Bhí sé ina ollamh le Gaeilge i gColáiste na Banríona, Gaillimh, 1856-62. In Bibliography of Irish Philology and of Printed Irish Literature, 1913 tá na leabhair seo liostaithe faoina ainm ag R.I. Best: Scéla na Esérgi. A treatise on the Resurrection, now printed for the first time from the original Irish in Lebor na Huidre with a literal translation, 1865; The Amra Choluim Chilli: now printed for the first time from the original Irish in Lebor na Huidre, a MS. in the Library of the Royal Irish Academy; with a literal translation and notes, a grammatical analysis of the text, and copious indexes, 1871. Idir 1870 agus 1885 bhí téacsanna agus aistriúcháin i gcló faoina ainm in Journal of the Royal Historical and Archaeological Association of Ireland agus Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. Deir D.J. O’Donoghue (The Poets of Ireland; a biographical and biographical dictionary of Irish writers of English verse, 1912) gur chum sé dánta a raibh cuid díobh i gcló in Duffy’s Fireside Magazine 1851-54. Bhí sé ina bhall de chomhairle an Chumainn Oisínigh.

Ba mhac é le Thomas Crowe, an Chraobhach, Conga, Co. Mhaigh Eo. Ba í an Ghaeilge a theanga dhúchais. Bhí sé 26 bliain d’aois nuair a chuaigh sé mar mhac léinn go Coláiste na Banríona, Béal Feirste. In 1853 ghnóthaigh sé BA: ba iad na hábhair a bhí aige Laidin, Gréigis agus seanstair, agus cháiligh sin é chun cur isteach ar onóracha sa Ghaeilge. D’fhan sé sa choláiste go 1854. In The Amra Choluim Chilli of Dallan Forgaill: now printed for the first time from the original Irish in, a ms. in the library of the Royal Irish academy; with a literal translation and notes, a grammatical analysis of the text , and copious indexes tá an méid seo ina thaobh: ‘Gold medallist in Ancient Classics and Ancient Literature; Gold medallist in the Celtic Languages and Literature.’ Scríobh sé The Catholic University and the Irish language, 1854, paimfléad, agus rinne na moltaí seo ann: ‘Let the study of the Hiberno-Celtic, for two sessions at least, of the under-graduate course, be made imperative upon all students who are natives of Ireland, and for high distinction in it let special honours be assigned. It will not be sufficient that a course of lectures be given annually in the history of Irish literature: the language itself, as it was spoken and written in the days of Columba and Adamnan and in each succeeding age down to the present, must be taught to the Irish student . . .. If that university is to command the support of all who love their fatherland and the glories of their ancient race; if that University is to turn out from its halls men who will be capable of vindicating the character of antient Ireland from the absurd calumnies heaped on her both at home and abroad—men who will feel no difficulty in accurate reference to original documents and other irrefutable tests: then, I say, the study of the Hiberno-Celtic, to the extent which I have pointed out above, is indispensable to its curriculum. Our darling Celtic still lives, though in an altered state, on the shelves of our libraries and on the tongues and in the hearts of our people. It is the common language of the whole of the province of Connaught and of many other portions of our island. And not in the country districts alone, but in the capital of that province it is the medium of verbal communication between man and man: in fact it may still be called the universal language of Ireland.’ Léirigh sé ann go raibh drochmheas aige ar an Irish Archaeological Society toisc gur fhoilsigh siad, dar leis, ‘adulterated copies of antient Irish Manuscripts’ a bhí bunaithe ar ‘paper transcripts made by some illiterate copyist of the last century.’

Is é an cur síos a rinne sé air féin sa leathanach teidil: ‘Senior Scholar of Queen’s College, Belfast.’ Dar le D.J. O’Donoghue go ndearna Crowe gach dícheall chun an paimfléad a shochtadh beagnach láithreach i ndiaidh a fhoilsithe.

Ba iad na scoláirí a raibh baint acu lena cheapadh mar Ollamh le Gaeilge i nGaillimhJames Henthorn Todd, Charles Graves agus Seán Ó Donnabháin. Mar a tharla i gcoláistí Bhéal Feirste agus Chorcaí, is beag má bhí aon mhic léinn ag cur spéise sa Ghaeilge: ní raibh aon duine ag Crowe in 1856-7; triúr an bhliain dár gcionn; gan aon duine aige in 1858-9; triúr arís in 1859-60; seisear in 1860-1; gan aon duine arís an bhliain dár gcionn. D’éirigh sé as an bpost in 1862 de dheasca easláinte agus níor líonadh an folúntas go ceann caoga bliain nach mór.

Ar feadh tamaill bhí sé ag cabhrú le Seán Ó Donnabháin agus Eoghan Ó Comhraí in Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann chun na lámhscríbhinní Gaeilge a chlárú. Tá 23 lámhscríbhinn dá chuid san Acadamh. Cibé fáth a bhí leis, an tromólachán, b’fhéidir, ní raibh cead isteach i Leabharlann an Acadaimh aige ó 1868 amach.

D’éag John O’Beirne Crowe, ‘Late Professor in Royal Irish Academy’, baitsiléir darb aois caoga bliain, ag 1 Cúirt Johnson, Baile Átha Cliath, 13 Nollaig 1874. ‘General break up of constitution’ ba thrúig bháis dó, de réir an teastais báis. Níl d’eolas in achoimre a uachta ach go raibh deartháir aige (‘John Crowe, late of Dublin, Professor of Literature, a bachelor, effects under £100 . . . probate to James Crowe of 36, Old Cross St, Birmingham, iron dealer, brother’). Tuairiscíodh in Galway Vindicator and Connaught Advertiser 19 Nollaig: ‘We have to record the death which occurred on Tuesday last in Dublin of Mr John O’Byrne[sic] Crowe who at one time held the the position of Professor of Languages in the Queen’s College in this city. Mr Crowe was well known as the translator of Irish mss and was also the author of various works on Irish literature. He lately returned from London where he was engaged at the British Museum in making extracts from some ancient mss deposited there. Since his return he has been in delicate health and died rather unexpectedly at 5 o’clock on Tuesday evening.’ In Irish Times 14 December 1874, faoin gceannteideal ‘Sad death of a literary man’, dúradh: ‘A gentleman named John O’Byrne [sic] Crowe who at one time held the position of Professor of Languages in the Queen’s College, Galway, died yesterday after a short illness in a house in Johnson’s Court, off Britain Street, where he had been lodging. It is said that he was an excellent Irish scholar. For some years he had eked out a miserable livelihood by translating books for small sums, which he rapidly spent on drink, as he was of most intemperate habits.’ Thagair Henri Gaidoz in Revue Celtique, 3, 1876-78 don ólachán agus don saol Boithéimeach a chaitheadh sé. (Tá na húdair fíorbhuíoch den Ollamh Breandán Ó Madagáin a thug dúinn eolas a bhí curtha le chéile aige le haghaidh ‘Irish: A Difficult Birth’ in From Queen’s College to National University, 1999 in eagar ag Tadhg Foley. Má tá botún sa mhéid sin thuas ní ar an Ollamh Ó Madagáin atá a mhilleán le cur).

Diarmuid Breathnach

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