Molloy, Francis (DNB00)
MOLLOY or O'MAOLMHUAIDH, FRANCIS (fl. 1660), theologian and grammarian, was a native of the county of Meath, Ireland. The family of which he was a member had extensive landed possessions in the district known as O'Molloys' Country, and some of them engaged actively in the Irish movements from 1641 to 1652.
Francis Molloy entered the order of St. Francis, became a priest, was appointed professor of theology at St. Isidore's College, Rome, and acted as agent for the Irish catholics at the papal court in the reign of Charles II. His first published work was entitled 'Tractatus de Incarnatione ad men- tern Scoti,' 1645. This was followed in 1658 by 'Jubilatia genethliaca in honorem Prosperi Balthasaris Philippi, Hispani principis, carmine,' and by a Latin treatise on theology in 1666. A catechism of the doctrines of the catholic church in the Irish language was published by Molloy in 1676 with the title : 'Lucerna fidelium, seu fasciculus decerptus ab authoribus magis versatis qui tractarunt de doctrina Christiana.' It was printed at Rome at the press of the Congregation 'de propaganda fide,' from which, in 1677, issued another book by Molloy, entitled 'Grammatica Latino-Hibernica,' 12mo, the first printed grammar of the Irish language. It is in Latin, and consists of twenty-five chapters : nine on the letters of the alphabet, three on etymology, one on contractions and cryptic writings, and twelve on prosody and versification. At the end is an Irish poem by Molloy on the neglect of the ancient language of Ireland and the prospects of its resuscitation.
Edward Lhuyd [q. v.], in his 'Archæologia Britannica,' published at Oxford in 1 707, mentioned that he had seen a manuscript grammar of the Irish language copied at Louvain in 1669 which partially corresponded with that of Molloy. He added that Molloy's grammar, although the most complete extant in his time, was deficient as to syntax and the variation of the nouns and verbs. The date of Molloy's death has not been ascertained.
[Manuscripts in the Library of the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin; Wadding's Scriptores Ordinis Minorum, ed. Sbaralæus, Rome, 1806; Transactions of Iberno-Celtic Society, 1820; Remarks on the Irish Language, by J. Scurry, 1827; Grammar of the Irish Language, by J. O'Donovan, 1845; Contemporary Hist. of Affairs in Ireland, 1641–1652, Dublin, 1879.]