Travel and Exploration

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Abbot, Charles

Abbot, Charles (1757–1829), tourist in Ireland, chief secretary for Ireland (1801–02), speaker of the British house of commons, creator of a system of arranging parliamentary papers, and later 1st Baron Colchester , was born 14 October 1757 at Abingdon, Berkshire, England, second…

Armstrong, Sir Alexander

Armstrong, Sir Alexander (1818–99), naval surgeon and explorer, was born in Co. Donegal, son of Alexander Armstrong of Croghan Lodge, Co. Fermanagh. His family was originally from Cumberland and one of his ancestors was Maj.-gen. John Armstrong (d. 1742), a military engineer and…

Ashe, Thomas

Ashe, Thomas (1770–1835), novelist and travel writer, was born 15 July 1770 in Glasnevin, Co. Dublin, third son among eleven children of Jonathan Ashe, soldier, and Margaret Ashe (née Hickman), heiress to estates in Co. Clare. According to his own account, he spent his early life at…

Ball, John

Ball, John (1818–89), scientist, politician, and mountain traveller, was born 20 August 1818 in Dublin, eldest son among four children of Nicholas Ball (qv), politician and judge, and Jane Ball (neé Sherlock) of Butlerstown, Co.…

Bartlett, William

Bartlett, William (1809–54), topographical draughtsman, was born 26 March 1809 in Kentish Town, London; nothing is known of his parents. In 1823 he was articled to the topographer and antiquarian, John Britton (1771–1857). During the seven years of his apprenticeship thirty-nine of…

Beaumont, Gustave de

Beaumont, Gustave de (1802–66), French writer on Ireland, was born at Beaumont-la-Chartre in the département of the Sarthe. He belonged to a conservative, aristocratic family, his full name being Gustave-Auguste de la Bonnière, comte de Beaumont, but, like his friend and…

Beechey, Richard Brydges

Beechey, Richard Brydges (1808–95), artist, naval officer, and marine surveyor, was born 17 May 1808 in London, the youngest son of the noted portrait painter Sir William Beechey RA (1753–1839) and his second wife, Ann Phyllis…

Blackwood, Frederick Temple Hamilton-Temple-

Blackwood, Frederick Temple Hamilton-Temple- (1826–1902), 1st marquess of Dufferin and Ava , diplomat and writer, was born in Florence on 21 June 1826, the only child of Price Blackwood, 4th Baron Dufferin and Clandeboye (in the Irish peerage), and his wife,…

Blackwood, Hariot Georgina (Rowan-Hamilton)

Blackwood, Hariot Georgina (Rowan-Hamilton) (1843–1936), marchioness of Dufferin and Ava , philanthropist and author, was born 5 February 1843, eldest of seven children of Archibald Rowan and Catherine Rowan-Hamilton (née Caldwell) of Killyleagh Castle, Co. Down. She married (23…

Blake, Lady Edith

Blake, Lady Edith (1845–1926), botanical illustrator and writer, was born in Newtown Anner, near Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, eldest daughter of the heiress Catherine Isabella Osborne (1819–80) of Newtown Anner, and Ralph Bernal Osborne…

Bland, John Otway Percy

Bland, John Otway Percy (1863–1945), administrator, journalist and travel writer, was born 15 November 1863 in Woodbank, Whiteabbey, Co. Antrim, second son of Maj.-gen. Edward Loftus Bland and Emma Frances Bland (née Franks) of Jerpoint, Co. Kilkenny. Educated in Switzerland and…

Blunt, Wilfrid Scawen

Blunt, Wilfrid Scawen (1840–1922), eccentric, traveller, and poet, was born 17 August 1840 at Petworth House, Sussex, second son of Francis Scawen Blunt of Crabbet House, Sussex, who was a grenadier guard, and his wife Mary Chandler of Surrey, daughter of a Church of England…

Booth, Sir Henry William Gore-

Booth, Sir Henry William Gore- (1843–1900), 5th baronet, landlord, and Arctic explorer, was born at Lissadell House, Co. Sligo, second son among two sons and three daughters of Sir Robert Gore-Booth, 4th baronet, landlord, and MP for Sligo, and his second wife, Caroline Susan (née…

