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Irish Sporting Lives

by  Turlough O'RiordanTerry Clavin
€ 19.95

Book Details

Published by Royal Irish Academy

November 2022


Number of pages: 416

ISBN: 9781911479857


PDF icon ai_irish_sporting_lives.pdf

Out now!

Serial winners and glorious losers, heroes and villains, trailblazing women, role models and rogues, all are here; so too are audacious sporting founders, enduring legends and forgotten or overlooked greats. Through a selection of sixty lives from the Dictionary of Irish Biography, this book celebrates the diversity of Irish sporting history. 

The Dictionary of Irish Biography is a project of the Royal Irish Academy. It tells the island’s life story through the biographies, 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. The online edition of the Dictionary of Irish Biography now features nearly 11,000 lives and continues to grow.


In the press:

'A joy...the lesser told stories are a treat'

The Irish Times, Mary Hannigan, 10 November 2022: Irish Sporting Lives filling the void with vital history of sportswomen From a Nazi-supporting racer to Ireland’s greatest woman golfer, stories of intriguing and diverse cast of characters make for a joyful read.. 


RTÉ series of featured sporting lives:

How one woman changed the Irish equestrian world forever - Iris Kellet 

From the Wimbledon finals to Devil's Island: the Irish tennis player who was convicted of murder - Vere Goold


Very readable. It has managed to achieve the difficult balancing act of keeping the profiles comparatively short but still providing sufficient detail to give a true picture of the featured personalities – without being top heavy with detail.

The Offaly Express, Kevin Corrigan, 15 November 2022: The man behind the wire: Offaly historians played key role in excellent new biography of Irish sporting lives


Trailblazing women feature prominently, and their stories highlight the adversity they had to overcome in pursuing their sporting ambitions.

The Irish Post, Grainne Conroy, 4 November 2022: Ireland's sporting heroes - plus the odd villain...


Two pioneering Louth sportswomen are featured in a new book on Irish sporting greats. 

Drogheda Independent, Alison Comyn, 21 October 2022: Louth sportswomen feature in new book on Irish sporting greats


The Connaught Telegraph, 17 October 2022: Mayo Olympian features in new book on Irish sport

The Leinster Leader, Daragh Nolan, 17 October 2022: Kildare's Jack Dempsey and Dan Donnelly feature in new book on Irish in sport

The Kerryman, Paul Brennan, 17 October 2022: Kerry men Dick Fitzgerald and Moss Keane feature in new book on Irish sporting lives


Take a look at editors Terry Clavin and Turlough O'Riordan presenting a selection of the lives included in the book at the Royal Irish Academy Research Day 2022.  

eBook available here

About the authors

Turlough O'Riordan

TURLOUGH O’RIORDAN is a historian and the online and digital editor of the Dictionary of Irish Biography. He has worked on the project for over two decades.

Terry Clavin

TERRY CLAVIN is a historian who has published over four hundred biographies with the Dictionary of Irish Biography. He joined the project in 2006.