Dr Lynch & The Promotion of Irish Culture

An Dochtúir Dómhnall Ó Loingsigh was not long back in Ballyvourney when he noticed that something else was badly needed in the village. There was no place for the public, and especially the young people to go to. He noticed that the desire for sport and Irish music was not there to the same extent as when he was young. He believed that music, sport and enjoyment should be brought back to the lives of his neighbours before he could consider his work fulfilled.

An Dochtúir Ó Loingsigh built a large hall at his own expense, without any grant, donation or help from anybody. As soon as it was built he organised ceilís, dramas and Irish pastimes on there for the people of the parish.

It is considered in the opinion of Dónal Ó hÉalaithe the most important act of all that he did during his time in Ballyvourney, as it left a lasting mark on the lives and the culture of the people in the area.

An Dochtúir Dómhnall Ó Loingsigh always kept the events that were going on in the hall under his scrutiny. The people from the top of Coom to Coolavokig came to events and different classes that were held in this hall, and it was situated across the road from where Lynch’s Timber Factory is today.

For example, it was said that Nonie Buckley and her brothers would walk 8 miles each Saturday from the Fuhirees to the hall as well as Sean Ó’Suíochán from Inchemore, a journey of 9 miles, to learn dancing from Dance Master O’Flaherty who was employed by the doctor at his own expense.

At the various Ballyvourney Feiseanna, which were organised by an Dochtúir Ó Loingsigh along with the local Conradh na Gaeilge branch, he spoke about the state of the language in Ballyvourney and the following is an extract from one of his speeches –

“There is a unique history attached to the parish and the surrounding area and there had been no break in the Gaelic Tradition since the time of Gobnait in the 6th century to the present day. During the exterminations and suppression that happened in Munster during the 18th century a lot of poets and intellectuals fled to Ballyvourney and Coolea and the people of the area now, are descendants of these refugees, and the interest in stories, the art of poetry, the music and the desire to learn followed these people”.

The following is an extract of an article written in 1897, reporting on a weekly meeting of the council of the Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language, to which Dr Daniel Lynch, Ballyvourney, Macroom, Co. Cork submitted a letter to be read –

Dr Lynch Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language 1897

Click the link below to read an article about a Feis in Ballyvourney in 1898 under the auspices of the Gaelic Language Revival –

Southern Star 20 August 1898 Gaelic Language Revival Feis in Ballyvourney

An Dochtúir Ó Loingsigh said that Ballyvourney in Muskerry was one of the last outposts of the old Irish Gaelic Tradition, but they were under a fierce attack from the foreign influence at that present time, so each generation must face the problems of their time, as regards the language and be certain if they don’t do that they will be beaten.


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.