Biographies A-Z

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MacGillapatrick, Brian

MacGillapatrick, Brian (c.1500–75), was the son of Brian MacGillapatrick, lord of North Ossory, and probably Honora O'More. It is unknown when exactly Brian succeeded his father as lord of North Ossory, but at first he tried to maintain his family's attachment to…

MacGillapatrick (Mac Cellaig Ó Gilla Pátraic), David

MacGillapatrick (Mac Cellaig Ó Gilla Pátraic), David (d. 1253), archbishop of Cashel, was the son of Cellach Mac Gilla Pátraic, probably a member of the MacGillapatrick dynasty of Ossory. Nothing is known about David's early life, nor is it known when he joined the Dominican order…

MacGillapatrick (Mac Gilla Pátraic), Donnchad

MacGillapatrick (Mac Gilla Pátraic), Donnchad (d. 1249/50), king of North Ossory, is of unknown parentage, but grew up in the aftermath of the eviction of the MacGillapatricks from their ancestral lands in 1192–4 by William Marshal (…

Mac Gilla Uidir, Echdonn (Eugenius)

Mac Gilla Uidir, Echdonn (Eugenius) (d. c.1216), archbishop of Armagh, was elected in circumstances that underline the growing tensions in the lordship of Ireland in the early thirteenth century. On the death (1201) of Archbishop…

MacGill, Patrick

MacGill, Patrick (1890–1963), novelist and poet, was born 25 December 1890 in Maas, Glenties, Co. Donegal, eldest among ten children of William MacGill, farmer, and Margaret MacGill (née Boyle), of Mullanmore, Glenties. Educated at Mullanmore national school, he left school at 10…

MacGinnis, (Patrick) Niall

MacGinnis, (Patrick) Niall (1913–77), actor and medical doctor, was born 29 March 1913 at 25 Oakley Road, Ranelagh, Dublin, the eldest of two sons of Patrick F. MacGinnis (1873–1933), medical doctor and bacteriologist, and his wife Mary Josephine (née Kelly). After attending…

Mac Giolla Ghunna, Cathal ‘Buí’

Mac Giolla Ghunna, Cathal ‘Buí’ (c.1680–c.1756), poet, was a member of a family that originated in Co. Fermanagh, but nothing is known of his immediate relatives. The local tradition suggests that he was a native of the district around Lough Macnean where the…

Mac Giolla Phádraig (FitzPatrick), Brian

Mac Giolla Phádraig (FitzPatrick), Brian (d. 1652), catholic priest and Gaelic poet, was born in Co. Laois sometime in the late sixteenth century, the son of Turlough Mac Giolla Phádraig, the half-brother of Barnaby Mac Giolla Phádraig (Fitzpatrick), the second baron of Upper…

Mac Giollarnáth (Mac Giolla An Átha; Forde), Seán

Mac Giollarnáth (Mac Giolla An Átha; Forde), Seán (1880–1970), writer and folklorist, was born 13 September 1880 at Gorteen, about 9 miles from Athenry, Co. Galway, eldest son among nine children of Michael Forde and his wife Brigid Curley, proprietors of a shop and a small farm. He…

Mac Giolla, Tomás

Mac Giolla, Tomás (1924–2010), republican and politician, was born Thomas Gill on 25 January 1924 at Fatheen House, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, one of three children (one girl and two boys) of Robert P. Gill (d. 1928), civil engineer with Tipperary North County Council, and his second…

MacGonigal, Maurice Joseph

MacGonigal, Maurice Joseph (1900–79), landscape and figurative painter, was born 22 January 1900 in Ranelagh, Dublin, third eldest child and only son of Francis MacGonigal, Sligo-born painter and decorator, and Caroline MacGonigal (née Lane). After attending Synge St.…

Mac Góráin (Mac Gabhráin), Riobard

Mac Góráin (Mac Gabhráin), Riobard (1928–2007), promoter of the Irish language, was born 19 March 1928 in Dublin, the eldest of five children of Séamus McGoran, an army officer, and his wife Elizabeth 'Lily' (née Mulholland), originally from Glenavy, Co. Antrim. Séamus McGoran (1892–…

