History, Archaeology and Antiquarianism

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Abell, Abraham

Abell, Abraham (1783–1851), antiquary and public figure at Cork, was born 11 April 1783 in Pope's Quay, Cork, son of Richard Abell, a quaker merchant. Abraham Abell too was a merchant, but he is to be remembered for his prominence in voluntary bodies, both cultural and…

Adair, Patrick

Adair, Patrick (c.1624–1694), presbyterian minister and historian, was the third son of John Adair, of Genoch in Galloway. He graduated from the University of St Andrews in 1642 and proceeded in 1644 to study divinity in the University of Glasgow. When licensed he travelled…

Adomnán

Adomnán (c.624–704), son of Rónán, was 9th abbot of Iona (679–704), biographer of Colum Cille, and saint in the Irish tradition. According to the genealogies, he was son of Rónán son of Tinne, one of the Cenél Conaill branch of the Uí Néill, and a kinsman of…

Ainsworth, Sir John Francis

Ainsworth, Sir John Francis (1912–81), 3rd baronet, palaeographer, and archivist, was born 4 January 1912 in London, the only son of Thomas Ainsworth, later 2nd baronet, a racehorse breeder and master of various packs of foxhounds in Ireland, and his first wife, Edina Dorothy Hope (…

Alexander, James

Alexander, James (d. 1815?), historian of the battle of New Ross and miscellaneous writer, was a native of Harristown, near Monastereven, Co. Kildare. Nothing has been ascertained of his family other than that he had a brother, Wentworth, and that he was a cousin-german of Sir…

Allison, Richard Sydney

Allison, Richard Sydney (1899–1978), neurologist and historian, was born 15 May 1899 in Belfast to William and Eliza Allison, and attended RBAI and QUB. Before completing his…

Andrews, Christopher Stephen (‘Todd’)

Andrews, Christopher Stephen (‘Todd’) (1901–85), revolutionary, public servant, and writer, was born 6 October 1901 at 42 Summerhill, central Dublin, elder of two sons of Christopher Andrews, of Dublin, and Mary (‘Molly’) Andrews (née Moran), daughter of a…

Archdall, Mervyn

Archdall, Mervyn (1723–91), clergyman and antiquary, was born 22 April 1723 in Dublin, elder son among two sons and three daughters of William Archdall, goldsmith, and his wife Henrietta, a widow who was daughter of Henry Gonne, curate of Finglas. William Archdall was Dublin assay…

Arthur, William

Arthur, William (1819–1901), methodist minister and author, was born 3 February 1819, probably in Kells, Co. Antrim, son of James Arthur and Margaret Arthur (née Kennedy), and spent his childhood in Westport, Co. Mayo. Though brought up an episcopalian, he attended (1837–9)…

Atkinson, Sarah

Atkinson, Sarah (1823–93), philanthropist and author, was born 13 October 1823 in Athlone, Co. Roscommon, eldest of five daughters and one son of John Gaynor , gentleman, and Anna Gaynor. The family moved to Dublin for the sake of the children's education, but no details are known…

Bagwell, Richard

Bagwell, Richard (1840–1918), barrister, historian, and political activist, was born 9 December 1840, eldest son of John Bagwell, MP, of Marlfield, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, and his wife the Hon. Frances, youngest daughter of Francis Aldborough Prittie,…

Ball, Francis Elrington

Ball, Francis Elrington (1863–1928), antiquarian and historian, was born 18 July 1863 at Portmarnock, Co. Dublin, third and youngest son of John Thomas Ball (qv), later lord chancellor of Ireland, and Catherine Ball (née Elrington),…

Barkley, John Monteith

Barkley, John Monteith (1910–97), presbyterian minister, scholar and historian, was born in Belfast on 18 October 1910, the only son of Robert James Barkley and his wife Mary Darcus (née Monteith). He had a younger sister. When John was born the family was living with his mother's…

Barlow, James William

Barlow, James William (1826–1913), historian and writer, was born 21 October 1826 in Co. Dublin, eldest son of the Rev. William Barlow and Catherine Barlow (née Disney). He was marked by his mother’s unhappiness: as a young woman she had been in love with…

Barrington, Sir Jonah

Barrington, Sir Jonah (1756/7–1834), memoirist, judge, and MP, was born at Knapton, near Abbeyleix, Queen's Co. (Laois), third son among sixteen children of John Barrington, country gentleman, and his wife Sibella, daughter of Patrick French of Peterswell, Co. Galway. He spent his…

Barry, Edmond

Barry, Edmond (1837–1900), priest and antiquarian, was born 7 March 1837 in Midleton, Co. Cork, elder son and second of three children of Edmond Barry, gentleman of Birch Hill and Midleton, and Mary Anne Barry (née Murphy). He was educated in the seminary at Midleton and at St…

Barton, Sir Dunbar Plunket

Barton, Sir Dunbar Plunket (1853–1937), lawyer, politician, judge, and author, was born 29 October 1853 in Merrion Square, Dublin, eldest child of Thomas Henry Barton (d. 1878), BL, DMP magistrate…

Beamish, North Ludlow

Beamish, North Ludlow (1797–1872), army officer, military historian, and antiquarian, was born 31 December 1797 (some sources suggest 1796), probably at Beaumont House, Co. Cork, seat of his father, William Beamish (qv), a retired naval…

Beckett, James Camlin

Beckett, James Camlin (1912–96), historian, was born 8 February 1912 in Belfast, third son of Alfred Beckett, linen salesman, and Frances Lucy Beckett (née Bushell). He was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, and at QUB…

Bellings (Bealing), Richard

Bellings (Bealing), Richard (c.1603–1677), lawyer, politician, and historian, was eldest son of Sir Henry Bellings (of an Old English catholic family with properties in Dublin and Kildare) and his wife Maud, about whom nothing else is known. Richard gained admittance to…

Bell, John

Bell, John (c.1793–1861), antiquary, collector, and landscape painter, was the second son of John Bell, gentleman landowner, of Camelon, near Falkirk, Scotland. It is unclear when he settled in Ireland, but he was contributing articles to local newspapers in Newry, Co. Down…

Bell, (John) Bowyer

Bell, (John) Bowyer (1931–2003), writer on the IRA and artist, was born 15 November 1931 in New York City, but grew up in Alabama after his parents moved there. He majored in history at undergraduate level at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia; at the same time he…

Bell, Robert

Bell, Robert (1800–67), writer, was born 16 January 1800, youngest son of John or Robert or Thomas Bell of either Cork or Dublin, who was either a doctor or of independent means, and who may have died while Robert was at school. There are serious problems in identifying him. The…

Benn, Edward

Benn, Edward (1798–1874), philanthropist, industrialist, and antiquarian, was born in Tandragee, Co. Armagh, third of four sons and five daughters of John Benn, Belfast brewer, and Elizabeth Benn (née Craig). With his younger brother George…

Benn, George

Benn, George (1801–82), businessman and historian of Belfast, was born on 1 January 1801 at Tandragee, Co. Armagh, the youngest son in the family of four sons and five daughters of John Benn (1767–1853), a Belfast brewer, and his wife Elizabeth (d. 1859), daughter of James Craig…