Biographies A-Z

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Fergal

Fergal (d. 966), grandson of Ruarc, son of Art and overking of Connacht, belonged to the dynasty of Uí Briúin Bréifne. His grandfather Ruarc (d. 898) and great-uncle Flann (sl. 910), both sons of Tigernán, in turn ruled the Connacht–Ulster border kingdom of Bréifne; but it is not…

Fergal

Fergal (d. 722), son of Máel-dúin and king of Tara, belonged to the Uí Néill dynasty of Cenél nÉogain. His father Máel-dúin died as king of his line in 681; his mother was Cacht daughter of Cellach (qv) son of Máel-Cobo of Cenél Conaill. Fergal…

Fergno (Fergna, Virgno) Brit

Fergno (Fergna, Virgno) Brit (‘the Briton’) (d. 623), 4th abbot of Iona and the first to be described as a bishop in the later martyrologies, was (according to Colgan's (qv) Latin Life) son of Fáilbe, a descendant of…

Fergus

Fergus (fl. early 8th cent.), an Irish missionary bishop to Pictland (and indeed to large parts of northern Scotland), is known in the ‘Breviary of Aberdeen’ as Fergus, but in other Scottish calendars corruptly as Terguse or Tergusius. Although he is apparently unknown…

Fergus

Fergus son of Roach, a key figure in the Ulster cycle, was foster-father of Cú Chulainn (qv), lover of Queen Medb (qv), and (as mac roich ‘son of the great horse’) the most virile man in…

Fergus, John

Fergus, John (c.1700–1761), doctor of medicine and collector of books and manuscripts, was born in Co. Mayo, where a branch of the Ó Fearghusa family was to be found. His father's name was Mac Raith, and hence Dr Fergus was sometimes referred to in Irish as Seán mac…

Fergus Mór

Fergus Mór (‘the great’) (d. 503), son of Erc and putatively king of Dál Riata, was an early representative of this dynasty in Co. Antrim and ancestor of the later Cenél nGabráin kings in Scotland. There is no record of his mother or his wife, but he is said to have had eleven…

Ferguson, Henry George (‘Harry’)

Ferguson, Henry George (‘Harry’) (1884–1960), engineer, was born 4 November 1884 in the townland of Growell, near Anahilt, between Hillsborough and Dromore, Co. Down, third son and fourth child among eight sons and three daughters of James Ferguson, a prosperous farmer, and Mary…

Ferguson, Howard

Ferguson, Howard (1908–99), composer, pianist, and musicologist, was born 21 October 1908 at 14 Deramore Park South, Belfast, youngest among five children of Stanley Ferguson, solicitor and a managing director of the Ulster Bank, and Edith Frances Ferguson (née Carr). He was taught…

Ferguson, Hugh

Ferguson, Hugh (1819?–1890), veterinary surgeon, was probably eldest of three sons of Hugh Ferguson of Dublin (a distant relative of Sir Samuel Ferguson (qv)) and his wife Susan Biggs; the family was well-to-do, and had property…

Ferguson, James Frederic

Ferguson, James Frederic (1807–55), record agent and antiquary, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, USA. His father, Jacques Frédéric Jaquemain from Cambrai, had fled from France to London in 1793, assuming the name of Ferguson. In 1799 he took his wife to America, and worked as…

Ferguson, John

Ferguson, John (1836–1906), publisher, home-ruler, and land reformer, was born 18 April 1836 in Belfast, the son of Leonard Ferguson (d. 1844?), who was in the provision trade there and whose family were tenant farmers in Co. Antrim and related to the United Irish martyr…

Ferguson, John Creery

Ferguson, John Creery (1802–65), medical doctor, was born 22 August 1802 at Tandragee, Co. Armagh, son of Thomas Ferguson, doctor and apothecary, and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of John Creery, rector of Tandragee. Thomas practised in Tandragee and then Dublin, where he later died…

Ferguson, John Stephenson

Ferguson, John Stephenson (1761–1833), linen manufacturer, was the eldest son of James Ferguson (d. 29 December 1784), medical doctor, and Jane Ferguson (née Stephenson) of Belfast. His date of birth and details of his education are unknown. His father, who had other children from…

Ferguson, Lady Mary Catherine

Ferguson, Lady Mary Catherine (1823–1905), antiquarian and biographer, was born 13 September 1823 in Stillorgan, Co. Dublin, eldest child and only daughter of Robert Rundell Guinness (1789–1857), founder of the banking firm of Guinness Mahon, and Mary Anne Guinness (née Seymour; d…

Ferguson, Richard ('Dick')

Ferguson, Richard ('Dick') (1935–2009), barrister and politician, was born in Derrygonnelly, Co. Fermanagh, on 22 August 1935, only child of Wesley Ferguson, RUC sergeant, and his wife Edith. The Fergusons, who were methodists, had farmed…

Ferguson, Robert Campbell

Ferguson, Robert Campbell (1880–1945), civil servant, was born 12 July 1880 in Belfast, son of Alfred Campbell, plumber and tinsmith, and Ellen Campbell (née Ferguson), both presbyterians. The family lived at 23 Suir St., Belfast. An outstanding student, he was educated at the…

Ferguson, Sir Samuel

Ferguson, Sir Samuel (1810–86), poet and archivist, was born 10 March 1810 in Belfast, youngest of six children of John Ferguson, landowner, and his wife Agnes, daughter of John Knox, clockmaker. Ferguson attended the Belfast Academical Institution, and went on to be a student at…

Ferguson, Vincent

Ferguson, Vincent , (1931–2007), businessman and art collector, was born in the family home in Teeling Street, Sligo town, on 21 June 1931, the son of John Ferguson, printer, and his wife Mary (née McGarry). His mother died when he was five, leaving five boys and two girls. The family…

Ferings, Richard of

Ferings, Richard of (d. 1306), archbishop of Dublin, attended Oxford, where he received a doctorate in canon law. A close associate of John Pecham, archbishop of Canterbury, he was made archdeacon of the diocese of Canterbury in 1281. As ambassador to the papal court in Rome in June…

Ferrar, Hartley Travers

Ferrar, Hartley Travers (1879–1932), geologist and explorer, was born 28 January 1879 at 3 Grosvenor Place, Dalkey, Co. Dublin, son of John Edgar Ferrar, bank clerk, and Mary Holmes Ferrar (née Hartley). While he was still a small child, his family moved to Holywood, Co. Down, where…

Ferrar, John

Ferrar, John (1742–1804), printer and historian, was born in 1742 in Limerick city, the only son of William Ferrar (sometimes spelt Farrier), bookbinder and printer, and Rose Ferrar (née Paine or Payne). The first member of this family to settle in Limerick was William Ferrar, a cavalry…

Ferris, Richard

Ferris, Richard (1754–1828), priest and adventurer, was born 10 February 1754 at Ballymalis, near Killarney, Co. Kerry, youngest among four sons of Daniel Ferris, tenant farmer; his mother was a Hassett, apparently a protestant. His brothers emigrated to France, where one, Edward…

Ferris, Samuel

Ferris, Samuel (1900–1980), long-distance athlete, was born 29 August 1900 in Magherabeg, near Dromore, Co. Down, the son of Samuel Ferris, labourer, and his wife, Mary, née Clarke. His family emigrated to Glasgow where, at the age of sixteen, Samuel joined the Shettleston Harriers…

Fethgna

Fethgna (d. 874), abbot of Armagh, belonged to the lineage of Uí Echdach from which sprang the ecclesiastical family of Clann Sínaig; his father is named as Nechtan, but his mother is not recorded. Fethgna was initially bishop of the Patrician community and, in that capacity, he…