B’fhéidir a rá go raibh sé ar dhuine de na béaloideasóirí ceannródaíocha. I gCearnóg Buckingham, Corcaigh, a rugadh é 15 Eanáir 1798. Oifigeach airm a athair agus bhí a mhuintir ag cur fúthu in Éirinn le tuairim 200 bliain. Thosaigh sé ag obair in oifig chuntasaíochta nuair a bhí sé 15 bliain d’aois. B’óg ina shaol a thosaigh sé ag cur spéise i seanscéalta, piseoga agus amhráin; ag Pátrún Ghúgán Barra in 1813 scríobh sé síos caoineadh agus lean air ina dhiaidh sin ag bailiú agus ag aistriú caointe. Níorbh fhéidir a mhaíomh go raibh sé láncháilithe chun bheith ag bailiú béaloidis. Deir B.G. McCarthy in Studies, Nollaig 1943: ‘He claimed that he learned Irish, but despite his published translations from Irish poetry, there is strong evidence to support the view that of the Irish language he never had more than a smattering. On the whole he considered that Irish was a suspect tongue, a convenient cloak for the expression of seditious sentiments.’ Agus arís: ‘The fact that Croker published translations from the Irish, that he talked glibly of scrutinising Irish manuscripts, and that he learnedly discusses Irish derivations might be taken as proof that he really knew the language. But when one opposes to this supposed evidence the innumerable mistakes in his use of Irish and the fact that he seems incapable of writing even the simplest Irish words correctly, the case against his supposed knowledge piles up significantly.’

D’fhág sé Éire in 1818 chun glacadh le post in Oifig an Chabhlaigh. Bhí dhá scór amhrán curtha aige chuig Tom Moore agus bhí aithne aige ar William Maginn (1793-1842). Chabhraigh an bheirt acu agus cairde eile leis chun eolas a chur ar an gcomhluadar liteartha i Sasana. Ba mhór an chabhair freisin go raibh de cháil air gurbh eolaí údarásach é ar bhéaloideas, ar stair agus ar theanga na hÉireann. Researches in the South of Ireland, illustrative of the Scenery, Architectural Remains, and the Manners and Superstitions of the Peasantry. With an appendix containing a private narrative of the rebellion of 1798, 1824 a chéad leabhar ach ba é Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland, 1825 is mó a tharraing aird air. D’aistrigh na deartháireacha Grimm go Gearmáinis é agus d’aistrigh Bríd Ní Loingsigh [Ó Loingsigh, Bríd q.v.] go Gaeilge é faoin teideal Síobhraí na mbeann agus na ngleann (1939). Níor cuireadh aon ainm leis an gcéad eagrán toisc lámh a bheith ag Maginn, Richard Pigot (1797-1873) agus beirt nó triúr eile sa leabhar, ach is do Croker a tugadh an chreidiúint agus is é a ainmsan atá leis an dara heagrán. Adolphus Lynch a scríobh an t-ábhar atá in Legends of the Lake; or Sayings and Doings at Killarney: Chiefly from the Manuscripts of R. Adolophus Lynch, Esq., 1829 ach ainm Croker amháin atá leis an athchló a tugadh amach in 1831. Cuirtear ina leith gur chuir sé cor i gcuimhní cinn an Éireannaigh Aontaithe Joseph Holt (1756-1826) agus é ag cur eagar orthu (1838). An cúpla úrscéal a chreidtí a scríobh sé, The Adventures of Barney Mahoney, 1832 agus My Village Versus Our Village, 1832 glactar leis gurbh í a bhean Marianne Nicholson a scríobh iad; ba í a rinne na léaráidí le haghaidh Researches in the South of Ireland. Is iad na hamhrán-leabhair a scríobh sé: The Popular Songs of Ireland, 1839; The Keen in the South of Ireland: as illustrative of Irish political and domestic history, manners, music and superstitions, 1844; Popular Songs, illustrative of the French Invasion of Ireland, 1845. Bhí sé ar dhuine de bhunaitheoirí an Percy Society, an Camden Society agus an British Archaeological Society. D’éag sé an 8 Lúnasa 1854 agus cuireadh é i mBrompton, Londain. Bhí fáth áirithe a gcuirtí i gcosúlacht le Tom Moore é: bhí sé cúpla orlach faoi bhun cúig throigh. Dúirt Sir Walter Scott ina thaobh: ‘Little as a dwarf, keen-eyed as a hawk and [with] easy and prepossessing manners—something like Tom Moore.’

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Diarmuid Breathnach

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