‘An undeviating advocate of Evangelical protestantism’ an cur síos a rinneadh air in Dublin Evening Mail 8 Iúil 1874. Caitliceach ba ea é i dtús a shaoil. Deir Norman Moore in Dictionary of National Biography gur i dTrá Lí a rugadh é. De réir Alumni Dubliniensis ba Chorcaíoch é agus ba é Timothy Foley, ‘mercator’, a athair. Bhí sé gan bhróg gur thosaigh sé ag obair i siopa Patrick Grey i dTrá Lí. Cainteoir dúchais ba ea é. Bhí tionchar ag eaglaiseach Protastúnach air agus cuireadh go Coláiste na Tríonóide é mar ar ghnóthaigh sé BA in 1843, MA in 1852 agus DD in 1858. Cuireadh go paróiste Theampall Tuaithe, Co. Thiobraid Árainn, ar dtús é. Bhí sé ina ollamh le Gaeilge i gColáiste na Tríonóide ó 1852 go 1861. In Trinity College Dublin 1592-1952. An academic history, 1980 le R.B. McDowell agus D. A. Webb deirtear gur ar mholadh Robert Daly, Ardeaspag Chaisil, fear a raibh cáil na hainmheasarthachta air, a ceapadh é. Ag tagairt do Coneys agus Foley deir siad gur ‘hard-hitting controversialists of an extreme Protestant type, with some experience of quasi-missionary parishes in the west’ a bhí iontu. Ach deir siad gur mhúinteoir maith ba ea é. Foilsíodh An English- Irish dictionary intended for the use of students of the Irish language leis in 1855. Deir Moore faoi seo: ‘This work is based on a dictionary prepared early in this century by Thaddeus Connellan but published without date, long kept in sheets and issued from time to time with a variety of false title pages. Foley altered some of the Irish interpretations and added a good many words. Many of the Irish words are inventions of his own.’ Ach deir McDowell agus Webb: ‘He published an elegant and compact English-Irish dictionary which certainly filled a need, and if it is to be criticised it can only be on the grounds of out-running its ostensible purpose, for although the preface declares it to be based on Johnson’s dictionary, omitting only such words “as are of unusual occurrence in the English language and therefore unnecessary for intercourse with the peasantry of Ireland” the words which Foley deemed to be necessary for this purpose include “xerophagy” and “apogee”.’ Ba é a mhol do Charles Henry Hamilton Wright tabhairt faoina fhoclóir Gaeilge-Béarla agus a scríobh an réamhrá ann. Thug sé cuairt mhisinéireachta ar dheisceart na hÉireann agus scríobh cuntas bríomhar ar a thuras in A missionary tour throught the south and west of Ireland, a d’fhoilsigh an Irish Society in 1849.

Deir McDowell agus Webb gur ionsaigh sé bord an choláiste go fíochmhar (‘with a vigor which he normally reserved for popish superstitions’) agus é ag labhairt le slua óna fhuinneog sna Rubrics 16 Feabhra 1857. Chuir sé ina leith go ndearna siad bradaíl ar an gcoláiste. D’ionsaigh sé an Coláiste an mhí roimhe sin le seanmóir ar chuid é dá ullmhúchán i gcomhair a dhochtúireachta. ‘He found it difficult to temper his uninhibited eloquence to the dignity of an academic life’ (McDowell agus Webb).

D’éag sé 7 Iúil 1874. Bhí cónaí air sa Charraig Dhubh, Baile Átha Cliath, agus tá sé curtha i gCill na Gráinsí. In Dublin Evening Mail dúradh gur chaith sé cuid dá shaol ag obair go dícheallach don Irish Society. Luadh ann turas seanmóireachta a thug sé ar fud Mheiriceá. Bhí sé go tréan in aghaidh dhíbhunú Eaglais na hÉireann in 1868. ‘When the Church crisis arrived and the energies of the Irish Church were stimulated by the attack of Mr Gladstone, Daniel Foley, with his wonted courage and enthusiasm threw himself into the work of defence which he conducted in England and Scotland during two years with almost ceaseless activity, displaying those strong mental and moral qualities for which he was distinguished.’ Tugadh le tuiscint gurbh í an tsíorobair a mhill a shláinte. Ina shochraid bhí an tUrramach Patrick Foley. Is dóigh gurbh é a dheartháir é mar in Alumni Dubliniensis deirtear gurbh é Timothy Foley, ‘mercator’, a athairsean.

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Diarmuid Breathnach

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