Biographies A-Z

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Harris, Matthew

Harris, Matthew (1825–90), revolutionary and agrarian radical, was born in Roscommon town, son of Peter Harris, a farmer from Athlone, Co. Westmeath, and his wife Ann Harris. After attending a hedge school, he worked for several years as a labourer in the building profession before…

Harrison, Frank Llewelyn

Harrison, Frank Llewelyn (1905–87), musicologist, organist, and composer, was born 29 September 1905 in Dublin, the second son of Alfred Francis and Florence May Harrison. He became a chorister at St Patrick's cathedral in 1912, occasionally playing the organ for cathedral…

Harrison, Henry

Harrison, Henry (1867–1954), politician, soldier, and writer, was born on 17 December 1867 at Hollywood House, near Hollywood, Co. Down, son of Henry Harrison, landowner and JP, and Letitia Harrison, grandniece of…

Harrison, Letitia Dunbar- (Crawford, Aileen)

Harrison, Letitia Dunbar- (Crawford, Aileen) (1906–94), librarian and methodist activist, was born Letitia Elizabeth Eileen Dunbar in Dundrum, Co. Dublin, on 4 February 1906, the youngest of at least four children of Arthur Dunbar, a commercial traveller, and his wife Margaret (née…

Harrison, Robert

Harrison, Robert (1793–1858), surgeon and anatomist, was born in Co. Tipperary, son of John Harrison; nothing is known of his mother. He entered TCD in October 1809, aged 16; his father was dead by this time. After his initial medical…

Harrison, Sarah Cecilia (‘Celia’)

Harrison, Sarah Cecilia (‘Celia’) (1863–1941), painter and social campaigner, was born 21 June 1863 at Holywood House, near Holywood, Co. Down, third child of Henry Harrison JP (d. 1873), a prosperous landowner, and his second wife, Letitia…

Harrison, Thomas

Harrison, Thomas (1619–82), nonconformist minister, was born in Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, son of Robert Harrison, merchant. He attended the local grammar school, matriculated at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, in 1636 and received his BA…

Harris, Paul

Harris, Paul (c.1572/3–p. 1642), Roman catholic priest and author, was born Paul Green in Derbyshire, England, but was subsequently to become more widely known both to contemporaries and future historians by his alias ‘Paul Harris’; nothing is known of his…

Harris, Richard St John

Harris, Richard St John (1930–2002), stage and screen actor, was born 1 October 1930 in Limerick city, fifth child among six sons and two daughters of Ivan Harris, a prosperous flour‐mill owner, and Mildred Harris (née Harty). Reared in a comfortable, middle‐class home at Overdale,…

Harris, Walter

Harris, Walter (1686–1761), antiquarian, was born in May 1686 in Mountmellick, King's Co. (Offaly), second son of Hopton Harris, who was described as a gentleman and served as lieutenant of the local Williamite militia in 1690–91. He entered the famous Kilkenny School in 1702 and…

Harshaw, James

Harshaw, James (1797–1867), farmer, diarist, and presbyterian nationalist, was born in the townland of Ringbane, Donaghmore parish, Co. Down, last child of James Harshaw and Mary Harshaw (née Bradford). The senior James was one of the major landholders in the eastern part of the…

Hart, Alice

Hart, Alice (1848–1931), philanthropist, artist, and businesswoman, was born Alice Maria Rowland , daughter of Alex William Rowland (d. 1869), a merchant with a family fortune derived from the Rowland Macassar oil company, and his wife Henrietta Maria Margeretta (née Ditges; d. 1851…

Harte, Francis ('Frank')

Harte, Francis ('Frank') (1933–2005), architect, lecturer, singer, and collector of traditional songs, was born 14 May 1933 in Dublin. His father, Peter Harte (d. 1977), was originally from a farm in Co. Sligo, but moved to Dublin and bought a pub, The Tap, in Chapelizod, then still…

Hart, Henry Chichester

Hart, Henry Chichester (1847–1908), naturalist and literary scholar, was born 29 July 1847 in Glenvar, Raheny, Dublin, second son of Andrew Searle Hart (qv) and Frances Hart (née MacDougall). His father's family was of Co.…

Hartigan, William

Hartigan, William (c.1766–1812), surgeon, was born in Dublin, only son of two known children of Edward Hartigan, apothecary, member of the barber surgeons and freeman (1749) of the city of Dublin, and his wife (née Heron). Educated as a surgeon, he began practice c…

Hart, Josephine

Hart, Josephine (1942–2011), writer, theatrical producer and poetry promoter, was born on 1 March 1942 in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, the eldest of five children of Dermot Hart and his wife Sheila (née Donoghue). Her father had been a commercial traveller and a lorry driver, until…

Hartley, May Laffan

Hartley, May Laffan (1849–1916), novelist, was born 3 May 1849 at 41 Philipsburgh Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin, second child and eldest daughter of Michael Laffan and Ellen Sarah Laffan (née Fitzgibbon). The Fitzgibbons, originally catholic, converted to the Church of Ireland and,…

Hartley, Sir Walter Noel

Hartley, Sir Walter Noel (1846–1913), scientist, was born 3 February 1846 at Lichfield, Staffordshire, son of Thomas Hartley, portrait painter, who exhibited (1820–60) at the Royal Academy in London, and Caroline Hartley (née Lockwood). Walter Hartley appears to have been an only…

Hartley, Travers

Hartley, Travers (1723–96), merchant and MP, was born in Dublin, eldest son of James Hartley (a younger scion of the family of Hartley of Beech Park, Clonsilla, Co. Dublin) and his wife Alice, daughter of the Rev. Elias Travers. Prospering in city business from the 1750s, and…

Hartnett, (Maurice) Noel

Hartnett, (Maurice) Noel (1909–60), political activist and broadcaster, was born 21 December 1909 in Kenmare, Co. Kerry, fourth son of William Joseph Hartnett, pharmacist and member of the IRB, and Kathleen Hartnett (née Barbery),…

Hartnett, Michael

Hartnett, Michael (1941–99), poet, was born 18 September 1941 in Croom, Co. Limerick, eldest among eight children of Denis Harnett, house painter, and Bridie Harnett (née Halpin). An error on his birth certificate gave the name as ‘Hartnett’, a form he later adopted as it is closer to…

Hart, Sir Andrew Searle

Hart, Sir Andrew Searle (1811–90), mathematician, was born 14 March 1811, youngest of five sons of the Rev. George Vaughan Hart (d. 1836), rector of Castlebar, Co. Mayo, and his wife, Maria Murray (née Hume), daughter of John Hume, dean of Derry. She inherited Glenalla, Co.…

Hart, Sir Robert

Hart, Sir Robert (1835–1911), head of the Chinese customs service, was born 20 February 1835 in Portadown, Co. Armagh, eldest of twelve children of Henry Hart, shopkeeper and farmer, and Ann Hart (née Edgar). After secondary schooling at the Wesleyan Connexional School (later Wesley…

Harty, Cyril Bold

Harty, Cyril Bold (1898–1970), show jumper, was born in July 1898 at Glebe House, Fedamore, Co. Limerick, sixth child of Michael Harty, former jockey, and Irene Henrietta Harty (née Hunt). Educated locally, he entered the Free State army in March 1923 as a lieutenant. He was by this…

Harty, John

Harty, John (1867–1946), catholic archbishop of Cashel, was born 11 August 1867 in Knocknagurteeny, Murroe, Co. Limerick, son of Francis Harty and his wife, Johana, née Ryan. He was educated locally and at the Jesuits' Crescent College, Limerick. In 1884 he went to St Patrick's…