Barron, Philip Fitzgerald (1801/2?–1844), Celticist and Hebraist, was born in Durrow House, Stradbally, Co. Waterford, one of seven children of Richard Barron of Durrow and Catherine Barron, daughter of Philip Hay of Co. Wexford. Though some sources give 1797 as his year of birth, Alumni Dublinenses records his admission on 4 December 1820 ‘aged 18’, and Barron, Genealogy, gives his date of birth as 1801. He was educated at Waterford and TCD, leaving after three years without a degree. In 1825 he bought the Waterford Chronicle to assist the catholic emancipation campaign, but when a libel suit went against him the paper was sold to his brother, and he travelled Europe for two years, returning in 1830 with the aim of promoting the Irish language and culture. He was elected MRIA in June 1832.
His efforts culminated in the first half of 1835: on 1 January he launched at his own expense the periodical Ancient Ireland (five issues) and opened a small college at Bunmahon, Co. Waterford, for teaching through the medium of Irish; he also published in early 1835 (for ‘the Irish Office’, a projected book distribution agency) an Irish primer in three parts, collected sermons, a catholic prayer book, and The harp of Erin. His work foreshadowed that of the Gaelic League and of educators such as P. H. Pearse (qv). However, he was obliged by lack of funds to close the college in mid 1835, drop his publishing business after producing an estimated 200,000 copies of his books, and leave Ireland. He died of consumption in London – where he had been living under the assumed name of Charles Johnson – on 3 September 1844 at 26 Buckingham Place, All Souls, Middlesex. Like four of his siblings, he apparently did not marry.