, from 1632; lectured in philosophy, Klosterneuberg near Vienna; professor of theology, Graz, l645; principal professor in theology at St. Isadore’s in Rome in 1650; theological works incl. Disputatio Theologica de Incarnatione Verbi (1645); Cursus Philosophiae (1666), and the poem Iubilatio Genethliaca in honorem prosperi Balthasaris Philippi Hispaniarum Principis (1658); his Lóchrann na gCreidmheach/Lucerna Fidelium (1676), was a devotional text printed in Irish and in Latin, and writen for priests returning to Ireland and for use in the Irish brigades in Europe; Grammatica Latino-Hibernica (1677), the earliest grammatical text book on the Irish language, is prefaced with a plea for the preservation of Irish in order that the ‘Catholic Irish nation’ should know its own history; E. Lhuyd employed it for Archaelogia Britannica (1707); Tomás Ó Flannghaile made English translations of some of its metrical sections in De Prosodia Hibernica (1908). ODNB DIW OCIL

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Works
Prose, Disputatio Theologica de Incarnatione Verbi (1645) and Cursus Philosophiae (1666), Lóchrann na gCreidmheach [or Lucerna Fidelium] (1676); Grammatica Latino-hibernica (1677).

Poetry, Iubilatio Genethliaca in honorem prosperi Balthasaris Philippi Hispaniarum Principis (1658). Also, Tomás Ó Flannghaile, trans. metrical sections of Grammatica, in De Prosidia Hibernica (1908).

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Criticism
Edmund Hogan, S. J., “Father Francis O Molloy & Lucerna Fidelium ”, in The Irish Book Lover , Vol. XVIII, No. 1 (Jan. & Feb. 1930), 5 [rep. from Irisleabhar na Gaedhilge, Lughnasa 1897), and Gregory Cleary, O.F.M., “Father Francis O’Molloy”, in The Irish Book Lover, Vol. XVIII, No. 1 (Jan. & Feb. 1930), 8 [note]. See also Gregory Cleary, OFM, Fr. Luke Wadding and St. Isadore’s College (1925).

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Commentary
Muriel McCarthy, ed., Hibernia Resurgens: Catalogue of Marsh’s Library (1994), makes Co. Meath his place of birth, St. Isidore’s in Rome is place of education prior to his sojourn in Vienna and his susequent appointed to St. Isidore’s; indicates that Lucerna fidelium (the commonly-used Latin title of the work) was published by the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, using Irish type designed in Rome; title-page in both languages in conformity with the Propaganda Office rule that all accompanied by Latin versions; quotes Fr. Gregory O’Clery [sic], ‘In philosophy and theology O’Molloy was a keen, robust thinker and expresed his thoguhts in clear,m forecul and not inelegant language’; Archb. Marsh’s collection contains his Cursus philosophiae. NOTE also: Edward Lhuyd acknowleged his debt to Francis O’Molloy’s Irish grammar, commenting ‘the writer no doubt had the help of some native in writing it, but certainly not of a scholar’ (McCarthy, p.35). Note var. b. Co. Meath.

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Quotations
Grammatica Latino-Hibernica compendiata (Romae 1677): ‘multorum inuria ... ortum habuit, quod Catholicise Hibernorum Nationi malleum inter, & incudem diu positae, ex quo praeli introductum est beneficium inhibitum fuerit, ne dum proprii Idiomatis studium; verum etiam publicus, imo privatus (proh dolor!) passim usus, ut vel sic antiquissima Patriae monumenta, Sanctorum vitae, Religio, Ecclesiae traditiones, & memoria protractu temporis, sepulta penitus iacerunt, & aeterna tandem traderentur oblivioni, quo fit hodie ut rudiores in populo linguam, quam no noverant, audiant; decipiantur in dies, inque infinitos propemodum seducantur errores. Ego idciro Idiota quidem, zelo tamen, quo debui, ductus, tanto volens occurrere damno, no funditus Opusculum compsoui, tum doctis, tum indoctis, Anglis, Scotis, Hibernis, aliisque quibuscunque ad praefatum Idiomaa discendum, legendum, scribendum, dibte pronuciandum, conservandumque. [it has resulted from the injustice of many that the Catholic Irish nation placed between the hammer and the anvil, was denied every privelige, yes even the study of its own language; not only public but also (oh woe!) the general private use; so that the so very ancient records of the fatherland, Lives of the Saints, Religion, Church traditions, and the memory of a long time lie buried deep and are indeed delivered to oblivion. And this results today in the fact that the untaught among the people hear a language they do not know. They make mistakes each day and are seduced into almost numberless errors. For that reason I (though but a layman in these matters, yet driven by an imperative zeal) wishing to set my face against so great a curse, have fully composed this little book, both for the educated and the uneducated, English, Scottish, Irish and all others, for the teaching, reading, writing, pronouncing and preserving of the aforesaid language’ (p.[iii]ff.; quoted in Joseph Leerssen, Mere Irish & Fíor Ghael, 1986, p.302.)

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References
Dictionary of National Biography: 1605-1677 [Francis Molloy]; ; b. Co. Meath, Prof. Theol., St. Isidore; author of first printed Irish grammar, Grammatica Latino-Hibernica (Rome 1677); also works on refutation of heresy; Lucerna Fidelium (1676) .

John Crone, A Concise Dictionary of Irish Biography (Dublin: Talbot 1928). There are No entries on Molloy or O’Molloy in Read (The Cabinet of Irish Literature, 1876), McCarthy (Irish Literature, 1904), or Seamus Deane, The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, 1991).

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Notes
Irish Book Lover, ed., Seamus Ó Casaide, reprints the article by Edmund Hogan and another by Gregory Cleary (both as listed in Criticism, supra), with the introductory editorial note: ‘In view of the disparity of one or two statements it may be well to republish in full the following notice from Father Cleary’s Father Luke Wadding and St. Isidore’s College, Rome ( Rome 1925), as that writer may not have seen Father Hogan's article.’ ( The Irish Book Lover [ Vol. XVIII, No. 1], Jan. & Feb. 1930.)

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