He died in Los Angeles, 18th Oct. 1899, aged 36.
Neither parent spoke Irish and it was
little used where he was born.
In fact, he was ignorant of the existence of a language of
He entered St. Finian's in 1879. He was presented the senior grade of the Intermediate Examination in 1882. There was no mention of Irish in this report. It probably wasn't on the curriculum.
His interest in the language began there continued at Maynooth, where from his entrance in 1882 he devoted himself to the study of the Irish language, antiquities, and history.
He spent his holidays in the Irish-speaking parts of the country where he acquired his knowledge of the spoken language.
Ordained in 1888, in 1891 he was appointed
professor of Irish at Maynooth,
and at about the same time became
editor of the "Gaelic Journal".
At the insistence of the Archbishop of Dublin
he began his series of "Simple Lessons in Irish', (Cleachte Beaga Gaeilge) first published in the Weekly Freeman,which have done more than
any other book in the last two centuries to familiarize thousandsof Irish with the language
of their ancestors.
He was one of the founders of the Gaelic League, organized in Dublin in 1893 "for the purpose of keeping the Irish language spoken in Ireland", and later became its vice-president, which position he held until his death.
"An earnest and tireless worker, his services to the Gaelic League outweigh those of all his fellow-workers to the present day, not that his scholarship was above criticism, but because he came at the moment when a man of his kind was needed."
(The Catholic Encyclopaedia).
In 1894, failing health sent him
to Arizona and California,
where he died aged 36, and was
buried in Los Angeles.
Four years after, with the aid of
the Irish in the United States his body
was brought back to Ireland and
buried at Maynooth.
The funeral procession in Dublin was four miles long.
The men of Meath were given the honour of carrying the coffin from the pro-Cathedral to the hearse.
(above) O'Growney Mausoleum Maynooth Photo N&DHS
The memorials of Father O'Growney have been collected by
O'Farrelly, Leabhar an Athar Eoghan, The O'Growney Memorial Volume, Dublin, 1904.
A Short History of Rathmore and Athboy Noel E. French 1995