Lynch, John (DNB00)


LYNCH, JOHN (1599?–1673?), Irish historian, was born in Galway, probably in 1599, and belonged to an ancient family. According to tradition his father was Alexander Lynch, a famous schoolmaster of Galway (O'Flaherty, Description of West Connaught, ed. Hardiman, p. 420 n.) He was educated by the jesuits, and became a secular priest about 1622. He celebrated mass ‘in secret places and private houses’ before the opening of the catholic churches in 1642. Like many of his predecessors in Galway he kept a school, and acquired a high reputation for classical learning. He was appointed archdeacon of Tuam, and lived, secluded from the turmoil of civil strife, in the old castle of Ruaidhri O'Conchobair, last king of Ireland. On the surrender of Galway to the parliamentarian army in 1652 he fled to France. The particulars of his life in exile are unknown, but as some of his works were printed at St. Malo, it may be inferred that he took refuge on the borders of Brittany, where the States allotted public support to the Irish exiles. On the authority of Bishop Burke and Bishop Nicolson, most modern writers erroneously state that Lynch was bishop of Killala. Dr. Burke certainly calls him vicar-apostolic of Killala, but it appears that John Baptist de Burgo was in possession of that office at the only time at which Lynch could have held it (Brady, Episcopal Succession, ii. 177). Lynch died in France, probably at St. Malo, before 1674.

He is the author of:

  1. A translation into Latin of Keating's ‘History of Ireland,’ manuscript.
  2. ‘Cambrensis Eversus, sive potius Historica Fides in Rebus Hibernicis Giraldo Cambrensi abrogata; in quo plerasque justi historici dotes desiderari, plerosque nævos inesse, ostendit Gratianus Lucius, Hibernus, qui etiam aliquot res memorabiles Hibernicas veteris et novæ memoriæ passim e re nata huic operi inseruit. Impress. An. mdclxii’ [St. Malo?], fol. Dedicated to Charles II. Translated from the Latin, with notes and observations by Theophilus O'Flanagan, Dublin, 1795, 8vo. Lynch defends the cessation of 1643, the peace of 1646 and 1648, condemns the nuncio, and approves the general policy of Ormonde, on the ground that his measures were indispensable for the observance of loyalty to the British crown, and for the safety of the Irish catholics. Kelly says, ‘“Cambrensis Eversus” has been generally esteemed one of the most valuable works on the history of Ireland. Viewed merely as a refutation of Giraldus de Barry, it is on some points unsuccessful; but its comprehensive plan, embracing a great variety of well-digested and accurate information on every period of Irish history, imparts to it a value entirely independent of the controversial character inscribed on its title-page.’ A fine edition of this work, with an English translation and notes, by the Rev. Matthew Kelly of St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, was printed for the Celtic Society, 3 vols. Dublin, 1848–52, 8vo.
  3. ‘Epistle to M. Boileau, Historian of the University of Paris, on the subject of Scottish Antiquities,’ 1664. Printed in Roderic O'Flaherty's ‘Ogygia vindicated,’ Dublin, 1775, 8vo.
  4. ‘Alithinologia, sive veridica Reponsio [sic] ad Invectivam, Mendaciis, falaciis, calumniis, & imposturis fœtam in plurimos Antistites, Proceres, & omnis ordinis Hibernos a R. P. R[ichardo] F[erral] C[appucino] Congregationi de Propaganda Fide, Anno Domini 1659, exhibitam. Eudoxio Alithinologo authore. Impress. An. mdclxiv’ [St. Omer?]
  5. ‘Supplementum Alithinologiæ, quod partes invectivæ in Hibernos cusæ in Alithinologia non oppugnatas evertit’ [St. Omer?] 1667, 4to. This and the preceding treatise attacked Richard Ferral, an Irish Capuchin friar, who had in 1658 presented a disloyal piece in manuscript to the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide as a direction for them in the government of church affairs in Ireland, tending to renew the divisions between the ‘meer antient Irish’ and the English-Irish settled there since the reign of Henry II. Ferral's composition was entitled ‘Ad Sacram Congregationem de Propagandâ Fide. Hic authores et Modus eversionis Catholicæ Religionis in Hiberniâ recensētur, et aliquot remedia pro conservandis reliquiis Catholicæ Religionis et Gentis proponuntur.’
  6. Latin poem, written about 1667, in reply to the question ‘Cur in patriam non redis?’ Edited by James Hardiman, and printed in the ‘Miscellany of the Irish Archæological Society,’ i. 90–8.
  7. ‘Pii Antistitis Icon, sive de Vita et Morte Rmi D. Francisci Kirovani, Alladensis Episcopi,’ St. Malo, 1669, 8vo, with dedication to Gregory Joyce, canon of St. Gudule's Cathedral, Brussels, dated ‘Villemenuæ,’ 25 Sept. 1668. The copy in the Grenville Library has at the end in manuscript a transcript of a different dedication by Lynch, also dated 25 Sept. 1668, to D. de Bicqueneul, master of the rolls in the court of Rennes. It was found in an imperfect copy of the work. This life of Kirwan, who was Lynch's uncle, was reprinted at Dublin in 1848, with a translation and notes by the Rev. Charles Patrick Meehan, M.R.I.A., who published a second edition, much improved, in 1884.

[Memoir by the Rev. Matthew Kelly; Brenan's Eccl. Hist. of Ireland, 1864, p. 532; De Burgo's Hibernia Dominicana, p. 30, note 9; Cat. of Library of Trin. Coll. Dublin; Hardiman's Hist. of Galway, p. 317; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. (Bohn), p. 1420, Suppl. p. 54; McGee's Irish Writers of the Seventeenth Century, p. 83; Moran's Spicilegium Ossoriense, ii. 175, iii. 1; Nicolson's Irish Hist. Library, Pref. p. 37, Append. p. 244; Ware's Writers (Harris), p. 163.]

T. C.