Is cúis lúcháire againn é gur bronnadh roinnt míreanna pearsanta de chuid an Ollaimh Mícheál Ó hIceadha (1861–1916) ar Mhúsaem Ollscoil Mhá Nuad, pearsa lárnach in aimsir na hathbheochana ar bhain an-chonspóid lena imeacht tobann as Maigh Nuad in 1909. Briseadh Ó hIceadha as a phost de bharr sraith imeachtaí ina ndeachaigh sé in adharca le cuid de na heaspaig Chaitliceacha mar gheall ar cheist stádas na Gaeilge in Ollscoil na hÉireann. Léiríodh an-bhá leis an Ollamh Ó hIceadha tar éis a bhriste ar an ábhar gur sheas sé an fód ar bhonn prionsabail beag beann ar an trioblóid a tharraingeodh sin air féin. Ba é a fhear muinteartha, an Dr Mícheál Briody as Ollscoil Helsinki, a rinne an bronnadh fial ina bhfuil hata síoda agus bosca snaoisín airgid a bhronn craobh Iúr Cinn Trá de Chonradh na Gaeilge ar an Ollamh Ó hIceadha in 1899 i measc míreanna pearsanta eile leis. Ba í ócáid an bhronnta áirithe sin léacht a thug an tAthair Ó hIceadha i Halla Baile Iúr Cinn Trá inar labhair sé go neamhbhalbh, mar ba dhual dó, faoi dhrochstaid chóras oideachais na hÉireann san am, ‘Irish education is an appalling scandal because of its unnational character. The Irish school child has no country. In the whole school curriculum there is nothing distinctively Irish. Irish education from top to bottom, from end to end, all along the line has no national colouring whatsoever.’ Ba dó a thiomnaigh Séan O’Casey an tríú himleabhar dá chuimhní cinn, Drums under the Windows (1945), áit a ndeirtear ‘Forgotten, unhonoured, unsung in Éire, here’s a Gael left who continues to say Honour and Peace to your brave and honest soul, Michael O’ Hickey, till a braver Ireland comes to lay a garland on your lonely grave.’
Pictured L-R: Dr Tracey Ní Mhaonaigh, Head of the Department of Modern Irish, Dr Mícheál Briody, nephew of Fr Ó hIceadha agus Prof Fionntán de Brún, Professor of Modern Irish, in Maynooth University Museum.
Maynooth University Museum was delighted to receive some personal items belonging to Professor Michael O’Hickey/Mícheál Ó hIceadha (1861–1916), a key figure in the Irish revival whose sudden departure from Maynooth in 1909 was the subject of much controversy. Ó hIceadha was dismissed from his position after a series of events through which he came into conflict with some of the Catholic bishops over the issue of the status of the Irish language in the National University of Ireland. O’Hickey’s dismissal won him a great deal of sympathy for the way in which he maintained a principled stand regardless of the personal consequences. His relative, Dr Mícheál Briody of the University of Helsinki, kindly donated a number of Fr O’Hickey’s personal items, including his silk hat and a silver snuff box presented by members of the Newry branch of the Gaelic League in 1899. The occasion was a lecture Prof O’Hickey had given in Newry Town Hall where he was characteristically forthright in his assessment of Irish education at the time, saying that ‘Irish education is an appalling scandal because of its unnational character. The Irish school child has no country. In the whole school curriculum there is nothing distinctively Irish. Irish education from top to bottom, from end to end, all along the line has no national colouring whatsoever.’ Sean O’Casey, dedicating the third volume of his memoirs Drums under the Windows (1945) to O’Hickey, remarked: ‘Forgotten, unhonoured, unsung in Ireland, here's a Gael left who continues to say Honor and Peace to your brave and honest soul, Michael O' Hickey, till a braver Ireland comes to lay a garland on your lonely grave.’
Cuid de mhíreanna pearsanta an Athar Mícheál Ó hIceadha a bhí bronnta ar Mhúsaem Ollscoil Mhá Nuad ag a nia, an Dr Mícheál Briody, le déanaí.
Some of the personal items of Fr Mícheál Ó hIceadha that were presented to the Maynooth University University by his nephew, Dr Mícheál Briody.