Séamus Ó Creag, 1863–1934


Single-handedly, and largely at his own expense, Séamus Ó Creag created, in the first decades of the twentieth century, all the materials necessary to teach literacy in Gaelic to Ulster native speakers and learners alike.
Yet he has been all but forgotten, while his books have long been out of print.

books



iarsmalann

Séamus Ó Creag (St Connell's Museum, Glenties)
The two most comprehensive references to Séamus Ó Creag are, in Irish, an undergraduate dissertation Séamus Ua Creag 1863–1934 by Anna Ní Bhraonáin (Ollscoil Uladh, Coláiste Mhig Aoidh, 2013), and, in English, a forthcoming article Séamus Ó Creag 1863–1934 by Ernan O'Donnell. It is hoped to carry both on this webpage in due course. An important article from personal recollection, originally published in the Donegal People's Press (1953/03/21, page 5), is reproduced here.

There has been some previous work on Craig. In Gaelic, there is a biographical account in Breathnach agus Ní Mhurchú, Beathaisnéis 3 (1992) pp 87–8; an on-line version can be found at https://www.ainm.ie/Bio.aspx?ID=319 . In or near his own lifetime, sketchy details were provided in Lachlan Macbean, The Celtic Who's Who (1921) at p 27 ( https://archive.org/details/celticwhoswhonam01macb/page/n26 ), and in Muiris Ó Droighneáin, Taighde i gComhair Stair Litridheachta na Nuadh-Ghaedhilge ó 1882 Anuas (1936) at pp 192–3.

Craig's grand-nephew Torlach Mac Con Midhe has written about him and other members of the Craig family in Derry: “Oidhreacht an phianódóra” in Aistí Eorpacha (2015); “Séamus Ó Creag: a mhuintir agus an dúchas Gaelach” in Feasta (Aibreán 2019) 11–13; agus “Muintir Uí Chreag agus an dúchas Gaelach” in Aistí Eorpacha 2 (2021). He also blogs in German at http://irischeheimat.wordpress.com/ (search for “Craig”).

In English, a brief account is included in Brenda O'Hanrahan's Donegal Authors (1982). Liam Briody, Glenties and Inniskeel (1986) devotes pages 223–5 to Craig, and there is an article about him in the Dictionary of Irish Biography (2009), vol 7, on page 320, with a similar remit to the Beathaisnéis account.

Comment on his literary output has not been plentiful either, though it must be remembered that, in most cases, his object was primarily pedagogical. E.C. Quiggin, in A Dialect of Donegal (1906) at p 2 praised “the excellent little texts published by J. P. Craig.” His work is briefly noticed by Proinsias Mac an Bheatha in Nollaig Mac Congáil (eag.), Scríbhneoireacht na gConallach (1990) at p 62, and in Pól Ó Muirí, A Flight From Shadow (1999) at pp 32–4. Nollaig Mac Congáil comments about him: “b'fhiú go mór a thuilleadh taighde a dhéanamh faoi amach anseo”, in Anraí Mac Giolla Chomhaill (eag.), Meascra Uladh III (2004) at p 162; on-line at https://aran.library.nuigalway.ie/bitstream/handle/10379/1448/An%20Crann.pdf .


Rugadh an Creagach i gceanntar na nGleanntach, Tír Chonaill, ar 14ú Meán Fómhair 1863, agus tógadh é i mbaile fearainn Dhruim na Saileach. Chaitheadh sé cuid mhaith ama ag muinntir a mháthara i Mín na Teineadh.

Fuair sé bunscolaidheacht i nGort na Muclach, ar an Mhaolán Mhór, agus ag Doire Luacháin (nach bhfuil ach cupla míle ó Mhín na Teineadh) go dtí 1876. Ní rabh sé ach ins na déaga luatha de n-a aois nuair a d'éag an t-athair agus an mháthair.
láthair

Láthair an toighe i nDruim na Saileach inar tógadh Séamus Ó Creag


blackrock

Coláiste na Carraige Duibhe
Chuaidh Séamus arais ar scoil Dhoire Luacháin ar feadh shé mí in 1882, agus annsin in 1883, chuaidh sé go Coláiste na Carraige Duibhe (Baile Átha Cliath) agus in 1888 ar aghaidh go dtí an Séminaire de Chevilly (Páras), agus rún aige go ndeánfaí sagart de.

Ach phill sé in 1890 agus chaith tamall ag teagasc i Scoil Dhoire Luacháin; annsin i nDurlas Éile ag na Bráithre Críostaí (1891–94), i gColáiste Cholmcille, Doire (1894–97), agus tamall fada i gColáiste Ádhamhnáin, Leitir Ceanainn (1897–1921).
chevilly

Le Séminaire de Chevilly, 1903


crann

An Crann
Nuair a chuaidh sé go Coláiste na Carraige Duibhe, in aois a bhliadhna is fiche, ba sin an uair a tuigeadh dó gur teangaidh scríobhtha a bhí ins an Ghaedhilg. Ach na leabharthaí teagaisc a fuair sé annsin roimhe, b'fhada an teangaidh stalcánta a bhí ionntu ón Ghaedhilg bheo a chuala sé as a óige i dTír Chonaill. Agus chuir sé roimhe féin córas a chruthú le scríobhadh na Gaedhilge sin a theagasc do lucht a labhartha. Chan gan ádhbhar go bhfuil an focal “modern” comh minic i dteideal a chuid leabhar.

Tháinig a chéad leabhar Modern Irish amach in 1896, agus a leabhar deireannach Gramar agus Cumú Cainnte roimh 1929. Ba ó shiopa éadaigh a dhearthára, Denis, i nDoire a foillsigheadh an mhórchuid de na leabharthaí seo.

