Bíonn a ainm le feiceáil go minic i liostaí na ndaoine a thugadh airgead do Chonradh na Gaeilge sna blianta tosaigh; ach níl a ainm baiste le feiceáil in aon tagairt ná tuairisc díobh. Cérbh é féin? In The Leader 3 Aibreán 1920 scríobhD.P. Moran gur dheartháir é leis an Dr de la Hoyde, Baile Átha Cliath, agus go raibh tamall caite aige in arm an Phápa. Bhain G. F. Berkeley feidhm as a chomhfhreagras in The Irish Battalion in the Papal Army of 1860, 1929. Tá sé sa Leabharlann Náisiúnta (NLI Mss 13,280-13,287). Is léir ar na litreacha gurbh Albert ba ainm dó agus tá a dheartháir, an Dr John O’Connell Delahoyde, luaite iontu. Bhí an dochtúir sin ina chónaí i gCearnóg Rutland (Parnell) nuair a bhí Daonáireamh 1911 á dhéanamh; bhí sé 62 bliain d’aois ag an am agus in aontíos leis bhí a dheirfiúracha Mary Frances (65), Kate (53) agus Maria Theresa Mason (50), baintreach.

In Eaglais Naomh Pól, Cé Árann, Baile Átha Cliath, a baisteadh Albert 3 Deireadh Fómhair 1841. Ba iad a thuismitheoirí Robert and Frances Delahoyde. Níl sloinne na máthar sa taifead ach b’fhéidir gur Raghallach í: ‘Albert O’Reilly Delahoyde’ a thugadh sé air féin sna litreacha uaireanta. Níl ach fíorbheagán eolais ag Berkeley ina thaobh: go raibh sé ar dhuine de 1,400 fear a d’earcaigh A.M. Sullivan, eagarthóir The Nation, do Chathlán Naomh Pádraig in 1860 chun tacú leis an bPápa Pius IX in aghaidh náisiúnaithe na hIodáile. Bhí sé ina mhaorsháirsint sa chathlán sin. Chuaigh sé isteach ina dhiaidh sin in arm an Phápa mar zouave agus rinneadh captaen de in 1867. Bhí sé i gceannas ar chomplacht le linn chosaint na Róimhe in 1870. Chuir titim na stát Pápach deireadh obann le cúrsa míleata a shaoil. ‘For him the fall of the Temporal Power wrecked a promising career. After the disbandment of the Papal Zouaves he was for many years in charge of the mails between London and Brindisi, being an accomplished linguist’ (Berkeley). Ag pointe éigin phós sé agus bhí iníon amháin ar a laghad aige, Christine, a bhí ag cur fúithi in Bengal nuair a bhí sí ag scríobh chuig Berkeley. Bhí mac amháin ar a laghad aige, J. De La Hoyde.

Níl a fhios go cruinn cathain a thosaigh a spéis sa teanga. Is dóigh gurbh é an Albert Delahoyde (81 Sráid na Banríona, Baile Átha Cliath) é a thug sintiús do Antiquities, 1858 le Martin O’Brennan. Bhí sé ina bhall de Chomhairle Aontacht na Gaeilge in 1891 (Irisleabhar na Gaedhilge, Bealtaine 1891). Seo é an méid a scríobh D.P. Moran ina thaobh i dtuairisc úd The Leader: ‘We first read, or rather tried to read, portions of Séadna in the London Gaelic League about 20 years ago. We knew that it was bold, breaking away from the conventions of pedants and scholars, real or alleged. At that time, one of the members, since dead, was Captain de la Hoyde. . . . The captain was then rather advanced in years as far as we recollect. He had no blas. He served in his time in the Papal Zouaves and on one occasion whilst in Italy came in for ridicule because he claimed to be Irish and was an English speaker. A professing Irishman with no knowledge of Irish was laughed at. The result was that Captain de la Hoyde, being so stung by the deserved ridicule, decided to learn Irish. If we recollect rightly, he was a very regular and earnest student at the classes of the London Gaelic League in those days and Keating was his author. . . . Well, to return to Captain de la Hoyde, who had no blas and who was a great student of Keating—Séadna upset him completely. It was not the Irish of Keating and we can recall his natural and rather despairing remark: “Ah, this is slang”.’

