Dr Lynch & Padraig Pearse

During his time working on behalf of preserving and promoting culture and nationalism, an Dochtúir Dómhnall Ó Loingsigh got to know a young man from Dublin called Padraig Pearse. This personal friendship grew greatly with the passing of time. They met regularly at events like the Celtic Conference in Paris in 1900 and at meetings in Dublin. It was no wonder that when Padraig Pearse did a nationwide tour in 1904, in order to assess the Nationalist feelings, that it was to Ballyvourney and an Dochtúir Ó Loingsigh he went.

The following is a short account of Pearse’s visit to Ballyvourney, written by himself in the Claidheamh Soluis (newspaper) in November 1904. It is worth noting it was actually in English that Pearse wrote his account under the heading “The Principal City of the Gaeltacht” – this was the title Ballyvourney had at this time primarily because of the work of an Dochtúir Dómhnall Ó Loingsigh.

Pearse said “From Cork I travelled to Macroom, and making no delay there, I pushed on, on my bicycle and reached the capital of Ireland sooner than I expected. I asked directions from an old woman before I cycled into the “Capital” whose reply was “Tá an sraid bhaile led’ais, cúig noimead eile agus beidh tú ann”. As I was being directed, Dr Lynch himself bore down on us and carried me off. The evening passed rapidly with a concert in the doctor’s new Hall in which Tadgh Ó Cruadhlaoi (Crowley) was the solo artist, which I enjoyed immensely.

This new community hall which Dr Dónal built at his expense is a magnificent building which would do honour to a town of 2,000 inhabitants. There is a sturdy spirit around and the parents are once more speaking Irish to their children. Of course all this is due to the doctor. He has rekindled and nurtured the literary instincts of his people and in the process he had brought the young men and women to the Munster Feiseanna and the Oireachtas.

As regards the actual speaking of the language, Ballyvourney is about equal to the Galway Claddagh today. This is to say the grown-up people habitually and regularly speak Irish while the children though understanding Irish and able to speak it, also speak English amongst themselves.

Dr Lynch – that I speak of, is one of the most outstanding personalities in the Gaelic Revival at the beginning of the 20th century. In fact Ballyvourney would not be Ballyvourney without Dr Dónal. Dr Lynch is a man of high intellectual attainment, an ornament to his profession and his work, his support for national culture and freedom is one of the most practical kind. Through his great enterprise and organising ability, the one dingy, hamlet of Ballyvourney has been transformed into a flourishing village where prosperity and contentment characterise the lives of the people. During his time in Ballyvourney he has encouraged young and old to hold fast to their priceless linguistic traditions and the recent rise of Ballyvourney is the most striking example in the history of the language revival movement of the influence of a personality over a community”.

It is clear from this extraordinary praise by Padraig Pearse of an Dochtúir Ó Loingsigh that the leader of the moment understood the great work being done by the Coolea man, not only in his own native parish but throughout the country. Not only that but the local people showed they had great respect and trust in him, and Padraig Pearse acknowledged it the following morning as he hit the road again on his bicycle to Ballingeary.

Below are links to an article which was published in the Irish Press in 1963, written by John T Collins, over 60 years after Padraig Pearse had completed his travels through Ireland which he wrote about in An Claidheamh Soluis, during which time he had ventured to Ballyvourney for the purpose of meeting an Dochtúir Dómhnall Ó Loingsigh, with whom he was friendly. The article uses extracts from many of the articles that Pearse wrote for An Claidheamh Soluis

Padraig Pearse Journey Through Ireland mentions Dr Lynch Part 1

Padraig Pearse Journey Through Ireland mentions Dr Lynch Part 2

When the people of Ballyvourney heard that Pearse and the leaders of the rising had been executed it put anger and disgust in them. A special meeting was organised in an Dochtúir Ó Loingsigh’s hall in Ballyvourney on 7th May 1916 to sympathise with their relatives and a big crowd of the people of the parish attended this meeting. A company of IRA volunteers had been formed in Ballyvourney six weeks earlier and each member attended that meeting as well.

Another historical event occurred that night as well. Faction fighting had been going on in the parish for 80 years since 1836 but an end came to it that night. Father Carroll C.C. spoke to the crowd and proposed that at least one person from each group shake hands. Not only did this happen but most from either side did the same and that was the official end of the faction fights in Ballyvourney.


Adapted from Éighse 2008 speech given by Dónal Ó hÉalaithe – Staraí áitiúl de chuid Acadamh Fódhla ó Chúil Aodha, translated into Béarla by James O’Leary, Coláiste an tEasbog Mac Aogháin, Máigh Chromtha.