Ó MURCHADHA, Gearóid (1901–1959) Gearóid Ó MURCHADHA 1901 1959 Cluain Eois, Co. Mhuineacháin M Scoil Chnoc San Beinidict, Guaire, Co. Loch Garman An Coláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath bailitheoir béaloidis [B9] scoláire bailitheoir béaloidis scoláire Gaeilge/Ceiltise/Béaloidis [B9] Diarmuid Breathnach Máire Ní Mhurchú Fiontar, Ollscoil Chathair Bhaile Átha Cliath i gcomhar le Cló Iar-Chonnachta agus bunúdair na mbeathaisnéisí, Diarmuid Breathnach agus Máire Ní Mhurchú Foilsiú ar líne These pages may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Please go to http://www.ainm.ie/ for more information. 2010

I gCluain Eois, Co. Mhuineacháin, a rugadh Henry Gerard Murphy ar 2 Bealtaine 1901. Aturnae ab ea a athair Henry Murphy agus ba í Mary Travers (née Donnelly) a mháthair. Bhí sé ar scoil i Mount Saint Benedict, coláiste cáiliúil an Athar John F. Sweetman (d’éag 27 Márta 1953) in aice le Guaire. Francis Ormsby an múinteoir Gaeilge a bhí aige ann. “There he developed a taste for Classics and for Irish. Francis Ormsby, a fellow learner with me at the summer school of Irish, Coláiste Chonnacht, Tourmakeady, in 1911, was Gerard’s first teacher of Irish. When I first met him he was teaching Classics at the Grammar School, Sligo. He became an enthusiastic student of Irish, and I am sure was an inspiring teacher” (Colm Ó Lochlainn, Studies, Fómhar 1959).

Ghnóthaigh Gearóid scoláireacht i gColáiste Ollscoile Bhaile Átha Cliath agus bhain amach céim sa léann clasaiceach agus céim mháistir ar ball. Bhí an léann Ceilteach á tharraingt de réir a chéile san am. D’fhreastalaíodh sé de ghnáth ar léachtaí an Aimhirgínigh agus John Lloyd-Jones.

Ar feadh dhá bhliain bhí sé ag obair sa Leabharlann Náisiúnta agus bhí tionchar ag Richard Irvine Best ansiúd air. Phós sé Máire Ní Néill as Luimneach i 1924. Rugadh mac is iníon dóibh. B’éigean dó an tréimhse 1925–30 a chaitheamh san Eilvéis toisc drochshláinte. Ar fhilleadh dó fuair sé post i gColáiste Ollscoile Bhaile Átha Cliath. Is air a iarradh i 1932 an aiste i dtaobh na litríochta a scríobh don Saorstát Éireann Official Handbook. I 1938 ceapadh é ina léachtóir le litríocht na Gaeilge. Ceapadh ina Ollamh le Stair na Litríochta Ceiltí é i 1948.

Mar is léir ar an liosta d’aistí, léirmheasanna agus de leabhair a scríobh sé idir 1920 agus 1959 (Éigse, Iml. X, Cuid a 1, Fómhar 1961) bhí spéis aige san uile ghné de léann na Gaeilge. Murab ionann is go leor de dheisceabail an Aimhirgínigh thug sé suntas d’fhiúntas liteartha na seanlitríochta. “Indeed one of his gifts was to be able to link the past with the present and to show thereby the tenacity of Irish tradition”, dar le Brian Ó Cuív (Éigse, Geimhreadh 1959–60).

Bhí dúil ar leith aige sa bhéaloideas agus i rith a chuairteanna minice ar Chúil Aodha agus ar Chorca Dhuibhne bhíodh sé ag bailiú na bpaidreacha dúchais. “An Phaidir gheal” ba theideal dá chéad aiste riamh (in An Reult 1920). Dúirt Colm Ó Lochlainn ina taobh: “... as an example of well-written Modern Irish, free alike from triviality and pomposity, lucid and grammatical, it is a great achievement for a boy scarce twenty years of age”. An cnuasach a rinne sé i gCorca Dhuibhne tá sé i gcló in Éigse, Iml. 111, Cuid a 2, Geimhreadh 1941.

Scríobh sé, nó chuir sé eagar ar, na leabhair seo a leanas: Duanaire Finn, Part II (1933); Catalogue of Irish Manuscripts in the Royal Irish Academy, Fasc. XI (1933) – agus, i bpáirtíocht le Winefred Wulff, Fasc. XVIII i 1935 – Glimpses of Gaelic Ireland (1948); Duanaire Finn (1954) – deir Brian Ó Cuív an méid seo faoi: “Owing partly to printing difficulties during the war of 1939–45 twenty-one years elapsed before the publication of Part III, a volume of 573 pages ... this last volume is a fundamental work for all future students of Celtic mythology”; Saga and myth in ancient Ireland (1955); The Ossianic lore and romantic tales of medieval Ireland (1955); Early Irish lyrics (1956).

Síltear gurb iad Duanaire Finn agus Early Irish lyrics an dá shaothar ba thábhachtaí uaidh. Dúirt Ó Lochlainn faoi Early Irish lyrics: “Of the 58 poems some had been already edited by Stokes and Strachan in their monumental Thesaurus Paleohibernicus, some by Thurneysen in Irische Texte, many by Meyer in the Zeitschrift, in Ériu and elsewhere. But Gerard, while making full use of their work, went to prime sources for his basic text and with his unfailing judgement built up, word by word and line by line, a satisfactory verse form to fit the period of composition. He has limited the scope of the anthology to poems which can with reasonable certainty be dated from the 8th to the 12th century. What a well-worded translation he gives us, what full and satisfying notes both on language, metrics and editorial background, what a splendid glossary and index of names”.

An tsraith de 20 Leabhair ó Láimhsgríbhnibh a d’fhoilsigh Oifig an tSoláthair idir 1941 agus 1955, cuireadh in eagar iad faoi stiúradh Uí Mhurchadha. Ba é freisin a d’ullmhaigh Scéal mo bheatha (1940) le Seán Bán Ó Céileachair le haghaidh a fhoilsithe. I 1938 bhunaigh sé Éigse: a journal of Irish studies le cabhair an airgid a d’fhág Adam Boyd Simpson le huacht agus bhí sé ina eagarthóir go dtí lá a bháis. I gcuntas a scríobh Brian Ó Cuív air (Northern Standard, 24 April 1959) dúirt sé: “He had hoped to write a comprehensive history of Irish literature and he had done much of the preparatory work, but he had not been spared to complete it. Irish studies have suffered a great loss by his death”. D’éag sé ar 15 Aibreán 1959. I 1961 foilsíodh a shaothar deiridh Early Irish metrics. Tionóladh comhdháil sa Choláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath, ina chuimhne agus thug an Dr Garret Fitzgerald, Seansailéir Ollscoil na hÉireann, agus an tOllamh Pádraig A. Breatnach ómós dó lena linn. Tá an t-ómós agus na páipéir acadúla a léadh i gcló in Éigse 32, 2000.