Biographies A-Z

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Aikenhead, Mary

Aikenhead, Mary (1787–1858), foundress of the congregation of the Religious Sisters of Charity and of St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin, was born 19 January 1787 in Cork city, eldest of four children – three daughters and one son – of David Aikenhead, apothecary, son of a Scottish…

Aiken, Jim

Aiken, Jim (1932–2007), music promoter and businessman, was one of seven or eight children born to Joseph Aiken and his wife Annie (née Fagan), and was raised on the family farm in Jonesborough, Co. Armagh, close to the border. After completing his secondary education, he studied…

Aiken, (Mary) Maud

Aiken, (Mary) Maud (1898–1978), musician, was born 13 August 1898 in Dublin, younger of two daughters of John J. Davin , grocer and alderman, and Mary Davin (née O'Gara). In 1914 she entered the Royal Irish Academy of Music and was awarded the Coulson scholarship (1914), the Coulson…

Ailbe

Ailbe (d. 527?), patron of the church of Imlech Ibair (Emly, on the Limerick/Tipperary border), Munster's most important church till it was superseded by Cashel in the early twelfth century, was Munster's premier saint, whence the saying Mumu uili . . . iar cúl Ailbe, ‘…

Ailerán (Aileranus Sapiens)

Ailerán (Aileranus Sapiens) (d. 665), fer léigind (lector or chief scholar) of the monastery of Clonard, Co. Meath, died in the great cholera or plague, termed the Buide Conaill (AU 665). His obit is given as 29 December in the Martyrology of Tallaght and in the…

Ailill Molt

Ailill Molt (‘ram[-like]’) (d. 482), son of Nath Í, king of Connacht and putatively king of Tara, was an early representative of the Uí Fhiachrach dynasty of Connacht. His father, Nath Í son of Fiachra, is claimed by Middle Irish sources to have been king of Tara. His mother is…

Ailill Ólom

Ailill Ólom , mythical Munster king and ancestor figure of the free lineages of Munster, appears in alternative genealogical traditions either as son of Éogan Már (qv), ancestor of the Éoganacht dynasties, or as son of Mug Núadat and father…

Ainmere

Ainmere (d. 569), son of Sétnae and putatively king of Tara, belonged to the Cenél Conaill dynasty of Uí Néill. His father Sétnae is credited with six sons, but none of the others achieved any distinction. According to the ‘Banshenchas’ (lore of women), Ainmere married Brigit,…

Ainsworth, Sir John Francis

Ainsworth, Sir John Francis (1912–81), 3rd baronet, palaeographer, and archivist, was born 4 January 1912 in London, the only son of Thomas Ainsworth, later 2nd baronet, a racehorse breeder and master of various packs of foxhounds in Ireland, and his first wife, Edina Dorothy Hope (…

Airbertach

Airbertach (d. 1016), son of Cos Dobráin, was at the time of his death airchinnech or superior of the monastery of Ros Ailithir (Ross Carbery, Co. Cork). The only other reference to him in historical sources, an entry in the Annals of Inisfallen, states that in the year 990 Ros…

Aird, John

Aird, John (c.1760–1832), civil engineer, was born in Scotland; nothing is known of his parents or early life. In 1794 he began working for John Rennie (qv), one of the best-known engineers in Europe at the time, and remained with…

Airechtach

Airechtach (d. 794), abbot of Armagh, belonged to the line of Fáelán within the ecclesiastical lineage of Uí Bressail, which in turn represented a discard segment of the ruling dynasty of Airthir (baronies of Upper and Lower Orior, Co. Armagh). He was a priest at Armagh when Affiath was…

Airey, Johanna (‘Josie’)

Airey, Johanna (‘Josie’) (1932–2002), legal-aid campaigner, was born 4 May 1932 at 154 Bandon Road, Cork city, one of two daughters and two sons of Michael Lynch , labourer, and Eileen Lynch (née Sullivan). Her parents both died early, leaving her in the care of her grandmother,…

Albann (Halfdan)

Albann (Halfdan) (d. 877), Scandinavian leader associated with Dublin, was, according to tradition, son of the viking leader Ragnarr Lodbrok, and was one of three documented Scandinavian leaders active in Britain and Ireland c.850–80, the others being…

Alcock, Benjamin

Alcock, Benjamin (1801–p.1859), anatomist, was born in Kilkenny in May 1801, youngest of five known children of Nathaniel Alcock, doctor and mayor of the city, and his wife Deborah Prim. Benjamin, after studying at Kilkenny College, entered…

Alcock, Deborah

Alcock, Deborah (1835–1913), author, was born in June 1835 in Waterford, second daughter of John Alcock, archdeacon of Waterford, and his wife Jane Innes. Her father's brother was Benjamin Alcock (qv). Her mother died when she was three…

Alcock, William Congreve

Alcock, William Congreve (1771–1813) MP, was born in Co. Waterford, the second son of three sons and two daughters of Capt. Henry Alcock (c.1735–1812) of Wilton, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, landowner and MP for Waterford city (1783–1797) and Fethard, Co. Wexford (1797–9), and…

Alderdice, Frederick Charles

Alderdice, Frederick Charles (1871–1936), businessman and politician, the last prime minister of the dominion of Newfoundland, was born 10 November 1871 at Rose Cottage, Stranmillis, Belfast, son of William Alderdice, linen and yarn merchant, and Rachael Katharine (‘Kathleen’)…

Aldfrith

Aldfrith (d. 705), king of Northumbria, son of Oswiu of Northumbria and an Irish princess of the Cenél nÉogain, was brought up in Ireland, where he spent many years in study. When his half-brother Ecgfrith died suddenly (685), he was brought to the throne of Northumbria with the…

Aldworth, Elizabeth

Aldworth, Elizabeth (1692/5?–1772?), freemason, was born probably in Doneraile, Co. Cork, daughter of Arthur St Leger , 1st Viscount Doneraile (1703), and his wife Elizabeth, heir of John Hayes. Around 1710 she accidentally overheard a masonic lodge meeting in Doneraile Castle, and…

Aldworth, Sir Richard

Aldworth, Sir Richard (d. 1629), army officer, was second son of Richard Aldworth, verderer of Showwood forest, Oxfordshire. He served as a lieutenant in Ireland prior to 1603, was appointed provost-marshal of Munster for life (3 May 1610), with command of a troop of horse, and…

Alen (Allen), John

Alen (Allen), John (1476–1534), archbishop and administrator, was the son of Edward Alen and his wife Catherine (daughter of Sir John St Leger), and cousin of Sir John Alen (qv). He was educated at Oxford and Cambridge (…

Alen, Sir John

Alen, Sir John (d. 1561), lawyer and administrator, was the son of Warin Alen of Cotteshall, Norfolk, England, and cousin of his namesake John Alen (qv), archbishop of Dublin (1529–34) and a protégé of Cardinal Wolsey. He entered Gray…

Alexander, Cecil Frances

Alexander, Cecil Frances (1818–95), hymn-writer, known in her family as Fanny, was born in Eccles St., Dublin, second daughter (and third among seven children) of John Humphreys and Elizabeth Frances Humphreys (née Reed). Her mother's brother was Thomas Reed (1796–1883), a general…

Alexander, (Conel) Hugh (O'Donel)

Alexander, (Conel) Hugh (O'Donel) (1909–74), chess master and code-breaker, was born 19 April 1909 in Cork, eldest child of Conel William Long Alexander (qv), professor of engineering at…