Irish Language

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Archer, Patrick

Archer, Patrick (1866–1949), writer and Gaelic League activist, was born 19 December 1866 in Oldtown, Co. Dublin, the son of Patrick Archer, a shoemaker, and his wife, Jane Donoghue, a teacher. Having secured a postion in the civil service in 1891, he was appointed to the customs…

Ashe, Nora (Honora)

Ashe, Nora (Honora) (1882–1970), teacher, nationalist, and Irish language enthusiast, was born 15 July 1882 in Kinard, Lispole, Co. Kerry, the third daughter in the family of ten of Gregory Ashe, a farmer, and Ellen (née Hanafin), of Tobar, Co. Kerry. Both her parents were native…

Aylward, Richard

Aylward, Richard (1872–1954), Celticist, priest, and professor of Irish, was born in Aylwardstown, Glenmore, Co. Kilkenny, son of Edmond Aylward, farmer, and Johanna Aylward (née Phelan). He was educated in the Old Classical College, Kilmacow, and at St Kieran's College, Kilkenny…

Bairéad, Riocard (Barrett, Dick)

Bairéad, Riocard (Barrett, Dick) (d. 1819), poet in Irish, was born between 1735 and 1740 in Barrack, Belmullet, Co. Mayo, on the Erris peninsula. He appears to have remained in the district for his entire life, moving only to Carne, a neighbouring parish, possibly c.1790.…

Barron, Philip Fitzgerald

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,…

Béaslaí, Piaras

Béaslaí, Piaras (1881–1965), writer, revolutionary, politician, language revivalist, and journalist, was born Percy (later Pierce , Piaras) Beazley on 15 February 1881 in Liverpool, England, second of three sons of Patrick Langford Beazley, editor of the Catholic Times from…

Bedell, William

Bedell, William (1571–1642), scholar and churchman, was born in late December 1571 at Black Notley, Essex, England, second son of John Bedell and his wife, Elizabeth Elliston, and entered Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1584, the year of its foundation. He graduated in 1588, took…

Bennett, Arthur (Art Mac Bionaid)

Bennett, Arthur (Art Mac Bionaid) (1793–1879), scribe, scholar, and poet in Irish, was born in Ballykeel, Forkhill, Co. Armagh, one of seven children of the farmer John Bennett and his wife Mary Bennett. He was a direct descendent of the poet Micheál Ó hÍr, author of ‘Seachrán…

Bergin, Osborn Joseph

Bergin, Osborn Joseph (1873–1950), Celtic scholar and poet, was born 26 November 1873 in Cork city, one of seven children (five girls and two boys) of Osborn Robert Bergin, a provision merchant, and Sarah Bergin (née Reddin), daughter of a shopkeeper. His brother, William Bergin,…

Best, Richard Irvine

Best, Richard Irvine (1872–1959), Celticist and librarian, was born 17 January 1872 at 3 Bishop St., Derry, son of Henry Best, excise officer, and his wife Margaret Jane (née Irvine), and educated locally at Foyle College. He did not attend university but worked briefly in banking…

Bheldon, Riobard (‘Bob’ Weldon

Bheldon, Riobard (‘Bob’ Weldon ) (c.1834–1914), poet in Irish, was born in Briska, Kilrossanty, Kilmacthomas, Co. Waterford, son of Michael Weldon, farmer, and Catherine Stack. His initial occupation (c.1856) seems to have been as a farm hand, but he subsequently…

Blythe, Ernest (de Blaghd, Earnán)

Blythe, Ernest (de Blaghd, Earnán) (1889–1975), revolutionary, politician, government minister, managing director of the Abbey Theatre, and Irish-language revivalist, was born 13 April 1889 at Magheragall, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, eldest child among two sons and two daughters of…

Borthwick, Mariella Norma

Borthwick, Mariella Norma (1862–1934), artist, writer, and Irish-language activist, was born 25 July 1862 in Highfield, Higher Bebington, Chester, one of five daughters and three sons of George Borthwick, merchant, and Mary Elizabeth Borthwick (née MacDonald), of Edinburgh. Despite…

