‘Hayden and Moonan’ (Mary Hayden and George Moonan, A short history of the Irish people from the earliest times to 1920, 1921) an leabhar staire ba mhó díolachán riamh in Éirinn, b’fhéidir. Ba é an téacsleabhar oifigiúil sna meánscoileanna é ar feadh breis agus 30 bliain.

I mBaile Átha Cliath a rugadh Máire Ní Aodáin ar 19 Bealtaine 1862. Bhí a hathair Tomás ina ollamh le hanatamaíocht san Ollscoil Chaitliceach. Ba as Parsonville i dTiobraid Árann dá hathair Thomas Hayden; bhí seisean ina leas-Uachtarán ar Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann agus ar Choláiste na Lianna. Ba Phrotasúnach a athairsean ach is leis an gCreideamh Caitliceach Rómhánach a tógadh é. Bhí sé pósta ar Marianne Ryan [Field Day. Anthology of Irish Writing, imleabhar 5, 2002]. D’éag sise c.1873. Luadh mac amháin, John. Ba í Máire an t-aon iníon a bhí acu (Scéala Éireann). Bhí cónaí ar an teaghlach ag 18 Cearnóg Mhuirfean. D’éag Thomas Hayden, a rugadh 1823, ar 31 Deireadh Fómhair 1881. B’fhiú £3,514 a eastát. Ag am a báis bhí cónaí ar Mháire ag 26 Bóthar Cambridge, Ráth Maonais. B’fhiú £2,726 a heastát. Bhí sí ar scoil i gColáiste Alexandra agus chaith sí tamall éigin dá hóige san Ataen. Scríobh Úna Ní Fhaircheallaigh cuntas uirthi in Alexandra College Magazine, Nollaig 1942 agus dúirt ann go bhfuair sí scolaíocht sa Chlochar Ursalach i nDurlas, gurbh as Tiobraid Arainn dá hathair, agus go raibh mac altrama aici. Chaith Máire tamall i gClochar na nUrsalach i nDurlas agus tamall in Mount Anville, Baile Átha Cliath. Níor thaitin scoileanna cónaithe léi agus chaith sí deireadh a cuid meánscolaíochta i scoil a bhí ag mná rialta Mount Anville i Sráid Fhearchair, Baile Átha Cliath. Bhí sí trioblóideach réabhlóideach; thugadh sí dúshlán a hathar ag caitheamh toitíní, rud nach gcleachtaíodh mná. Tá focal D. A. Binchy againn ar a líofacht a bhí nua-Ghréigis aici. Bhain sí B.A. amach i gColáiste Ollscoile Bhaile Átha Cliath in 1885. Tá a hainm ar bharr liosta na ndaoine a shaighneáil ‘The Case of the Catholic Lady Students of the Royal University of Ireland stated’ in 1887. Ghnóthaigh sí M.A. le honóracha an bhliain dár gcionn agus bhí ina Comhalta Sóisearach den Ollscoil Ríoga ó 1895 go 1899. Toisc gur bhean í a diúltaíodh í a cheapadh ina hollamh í 1902. Nuair a bunaíodh an Irish Association of Women Graduates an bhliain sin is í Máire a toghadh ina Leas-Uachtarán. Í féin agus Úna Ní Fhaircheallaigh is mó a dhein troid ar son stádas na mban i gcúrsaí ollscolaíochta. Bhí Máire ina ball den chéad Seanad d’Ollscoil na hÉireann.

Bhí spéis aici ní hamháin i gceart vótála do mhná ach i mbanghiúróirí agus banghardaí. Dhéanadh sí diúité deonach póilíneachta ar shráideanna Bhaile Átha Cliath go deireanach san oíche. Bhí dúil aici in athbheochan na Gaeilge agus ba bhall de Choiste GnóChonradh na Gaeilge í. Sa chuntas iarbháis in Scéala Éireann 13 Iúil 1942, sa tagairt dá raibh le rá fúithi ag Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, dúradh go raibh baint aici le gluaiseacht na Gaeilge sular bunaíodh Conradh na Gaeilge. Deirtear gurbh í an cara mná ba mhó ag an bPiarsach í. Bhí sí ina stiúrthóir aige ar bhord Scoil Éanna. Foilsíodh i 1910 a leabhrán Facts about the Irish language and the Irish language movement. Ceapadh ina hOllamh le Nua-Stair na hÉireann í i 1911 i gColáiste Ollscoile Bhaile Átha Cliath. Bhí an post sin aici ar feadh seacht mbliana is fiche. D’éag Máire Ní Aodáin ar 12 Iúil 1942.

