Séamus 'ag Fhionnlaoich (1898–1967) of Letterkenny, Co Donegal

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According to the information recorded on the Doegen speaker questionnaire in September 1931, Séamus 'ag Fhionnlaoich was born on Oileán Ghabhla in 1898. His father was a farmer and fisherman from Oileán Ghabhla, and his mother came from Cnoc a' Stolaire. In response to questions, he stated that he spent his first six years on Oileán Ghabhla, and between the ages of 7 and 20 he lived on Oileán Ghabhla, at Letterkenny and at Maynooth. Since the age of 20 he had lived at Maynooth, in S Nigeria for five years, and at Letterkenny. He was educated at Letterkenny and Maynooth, to University level. His occupation was as a priest. Irish was his mother language and he could also speak English; he could read and write both languages. Comments from the recording team were that he had a "clear strong voice" and had been "much away from home" and was "liable to literary influence."

Séamus, born 22/05/1898, was one of eight chidren of Charles McGinley (Searlaí Thaidhg, 16/03/1857–19xx) and Kate McFadden (Ciot Bhán Phaidí, c1863–19xx). In 1901, the household consisted of Charles 43, his wife Kate 38, and children Hannah 13, Nancy 11, Mary 9, Patrick 7, Teague 5, James 2 and Daniel 3 months. The mother and James had Irish only; Daniel was not yet speaking; all the others were bilingual. In 1911, Charles 54 (16th March) was a widower; his children at home were Mary 19 (14th July); Patrick 17 (3rd January); Teague 15 (13 January); James 12 (4th June); Daniel 10 (1st January); Fanny 8 (20th December). All spoke Irish and English.

Séamus 'ag Fhionnlaoich was ordained a priest at Maynooth on 17/06/1923, and went to Nigeria where he spent 5 years. On his return he became curate at Gleann Cholmcille, and then moved to the cathedral parish of Letterkenny where he remained from 1930 until 1951, becoming administrator in 1934. He then moved to Gaoth Dobhair, before becoming parish priest of Anagaire in November 1954. He was secretary of Feis Thír Chonaill, and a member of Donegal Vocational Education Committee.


Séamus 'ag Fhionnlaoich, sagart
Pioc: Derry Journal 28/10/1946 p 2

On 16/04/1967, Séamus 'ag Fhionnlaoich died at Letterkenny Hospital aged 68. He was buried at Anagaire on 19/04. The tombstone reads:
        A Íosa déan trócaire ar
        an tAtair Seamus Mac Fionnlaoig
        sagart Paroiste Anagoire
        a fuair bás ar an 16ad lá dAibrean 1967.
        Suaimneas siorraidhe da anam
He was predeceased by his brother Fr Tadhg 'ag Fhionnlaoich "a number of years" previously. His surviving relatives included his sister Miss Mary McGinley (Cnoc a' Stolaire) and his brother Daniel (Machaire Clochair), and a number of nephews and nieces.

Thanks are due to the Raphoe Diocesan Archive for details of Séamus 'ag Fhionnlaoich's ecclesiastical career.

Recent references to Séamus 'ag Fhionnlaoich include:
      "Great loss to Raphoe diocese", Derry Journal 18/04/1967 p 4; "Funeral tribute to Annagry's beloved pastor", idem 21/04/1967 p 1.
      "Raphoe mourns death of Very Rev James McGinley PP Annagry", Derry People 22/04/1967 p 5.
      Seán 'ag Fhionnlaoich, Ó Rabharta go Mallmhuir, 1975, pp 13–4, 111.
      Máirín Uí Fhearraigh, Gabhla, an tOileán, 2008, p 37.
      Róise Ní Bhaoill, Ulster Gaelic Voices, 2010, pp 80–1, 158–61.



Reilig Anagaire

Speaker's recordings Ulster Doegen index


Ciarán Ó Duibhín
2013/10/22
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