Humanist

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Allen, Dave

Allen, Dave (1936–2005), comedian, was born David Edward Tynan O'Mahony on 6 July 1936 in a nursing home at 37 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin, youngest of three sons of (Gerard John) Cullen Tynan O'Mahony (nicknamed 'Pussy'), journalist, manager of the Irish Times, and…

Asmal, (Abdul) Kader

Asmal, (Abdul) Kader (1934–2011), human rights jurist, anti-apartheid campaigner and South African government minister, was born on 8 October 1934 in Stanger (KwaDukuza), Natal, South Africa, the youngest of eight children (six sons and two daughters) of Ahmed Asmal, grocer, and his…

Ballance, John

Ballance, John (1839–93), New Zealand politician, was born 27 March 1839, eldest among ten children surviving to adulthood of Samuel Ballance and Mary Ballance (née McNeice) of Ballypitmave near Glenavy, Co. Antrim; she was from a quaker background, while the Ballances were a…

Barbour, William Pirrie ('Bill')

Barbour, William Pirrie ('Bill') (1920–2009), teacher, and community and political activist, was born in Newtownards, Co. Down, son of Walter Terence Barbour, a director of the Combe Barbour engineering firm, and his wife Blanche (née Redman), whose father owned wine shops in London…

Barr, Andrew (Andy)

Barr, Andrew (Andy) (1913–2003), trade unionist and communist, was born 23 September 1913 at 29 Cluan Place, off Mountpottinger Road, Ballymacarrett, Belfast, second child among two sons and five daughters (two other children died in infancy) of Andrew Barr (d. 1986, aged 98), a…

Chevron, Philip

Chevron, Philip (1957–2013), musician, songwriter and composer, was born Philip Ryan on 17 June 1957 in the Rotunda hospital, Dublin, the elder of two children of (Philip) Brendan Ryan (1927–97) and Christine Ryan (née LaGrue), both born in inner city Dublin. He grew up in Lorcan Drive…

Clare, Anthony Ward

Clare, Anthony Ward (1942–2007), psychiatrist and media personality, was born 24 December 1942 in Dublin, the youngest of three children (two girls and a boy) of Bernard Clare, state solicitor with the land registry, and his wife Agnes (née Dunne). Clare recalled his father as a gentle…

Cochrane, Ian

Cochrane, Ian (1941–2004), writer, was born 7 November 1941 in a two‑room cottage at Moylarg, Dromona (near Cullybackey), Co. Antrim. He was the third of five children of Tom and Sadie Cochrane and had three brothers and a sister. 'We lived in a little house right out in the country,…

Crofton, Sir John Wenman

Crofton, Sir John Wenman (1912–2009), physician, scientist and public health campaigner, was born on 27 March 1912 at the family home, 55 Merrion Square South, Dublin, the only son (between two sisters) of William Mervyn Crofton, physician and bacteriologist, and his wife Mary…

Davies, Moya Llewelyn

Davies, Moya Llewelyn (1881–1943), political activist, was born Mary O'Connor in Blackrock, Co. Dublin, on 25 March 1881, third of five daughters of James O'Connor (qv) (1836–1910), journalist and nationalist MP, and his first wife, Mary.…

Deale, Kenneth Edwin Lee

Deale, Kenneth Edwin Lee (1907–74), barrister, judge, and author, was born 17 January 1907, third son of four children of Edwin Lee Deale (d. 1948), stationer and merchant, of 11 Effra Road, Rathmines, Dublin, and Mary (‘Minnie Hill’) Deale (née Martin; d. 1939) of Co. Kerry. The…

Driscol, Denis

Driscol, Denis (1762–1811), newspaper proprietor and radical, was born in Co. Cork. Little is known about his parentage and details of his early career are sparse, but he was born into a catholic family wealthy enough to provide him with an education on the continent. Having…