MacGowran, Jack

MacGowran, Jack (1918–73), actor, was born 13 October 1918 in Ranelagh, Dublin, the only son among three children of Matthew MacGowran, a sporadically employed travelling salesman, and Gertrude MacGowran (née Shanahan). ‘Jackie’, as he was always known, was educated at the…

Mac Gradoigh (Mag Raidhin, MacGrane), Aughuistín (Augustine)

Mac Gradoigh (Mag Raidhin, MacGrane), Aughuistín (Augustine) (c.1349–1405), Augustinian canon regular and author; his background is unknown, but he may have been from Co. Meath. He belonged to the monastic community of Oileán na Naomh (Saints’ Island), in Lough Ree, on the…

MacGreevy, Thomas

MacGreevy, Thomas (1893–1967), poet, art and literary critic, and director of the National Gallery of Ireland, was born 26 October 1893 in Tarbert, Co. Kerry, sixth among eight children of Thomas McGreevy (1858–1930) of Crossmolina, Co. Mayo, a former member of the…

Mac Grianna (Mhic Ghrianna), Róise

Mac Grianna (Mhic Ghrianna), Róise (1879–1964), traditional Irish-language singer and storyteller, was born 13 March 1879 in Seascann an Róinn, near Dungloe (Clochán Liath), Co. Donegal, one of five children of Tomas Ó Colla, farmer, and his wife, Maighréad, a noted musician and the…

Mac Grianna, Seosamh

Mac Grianna, Seosamh (1900–90), writer in Irish, was born 15 January 1901 in Ranafast, Co. Donegal, one of eleven children of Féilimí Dhónaill Phroinsiais, farmer and fisherman, and his wife, Máire (née Ní Dhomhnaill). Both of his parents came from a storytelling background. His…

MacGurk (Magork, McGuirke), Brian

MacGurk (Magork, McGuirke), Brian (c.1622×35–1713), catholic priest, was born in Termonmagurk, Co. Tyrone. His background and early life remain obscure, but his family were apparently dispossessed under the Cromwellian regime. Ordained in 1660, possibly by…

Macha

Macha , tutelary goddess, gave her name to one of the most important of all Irish royal sites, Emain Macha (‘the twins of Macha’) in Co. Armagh, now known as Navan Fort. While Emain Macha was a prehistoric site of great religious significance, it was remembered by the early medieval…

MacHale, John

MacHale, John (1791–1881), catholic archbishop of Tuam, was born 6 March 1791 at Tubbernavine, Co. Mayo, the sixth child and fifth son of Patrick MacHale and his wife Mary Mulkieran. MacHale's father was a prosperous farmer and innkeeper and was also active in the linen trade. The…

MacHale, Joseph Patrick

MacHale, Joseph Patrick (1922–2005), university administrator and sportsman, was born 8 January 1922 in Dublin, sixth child and younger son of J. P. MacHale, a senior official with the Hibernian Insurance Company, and his wife Grace. Educated at CBS Dún Laoghaire (1930–32) and…

MacIlwaine, John Bedell Stanford

MacIlwaine, John Bedell Stanford (1857–1945), landscape painter and inventor, was born 21 April 1857 in Dublin, the son of John S. MacIlwaine, a banker. He was educated at the High School, Harcourt St., before studying architecture under

Mackay, James Townsend

Mackay, James Townsend (1775–1862), botanist, was born 29 January 1775 in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland. His parents may have been Hugh McKay and Margaret (née Mitchel). He was educated at the local parish school and subsequently trained as a gardener, holding several posts before…

MacKay, John William

MacKay, John William (1831–1902), miner and businessman, was born in Dublin, son of a Scottish father and an Irish mother. His family were desperately poor, and in 1840 they emigrated to America. Following his arrival in New York, he was educated at a public school but his father…

Macken, John

Macken, John (1784/5–1823), poet and newspaper editor, was born in Brookeborough, Co. Fermanagh, eldest son of Richard Macken, catholic linen merchant, and Catherine Macken (née Dugan). He ran a small business (probably in a branch of the textile trade) in Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan,…