In ainneoin a raibh le rá ag an Móránach thuairiscigh Fáinne an Lae 21 Bealtaine 1898 gur mhol an Captaen go bhfoilseofaí Mionchomhrá leis an Athair Peadar. Bhí sé sásta airgead a thabhairt mar chabhair lena fhoilsiú. Thuairiscigh an uimhir chéanna den pháipéar gur thug sé síntiús d’Fheis na Gaillimhe. Toghadh ina bhall de Chraobh Londan é 3 Samhain na bliana céanna (Conradh na Gaeilge i Londain 1894-1917, 1989 le Donncha Ó Súilleabháin) agus thug sé síntiús le haghaidh leabharlann Árann (Fáinne an Lae 3 Nollaig 1898). I dTeach Knaresborough, Earl’s Court, Londain, a bhí cónaí air ag an am (idem 14 Eanáir 1899). Bhí sé ag Oireachtas agus ag Comhdháil 1899 i mBaile Átha Cliath. Thaitin ceantar Eanach Dhúin leis. Chomh fada siar le samhradh 1896 d’fhan sé seacht seachtain ann agus thug tuairisc ar a shaoire san Ard-Chraobh. ‘In the first place he made satisfactory progress in familiarizing himself with the spoken language, this being the object of the visit. He found, however, that the natives were given to the wholesale introduction of English words, with the usual áil and áilte to give an Irish dress, and this when there was no difficulty in providing a suitable Irish word. Many of the young folks, too, were ashamed of their Irish, and pretended ignorance of it. Of course he lost no time in making them ashamed of their shame, and in showing them that the ignorance they simulated was ignorance indeed’ (idem Lúnasa 1896). Bhí tuairisc in Fáinne an Lae 22 Aibreán 1899 gur aistrigh sé go Conamara agus dúradh in An Claidheamh Soluis 11 Samhain go raibh sé i láthair ag Feis Eanach Dhúin agus gur bhronn sé duaiseanna ar na daltaí scoile ba mhinice a labhraíodh Gaeilge taobh amuigh den scoil. ‘We trust that this gentleman’s example will be followed by Irishmen of means’. Tuairiscíodh in Fáinne an Lae 18 Samhain: ‘In the west the Gaelic language must be saved, in the west it must be cultivated. No one is better aware of this than Captain Delahoyde who has acquired his knowledge on the spot. Add to this that he has always been a warm though unostentatious sympathiser with every effort on behalf of the Gaelic and amid the distractions of honourable employment all over Europe has never forgotten its claims. We have good reason then to be gratified that he has planted the Gortrua system in Connacht for the accent of which he has a strong preference’. Tuairiscíodh in An Claidheamh Soluis 12 Eanáir 1901 gur bhronn sé imleabhair 1-3 d’imleabhair Chumann na Scríbheann Gaeilge (ITS) ar leabharlann Árann.

Deir Donnchadh Ó Súilleabháin gur chuir sé £5 ar fáil i 1902 le haghaidh leabhair ar ‘An chóir is fearr chun Gaeilge a mhúineadh’ agus gur ghnóthaigh Peadar Mac Fhionnlaoich an duais sin lena Handbook of Irish teaching (Conradh na Gaeilge i Londain 1894-1917). Ba é a sholáthair na duaiseanna sa chomórtas reacaireachta ag Oireachtas 1902. Nuair a d’éag sé i Londain ar 22 Eanáir 1905 ní raibh aon tuairisc in An Claidheamh Soluis. Thug a mhac, J. De La Hoyde, eolas faoina bhás don chláraitheoir. ‘Captain late Pontifical Zouaves’ an ghairm bheatha a luadh sa teastas.

Diarmuid Breathnach

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