D’fhág an tOllamh Máire Ní Mhaicín an pictiúr seo againn dí: ‘In late Victorian and Early Edwardian Dublin Mary Hayden was a well-known and somewhat singular figure ... the gladstone bag gripped, business-like fashion, in one small hand; the short stamping step and somewhat idling gait (she was an habitual cyclist). In defiance of the fashion of the time she wore her skirts short and showing at the front waist-line an “Albert” or heavy gold chain she carried in a skirt pocket; it had, somehow, a mannish effect!’ (‘Women in the University and the College’ by Professor Mary M. Macken in Struggle with fortune, 1954). Tá cuntas ag Mary M. Macken uirthi in Studies, 1942: ‘The only daughter of a distinguished Dublin physician, she escaped the necessity of applying herself to teaching immediately after her graduation in Royal University in 1884. She was free to proceed to an Honours M.A. in modern languages and to a Junior Fellowship in English and History, a distinction to which, before then, women had neither aspired nor attained. A fortunate pioneer, she could indulge, while still in her twenties or early thirties, the urge for wider study and travel which led her into Greece, India and America. Her sojourn in these countries would have had the same character as that of an intellectual man of her time for she was an intrepid traveller. She remained an eager one and later revisited Greece, leading a party of men students and friends there in the early years of her U.C.D. professorship. America she also saw again later when she went on a lecturing tour – a marked success. It was during the early travels that she added Modern Greek, Hindustani and Sanskrit to the usual repertory of the then graduates in Arts.’ Bhunaigh sí club do pháistí bochta: ‘wrote plays for them to act, baked and cooked for them and cut clothes for them.’ Bhí le rá aici freisin: ‘She was that rare and precious thing – a great Christian personality – impressing herself indelibly on the movements of her time. Many of these – such as Women’s Suffrage, Gaelic League, Higher Education of Women, Women Graduates, Women Citizens, etc – she led with conspicious if quiet success.’ ‘A hardy cyclist and a capable swimmer, though she was well over seventy when she learned to dive. But she did it!’

Foilsíodh The Diaries of Mary Hayden 1878-1903, 2006, cúig imleabhar in eagar ag Conan Kennedy. Tá eolas ag an eagarthóir ann faoina muintir agus a cairde, mar aon le leabharliosta. Tosaíonn an dialann 1 Eanáir 1878. Is léir go mbíodh sí buartha faoina sláinte agus faoi chúrsaí airgid. Tugann sí eolas ar na turais a thug sí ar an nGréig agus an India. Ar 8 Nollaig 1897 scríobhann sí: ‘Had my first Irish lesson and found it interesting.’ Faoi 1902 bhí sí féin ag múineadh na teanga. Chuaigh sí go Conamara 29 Márta 1902 in éineacht le E.E. Fournier D’Albe, Éamonn Ó NéillChill Mhantáin, Pádraig Mac Piarais, John Sinclair Boyd, Máire Pelly agus scata eile. Ar 19 Bealtaine 1902: ‘To Mr Moore’s Garden Party where Dr Hyde’s little play “The Tinker and the Fairy” – in Irish of course – was played. It is a charming little thing but it didn’t amuse me. I left early and went home.’ Ar 23 Bealtaine 1902: ‘This was the day of the Gaelic League Congress and certainly we made a day of it. ... Congress again from 8 to 11 and there was a big breeze, owing to the Keating Branch. It was really unpleasant. I went home, alone, very tired indeed at 11.30.’ Ar 1 Eanáir 1903 scríobhann sí: ‘Here I am down at Letterfrack, Co. Galway, trying to get practice in Irish speaking. Mr Pearse, an enthusiastic Gaelic Leaguer (B.A., B.L.), is my companion and there is no one else except a young priest at the hotel. Mr Pearse is only 23, young enough if I had married very early indeed, to be my son yet Hester [iníon le George Sigerson B1], and I dare say others, didn’t think my coming with him over proper: however – I came and he at least seems to have no hesitation in accepting the situation as a matter of course, which is a blessing.’ Bhí sí geallta le Arthur Conan (1866-1903). Bhí seisean i ndrochshláinte agus d’éag sé san Aifric Theas 13 Lúnasa 1903. Stopann an dialann 3 Lúnasa 1903: ‘ ... Arthur is dying and I must trudge along through the twilight and into the darkness alone.’ Foilsíodh A Selection of Mary Hayden’s Writings, 2006.

Diarmuid Breathnach

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