Home Up Contents

Philip Barron

Margaret Aylward Dr Edward Barron Philip Barron Denis Cashman Raymond Chandler Paddy Coad Patrick Comerford Donncha Ruadh Val Doonican Sean Dunne Frank Edwards Alfie Hale John M Hearne William Hobson Dr Thomas Hussey Charles Kean John Keane Edmund Leamy D. P. Moran Gen Dick Mulcahy James Nash Peter O'Connor Jas Louis O'Donnell Pádraig Ó Fainín Gilbert O'Sullivan John Redmond Edmund I Rice James Rice, Mayor Lord Roberts V. C. John Roberts Frank Ryan Thomas Sexton Archbishop Sheehan Susan Smith John Treacy Luke Wadding William V. Wallace Cardinal Wiseman Bullocks Wyse Lucien Bonaparte Wyse



    Philip Barron (Pilib Barúin), Irish Scholar
was a member of the Barron family of Belmont Park, in Waterford, a branch of the Geraldines or FitzGeralds. He became a student at Trinity College, Dublin, in 1820 and is said to have been there for three years. Like all Catholics of his class (the old pre-plantation aristocracy), his family had become anglicised to a large extent and were discarding all vestiges of the old culture as fast as they could, particularly the Irish language. One matter that needed attention was the proper representation of Catholics in parliament by their own co-religionists. In 1825 Barron bought the Waterford Chronicle to support efforts to this end. All he succeeded in doing was to draw a libel-suit on himself from the Beresfords, who aligned themselves against Catholic Emancipation in the 1826 election. Barron had a decree of £1,350 awarded against him and he fled the country rather than even try to pay it. He spent much time in France and Italy observing the educational systems but returned in 1829 convinced that the Irish language was of prime importance to the people of Ireland.

   When he returned home, Barron made himself literate in Irish. He had spoken it from childhood but could neither read nor write it, like many a person in the nineteenth century. By the 1830’s he had decided to found a college to promote the native language. This he did at Seafield, near Bunmahon. Here a college building was provided by Barron at his own expense and at the beginning of January 1835 he began his work as a teacher and promoter of education in the Irish language. He also published the first volume of Ancient Ireland, a magazine promoting Irish culture. It was a bold venture at a time when the British government had launched the National School System, which was ultimately the killer of the Irish language and Irish culture. To launch this ambitious project was almost quixotic. He hoped to sell text books and magazines in every parish among mostly illiterate and impoverished people but the whole scheme collapsed in about six months due to lack of sufficient funds. He is remembered fondly among Irish language lovers in his native place and his memory is perpetuated in the Pilib Barúin Gael Scoil in Tramore.

Home ] Up ]

Copyright © 2006 Waterford History