The Royal Irish Academy/Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann champions research. We identify and recognise Ireland’s world class researchers. We support scholarship and promote awareness of how science and the humanities enrich our lives and benefit society. We believe that good research needs to be promoted, sustained and communicated. The Academy is run by a Council of its members. Membership is by election and considered the highest academic honour in Ireland.

Read more about the RIA

Irish lives in America

by  Liz EversNiav Gallagher
€ 15.00

Book Details

Published by Royal Irish Academy

November 2021


Number of pages: 344

ISBN: 9781911479802


PDF icon Advance Information

The Irish struck out across America’s frontiers, built its railroads, fought on both sides of the civil war, captured its major historic moments in print, paint and bronze, led many of its religious denominations, policed its streets, set up its banks, educated its masses, entertained America on its stages and screens and in its sporting arenas, and made ground-breaking contributions in science and engineering.

This collection documents fifty Irish people who made an indelible mark on American society, politics and culture. People like the pirate Anne Bonney and Gertrude Brice Kelly, one of New York City's first surgeons, feature alongside more familiar names such as Maureen O'Hara, Maeve Brennan, Rex Ingram and the architect of the White House James Hoban.

About the Dictionary of Irish Biography: The Dictionary of Irish Biography, a research project of the Royal Irish Academy, is the most comprehensive and authoritative biographical dictionary yet published for Ireland. It comprises over 10,000 lives, which describe and assess the careers of subjects in all fields of endeavour, including politics, law, religion, literature, journalism, architecture, music and the arts, the sciences, medicine, entertainment and sport.

This book is also available on JSTOR. For more information, institutions can visit Books at JSTOR or contact

You can buy the eBook here.

‘This [is a] compact and accessible paperback… . The promise of further thematic collections based on this model suggests that the [Royal Irish] Academy is doing its best to establish a recognisable popular brand which can help disseminate scholarly historical research as widely as possible.

The initial impression may be that this is volume is distinctly traditional… . However, closer inspection suggests that this is not a text likely to have been crafted half a century ago. The editors’ approach is markedly inclusive in a number of ways. … there are many individuals included here who either challenge … easy constructs or challenge the reader to consider how ethnic identity was experienced or projected in the past. … Overall, one is struck by the rich diversity evident in the experiences of these 49 individuals and warmly applauds the efforts of the editors and the initiative of the Royal Irish Academy in presenting them to a wider audience.’

Patrick Fitzgerald, Familia: Ulster Genealogical Review (38) 2022.


In the media

About the authors

Liz Evers

Liz Evers is a writer and editor who has worked in the publishing industry in the UK and Ireland for many years and is the author of several popular reference books on diverse subjects, from Shakespeare to horology. She is a graduate of University College Dublin (BA English) and Dublin City University (MA Film). She joined the Dictionary of Irish Biography as researcher and project copy editor in 2018.

Niav Gallagher

Niav Gallagher is a medieval historian, specialising in the links between religion and politics in thirteenth- to fifteenth-century Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Among other roles, she has worked as a lecturer and as a researcher for genealogical and historical research company Eneclann, on several collaborative projects, including the National Archives Millennium Project and the Irish Battlefields Project. Niav is a graduate of University College Dublin (M.Litt.) and Trinity College Dublin (Ph.D.). She joined the Dictionary of Irish Biography as a researcher in 2018.