Ó Tuathail (O'Toole), Éamonn (1882/3–1956), Irish-language scholar, was born in 1882/3 in Barndarrig, a townland on the border between counties Dublin and Wicklow, the son of Terence O'Toole of Rathvilly, Co. Carlow (who was a brother of the Rathvilly schoolmaster Éamonn O'Toole), and his wife Mary (née O'Driscoll), a hospital nurse. Liam Price (qv) in The place-names of Co. Wicklow, vol. v: The barony of Rathdown (1983), under Kilcroney (p. 312), lists Barndarrig as the name of a house in that barony, but situated in Co. Dublin. In Beathaisnéis, ii (1990), Breathnach and Ní Mhurchú state that they came on the name 'Barna Darric' on a farm gate in Kilcroney (Cill Chróine), Bray, a short distance from the main road to Wexford. In the census of 1911 Éamonn's age is given as twenty-nine and Dublin as the county of birth; he had a brother, James, and a sister, Mary. When his father emigrated to America, their mother Mary brought the family to Clandeboye, Co. Down, where her brother John was a steward of Lord Dufferin (qv) (1826–1902). Family evidence of this John O'Driscoll's interest in Irish history was a book he cherished. It was Lord Dufferin who arranged that Éamonn be apprenticed as a coachmaker with the Huttons of Belfast
While still in his teens Éamonn joined the West End branch of the Gaelic League in Belfast. In the league's journal, An Claidheamh Soluis, he is more often associated with the Lios na bhFiann branch in Rosemary Street, Belfast. Brian Mac Giolla Phádraig and Eleanor Knott (qv) state that his Irish teacher in Belfast was 'Beirt Fhear' (Séamus Ó Dubhghaill (1855–1929)), a customs and excise officer in Belfast and Derry. Like many other early Gaelic League members in Belfast, Ó Tuathail first learned Munster Irish. In 1901 he was appointed a travelling teacher (múinteoir taistil) in south Monaghan, and friends in the Belfast Gaelic League bought him a bicycle, a prime necessity for a múinteoir taistil. As a student in 1906 he attended the Irish summer college in Cloghaneely, Co. Donegal, and by the following year was one of the teachers there and the college's secretary. It was there he first made a study of Ulster Irish. He resigned from his Monaghan post on 12 October 1910 and was teaching later that year in St Enda's in Dublin, the school operated by Patrick Pearse (qv), and in the Leinster College of Irish (Coláiste Laighean). This latter move enabled him later to attend lectures in University College Dublin. He earned a master's degree in Celtic studies in 1914 and that same year was appointed principal in the Leinster College of Irish. In 1925 he was a member of the Gaelic League committee appointed to reform and enliven the movement after the disruption of the civil war. Aindrias Ó Muimhneacháin (qv) expresses the opinion that with Fr Laurence Murray (qv), an eminent Gaelic Leaguer, he was in favour of a separate language movement in Ulster (later to be Comhaltas Uladh, founded in 1926). For a brief period until 1929 Ó Tuathail was substituting for Frank Fahy (qv) in Castleknock college before being appointed professor of modern Irish in Trinity College Dublin, to replace Thomas Francis O'Rahilly (qv), who had moved to University College Cork.
His main interests were folklore, songs, dialect, and the poets of south Ulster. His first work was Rainn agus amhráin (1923), consisting of poems collected by him and written in Meath, Armagh and Louth. His friends in the Leinster College of Irish made him a present of a Dictaphone in 1929 and this enabled him to concentrate on areas in Tyrone and Cavan, resulting in his Scéalta Mhuintir Luinigh (1933) and Seanchas Ghleann Ghaibhle (1934). His published essays and the poems he collected are listed in Clár litridheacht na Nua-Ghaedhilge, vols. i–iii (1938–40).
In 1923 he married Emily Noble of Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin; they had a daughter and son. Éamonn Ó Tuathail retired in June 1955 and died in Dublin on 21 June 1956.
More information on this entry is available at the National Database of Irish-language biographies (Ainm.ie).