Who was Dr Daniel Lynch / An Dochtúir Dómhnall Ó Loingsigh?
The Early Years 1842 – 1869
Daniel Lynch, or as he was later known, An Dochtúir Dómhnall Ó Loingsigh, was born in Togher, Coolea, Ballyvourney, Co. Cork on 13th Feb 1842 to parents Dennis (Donnchadh Shíle) and Catherine Kelleher. His paternal grandfather was Daniel Lynch, known as Dónal Dubh, and his paternal grandmother was only known as Síle.
Dómhnall had 8 siblings – 4 brothers called Jerry, Cornelius, Denis and John; and 4 sisters called Julia, Margaret, Johanna and Joan.
Not much is known about his early childhood years however we understand that at the age of 10 he attended the newly opened National School in Coolea in the year 1852. After Dómhnall left Coolea National School in 1857 he spent some time in a preparatory school run by Mr Wall in Macroom.
From there Dómhnall went to St. Colman’s College in Fermoy, reputedly being part of the first intake of students, where he met a student called Peadar Ó’Laoire, who went on to win national recognition in Irish revival and national culture re-awakening (An tAthair Peadar Ó’Laoire) and who became a lifelong friend. In his final year at St Colman’s, Dómhnall won 3 prizes for prose and translation in a competition offered annually to all matriculated students of the Catholic University of not more than four years’ standing, for the best compositions in each subjects.
These awards were reported in The Cork Examiner, Saturday Evening edition, July 30th 1864 –
• Greek (prose or verse) – “The Death of Archimedes” – 2nd prize (£3), Daniel Lynch, St Colman’s
• Original Latin Prose (“An account of the Siege of Syracuse by the Athenians”) – 2nd prize (£3), Daniel Lynch, St Colman’s
• Latin Translation (Extract from Burke’s speech on “Conciliation with America”) – 2nd prize (£3), Daniel Lynch, St Colman’s
On the basis of these results, when Dómhnall left St Colman’s he went to the Irish College in Paris from September 20th 1864 – 1869 to study for the priesthood. While there he studied Rhetoric, 1st and 2nd Philosophy, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Theology where he received many grades of distinction across all of these subjects. He received a certificate in 1866, as can be seen below.
In 1869, records from the Irish College in Paris show that he was due to be transferred to Carlow to continue his studies, “Not promoted to orders on account of troubles during vacation. Transferred to Carlow 1869.”
It is understood from family lore that his love of playing music and signing Irish songs during his vacation was deemed not appropriate for a final year clerical student. He had a disagreement with the President of the College on this report, and not receiving a satisfactory answer, placed his Roman Collar on the table, and left the College.
It is believed that shortly after this he left Paris for Rome.