Gallagher, Niav

Dr Niav Gallagher is a medieval historian, specialising in the links between religion and politics in thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth century Ireland, Scotland and Wales. She joined the DIB team in 2018, researching and writing biographies as well as curating the database of prospective DIB entries. Niav is co-editor of Irish lives in America (RIA, 2021), a collection of fifty biographies of Irish emigrants to the US, with Liz Evers.

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Anderson, Gerry

Anderson, Gerry (1944–2014), musician, radio broadcaster and television presenter, was born Gerald Michael Anderson on 28 October 1944 in Derry, one of four children (three sons and a daughter) of John Anderson, a boiler and range-fireplace fitter who had joined the anti-treaty side…

Barry, Billie (Lillian)

Barry, Billie (Lillian) (1921–2014), performer and stage school founder, was born on 27 January 1921 in Drumcondra, Dublin, the youngest of fifteen children to John Clarke-Barry, orchestra leader and musician, and his wife Anne (née Hughes), an amateur operatic singer. The family were…

Beckett, Mary

Beckett, Mary (1926–2013), writer, was born on 28 January 1926 in the family home at 48 Knutsford Drive, Belfast, the third of four children to Seán Beckett, a school principal, and his wife Catherine (née Bryson). The family were catholic, and she was educated at St Columban's…

Bonney (Bonny), Anne

Bonney (Bonny), Anne (c.1700–p.1721), pirate, is thought to have been born in Cork about 1700. While her life story has been somewhat mythologised over time, the lead source about her remains the work of a Captain Charles Johnson (presumed to be the pseudonym of Daniel…

Brugha, Máire MacSwiney

Brugha, Máire MacSwiney (1918–2012), teacher, author and charity worker, was born on 23 June 1918 in Cork to Terence MacSwiney (qv) and Muriel MacSwiney (qv) (née Murphy). From…

Butler, Pierce

Butler, Pierce (1744–1822), soldier, planter, slaveholder, delegate to the constitutional convention and US senator, was born in Ballintemple House, Co. Carlow on 11 July 1744, the third son of Sir Richard Butler, 5th baronet of Cloughgrenan and member of the Irish parliament, and…

Cochrane, Jean Crawford

Cochrane, Jean Crawford (1914–2013), educator and activist for women's education, was born on 27 June 1914 in Lifford, Co. Donegal, the eldest daughter of Hugh Crawford Cochrane, a solicitor and under-sheriff for the county, and Lucy Cameron Cochrane (née Boyd). Jean attended school…

Davern, Noel Michael

Davern, Noel Michael (1945–2013), politician and farmer, was born on 24 December 1945 in Cashel, Co. Tipperary, the middle child of Michael J. Davern, a shopkeeper, and Margaret ('Greta') Davern (née Ryan). He had an older brother, Owen Don Bosco ('Don') and a younger sister, Noreen. He…

Donnelly, Catherine

Donnelly, Catherine (1948–2014), advertising copywriter, arts advocate and novelist, was born on 29 April 1948 in Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow, the youngest of four girls and two boys to Thomas Donnelly, a spirit merchant and wine importer, and Margaret Donnelly. Her earliest years were…

Ellis, James (‘Jimmy’)

Ellis, James (‘Jimmy’) (1931–2014), actor and theatre director, was born on 15 March 1931 in his aunt’s house at 13 Gawn Street, Belfast, the younger of two children and only son of James Ellis senior, a sheet-metal worker at Harland & Wolff shipyard, and his mother Matilda (‘Tilly…

Fulbourn, Stephen de

Fulbourn, Stephen de (d. 1288), treasurer and justiciar of Ireland, bishop of Waterford and archbishop of Tuam, took his surname from the village of Fulbourn in the hundred of Flendish, about eight kilometres southeast of Cambridge. He was born sometime in the middle of the thirteenth…

Gibson, Norman James

Gibson, Norman James (1931–2014), economist and university administrator, was born on 13 December 1931 in Lisnaskea, Co. Fermanagh, the younger of two children of Frederick Gibson, a shopkeeper and small farmer, and Hilda Gibson (née Smith). Frederick Gibson (1888–1975) was born in…

