The Dictionary of Irish Biography has published its latest collection of entries online, adding thirty-six new lives
Healy-Rae, Jackie (1931–2014), politician, was born John Patrick Healy on 9 March 1931 at Reascaisleach, Meelick, near the village of Kilgarvan, Co. Kerry, the first of four sons and two daughters of Danny Healy, a farmer of Reascaisleach, and his second wife Mary (née Riordan). Danny Healy had another six children with his first wife. Healy was such a common local surname that the family members were known as the Healy Raes, after their townland.
Doonican, Val (1927–2015), singer and musician, was born Michael Valentine Doonican on 3 February 1927 at 10 Passage Road in Waterford, the youngest of eight children (four boys and four girls) of John Doonican, a metal worker, and his wife Agnes (née Kavanagh). To distinguish him from the many other Michaels in the locality, he was known as ‘Val’. The family’s poverty was aggravated by his father’s gambling and heavy drinking, which left Val with a lifelong wariness of alcohol. His childhood was however largely happy, and he was close to both parents.
O’Hara, Maureen (1920–2015), actor, was born Maureen FitzSimons on 17 August 1920 at the family home at 32 Upper Beechwood Avenue in Ranelagh, Dublin. Her father, Charles Stewart Parnell FitzSimons, managed a high-end clothing company and was part-owner of Dublin’s Shamrock Rovers FC. Her mother, Marguerita (Rita) FitzSimons (née Lilburn), was a clothes designer, actress and singer.
Conlon, Gerard (‘Gerry’) (1954–2014), victim of a miscarriage of justice and human rights campaigner, was born in Cyprus Street in the Lower Falls area of Belfast on 1 March 1954, the only surviving son of Guiseppe Conlon (qv), a labourer, and
Farrell, Brian (1929–2014) broadcaster and academic, was born Bernard Brendan Farrell on 9 January 1929 at 16 Lowe Street, Miles Platting, Manchester, England. He was the fourth of five children of Francis (Frank) Farrell, a railway porter from Glasgow (whose family were from Wicklow), and Teresa (Treasa) Farrell (née McDonagh), originally from Sligo. On the outbreak of war in 1939, his mother took him to her sister, Agnes Stokes, who with her husband Nick ran a small creamery shop at 13 Little Mary Street off Capel Street in Dublin.
‘Grangegorman lives’ will feature over sixty biographies from the Dictionary of Irish Biography.
The Grangegorman Histories project has curated a selection of DIB biographies of men and women connected to the area.