THE ROYAL IRISH ACADEMY IS IRELAND'S LEADING BODY OF EXPERTS IN THE SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES

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About the Dictionary of Irish Biography

The Dictionary of Irish Biography is Ireland’s national biographical dictionary. Devised, researched, written and edited under the auspices of the Royal Irish Academy, its online edition covers over 10,000 lives.

An indispensable work of reference for scholars, journalists, broadcasters, genealogists, diplomats, and the general reader interested in Ireland’s past or in biography, it is an educational resource of huge potential.

The Dictionary of Irish Biography outlines the lives 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. Biographies range in length from 100 words to 15,000. 

The chronological scope of the Dictionary extends from the earliest times to the twenty-first century. The living are not included. The online edition is updated twice yearly. Revisions and corrections are undertaken biannually.

The Dictionary of Irish Biography: from the earliest times to the year 2002, edited by James McGuire and James Quinn, was published on 18 November 2009 by Cambridge University Press in nine volumes and online. Covering 9,700 lives in 9,014 articles, it was devised, researched, written and edited under the auspices of the Royal Irish Academy’s Dictionary of Irish Biography project.

Volumes X and XI were published in 2018, and online supplements are published twice a year.

‘Publication of 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

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