10 December, 2019 - Minister McHugh launches latest volumes of Dictionary of Irish Biography – available to all schools

Event coincides with 10 year anniversary of Ireland’s national biographical reference book


The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. today (Tuesday 10 December) officially launched the latest volumes of the Dictionary of Irish Biography in the Royal Irish Academy – charting the lives of important Irish men and women.

The Dictionary of Irish Biography Volumes 10 and 11 outlines the lives almost 11,000 Irish people, both in Ireland, north and south, and overseas and careers of other people who were born overseas who worked in Ireland.

The publication is researched, written and edited under the auspices of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA). It includes an online edition and looks at distinguished personalities from Irish political, social and cultural life.

Today’s launch coincides with the 10-year anniversary of the first publication in 2009 when the first nine volumes were unveiled.

The Dictionary of Irish Biography is used as a reference point by scholars, journalists, diplomats and the public who are interested in Ireland’s past or in biography.

The reference book is also available to use in schools via Scoilnet.

Minister McHugh said: “The Dictionary of Irish Biography is a hugely valuable resource and a major source of information about the history of our people and the mark they have left at home and abroad.

“It is vital that we reflect on the major figures who have influenced life and society down through the years.

“A resource and reference book like the Dictionary of Irish Biography has huge potential to help our young people learn about the impact Irish people can make. It is a great addition to classrooms, especially with the new focus we have put on the history curriculum. I would encourage schools to look at the benefits that this publication can bring in enriching our understanding of our history.”


Notes for Editors


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. It retraces the lives of people as ancient as St Columcille and Strongbow, to recent and diverse lives, like those of Maeve Binchy and Kevin Heffernan.

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.