Tá cuntas ar an eaglaiseach seo ag Éamonn Ó Tuathail in Irish Book Lover, Meán Fómhair, 1939 (‘A rare Ulster Booklet’). Ba é an mac ba shine é ag Joseph King, ceannaí sna hIndiacha Thoir agus soláthraí do chabhlach na Breataine. Bhí baint ag a mhuintir le Corcaigh le fada agus duine dá shinsir ba ea William Chartres, a bhí ina mhéara ar an gcathair i 1692. D’fhreastail sé ar Scoil Hamblin agus Porter ann agus ansin chuaigh go Coláiste na Tríonóide. Leis an sagartacht a bhí sé ag dul ach níor lig a thuairimí faoi thábhacht na deagántachta dó dul thar an ngrád sin agus níor oirníodh é. Bhí sé ina churáideach in Ard Mhacha agus i mBaile na Scríne (1843-51). Nuair a tairgeadh dó beathúnas Inis Ceithleann, arbh fhiú £1,000 sa bhliain é, ar choinníoll go nglacfadh sé le hord sagairt, dhiúltaigh sé é. Ba chara mór leis an Easpag William Reeves é agus nuair a d’éirigh seisean as bheith ina ardmháistir ar an Scoil Dheoiseach sa Bhaile Meánach ceapadh é ina chomharba air.

Deir Ó Tuathail: ‘In his student days King had acquired some knowledge of Southern Irish. When he went to the North he resolved never to speak Irish to any Ulster Irish speakers “for fear of contaminating the purer Munster Irish”. But he was so fond of the language that his good resolution broke down and he loved to greet any Irish speakers he could find in the neighbourhood of Ballinascreen.’ Ba é a chéadspreag spéis Reeves i stair na hÉireann, rud a d’admhaigh an t-easpag sa réamhrá le Life of St Columba, 1857. Thug sé aitheasc Gaeilge ar 29 Meitheamh 1843 le linn an léirsithe mhóir ar son Reipéil i nDún Dealgan; d’fhoilsigh Énrí Ó Muirgheasa é in Louth Archaeological Society Journal, 1907: ‘Speech of Mr King, Professor of Irish, The Day the great Repeal Demonstration: Dundalk, 29 June 1843. Delivered to the congregation at Stabanon Chapel’. Tá sé i gcló freisin ag Breandán Ó Buachalla (Studia Hibernica 10 [1970]) agus tuairimíonn sé gurbh é Nioclás Ó Cearnaigh a scríobh síos an óráid mar atá sí i lámhscríbhinn san Acadamh Ríoga. Deir Pádraig Ó Fiannachta (Léachtaí Cholm Chille 1972): ‘Tá óráid King go seolta maorga, agus anamúil go maith ach boladh an íle thall is abhus uaithi.’

Bhí sé ar dhuine den fhoireann nuair a osclaíodh Coláiste Naomh Columba i Stigh Colláin. I gcomhar le Denis Coffey, a ceapadh ina mhúinteoir Gaeilge ann, d’ullmhaigh sé A primer of the Irish language, with copious reading lessons; for the use of the students in the College of St. Columba, 1845. Ba chara le Seán Ó Donnabháin é agus léadh seisean profaí a chuid leabhar ‘and often added characteristic and pithy comments on the sentiments and opinions of the writer which never interfered with their friendly intercourse’. Scríobh sé Sgéul fá Bheatha agus pháis ár d-Tighearna agus ár Slánuíghtheóra, Iosa Críost le h-ághaidh úsáide na n-Ulltach a n-Doire agus a d-Tír Eoghain, an a dteangaidh cuigeadhaigh féin. A m-Baile Atha-Cliath: Clódhbhúailte le Gudmhain agus a Chomh-chúideacht, Sráid Marlborach, Uimhir 79, 1849, aistriúchán ar History of our Blessed Saviour. Deir Ó Tuathail: ‘He had noticed the difference between the language of such printed books as he had access to and the dialect of Irish spoken in mid-Ulster; and in order to make his translation “intelligible to the people” he decided to write in what he considered the everyday language of the people, by “substituting modern words for old ones, and popular for grammatical expressions”.’ Sa réamhrá leis an obair deir King: ‘For example, the language of the Irish Bible is so unlike that which is in common use throughout Ireland, so unlike, for instance, to what is spoken here in Derry and Tyrone, &c, that any ordinary chapter of it, read just as printed, would be quite unintelligible to the generality of hearers around us . . . . So that the many thousands who speak Irish as their mother tongue in the district around here, have never had printed for their own use, in their own plain dialect (I will not say the Holy Scriptures at large, but) even such a short life of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as is here for the first time now supplied to them.’ Scríobh Ó Tuathail faoina raibh tugtha faoi deara ag King i gcanúint Thír Eoghain: ‘When writing the introduction to my Sgéalta Mhuintir Luinigh, I had not seen King’s tract. It is gratifying, therefore, to find that, in respect of the points he mentions, my own description of the Tyrone dialect coincided in almost every particular with his.’

Foilsíodh (An leabharán glas nó) Ceachtanna sóthuigsiona air Stair Eagluise na h-Éirionn in 1850, aistriúchán ar an Easy Lessons in Church History, 1848 a scríobh sé. I measc na leabhar eile a d’fhoilsigh sé tá: The Saintly Triad, or the lives of St. Patrick, St. Columbkille and St Bridget . . .. an account of the cursing of Tarah . . . the visions attributed to St. Patrick and St. Bridget and the prophecies ascribed to St. Columbkille relative to the future of Ireland. Chuir sé eagar in 1861 ar Book of Common Prayer don Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge agus iarradh air eagrán Gaeilge den bhíobla a ullmhú dóibh ach níor lig a dhualgais eile dó é.

Dúradh in Ballymena Observer and County Antrim Advertiser 12 Eanáir 1900: ‘His name must be coupled with that of his friend the late Bishop Reeves. Both take front rank among Celtic scholars and antiquarians and both lived and worked long in Ballymena . . . . Looking into the record of his clerical life, one cannot help being struck with the fact that a man of his mental calibre, accomplished scholarship and acknowledged talents as a writer should have remained all his life in such retired positions.’ Bhí deirfiúr leis, Charlotte, pósta ar James Goodman. Cailleadh é 4 Eanáir 1900.

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