Bourke, Ulick Joseph

Bourke, Ulick Joseph (1829–87), catholic priest, Irish-language revivalist, teacher, and antiquarian, was born 29 December 1829 at Laherdane, Castlebar, Co. Mayo, son of Ulick Bourke and his wife Cecilia Sheridan. He was educated at Errew Monastery, Castlebar, and studied Irish…

Boyd, John St Clair

Boyd, John St Clair (1858–1918), surgeon, Gaelic Leaguer, and philanthropist, was born at Cultra House, Holywood, Co. Down, only son of John Kane Boyd, co-proprietor of the Blackstaff Mill. He was educated in Paris and Edinburgh before graduating from…

Breathnach, Cormac (Charlie Walsh)

Breathnach, Cormac (Charlie Walsh) (1885–1956), politician and president of the Gaelic League, was born in Iveragh, Co. Kerry, son of Seán Breathnach, farmer, and Cáit Breathnach (née Chonchubhair). Educated at the national school in Ballinakilla, Co. Kerry (where he was a monitor…

Breatnach, Micheál

Breatnach, Micheál (1881–1908), writer and Irish-language activist, was born 16 September 1881 in Lochán Beag, Inveran, Co. Galway, son of Micíl Breatnach, farmer, and Margaret Breatnach (née Ní Fheinneadha). Although only learning to read and write Irish in his mid-teens, he was…

Brooke, Charlotte

Brooke, Charlotte (1750☓1760–1793), poet, dramatist, and pioneer in the introduction of Irish culture to the English reader, was born at Rantavan House, Mullagh, Co. Cavan, daughter of Henry Brooke (qv) and Catherine Brooke (née Meares;…

Bryant, Sophie

Bryant, Sophie (1850–1922), educationist, home ruler, Celticist, and suffragist, was born 15 February 1850 in Sandymount, Dublin, second daughter and third child of Sophia Willock (née Morris) of Dublin and Skreen Castle, and the Rev. William Alexander Willock (d. 1879 in London),…

Butler, Mary Ellen Lambert

Butler, Mary Ellen Lambert (1873–1920), novelist, was born 28 June 1873 in England, the youngest of the two daughters and a son of Peter Butler (1840–80) of Bunnahow House, Co. Clare, and Mary Ryan of Tipperary. The Butlers were landowners who remained catholic. Through intermarriage…

Callanan, Jeremiah J.

Callanan, Jeremiah J. (1795–1829), poet and verse translator, was born in Ballinhassig, Co. Cork, of a respectable medical family. Educated locally and in Cobh, he studied for the priesthood in Maynooth at the encouragement of his parents, but left (1818) to begin medical studies…

Carney, James Patrick

Carney, James Patrick (1914–89), Celticist, was born 17 May 1914 in Maryborough (Port Laoise), son of Patrick Francis Carney, a customs officer originally from Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo and his wife, Constance Grace, from Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny. His father died while Carney was still a…

Ceannt, Éamonn

Ceannt, Éamonn (1881–1916), revolutionary and Irish-Irelander, was born Edward Thomas Kent on 21 September 1881 in Ballymoe, Glenamaddy, Co. Galway, sixth among seven children (six boys and a girl) of James Kent (1841–1912), RIC

Cleaver, Euseby Digby

Cleaver, Euseby Digby (1826–94), clergyman and Gaelic revivalist, was born 8 March 1826 in Delgany, Co. Wicklow, eldest son of William Cleaver, rector of Delgany, and Mary (née Mackworth) Cleaver, and grandson of Euseby Cleaver (qv) (…

Comyn, David

Comyn, David (1854–1907), Irish-language revivalist, was born 13 May 1854 in Henry St., Kilrush, Co. Clare, only child of John Comyn and Mary Comyn (née Hassett). On leaving school, he joined the National Bank as a clerk and was based, for the most part, in College Green, Dublin.…