The Dictionary of Irish Biography (DIB) is a project of the Royal Irish Academy. It tells the island’s life story through the biographies, at home and overseas, of prominent men and women born in Ireland, north and south, and the noteworthy Irish careers of those born outside Ireland.
…the RIA’s Dictionary of Irish Biography is an epoch-making event in the history of Irish scholarship. It changes the state of knowledge in the twenty-first century as decidedly as the Ordnance Survey did in the nineteenth… – Seamus Heaney
The chronological scope of the DIB extends from the earliest times to the twenty-first century. The living are not included. Biographies range in length from 200 to 15,000 words, covering diverse figures across a broad range of human activity from scientists to sportspeople, suffragists to soldiers.
Launched in 2009 after many years of research by hundreds of contributors, the DIB’s online edition now features nearly 11,000 lives and continues to grow. The DIB regularly publishes new entries on important figures who have died in recent times, and on ‘missing persons’: previously overlooked figures deserving fresh interest.
As well as its online database, the DIB is available in print, with eleven volumes published by Cambridge University Press to date. It has also published several themed books which curate DIB entries to give a deeper insight into the lives of the men and women involved in major Irish historical events, movements and migrations.
The DIB project is overseen by an advisory board of the following members:
- Prof Patrick Geoghegan (TCD) (chair)
- Dr Ciara Breathnach (UL)
- Sean Dorgan MRIA
- Prof Margaret Kelleher (UCD)
- Dr David McCullagh
- Peter MacDonagh
- Prof James McGuire MRIA
- Dr William Murphy (DCU)
- Dr Margaret O’Callaghan (QUB)
- Dr Mervyn O’Driscoll (UCC)
- Sir Bruce Robinson
- Prof Harry White MRIA (UCD)
The DIB’s managing editor reports to the executive director of the Royal Irish Academy.
The Dictionary of Irish Biography project is funded by the Higher Education Authority. This website was built and is maintained with funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Dublin City Libraries.
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