Biographies A-Z

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Ní Chéileachair, Síle

Ní Chéileachair, Síle (1924–85), teacher and Irish language author, was born 24 July 1924 in Cúil Aodh, Co. Cork, one of six children of farmer Dónall Bán Ó Céileachair and his wife, Siobhán Ní Mhulláin. Although born in the Gaeltacht, she grew up in a bilingual environment. She…

Nicholl, Andrew

Nicholl, Andrew (1804–86), artist, was born 4 April 1804 in Church Lane, Belfast, the second eldest of three sons of Henry Nicholl, a shoemaker. Although not receiving any formal art tuition, he was probably encouraged by his elder brother William, a competent amateur artist, to…

Nicholls, Sir George

Nicholls, Sir George (1781–1865), poor-law commissioner and author, was born 31 December 1781 at St Kevern, Cornwall. He worked for the East India Company and in banking, but it was through his association with poor relief that he became involved with Ireland. He gained first-hand…

Nicholson, Asenath

Nicholson, Asenath (1792–1855), traveller and social reformer, was born 24 February 1792, youngest child and only daughter among three children of Michael Hatch (c.1747–1830), farmer, and his wife, Martha (maiden name unknown; 1745–1837), in Chelsea, Vermont, USA.…

Nicholson, Ernest Wilson

Nicholson, Ernest Wilson (1938–2013), biblical scholar, was born on 26 September 1938 in Portadown, Co. Armagh, the youngest of three children of Ernest Tedford Nicholson, a soldier and baker, and Veronica Muriel Nicholson. After attending Hart Memorial Primary School in Portadown, he…

Nicholson, John

Nicholson, John (1821–57), army officer and administrator in India, was born 11 December 1821 in Dublin, eldest son among five sons and two daughters of Dr Alexander Nicholson, physician, of Stramore House, Gilford, Co. Down, and his wife Clara (née Hogg). His father had studied…

Nicholson, William Patteson

Nicholson, William Patteson (1876–1959), evangelist, was born on 3 April 1876 in Cottown near Bangor, Co. Down, one among seven children of Capt. John G. Nicholson, merchant seaman, and his wife Ellen (née Campbell). The family was devoutly presbyterian; two sisters and a brother became…

Ní Chonaill, Eibhlín Dhubh

Ní Chonaill, Eibhlín Dhubh (c.1743–c.1800), poet, was born in Derrynane (Doire Fhionáin), Co. Kerry, one of the twenty-two children of Máire Ní Dhuibh (qv) and her husband, Domhnall Mór Ó Conaill of…

Nic Mhaicín, Maighréad

Nic Mhaicín, Maighréad (1899–1983), translator, was born 12 March 1899 in Dunglow, Co. Donegal, third eldest child of the nine children of John Macken , a member of the RIC, and his wife, Margaret McNamee, commonly known as Daisy…

Nic Niocaill, Eibhlín

Nic Niocaill, Eibhlín (1884–1909), Gaelic League activist, was born 22 October 1884 in Dublin as Eveleen Constance Nicholls , only daughter and second among four children of Archibald J. Nicholls (1845–1924), barrister and secretary of the Loan Fund Board of Ireland, and his wife…

Nicol, Erskine

Nicol, Erskine (1825–1904), painter, was born 25 July 1825 in South Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland, eldest child among five sons and one daughter of James Main Nicol, a cooper with a wine merchant, and Margaret Nicol (née Alexander). Apprenticed at an early age to a house painter, he was…

Nicolson, William

Nicolson, William (1655–1727), bishop of Derry, politician, and scholar, was born 3 June 1655 at Great Orton in Cumberland, the eldest of three sons and three daughters of Joseph Nicolson (1623–86), rector of Plumbland, and his wife, Mary (d. 1689), daughter of John Brisco, a…

Nic Shiubhlaigh, Máire

Nic Shiubhlaigh, Máire (1883–1958), actress and republican, was born Mary Elizabeth Walker, 8 May 1883, at 39 Charlemont St., Dublin, daughter of Matthew Walker , a printer and typesetter, and Mary Anne Walker (née Dogherty), a dressmaker. Her father, who had printed Fenian and…

