MAC UILEAGÓID, Risteárd (1756-1818) Risteárd MAC UILEAGÓID 1756 1818 Luimneach M scríbhneoir múinteoir 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 Luimneach a rugadh Richard Pierce MacElligott. Tá cuntas air ag Robert Herbert in ‘Four Limerick Hedge-schoolmasters’, i gcló in Irish Monthly, Feabhra 1944. Deir sé go raibh sé síolraithe ó mhuintir Mhic Uileagóid Chiarraí, brainse de na Súilleabhánaigh, agus ar thaobh na máthar ó mhuintir de Lacy Evans i gContae Luimnigh. Bhí sé ag múineadh i gcathair Luimnigh. I 1796 bhí sé in áit darbh ainm St Peter’s Cell. Ó thart ar 1809 ar aghaidh bhí scoil aige in Crosby Row, taobh leis an ardeaglais sa chathair. Tugann Herbert sampla den fhógraíocht a dhéanadh sé: ‘Richard MacElligott, observing with regret the many years devoted to the Greek and Latin languages, and the very inadequate proficiency; and ever ambitious of a distinguished superiority in his pupils, has through much labour these years past, completed a plan which reduces the Greek and Latin languages to the level of the tenderest capacities and conveys a more accurate and extensive knowledge of them, than can be acquired by any student of ever such attention and abilities in double the time through the Common Course, which, when instructed in this plan, his pupils shall go through with the greatest expedition, facility and ease . . .’. Bhí Gerald Griffin (1803-40) mar dhalta aige agus nuair a scríobh a dheartháirsean a bheathaisnéis thug sé cuntas ar Mhac Uileagóid: ‘One day at a large and respectable school in this city, an odd-looking, half-clad figure, barefooted and bareheaded, flung himself into the room in the manner of a tumbling boy, moved towards the master, walking on his hands, and presently, springing to his feet. It was Richard MacElligott.’ Theastaigh post uaidh agus cuireadh triall air: ‘He sat down, took a pen and wrote a hand so exquisite that it could scarcely be distinguished from an engraving.’ Fostaíodh mar mháistir scríbhneoireachta é agus dhírigh sé ar staidéar ar na clasaicigh gur éirigh leis a bheith in ‘a most respectable classical teacher in the city’. Tá scéalta eile ag Griffin faoi agus d’fhoilsigh fear eile de scoláirí Mhic Uileagóid, Jonathan Furlong [q.v.], paimfléad ag gearán faoi na cuntais áiféiseacha seo. Tharraing Griffin siar iad, ghearr amach as an dara heagrán iad agus chuir nóta moltach ina n-áit.

Bhí sé ina bhall de na hÉireannaigh Aontaithe. Gabhadh é i 1798 agus, in éineacht le 138 eile, coinníodh i bpríosún sa chathair é. Crochadh deichniúr ar an Droichead Nua agus cuireadh daichead thar sáile. I litir a sheol sé ón bpríosún dúirt sé: ‘What shall I suffer walking up and down this dismal place from light to light, with no companion but a man who, three times flogged, lies dying in a corner, a still-breathing corpse; and legions of rats of all ages, which have forgotten the timidity of their species and lord it here with hereditary sway.’ Cuireann sé síos ar choirp na bhfear a crochadh: ‘There were three happy fellows on every lamp on the bridge as I was crossing here; the lantern hoops were breaking so I must wait until some kind friend drops off. They nearly took up all the little footpath, and the toes of some of them were touching it.’ Bhí sé in ann litir a chur amach faoi choim trína greamú de bhonn pláta le píosa práta. D’éirigh leis dul amach ar bhannaí £2,000 ach laghdaíodh go £200 é.

Toghadh é ina bhall onórach den Gaelic Society i 1807 agus is leis-sean an chéad pháipéar san aon imleabhar a foilsíodh de Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Dublin, 1808. Phléigh sé ann an foclóir agus an graiméar a bhí beartaithe ag an gcumann. Chuir sé freisin ann liosta de bhéarlagar na saor. Deir Herbert gur léir go raibh eolas maith aige ar chanúint na hAlban agus ar an Manainnis ‘and at least some acquaintance with Latin, Greek, German, Hebrew and Persian’. Chuir sé graiméar Gaeilge le chéile. Níor foilsíodh é ach bhain Seán Ó Donnabháin [q.v.] úsáid leathan as agus mhol é.

Phós sé faoi dhó agus rugadh triúr mac agus ceathrar iníonacha dá chéad bhean, ar shloinne di Loftus. Phós sé ina diaidh Mary Craig, iníon le captaen airm, agus bhí beirt mhac agus beirt iníonacha acu. Theip ar a shláinte agus ar a mhisneach. D’éag sé ar 18 Aibreán 1818. Fágadh a chleithiúnaithe dearóil agus rinneadh bailiúchán poiblí dóibh.

Scríobh John O’Hart [q.v.] faoi: ‘This Richard Pierce Mac Elligott was a scholar of great eminence; his MSS were full of interest to the soldier, the mathematician and the linguist. Some of those MSS have since his death been deposited in the Library of the Royal Irish Academy and other places in Dublin and elsewhere, some taken by friends; and some borrowed by others, who without any acknowledgement have published their contents as their own.’