Biographies A-Z

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Wolfe, David

Wolfe, David (1528–c.1578), leader of the second Jesuit mission to Ireland, was born in Limerick. His command of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese strongly suggests that he was educated on the Continent, but he is first recorded as dean of the diocesan chapter in Limerick…

Wolfe, George

Wolfe, George (1859–1941), soldier, landowner, antiquarian, and politician, was born 16 December 1859 at Bishopland, Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare, younger son among two sons and one daughter of Theobald George Samuel Wolfe (1815–72), landowner, of Bishopland and Forenaghts, Naas…

Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm

Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm (1834–1913), shipbuilder, businessman, and politician, was born in Hamburg, the son of Moritz Wolff and Fanny Maria Schwabe. Gustav left home at the age of fourteen to study engineering at Liverpool College, staying with his uncle Gustav Schwabe. He was…

Wolseley, Garnet Joseph

Wolseley, Garnet Joseph (1833–1913), Viscount Wolseley , British army field-marshal, was born 4 June 1833 at Golden Bridge House, Co. Dublin, eldest son of Maj. Garnet Joseph Wolseley (d. 1840), late of the 25th Borderers, and his wife Frances Anne (d. 1883), daughter of William…

Wolseley, William

Wolseley, William (1640–97), soldier and politician, was the youngest of five sons (there were also six daughters) of Sir Robert Wolseley, 1st baronet, of Wolseley, Staffordshire, and his wife, Mary Wolseley (née Wroughton), daughter of Sir George Wroughton, knight, of Walcot,…

Wood, Charles

Wood, Charles (1866–1926), composer and musical academic, was born 15 June 1866 at Armagh city, fifth child and third son of Charles Wood, tenor lay vicar choral of St Patrick's cathedral, Armagh, and Jemima Wood (née Taylor), both of 11 Vicars’ Hill, Armagh. Of their fourteen…

Wood, Ernest Mounteney

Wood, Ernest Mounteney (1909–91), barrister, was born in Dublin on 12 July 1909, third of three sons of Albert Ernest Wood (1874–1941) KC, and his wife Edyth (née Gillespie). His elder brother Wilfred, also a barrister, died tragically young in…

Wood, Herbert

Wood, Herbert (1860–1955), archivist, historian, deputy keeper of the Public Record Office of Ireland, was born on 6 September 1860 at Trinity Square, Lambeth, London, a prosperous residential development for merchants and professionals. He was the sixth of eight children of William…

Woodlock, Bartholomew

Woodlock, Bartholomew (1819–1902), catholic bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise and rector of the Catholic University of Ireland, was born 30 March 1819 in Dublin, the eighth of ten children of William Paul Woodlock and his wife Mary (née Cleary), who were natives of Roscrea, Co.…

Woodlock, Ellen

Woodlock, Ellen (1811–84), philanthropist and social worker, was born 27 January 1811, second daughter among seven sons and four daughters of Martin Mahony (1764–1834) of Cork, woollen manufacturer, and his second wife, Maria (née Reynolds), of Roscreg. The Rev.…

Wood, Robert

Wood, Robert (1717?–1771), traveller, author, and politician, was born at Riverstown Castle near Trim, Co. Meath, eldest son of the Rev. James Wood of Summerhill, Co. Meath. He matriculated at Glasgow University in 1732 and entered the Middle Temple on 15 November 1736. In 1742–3 he…

Woods, Philip James

Woods, Philip James (1880–1961), soldier and politician, was born in Belfast on 23 September 1880, son of Hugh Woods, clerk, of St John's, Hillsborough, Co. Down, and Emily Catherine Woods, granddaughter of Sir John Fuleston, of Flintshire, Wales. He was educated at the…

Woods, Sir Robert Henry

Woods, Sir Robert Henry (1865–1938), surgeon and MP, was born 27 April 1865 in Tullamore, Co. Offaly, the youngest son of Christopher Woods, shopkeeper, and his wife, Dorothea (née Lowe). Educated in Dublin at Wesley College and then TCD…

Woods, Stanley

Woods, Stanley (1903–93), racing motorcyclist, was born 28 November 1903 in Rathmines, Dublin, son of Edward H. (‘Ted’) Woods, company representative, from Rathgar, Dublin, and Lily Menzies Woods (née Stanley), both of 21 Brighton Avenue, Rathmines. He was educated at the High…

Woods, Thomas (‘Tommy’)

Woods, Thomas (‘Tommy’) (1921–61), diplomat, journalist, and writer, was born 2 July 1921 at 4 St Brendan's Terrace, Galway city, one of three children of Thomas Woods, draper, and Bridget Woods (née Hogan). He was educated by the Christian Brothers in Galway and for a time…

Woodward, Benjamin

Woodward, Benjamin (1816–61), architect, was born 16 November 1816 in Tullamore, King's Co. (Offaly), seventh child among five sons and four daughters of Capt. Charles Woodward (1781–1864), formerly of the Royal Meath Militia, and his wife Mary (d. 1824), daughter of Dr Edward Atkinson…

Woodward, Richard

Woodward, Richard (c.1743–1777), composer, was born in England, son of Richard Woodward, choirmaster; his mother's name is not known. In 1751 he moved to Ireland when his father was appointed a stipendiary of the choir at Christ Church cathedral, Dublin. He became an…

Woodward, Richard

Woodward, Richard (1726–94), Church of Ireland bishop of Cloyne, was born in July 1726 at Grimsbury, near Bristol, the eldest son of Francis Woodward (d. 1730) and Elizabeth Woodward (née Bird; 1696–1771) of Bristol. Early years He was educated at home by…

Worcester, Philip of

Worcester, Philip of (c.1160–c.1218), member of Henry II's (qv) household, was sent to Ireland in 1184 to prepare the way for the arrival of John (qv), lord of Ireland, in the following…

Workman, Thomas

Workman, Thomas (1843–1900), naturalist, traveller, and businessman, was born 14 August 1843, third son among fifteen children of Robert Workman and Jane Workman (née Service) of Ceara, Malone Road, Belfast. His father's family was originally from Saltcoats, Ayrshire, Scotland,…

Worsley, Benjamin

Worsley, Benjamin (1617/18–1677), administrator, was born and educated in London, the eldest son of Francis Worsley of Kenton, Warwickshire, and his wife, Mary, daughter of Shipman Hopkins of Coventry. By 1640 he was in Ireland serving in the household of…

Worth, Edward

Worth, Edward (d. 1669), puritan and Church of Ireland bishop of Killaloe, was born in Co. Cork, son of James Worth, clergyman of Newmarket, Co. Cork, who originally came from Tytherington in the parish of Prestbury, Cheshire, England. Edward was a scholar of…

Worth, Edward

Worth, Edward (c.1678–1733), MD and bibliophile, was the son, and only surviving child, of John Worth (1648–88), chancellor (1671–8) and dean (1678–88) of St Patrick's cathedral, Dublin, and his wife Comfort, and was the grandson of

Woulfe, Peter

Woulfe, Peter (1727?–1803), chemist, mineralogist, and inventor of ‘Woulfe's bottle’, was born in Co. Limerick. After being schooled in Limerick by the Rev. Robert Cashin, he went to Paris to study under Guillaume-Francois Rouelle, on the advice of…

Woulfe, Stephen

Woulfe, Stephen (1787–1840), judge, MP, and first catholic baron of the Irish exchequer, was born at Chaude Fontaine, near Liège (then in the Holy Roman Empire, later in Belgium), second son of Stephen Woulfe, landowner, of Tiermaclane, Ennis, Co. Clare, and his wife Honora,…