Ó GADHRA, Fearghal (c.1604–c.1660) Fearghal Ó GADHRA c.1604 c.1660 M Coláiste na Tríonóide, Baile Átha Cliath 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

Ba é seo an fear a rinne pátrúnacht ar Mhichél Ó Cléirigh[q.v.] agus a chúntóirí agus iad ag tiomsú Annála Ríoghachta Éireann i rith 1632–6. Maítear anseo agus ansiúd gurbh é a spreag Ó Cléirigh chun na hoibre sin. In Irish Ecclesiastical Record 91, 1963 (‘Fearghal Ó Gadhra and the Four Masters’) féachann Alexander Boyle le míniú a fháil air sin. Is le Fearghal a bhaineann cuid mhaith d’aiste an Athar Fearghus Bairéad OFM in Measgra i gcuimhne Mhichíl Uí Chléirigh, 1944 in eagar ag S. O’Brien (‘Muintir Ghadhra’). Tá gearr-bheathaisnéis ag John C. McTernan in Here’s to their memory: profiles of distinguished Sligonians of bygone days, 1997. Craobh de mhuintir Uí Eadhra ba ea muintir Uí Ghadhra, iad síolraithe ó Thadhg mac Chéin ar mhac é le hAilill Ólum, rí na Mumhan sa mhiotaseolaíocht. Bhíodar lonnaithe i gContae Shligigh ón 14ú aois. Tadhg Ó Gadhra ab ainm d’athair Fhearghail agus ba é Fearghal a tháinig i gcomharbacht ar a sheanathair, Ailill Ó Gadhra, mar thaoiseach. Bhí fairsinge críche acu i Maigh Uí Ghadhra agus Cúil Ó bhFinn. Dhéanadh rialtas Shéamuis I coimircithe de mhic úinéirí talún ar Ghaeil iad agus chuireadh ag freastal ar Choláiste na Tríonóide iad. Bhí Fearghal ann faoi choimirce Sir Theobald Dillon. Dar le James Pentland Mahaffy gurbh é an chéad duine de na Gaeil é a d’fhreastail ar an gcoláiste faoin scéim ghalldaithe seo agus go raibh sé ann ó aois a dhá bhliain déag go raibh sé ocht mbliana déag d’aois. Níl sin ag teacht leis an iontráil in Alumni Dublinenses a deir go raibh sé ann ó 1615 go 1616 agus is dóigh le Bairéad nach bhfuil cuntas Mahaffy iontaofa.

Bhí James Ussher [q.v.] ina leasphropast le linn d’Fhearghal a bheith ann agus bhí James Ware [q.v.] ina mhac léinn ann, beirt ar bhailitheoirí lámhscríbhinní agus staraithe iad. Ní raibh Gaeilge acu. Deir Boyle: ‘It would appear possible that the connecting links were the constant succession of Trinity wards from the country through whose family connections the procuring of manuscripts and the translating of selected passages could be arranged .... Did he [Fearghal] help them in procuring manuscripts, and build up a store of goodwill which was to serve him and the Four Masters in good stead when, ten or fifteen years later, they embarked on the compilation of the Annals?’ Chuidigh Ussher leis na Froinsiasaigh trí lámhscríbhinní a thabhairt ar iasacht dóibh.

Nuair a tháinig Fearghal in aois oirbhirt bhí sé ar dhuine de na húinéirí talún ba mhó i gContae Shligigh; bhí an teideal ‘Lord of Moygara agus Coolavin’ á úsaid aige. Bhí sé ina bhall parlaiminte; luann Ó Cléirigh i litir tiomnaithe na nAnnála é mar ‘aon den dís Ridirí Parlaiminte a toghadh ar Chontae Shligigh go hÁth Cliath an bhliain d’aois Chríost, 1634’ ach deir McTernan gur lean a bhallraíocht ó 1628 go 1640. Cé nach bhfuil trácht ar aon ní dá ndúirt ná dá ndearna sé i dtaifid na parlaiminte, ní foláir nó bheadh meas duine uasail chreidiúnaigh air ag Ussher agus Ware.