Bhí a chuid leabhar in úsáid ins na scoltacha, ins na ranganna oidhche, agus ag daoine sa bhaile. Bhí Niall 'ac Giolla Bhrighde (1861–1942) ar dhuine den mhuinntir a d'fhoghluim scríobhadh na Gaedhilge sa bhaile uathu. Le linn an Creagach bheith ag teagasg i gColáiste Ádhamhnáin, chuaidh cuid mhór de scríbhneoirí Gaedhilge Thír Chonaill na ficheadú haoise fríd an scoil. Ach sa deireadh b'éigean don Chreagach éirghe as a chuid leabharthaí ina scoil féin nó ní Gaedhilg bheo Thír Chonaill a bhí de dhíth ins na scrúdaidheacha ach Gaedhilg na seachtú haoise déag.

Bhí nós ag an Chreagach litriú na Gaedhilge a shimpliú, ar dhóigh a d'fhóir do'n chainnt i nGaedhealtacht Thír Chonaill. Mhéadaigh ar an chleachtadh seo aige le himtheacht na mbliadhanta, agus thug sin leithscéal do na hughdarais neamh-shuim a dheánamh do n-a shaothar (gidh nár bhac leobhtha go rabh an cleachtadh céanna ag Peadar Ó Laoghaire, a shimpligh an litriú i dtreo Ghaedhilg na Mumhan; bhí meas nár bheag ag Mac Uí Laoghaire agus ag an Chreagach ar a chéile, mar a tharla). Cuideochaidh litriú an Chreagaigh linne inniu le foghraidheacht Chonallach a fhoghluim agus a chleachtadh.

Ins an tréimhse seo fosta bhí Séamus ar maothas in obair “Chrann Eithne”, eagraidheacht a bhunaigh an t-Easbog Ó Domhnaill in 1909 le seachadadh na Gaedhilge taobh istoigh den teaghlach a neartú. Bhí sé ina eagarthóir ar iris na gluaiseachta, “An Crann” – amharc Nollaig Mac Congáil, “An Crann: Chum glóire Dé agus onóra na hÉireann”, in Anraí Mac Giolla Chomhaill (eag.), Meascra Uladh III (2004), ag lgh 155–186; le fagháil ag https://aran.library.nuigalway.ie/bitstream/handle/10379/1448/An%20Crann.pdf .


Theagascadh sé Gaedhilg agus Ceol i gColáiste Ádhamhnáin. Bhunaigh sé cór Gaelach i Leitir Ceanainn. Chum sé amhráin — ina measc “Cruacha Glas' na hÉireann”; chuir sé Gaedhilg ar amhráin Bhéarla — ina measc “Ní fheicfear níos mó thú a mhuirnín”; agus chóirigh sé a chuid ceoltaí fá choinne cóir.


seanmacc



clongowes

An Creagach i measc Chumann na Gaedhilge, Coláiste Chluain Gabhann (Margaret V B Doyle, from The Clongownian)
Chaith sé na bliadhanta 1921–24 ag teagasc i gColáiste Chluain Gabhann, Co Chill Dara, agus phill sé ar Choláiste Ádhamhnáin 1926–29.

Fuair sé bás in 1934 i mBaile Átha Cliath, áit a dteachaidh sé a chomhnaí air i Ráth Garbh le Margaret, baintreabhach a dhearthara Denis, agus le n-a clann. Cuireadh é i Reilig Mount Jerome, in aon uaigh le Margaret a fuair bás bliadhain roimhe. uaigh

Sa bhaile faoi chruacha na hÉireann –
imlíne ghlas ar uaigh an Chreagaigh, A14-516, i Reilig Mount Jerome, BÁC. (Yvonne Russell)

seanuaigh

Sean-reilig na nGleanntach
Gidh go bhfuil beagán amhrais ann, is dóigh liom gur ins an uaigh seo i sean-reilig na nGleanntach atá athair agus máthair an Chreagaigh curtha.

Is é atá scríobhtha ar an tumba:

Erected to the memory of
PATRICK CRAIG
who departed this life
16th February 1872
aged 43 years
also
his beloved wife
ANN CRAIG
who departed this life
19th January 1879
aged 40 years




Craobh gheinealaigh an Chreagaigh

Laurence---------Mary                                                  Patrick Craig-----------------Ann Gildea
McNamee     |                                                          Ros Beag             |        Mín na Teineadh
1859–       |                                                          c1829–?1872          |        c1839–?1879
            |                                                                               | dísealbhuigheadh iad go Druim na Saileach
            |                                ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
            |                                |                             |               |           |                      |                                   |
           Jem-------Madeleine Rooney      John J                      JAMES PATRICK     Mary        Neal                  Denis G----------Margaret Daly      Joseph
           1882– |   c1886–                1861/12–1917                1863–1934         1865–       1867–1903             1869–1916  |     c1873–1933         1871–
                 |                         to US 1885                  unmarried                     m 1894                           |
                 |                         with cousin Hugh B Gildea                                 Susan Moore c1877–1903           |
                 |                                     1866/01—                                       Lily 1895–                      |
                 | m 1909                  Alabama (cotton plantation)                                Patrick Columba 1897–           | m 1899
                 |                                                                                                                    |
          ---------------           ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          |             |           |              |            |           |            |            |            |            |            |                 |
        Laurence    Francis X-----Ann           Joseph Patk   Neal        Mary      Oscar James    Gerald     John Aloysius    Eva       Louis Benedict    Terence Gerald
        1910–       ?1918–     |  ?1913–1996    1901–         1902–1902   1904–     1905–          1906–1906  1907–            1908–     1910–             1912–
               ------------------------                                                                       (Jack)
               |       m 1945         |
            nighean                Torlach


Ciarán Ó Duibhín
Úraithe 2021/06/18
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