Dwyer, Bernie

Dwyer, Bernie (1943–2013), journalist, filmmaker and political activist, was born in Dublin on 14 December 1943 to Mary (née Fagan) and Arthur Hannon , a clerk at Dublin Corporation. She spent her early childhood in Drimnagh, before the family moved to Sutton, Co. Dublin. She left…

Elam (Dacre Fox), Norah

Elam (Dacre Fox), Norah (1878–1961), suffragist and fascist, was born Norah Doherty in Blackrock, Co. Dublin, on 5 May 1878, third of nine children (three daughters and six sons) of John Doherty, businessman, and his wife Charlotte Isabel (née Clarke). The family moved in 1888 to…

Ervine, David (Walter)

Ervine, David (Walter) (1954–2007), loyalist paramilitary and politician, was born in Chamberlain St., east Belfast, on 21 July 1954, youngest of five children (two girls and three boys) of Walter Ervine, iron turner and shipyard worker, and his wife Elizabeth ('Dolly'). Walter Ervine…

Fallon, Padraic

Fallon, Padraic (1946–2012), journalist and businessman, was born on 21 September 1946 in the County Hospital, Wexford, the youngest of six sons of Padraic Fallon (qv), a poet, playwright and customs official of Rowe Street, Wexford, and his…

Fleury, Eleonora Lilian

Fleury, Eleonora Lilian (1867–1960), medical doctor, was born in Manchester, England, the eldest daughter of Charles Fleury, a Waterford surgeon of Huguenot stock. Losing her mother at an early age, she appears to have been home-educated before registering as a medical student at…

Fox, Richard Michael ('R. M. ')

Fox, Richard Michael ('R. M. ') (1891–1969), writer and trade unionist, was born on 13 November 1891 in Leeds, Yorkshire, the second of four sons of Richard Fox and his wife Elizabeth (née Rathmell). Richard senior worked as a gymnasium instructor in Leeds, and later as a skilled…

Galvin, Patrick

Galvin, Patrick (1927–2011), writer, was born on 15 August 1927 in a tenement building at 13 Margaret Street, Cork, the second child of Patrick Galvin, a docker and boxer, and his wife Bridget (née O'Brien), a charwoman. He had three brothers and three sisters; two brothers remained…

Grierson, Philip

Grierson, Philip (1910–2006), historian and numismatist, was born in Dublin on 15 November 1910, only son and second of three surviving children (another child had died in infancy) of Philip Henry Grierson (1859–1952) and his wife Roberta Ellen Jane (née Pope), a doctor's…

Halliday, Fred (Simon Frederick Peter)

Halliday, Fred (Simon Frederick Peter) (1946–2009), academic, writer and public intellectual, was born on 22 February 1946 in Dublin, the youngest of three sons of Arthur Halliday, a quaker shoe manufacturer, and Margaret Mary 'Rita' Halliday (née Finigan), of Dundalk. He was educated…

Holland, Mary Philomena

Holland, Mary Philomena (1935–2004), journalist, was born 19 June 1935 in Dover, Kent, youngest of three children (two sons and one daughter) of Patrick Henry Holland, civil engineer and later civil servant, and his wife Margaret (née Callanan). Both sides of the family originated in…

Houlihan, Con

Houlihan, Con (1925–2012), sportswriter, was born on 6 December 1925 in Reineen, near Castleisland, Co. Kerry, the middle child among two boys and a girl of Michael Houlihan and his wife Ellen ('Nell') (née Cronin). His parents farmed a small holding (about 5 acres of arable land), and…

Hughes, Brendan

Hughes, Brendan (1948–2008), IRA activist, was born at Blackwater Street off the Grosvenor Road in west Belfast in June 1948, the second of six children (five boys and one girl) of Kevin Barry Hughes, a builders' labourer. A great-grandfather was an IRA member in Co. Louth wounded in…

Hyde, Harford Montgomery

Hyde, Harford Montgomery (1907–89), barrister, politician, and author, was born 14 August 1907 in Belfast, son of James Johnstone Hyde JP, linen merchant, and his wife, Isobel (née Montgomery). Hyde claimed distant kinship with Henry James…