Bhí tuairim ann gur Phrotastúnach é; sin a shíl Seán Ó Donnabháin[B6], eagarthóir Annála Ríoghachta Éireann, agus b’fhéidir gurbh in an fáth a ndearna sé beag is fiú d’fhear Shligigh sa réamhrá a chuir sé leis na hAnnála: ‘If O’Donnell were in the country at the time, he ought have felt great envy and jealousy that the Four Masters should have committed this work, which treats of the O’Donnells more than of any other family, to the world under the name and patronage of any of the rival race of Oilioll Olum, much less to so petty a chieftain of that race as O’Gara.’ B’fhéidir gur chleacht Fearghal an Protastúnachas i gColáiste na Tríonóide ach is deimhin nach mbeadh glacadh ag Froinsiasaigh ná le Michél Ó Cléirigh le Protastúnach mar phátrún. Deir Boyle: ‘Even though the wards, back on their ancestral estates, reverted to type and resumed, if they had ever lost it, the religious and national outlook of their fathers, it would be policy to turn the blind eye rather than admit the whole scheme of Trinity wardships to be a failure.’ Is dóigh gur mar sin a bhí i gcás Uí Ghadhra. Chuir tagairt Uí Dhonnabháin as go mór don staraí T. O’Rorke (The history of Sligo: town and county, 1889): ‘Had Farrel O’Gara himself been to blame in this [oideachas i gColáiste na Trionóide], or, if to blame, had he not redeemed his fault, the zealous lay brother Michael O Cleary, who was quite as good a Catholic as O’Donovan, would never have said to O’Gara ... “I, Michael O’Cleary, was well acquainted with your zeal for the glory of God”. According to the Survey of 1633, etc., Farrel O’Gara in his day possessed all Coolavin ... and if he did not pass on this fine estate to his descendants, it was precisely because, when the occasion called for it, he sacrificed all to his religion and country – a sacrifice which should have saved him from the sneer of O’Donovan.’

Deirtear sna hAnnála: ‘Atá na haithreacha d’Ord S. Froinsias, a chuirfeas a lámha air seo, á fhianú gurb é Fearghal Ó Gadhra a thug ar an mBráthair Michél Ó Cléirigh na croinicithe agus an t-aos ealaíon a chruinniú go haon ionad le go scríobhfadh leabhair oiris agus Annála na Éireann (an méid ab fhéidir a fháil lena scríobh dhíobh) agus gurb é an Fearghal céanna a thug luaíocht dóibh ar a scríobh’ (litriú an lae inniu ag na húdair). Deir Brendan Jennings (Michael O Cleirigh, Chief of the Four Masters, and his associates, 1936) faoi: ‘In the gallery of Irish chieftains who have deserved fame for their support of learning and letters he should occupy that foremost place which his princely generosity deserves’, ach níl sé sásta go bhfuil focail Uí Chléirigh sa litir tiomnaithe ag teacht leis an abairt sin sna teistiméireachtaí. Ach is é an léamh a dhéanann Boyle ar fhocail Uí Chléirigh, ‘gurbh ábhar trua agus neimhéala’ leis an nGadhrach an t-aineolas coiteann i dtaobh naoimh agus ríthe na hÉireann, go raibh machnamh déanta ag Ó Gadhra ar an ngá a bhí le tionscnamh éigin sular tháinig Ó Cléirigh ina ghaobhar. ‘Leabhar Airision Fhearghail Uí Ghadhra’ a thug an Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh [q.v.] ar na hAnnála nuair a bhí seisean á gceadú (Nollaig Ó Muraíle in The celebrated antiquary, Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh (c.1600–1671): His Lineage, Life and Learning, 1996).

Thacaigh sé le hEoghan Rua Ó Néill i rith 1642–49; bhí a mhac Seán ina chaptaen in arm Uí Néill. Deir Mary O’Dowd (Power, politics and land: early modern Sligo 1568–1688, 1991) go bhfuil a ainm ar liosta na ndaoine i 1643 ar cuireadh eirleach, éigniú agus robáil ina leith: ‘The sixteen included Tadhg O’Connor Sligo and his two brothers and other O’Connors and Harts ... and, most suprisingly of all, Fergal O’Gara’. Ach tá tagairt aici freisin dó timpeall 1641: ‘Jane Brown, wife of the registrar of Killala and Achonry, was also physically abused, but was rescued by Fergal O’Gara.’ Bhí sé pósta ar Isibéal Táth, iníon le Sir John Taaffe, tiarna an Chorainn. Duine dá shliocht ba ea an scoláire Cathal Ó Conchubhair [B6].