Lynegar, Charles (Ó Luinín, Cormac) ( fl. 1708–1731), scribe, genealogist, and ‘professor’ of Irish at TCD, was known to some of his Irish-speaking acquaintances in Dublin as Cathal, the more usual Gaelic name to be translated as ‘Charles’. He came from the Ó Luinín family of Arda, in medieval times airchinnigh (‘erenaghs’, that is, hereditary stewards of church lands), in the parish of Derryvullan, Co. Fermanagh, who also supplied seanchaidhe (historians) to the local Maguire chieftains. Faced with a new set of patrons as a result of the Ulster plantation and the later Cromwellian confiscations, in 1671 Matha Ó Luinín of Ard Uí Luinín adapted to the changing times by styling himself Mathew Lynegar of Mount Lynegar, ‘chief antiquary and king-at-arms of Ireland’, and drawing up pedigrees for the English settlers. Charles Lynegar tells us this Mathew was his grandfather, and Mathew's extensive collection of English and Anglo-Irish genealogies seems to have been an important source for Charles's own work.
Although Charles Lynegar appears to have possessed some of his grandfather's manuscripts, he did not inherit Mount Lynegar, which was located in the barony of Tirkennedy, Co. Fermanagh, whereas Charles Lynegar was referred to by the antiquary Charles O'Conor (qv) of Belanagare as Cormac ‘of the Cúl' son of Matha ‘the White’ Ó Luinín, suggesting that his home was rather in the half-barony of Coole, Co. Fermanagh.
For reasons that are unclear, Charles Lynegar sometimes used the title ‘Captain Lynegar’, although his name has not been found in army lists of the period. The first well established date in his career comes in 1708, when the fellows of TCD employed him as an Irish-language teacher to the anglican divinity students, for the express purpose of promoting the conversion of his fellow-countrymen to protestantism. He was not appointed as a permanent member of staff, but paid by voluntary contributions collected among the fellows themselves. However, from that year on Lynegar styled himself ‘Professor of Irish at Trinity College, Dublin’, or, when signing his Irish manuscripts, ardollamh Éireann (‘chief master of bardic learning in Ireland’). He supplemented his Trinity salary with freelance work by assisting the Rev. John Richardson (qv) to translate the Book of Common Prayer into Irish (published in 1712), by acting as scribe for John Hall, vice-provost of Trinity, and by drawing up pedigrees for Irish and Anglo-Irish patrons, sometimes accompanied by eulogistic verses in Irish. David Greene (qv) has argued that the scissors-and-paste method adopted by Lynegar when composing his adulatory poems for two Anglo-Irish patrons, John Hall and Lord St George, vice-admiral of Connacht 1727–35, suggests he did not expect them to possess a discriminating taste in such literature. Lynegar formed one of a circle of Irish scribes and scholars in early eighteenth-century Dublin of whom the leading members were Seán (qv) and Tadhg Ó Neachtain (qv), but he was not popular among them, and a satirical poem in Irish deplores not only his protestantism, but his falsely flattering genealogies. In 1731 Lynegar died a bankrupt in the Dublin Marshalsea, or debtors' prison.