Sampla eile í den bhean ardaicmeach Phrotastúnach a chuir spéis sa teanga i mblianta tosaigh an 20ú haois. I mBinn Éadair, Co. Bhaile Átha Cliath, a rugadh í 11 Meitheamh 1890. Tá cuntas uirthi ag Risteárd Ó Glaisne in De bhunadh Protastúnach nó rian Chonradh na Gaeilge, 2000. Ba í an t-aon duine clainne í ag Edward Parnall Culverwell (1855-1931), matamaiticeoir a bheadh ina Ollamh le hOideachas i gColáiste na Tríonóide ar ball, agus Edith Geraldine FitzGerald, iníon le William FitzGerald, Easpag Chorcaí, a bhfuil cuntas air in Oxford dictionary of national biography, 2004. Nuair a rinneadh daonáireamh 1901 bhí Beatrice féin, a hathair agus a máthair sa teach mór i mBinn Éadair. De réir an daonáirimh sin bhí ceathrar Caitliceach Éireannacha fostaithe acu agus Protastúnach Sasanach mar mháistreás cónaithe acu. Taispeánann daonáireamh 1911 go raibh an lánúin pósta le 27 bliain, gurbh fhochéimí í Beatrice agus go raibh Gaeilge aici. I gColáiste Alexandra a bhí sí ar scoil. Eithne a thugadh sí uirthi féin ar feadh tamaill; faoin ainm sin a thug sí an léacht ‘Ancient Irish Religious Literature’ ag Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise i 1914. I 1913 bhuaigh sí Modhnóireacht sna Teangacha Ceilteacha i gColáiste na Tríonóide. Bhí sí ina ball de Chonradh na Gaeilge cheana féin agus cairdiúil le Dubhghlas de hÍde. Deir Ó Glaisne go raibh a tuismitheoirí báúil a bheag nó a mhór le teachtaireacht Chonradh na Gaeilge; a hathair a chuidigh leis an rún 22 Eanáir 1914 (Ó Glaisne, Coláiste Mobhí, 2002) go mbunófaí Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise. Phós sí i 1916 Gustavus E. Hamilton (1882-1918), scoláire dlí i gColáiste na Tríonóide, abhcóide, ball de Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann; tá ábhar leis sna hirisí seandálaíochta agus ba é a scríobh An Account of the Honourable Society of King’s Inns, Dublin, 1915.

Phós sí ina dhiaidh sin an tUrramach George F. Hamilton a scríobh In Saint Patrick’s Praise: the hymn of Secundinus (Sechnall), c.1920 agus Saint Patrick and his age, 1932. Rugadh triúr leanaí dóibh. Maigh Locha, Co. na Gaillimhe, a seoladh um Nollaig 1921 nuair a chuir Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise fáilte roimh Éamonn de Valera (An Ghaeilge in Eaglais na hÉireann, 1990 le Risteárd Giltrap).

In alt san Irish Times 25 Feabhra 1967 féachann Beatrice siar (‘One Protestant’s claim to Irish identity’): ‘Despite my involvement with the Gaelic League at the beginning of the century, was I really justified in maintaining a completely Irish stance, in view of my Anglo-Irish Ascendancy background? My father, born in Ireland, always counted himself an Irishman (though for most of his life a Unionist). My mother’s family, the FitzGeralds, must throughout the centuries have absorbed a fair share of Irish blood – was there not a Gaelic poet amongst their number? Was it this drop of Gaelic blood that caused me as a child, poking about an untidy pile of books in my bachelor uncle’s house, to pick up O’Growney and amuse myself copying out the Irish alphabet? And I remember complaining to my mother that I got only English history at school, whereupon she bought me a small Irish history of Joyce. Then when I was about 17 I was lent a copy of Mrs Hutton’s verse translation of “The Táin” and was thrilled by it.’ Bhí sí glan in aghaidh Éirí Amach 1916 ach ar son féinrialtais. B’fhéidir gurb é seo an píosa is suntasaí san alt: ‘But the most serious inhibition working against my complete integration is this: my people never suffered persecution. Consciously or unconsciously the centuries of persecution are embedded in the collective memory of all Roman Catholic Irishmen – persecution by my people. For this I stand humiliated before them.’

In Focus, Aibreán 1960 deir sí: ‘The idealists had spilled their blood for high traditions of culture rather than for material independence, but the people had too long lost these traditions to be interested. Cultural independence could in my opinion have been won in the liberal world of the early years of the century, had the people willed it. Much had already been done to that end. But it takes political slogans to rouse a people. The idealists gave their lives and the slogans were left empty of content.’ D’éag sí 4 Aibreán 1982.

Diarmuid Breathnach

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