Ní Dhonnchadha Dhuibh, Máire

Ní Dhonnchadha Dhuibh, Máire (d. 1795?), poet, was born c.1702 in Glenflesk, Co. Kerry, daughter of Domhnall Ó Donnchadha and his wife Alice (née Ferriter), both of Co. Kerry. She was a descendant of the Uí Dhonnchadha an Ghleanna (O'Donoghue of the Glen), ‘Dubh’ being…

Ní Ghráda, Máiréad

Ní Ghráda, Máiréad (1896–1971), playwright, author, and broadcaster, was born 23 December 1896 in Knockadangan, Kilmaley, Co. Clare, younger of two daughters of James O'Grady (1856–1942), farmer and sometime county councillor, and Bridget O'Grady (née Greene; 1854–1934), native of…

Ní Ghuairim, Máire

Ní Ghuairim, Máire (1896–1964), teacher, author and sean-nós singer, was born 6 July 1896 in Roisín na Manach, Carna, Co. Galway, eldest daughter of farmer Máirtín Gorham and his wife, Catherine Burke. She received her earliest education in the Convent of Mercy school in Roisín na…

Ní Ghuairim, Sorcha

This is a co-subject for the entry on Ní Ghuairim, Máire. View the original entry.

Nihell, James

Nihell, James (c.1650–1721), lawyer and MP, was the eldest among two sons and two daughters of Patrick and Anastace Nihell of Glasclowen, Co. Clare. The origins of the Nihell family are uncertain, one source suggesting viking ancestry while another claims they were…

Nihell (Nihil), James

Nihell (Nihil), James (1705–59), physician and author, was born in Limerick, second son among five sons and four daughters of Laurence Nihell, merchant, and Alice Nihell (née Arthur). He was educated in France at the Jesuit Collège Royale de la Flèche, near Le Mans, and studied…

Niland, Nora

Niland, Nora (1913–88), Sligo county librarian and founder of the Sligo municipal art collection, was born 26 March 1913 in Galway, eighth child among six sons and three daughters of John Niland, of Ballinastack, Tuam, Co. Galway, railway worker and small farmer, and his wife…

Ní Laoghaire, Máire ‘Bhuí’

Ní Laoghaire, Máire ‘Bhuí’ (1774–c.1848), poet, was born in Túirín na nÉan, the area of Ballingeary in west Cork, one of five sons and three daughters of Diarmuid Ó Laoghaire , a farmer of fifty acres. Her mother's first name was Siobhán but her family name is unknown.…

Ní Máelshechlainn, Agnetha (‘An Caillech Mór’: ‘the great nun’)

Ní Máelshechlainn, Agnetha (‘An Caillech Mór’: ‘the great nun’) (d. 1196) was abbess of St Mary's, Clonard, head house in Ireland of the Augustinian canonesses of the congregation of Arrouaise. Her father, Muirchertach (d. 1143) son of Domnall of the Ua Máelshechlainn line of…

Ní Mhuiríosa, Máirín

Ní Mhuiríosa, Máirín (1906–82), Irish scholar, poet and journalist, was born 5 September 1906 in Dublin, daughter of mathematics teacher Tomás Ó Muiríosa and his wife Mary Golden. Both her parents were Irish-speakers and the family spent their summer holidays in the Ring Gaeltacht…

Nimmo, Alexander

Nimmo, Alexander (1783–1832), civil engineer, was born in Kirkcaldy, Fifeshire, Scotland, son of Alexander Nimmo, watchmaker and merchant; nothing is known of his mother. He was educated at the universities of St Andrews and Edinburgh, where he gained distinctions in classics and…

Ninian (Nynia)

Ninian (Nynia) (fl. late 5th/early 6th cent.), bishop of Whithorn (in Galloway, Scotland) and missionary to the southern Picts, is attested only in confused and uncertain traditions. Apart from the brief and incidental notice given in Bede's ‘Historia ecclesiastica’, there…