Gill, Earl William

Gill, Earl William (1932–2014), musician and showband leader, was born on 14 October 1932 in East Wall, Dublin, one of two children of William (‘Billy’) Gill, a pianist and accordionist at the Queen’s Theatre, Dublin, and Mary Gill (née Hunter), a cellist. According to Earl, his unusual…

Gulston ('Scott'), Peter Craig

Gulston ('Scott'), Peter Craig (1931–2013), thief, variously described as the 'king of the cat burglars' and 'the human fly', was born on 18 February 1931 in Belfast, the younger of two children, to Frederick Arnott Gulston, chief commercial traveller for White, Tompkins and Courage…

Harbison, Sheelagh Helen

Harbison, Sheelagh Helen (1914–2012), medieval historian, was born in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, on 2 September 1912, the only daughter and youngest of three surviving children, to Frederick William MacSherry , bank manager, and his wife Helen (née MacDermott). After Sheelagh was…

Hayes, Margaret

Hayes, Margaret (1954–2014), civil servant, was born on 25 April 1954 in Urlingford, Co. Kilkenny, one of three girls and a boy to James (Jimmy) Hayes and his wife Mary (née Brennan). The Hayes family was immersed in the local community – Mary was a full-time farmer before her marriage…

Hoey, Patricia

Hoey, Patricia (1883–1930), journalist, suffragist and nationalist, was born Ethel Mary on 15 November 1883 at 7 Trafalgar Terrace, Dublin, to Edmond Hoey, gentleman, and his wife Margaret (née Mulchinock), niece of William Pembroke Mulchinock (qv), supposed…

Lydon, James Francis Michael

Lydon, James Francis Michael (1928–2013), historian, was born on 12 May 1928 in Galway city, the second youngest of eleven children, to Daniel Lydon, a baker and owner of Lydon's bakery on Mary Street, Galway, and Catherine (née Hogan), who came from an Irish-speaking family just…

Maguire, Hugh

Maguire, Hugh (1926–2013), violinist, orchestral leader, chamber musician and teacher, was born Andrew Hugh Michael Maguire on 2 August 1926 in Dublin, one of four boys and two girls, to Elias 'Bunty' Maguire, principal of the Inchicore Model School, and his wife Rose (née…

McKeever, Ian

McKeever, Ian (1970–2013), mountaineer and charity fundraiser, was born on 13 February 1970 in Dublin. He was adopted from St Patrick’s Guild, an adoption agency run by the Sisters of Charity in Blackrock, Co. Dublin, by Niall McKeever, an accountant, and his wife Aedeen (née Molone).…

Mould, Daphne Desiree Charlotte Pochin

Mould, Daphne Desiree Charlotte Pochin (1920–2014), geologist, author, photographer and flight instructor, was born on 15 November 1920 in Salisbury, Wiltshire, the only child of Walter Mould, a teacher, and his wife Marguerite (née Steer). Growing up in the heart of what she called the…

Ó Conluain, Proinsias

Ó Conluain, Proinsias (1919–2013), broadcaster, author and promoter of the Irish language and music, was born on 17 August 1919 in Sessiaghmagaroll, Co. Tyrone, the eldest of three children and only son of Bernard Conlon and Mary Conlon (née Heron). His father was from a farming…

Ó hAnluain, Eoghan

Ó hAnluain, Eoghan (1938–2012), writer, lecturer, editor, broadcaster and Irish language specialist, was born in Dublin on 18 January 1926, the third of four sons, to William Hanlon, an asphalt spreader and carpenter, and his wife Mary (née Kelly). The family lived on Parnell Square…

Rodyard (Rudyard), William de

Rodyard (Rudyard), William de (c.1275–c.1349), dean of St Patrick's cathedral, Dublin, and chancellor of Ireland's first university, was born in the latter half of the thirteenth century, most probably in Rudyard, Staffordshire. There is no extant evidence relating…

Rudd, Margaret Caroline

Rudd, Margaret Caroline (c.1745–1797), courtesan and forger, born c.1745 in Lurgan, Co. Armagh, the only child of Patrick Youngson, an apothecary, and his wife Isabella (née Stewart), through whom Margaret, more commonly known as Caroline, claimed to be descended from…