Mac Cruitín, Aindrias (c.1670–1738), poet and scribe, was born at Moyglass, about 8 km south of Milltown Malbay, Co. Clare. The Mac Cruitíns were one of the hereditary learned families of Gaelic society and acted as seanchaithe (antiquaries or chroniclers) to the O'Briens of Thomond from the fourteenth century. Aindrias's father, Roland Mac Cruitín, is thought to have been a prosperous farmer but nothing else is known about his immediate family. His familiarity with classical Irish and the obsolescent syllabic metres of bardic verse indicates that his education included some elements of the curriculum of the bardic schools. Mac Cruitín continued the scholarly tradition of his family by establishing a school in his native parish of Kilmurry, where he lived throughout his life. The number of extant manuscripts in his hand strongly suggests that he supplemented his income from teaching by copying manuscripts.
More than forty poems by Mac Cruitín have survived, a large proportion of which extol members of the gentry in Clare and neighbouring counties. These works include his laments for Michael O'Heyne (d. 1699) of Kinvara, James MacDonnell (d. 1714) of Kilkee, Sir Donat O'Brien (d. 1717) of Leamaneh, and Thomas Fitzgerald (d. 1732), son of the knight of Glin. He also composed an epithalamium on the occasion of the marriage of Dr Brian O'Loghlen in 1728, and praised both Charles MacDonnell of Kilkee and his wife Elizabeth O'Brien in verse. The prominence of encomiastic compositions in Mac Cruitín's oeuvre reflects the cultural conservatism of eighteenth-century Clare, and a duanaire (compendium of praise poetry) that he compiled for the O'Loghlens of Burren in 1727 was one of the last such volumes to be produced anywhere. Mac Cruitín's output of political verse was less than that of many of his contemporaries, although a poem beginning ‘Ar mbeith sealad domhsa in aicis mhór cois taoide’, which appears to date from 1718–19, is an early example of a Jacobite aisling. Another unusual political composition, the poem beginning ‘Go cúig roimh luis dá dtugadh grásaibh Dé’, has been dated to 1735 and is significant for its prediction that an invasion of Britain would take place in 1745. But Mac Cruitín's best-known work is probably the poem beginning ‘Beannú doimhin duit, a Dhoinn na Duimhche’ in which the elderly poet sought hospitality from Donn, a fairy king who was supposed to inhabit a range of sandhills near Doonbeg, at a time when the patronage he had once been given by members of the gentry was no longer available.
Aindrias Mac Cruitín married and his wife predeceased him, but nothing is known of her or of any children they may have had. He died in 1738 and was buried in Kilfarboy churchyard, near Milltown Malbay. He was lamented by his relative and fellow poet Aodh Buí Mac Cruitín (qv) in an elegy (‘Ní buan brón go bás ollaimh’) which suggests that Aindrias may have been his teacher.