Tá eolas ag Alan Harrison faoin bhfoclóirí seo in Féilscríbhinn Thomáis de Bhaldraithe, 1986, in eagar ag Seosamh Watson (‘Nótaí faoi Ghraiméir agus Foclóirí Scuitbhéarla i mBaile Átha Cliath 1700–1740’) agus in Ag Cruinniú Meala, 1988. Is dóigh gurb i gContae Bhaile Átha Cliath a rugadh é. Chuaigh sé isteach in Ord San Froinsias agus oirníodh i bPrág é. Chaith sé tamall ag léachtóireacht ar fhealsúnacht agus diagacht i Lováin agus san Iodáil. Bhí sé ina ghairdian ar an mainistir i gClaonadh, Co. Chill Dara, i 1703 agus ina ghairdian i Sráid na gCócairí, Baile Átha Cliath, ó 1714 amach. Bhí sé ina leasphroibhinsial i 1709.

Scríobh sé graiméar Gaeilge i mBéarla i 1713. ‘Grammatica Anglo-Hibernica, or a brief introduction to the Irish Language, composed and first written by Fr. Francis Walsh, Lr. Jub. of Divinity’, saothar atá faoi chomaoin ag Rudimenta Grammaticae HibernicaeGhiolla Brighde Uí Eodhasa . Sa réamhrá míníonn sé an gá a bhí leis: ‘I have done it in English, now the most common and most prevailing Language with the learned and unlearned of our Country, that what was designed for the public use, might the easier be perused, and understood; and what examples are brought down in the Irish. I thought fitte to translate them into English’ (i gcló ag Harrison). An foclóir Gaeilge / Gaeilge a bhí ullmhaithe aige faoi 1706, tá sé bunaithe ar fhoclóir nó sanasán Mhichéil Uí Chléirigh. Deir Harrison: ‘Murab ionann agus foclóir Uí Chléirigh faightear na focail “bhoga” in ord aibítre mínithe i gcrua-Ghaeilge.

Níl ann dá bhrí sin ach foclóir Uí Chléirigh iompaithe droim ar ais’ (Féilscribhinn). Seo é an cur síos barrúil a rinne Éadbhard Ó Raghallaigh air: ‘... wrote an Irish Vocabulary, in which the common words of the Irish language are explained by more ancient and difficult words.’

Luann Tadhg Ó Neachtain é mar ‘oidefhoclóir’ sa dán ina liostaíonn sé scoláirí Gaeilge Bhaile Átha Cliath (ag Tomás Ó Rathile in Gadelica, 1913) agus tá fianaise sa dán molta (i gcló in Féilscribhinn agus ag Cuthbert Mhág Craith in Dán na mBráthar Mionúr [I], 1967) a scríobh sé (‘Froinsias Walsh’) gur chaith Bhailís 15 bliana ag obair ar fhoclóir Laidine, Béarla agus Gaeilge, gur éag sé sula raibh sé críochnaithe aige agus gur thóg Tadhg a chúram air féin. Tá an bhunchóip i Leabharlann Marsh, í i bpeannaireacht Bhailís agus Uí Neachtain. Dúirt Anthony Raymond i 1723: ‘I have a Foclóir Sguitbearla, or Irish Lexicon, in three Volumes in Folio compiled by Mr Walsh, a clergyman of the Church of Rome (one perfectly skilled in the Irish language and writings) which cost him the Labour and Pains of forty Years. For the Benefit of the learned World, I design to put it in the Roman character, and to have it published under the title of the Celtick or Irish Dictionary, and I do not doubt, but so useful a work will be encouraged abroad, where our Language and Writings are more valued than at home’ (i gcló i litir oscailte chuig Iarla Inse Cuinn, an duine ar thiomnaigh Diarmuid Ó Conchubhair a leabhar dó). Deir Harrison gur dóigh gurbh é a bhí i gceist ag Raymond le daichead bliain an tamall a chaith Bhailís ag plé le foclóireacht i gcoitinne agus le teangeolas na Gaeilge. Níor cuireadh an foclóir i gcló riamh. Liostaíonn Walter Harris ina eagrán de shaothar James Ware na leabhair eile seo ó láimh Bhailís: ‘a little book on the Devotion of the Chord entitled Funiculus Triplex, Dublin, 1797’; The Antediluvian World, or, A New Theory of the Earth: Containing a clear account of the form and constitution of the terrestrial globe before the universal deluge : proving it to be quite different from what it is at present : and also of the origin and causes of the said deluge, subterraneous cavities, seas, islands, mountains, Baile Átha Cliath, 1743; Philosophia vetus innovata.

Diarmuid Breathnach

Máire Ní Mhurchú