Is mar ‘Risteard Craobhach’ a thagraíonn Céitinn dó agus luaitear an sloinne Ó Maolchraoibhe leis freisin. Bhain tábhacht leis i ngluaiseacht an Fhrith-Reifirméisin. Maítear gurbh é a scríobh an chéad chuntas eolaíoch ar an nGaeilge agus an chéad chaiticeasma. Tá cuntais air in Dictionary of National Biography, ag Colm Lennon in An Irish prisoner of conscience of the Tudor era: Archbishop Richard Creagh of Armagh, 1523–86, 2000: agus in History Ireland Iml 8, uimh 3, Fómhar 2000 (‘A dangerous man to be among the Irish: Archbishop Richard Creagh and the early Irish Counter-Reformation’). I gcathair Luimnigh a rugadh an mac seo le Nicholas Creagh, ceannaí, agus a bhean Johanna White. Cuireadh oideachas air in Ollscoil Lováin mar a raibh sparántacht ón Impire Séarlas V aige. Is dóigh gur go luath sna 1550idí a oirniodh é i ndeoise Mechelin. D’fhill sé ar Luimneach tuairim 1557 agus bhí ag múineadh ann agus bhunaigh scoil ghramadaí ann. Deir Lennon: ‘Throughout his career he displayed the humanist’s zeal for reformation through pedagogy, advocating the foundation of more schools and a university in Ireland. He prided himself on having obtained a bull from Pope Pius IV for the foundation of a pontifical college in Ireland, and seventeenth-century commentators attributed the foundation of seminaries for Irish students on the continent to his pioneering efforts.’ Deir John J. Silke in A New History of Ireland III, 1976 in eagar ag Moody, Martin agus Byrne (‘The Irish Abroad 1534–1691’): ‘... this Limerick merchant who left his wares in Spain for the priesthood and long suffering in prison may perhaps be regarded as the father of the Irish colleges abroad.’

Bhí spéis aige i mbeathaí na naomh, i stair na hÉireann agus sa Ghaeilge. Scríobh sé ‘Chronicon Hiberniae’, lámhscríbhinn a bhí imithe gan tuairisc faoi sheascaidí an 17ú haois; ba chuid di ‘Topographica Hiberniae’. Scríobh sé ‘De Lingua Hibernica’, tráchtas ar an teanga. ‘A short summary of his treatise on Irish grammar survives, sufficient to show that he had a thorough grasp of the language’ an cur síos a dhéanann Lennon ar an lámhscríbhinn seo. Deir Anne Cronin in Éigse, geimhreadh 1944 [1945] (‘Printed Sources of Keating’s “Forus Feasa”’): ‘Among his works is the De Lingua Hibernica. Some extracts from this work are among the MSS in the library of Trinity College, Dublin. It is from the De Lingua Hibernica Keating quotes in ii, 52. There is no reference to the work in Bradshaw’s Catalogue, or the Catalogues of the British Museum and the Bibliothèque Nationale. Sir James Ware in his preface to The Historie of Ireland, 1633, refers to the “De lingua Hibernica” as being extant in the original manuscript in his time. It is unlikely that the book was ever published and very possibly Keating’s quotation is taken from a manuscript version.’ Marthaca lena ráiteas ‘gurb é an Scoitbhéarla, réráitear Gaeilge, ba teanga bhunúsach do Neimhidh is dá aicme, agus dá réir sin ag Fearaibh Bolg is ag Tuathaibh Dé Danann’ a deir Céitinn: ‘Tig Risteard Craobhach príomháidh Éireann leis an ní-se san leabhar do scríobh sé do bhunús na Gaeilge is aicme Ghaeil. Ag so mar adeir: “Atá” ar sé “an Ghaeilge i ngnáthú in Éirinn ó theacht Neimhidh 630 bliain iar ndílinn gus an lá inniu”.’

Scríobh sé freisin teagasc críostaí dátheangach, ‘The essential duty of a Christian’ nó ‘Epitome officii hominis Christiani’, tuairim 1560. Luaigh John Lynch an caiticeasma sin i 1672; síltear gur foilsíodh é, b’fhéidir, ach níl aon chóip ar marthain. Luann Cronin Catechism in Irish, 1564. Deir Lennon: ‘By composing a bilingual catechism, encapsulating the decrees of the first two sessions of the Council of Trent, Richard Creagh fixed the early Counter-Reformation mission on the Gaelic as well as the English community in Ireland.’

I 1564 ainmníodh é ina Ardeaspag ar Ard Mhacha. Thug sé le fios riamh go raibh sé dilis do choróin Shasana ach bhí meas namhaid air ag na húdaráis toisc a ghradaim nua. Chaith sé trí sheachtain braighdeanais i gCaisleán Bhaile Átha Cliath sular cuireadh go Londain é. D’éirigh leis éalú as Túr Londan. Chaith sé tamall i Lováin agus fuair cúnamh airgid ón Vatacáin. In Éirinn dó bhí an fear ba chumhachtaí san ard-deoise, Seán Ó Néill an Díomais, naimhdeach leis; is é a theastaigh uaidhsean gurbh é a dheartháir altroma, Toirdhealbhach Ó Donnghaile, a bheadh ina Phríomháidh. Le cabhair Maolmhuire Mhic Chraith (c.1523–1622) chuir sé eiriceacht i leith Creagh nuair a bhí seisean ag iarraidh teagasc Chomhairle Thrionta a scaipeadh i measc chléir na deoise. Rinne Ó Néill eaglais Ard Mhacha a argain. Faoi 1567 bhí an tArdeaspag ar ais i dTúr Londan. Bhí ag teip ar a shláinte agus bhí cos amháin leis gan mhaith de dheasca slabhraí. Cailleadh é 14 Deireadh Fómhair 1586; síleadh gur nimh ba thrúig bháis dó. ‘It is possible that Creagh was quietly sacrificed as the grander design of the destruction of Mary, Queen of Scots, was being effected. An alternative symbol of Catholic defiance was removed before the queen’s execution in February 1587’ (Lennon).

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