Joynt, Maud Anna Evans (1868–1940), Celtic scholar and linguist, was born 7 March 1868 at Woodberry House, Co. Roscommon, second daughter among six sons and four daughters of Christopher Joynt, then brigade surgeon, Bombay army (deputy surgeon, Indian army, on retirement), and Lily Anna Joynt (née Holton), of Woodberry House. Part of Maud's childhood was spent in India; some sources say she was born there. At the age of five she learned Greek from her father. In 1881 she moved from a private school in Bray, Co. Wicklow, to Alexandra School, Dublin, and thence (1882) to Alexandra College, where she was an outstanding student, gaining first place in both grades of the intermediate examinations (1883–4). Maud matriculated RUI in 1886 and graduated first place with first-class honours in modern literature (English, French, and German), BA (1889), and MA (1890). Having taught for a short time at Jersey Ladies' College, St Helier, in 1891 she was one of two governesses appointed to assist Elizabeth C. Shillington, the first lady principal of the MacArthur Hall of residence for girls, Methodist College, Belfast; she also taught German there. In 1894 she left Belfast to further her studies in Paris, Florence, and Heidelberg. On the staff of Alexandra College from December 1895, Maud lectured in English literature and German there, and also in the Loreto Hall and Dominican College, preparing girls for the BA examinations of the Royal University. While in Alexandra she was an active member of many societies, particularly the Literary Society and the Students' Union, being president of the latter society in 1896 and 1905. When appointed assistant examiner in English for the board of intermediate education (1906), she resigned from the staff of Alexandra College. Her articles for the college's magazine, written throughout her career, show the range of her interests: ‘World sorrow’ (1896), ‘The high crosses of Ireland’ (1899), ‘Has Caliban a soul?’ (1900), ‘The study of Irish language and literature’ (1908), ‘A chapter of saints’ (1915); ‘The master builder’ (1917), ‘A witchfinder of the 17th century’ (1924), ‘Irish dictionaries and their makers’ (1937).
Her interest in the revival of the Irish language led to her attendance at the School of Irish Learning in Dublin (1906, 1907) where she studied Old and Middle Irish, Welsh, and palaeography. Afterwards Maud attended a course in Celtic Studies given by Kuno Meyer (qv) at Liverpool University (1907–8). On 1 January 1909 Maud Joynt and Mary E. Byrne (1881–1931) were appointed to the staff of the RIA as assistants excerpting texts for entries in the Dictionary of Old Irish. The second fascicule (letter E), published in 1932, was arranged by Maud Joynt and Eleanor Knott. Contributions to a dictionary of the Irish language M (1939), N O P (1941), and R (1944) were arranged by Maud, S (1953) by Maud Joynt and others.
Maud edited two texts for publication in the Mediaeval and Modern Irish Series: Tromdámh Gùaire (1932) and Feis Tighe Chonáin (1936). Her best-known works are The life of St Gall (1927) (a translation of Walahfrid Strabo's ‘Vita Sancti Galli’, with the addition of a scholarly study of the literary and historic background); her translation of Chrétientés celtiques by Dom Louis Gougaud, Christianity in Celtic lands: a history of the churches of the Celts, their origin, their development, influence and mutual relations (1932); and Golden legends of the Gael (1924), tales taken from Middle Irish manuscripts – these she had originally translated into German for a series, ‘Märchen’, but the 1914–18 war prevented publication.
She contributed papers to Alexandra College Magazine, Celtica, Celtic Review, Ériu, New Ireland Review, St Stephens, and Miscellany presented to Kuno Meyer (1912), edited by Osborn Bergin (qv) and Carl Marstrander (qv). In ‘The future of the Irish language’ (New Ireland Review, xiii (1900)) Maud spoke of the need to provide the student with good literature including translations as well as original works. Her ‘An fhairrge! an fhairrge’ from Xenophon appeared in Celtia (May 1903). Her later translations into English showed Ireland's past entwined in the history of Europe.
From its beginning in 1902, Maud was an active member of the committee of the Women Graduates and Candidate Graduates Association (WGCGA), which worked tirelessly for the rights of women to higher education and to secure employment. She was joint honorary secretary from 1907 to 1913. Memoranda and submissions were sent out to forestall any attempt to lower the standards for women. Objections were made to a proposal to have separate lectures for women undergraduates, the board of education was asked to encourage the teaching of classics and mathematics in girls' schools, and protests were made against the ban on recruiting women in certain government departments. On 4 March 1913 she resigned owing to pressure of work; the association was disbanded on 23 April.
She lived in Dublin but was a frequent visitor to places of cultural interest in Ireland and Europe. In Wales, at an eisteddfod, Maud was accepted into the gorsedd of the bards because of her scholarly contribution to Celtic studies. In 1937 the NUI awarded an honorary D.Litt. to Maud Joynt in recognition of her scholarly works and of her endeavours for the university education of women.
Maud took part in the cultural life of Dublin; she supported the Irish literary revival, attending the early Abbey Theatre and lectures of the Irish Literary Society. Her interest in the visual arts is evidenced by her bequest of paintings by contemporary Irish artists to friends. Some activities were curtailed by increasing deafness but she continued her study of philosophy to the end. She resided mainly in the Ranelagh/Rathmines area, but at the time of her death she had moved to 69 St Stephens Green. She died in Portobello nursing home on 24 July 1940, and is buried in Mount Jerome cemetery, Dublin; in the same grave are her brothers Francis Christopher Dudley (d. 1944) and George Arthur (d. 1955) and her youngest sister Mabel Sarah (d. 1950), who spent forty-six years in Alexandra College and retired as vice-principal in 1941.