Bransfield, Edward

Bransfield, Edward (c.1785–1852), sailor and explorer, was born in Ballinacurra, Midleton, Co. Cork, about 1785; the date is calculated from his age at date of death, as recorded from his death certificate. He was the son of a sea captain who is thought to have been of…

Brendan (Brénainn)

Brendan (Brénainn) of Clonfert (d. 577/83), saint in the Irish tradition, monastic founder, and reputed voyager, is believed to have been born in the district around what is now Tralee, Co. Kerry, into a south-western branch of the Ciarraige: the Ciarraige Luachra, of whom he is the…

Bryans, Robert Harbinson ('Robin Harbinson'; 'Robert Harbinson')

Bryans, Robert Harbinson ('Robin Harbinson'; 'Robert Harbinson') (1928–2005), memoirist and travel writer, was born on the Newtownards Road, Belfast, on 24 April 1928, third child and only son of Robert Bryans, musician and window cleaner, and his wife Georgina (née Campbell), known as…

Bulfin, William

Bulfin, William (1863–1910), journalist in Argentina and travel writer, was born at Derrinlough House, near Birr, King's County (Offaly), and baptised 14 November 1863, fourth son in the family of ten sons and one daughter of William Bulfin, a strong farmer, and his wife Ellen (née…

Bunbury, Selina

Bunbury, Selina (1802–82), novelist and short-story and travel writer, was born in 1802 at Kilsaran House, Co. Louth, one of the fifteen children of the Rev. Henry Bunbury, a Church of Ireland clergyman and rector of Mansfieldstown, and Henrietta Shirley, of Loughrea, Co. Galway.…

Burke, Robert O'Hara

Burke, Robert O'Hara (1820/21?–1861), police officer and explorer, was born at Issercleran House, near Loughrea, Co. Galway, second son of James Hardiman Burke (1788–1854), high sheriff (1826), and his wife Anne (d. 1844), daughter of Robert O'Hara of Raheen, Co. Galway. The family…

Burnaby, Elizabeth Alicia Hawkins

Burnaby, Elizabeth Alicia Hawkins (1860–1934), alpinist, photographer, and author, was the only child of Sir St Vincent Hawkins-Whitshed , 3rd and last baronet, of Killincarrig, Greystones, Co. Wicklow, and his wife Anne Alicia, third daughter of the Rev. Hon. John Gustavus Handcock…

Bury, Charles Kenneth Howard-

Bury, Charles Kenneth Howard- (1883–1963), soldier, explorer, plant collector, and politician, was born 15 August 1883 in London, though his parents generally lived in Charleville castle, Tullamore, King's Co. (Co. Offaly). He was the only son of Captain Kenneth Howard, army officer…

Butler, William Francis

Butler, William Francis (1838–1910), soldier and author, was born 31 October 1838 in a farmhouse at Ballyslateen, Golden, Co. Tipperary, youngest child among four sons and three daughters of Richard Butler (1792–1870), a modest landowner and large tenant farmer of Suirville, Co.…

Cahill, Hugh

Cahill, Hugh (1883–1966), commercial aviation pioneer, was born in Dublin on 23 June 1883, the first of three sons of Matthew Cahill, a publican of Lower Rutland Street, Dublin, and his wife Martha (née Shaw), who had previously been widowed and had a daughter from her first…

Capper, Wilfrid Meredyth

Capper, Wilfrid Meredyth (1905–89), conservationist and creator of the Ulster Way, was born in Belfast on 12 July 1905, the second son of four children (two boys and two girls) of John Malcolmson Capper, a cotton yarn merchant, and Elizabeth Jane Capper (née Stewart); the family was…

Chadwick, John Cooper-

Chadwick, John Cooper- (1864–1948), colonial policeman and Rhodesian pioneer, was born 13 May 1864 in Baggotstown, Bruff, Co. Limerick, second son of Richard Austin Cooper-Chadwick (1831–92) of Ballinard House, Emly, Co. Tipperary, and his second wife, Charlotte Sophia (d. 1912),…