Kane, Katherine Sophia (1811–86), botanist and horticulturist, was born 11 March 1811, the only child of Henry Baily , who came from Berkshire, England, to Limerick as a distiller, and Bridget Baily (née O'Kelly). Katherine's uncle Francis Baily was an eminent astronomer and vice-president of the Royal Society. Both her parents died young and her childhood was spent at Rochestown House, Killiney, Co. Dublin, where she lived with her uncle Matthias O'Kelly (qv), his family, and his two sisters. Matthias had a reputation as a natural historian and no doubt influenced his young niece's early interest in botany. One of his sons, Joseph O'Kelly (qv), became a geologist. The 1833 publication of The Irish flora, published anonymously and reissued in 1845, is attributed to her, though she was assisted by John White (d. 1837), a gardener at Glasnevin. It was the first complete descriptive work on the Irish flowering plants and vascular cryptogams and is said to have been used as a text book in the botany department of TCD. At the age of 25 she was elected the first woman member of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh (1836). Arboriculture was another of her interests and she wrote on conifer cultivation in Ireland and contributed to the Irish Farmer's and Gardener's Magazine.
She married (23 August 1838) Sir Robert John Kane (qv), a prominent figure in Irish science and economics, and had nine children. He was appointed first president of QCC (1845–73), but it is said that Katherine, a strong-minded woman, refused to live permanently in Cork city, resulting in her husband commuting from Dublin, much to the dissatisfaction of the college authorities. As a result of the report of a royal commission, Robert Kane was required in 1858 to reside in Cork during the college session. During one of her residencies there she presented twenty-one specimens of flowering plants to the herbarium of the college. Most of these had been collected in Ireland and the Swiss Alps before her marriage. It is not clear how involved she was with horticulture after this date, as all of her published work pre-dates 1838. However, her garden at Wickham, Dundrum, Co. Dublin, was said to be magnificent. In 1873 she toured Italy with her husband and one of her daughters. She died 25 February 1886 in Dublin.