Dictionary of Ulster Biography


Christopher Palles was born at Mount Palles, County Cavan, and was educated at Clongowes Wood College and Trinity College, Dublin. In 1853 he was called to the Bar, becoming Doctor of Laws and Queen's Counsel in 1865. He served as Solicitor General in 1872 and from then until 1874 was Attorney General. He unsuccessfully contested the parliamentary constituency of Londonderry. In 1874 he was raised to the bench, gaining the title Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer.


Arthur Palmer was born in Armagh and was educated in Youghal before emigrating to Australia in 1838. He represented Brisbane in the Legislative Assembly, and from 1870 to 1874 was Premier of Queensland. He was knighted in 1881 and became Lieutenant Governor of Australia in 1893.


Nicholas Paps was a mason who was commissioned by Sir Arthur Chichester to rebuild the ruined church of St Nicholas in Carrickfergus, County Antrim. The alterations were to include the construction of the Donegall Aisle, which was to house a large monument to the Chichester family.


James Parke was born in Clones, County Monaghan. He played rugby with both Monkstown and Dublin University and between 1901 and 1908 played ten times for Leinster. Between 1903 and 1907, he won twenty international caps. As a tennis player he won the Wimbledon Mixed Doubles title in 1914. He won the Australian Men's singles and doubles tennis tides in 1912. He was Singles Champion of Europe in 1907 and played for Britain in the Davis Cup. In 1908 he won an Olympic silver medal in the Men's Doubles. He won eight Irish Lawn Tennis Singles titles, four doubles and two mixed tides. In 1914 he was ranked No.6 and in 1920 he was ranked No.4. He played golf for Ireland in 1906. He was also a top-class track and field sprinter and a cricketer. He played chess for the Clones team when he was nine years old.


Thomas Parke was born in Drumsna, County Roscommon, and was reared in Carrick-on-Shannon, County Roscommon. He graduated from the College of Surgeons in Dublin and was appointed to a post in Ballybay, County Monaghan. In 1881 he joined the British army and served in Egypt. He offered to accompany H. M. Stanley in his African explorations and became the first Irishman to cross the African continent. During the expedition Parke bought a pygmy girl. For more than a year they travelled together and she nursed him through malaria. He was forced to leave her behind eventually because her eyes could not adapt to sunlight after the darkness of the forest. When Parke returned home he received an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Among his published works are My Personal Experiences in Equatorial Africa and A Guide to Health in Africa. When he died in Scotland his coffin was brought back to Ireland and drawn on a gun carriage from the Dublin docks to Broadstone station. A statue of him stands outside the Natural History Museum in Merrion Street, Dublin, and he also is commemorated by a bust in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.


Stewart Parker was born in Belfast and was educated at Queen's University, Belfast. He was a member of the Philip Hobsbaum Belfast Group, (a writing group which began in 1963), and published two volumes of poetry: The Casualty's Meditation, which appeared as part of the Queen's University Festival Series in 1965, and Maw in 1968. He taught for five years at Hamilton College, New York, and then returned to Belfast to write in 1969. His play, Spokesong was refused in Belfast and Edinburgh, but was staged at the Dublin Theatre Festival in 1975. In the following year he won the London Evening Standard award as the most promising playwright. In 1978 he moved to Edinburgh and later settled in London. Among his many plays written for theatre, radio and television are Catchpenny Twist ; I'm A Dreamer Montreal; Iris in the Traffic, Ruby in the Rain; Northern Star; Heavenly Bodies; Pentecost; The Traveller and Lost Belongings (a six-part television series based on the Dierdre myth). He died in England.


John Howard Parnell was born in Avondale, County Wicklow and was a soldier in the Armagh Militia. He spent many years in America as a fruit-grower and when he returned to Ireland served as Member of Parliament for South Meath from 1895 to 1900. He was a brother of Charles Stewart Parnell, of whom he published a memoir in 1916. He served as City Marshal of Dublin.


William Parrott was a builder and his name first occurs in 1627 in a letter to the Secretary of State from the Earl of Antrim requesting that Parrott be relieved from military service in England. In the same year Parrott won the contract to build St Columb's Cathedral in Derry at the cost of 3,400. It is likely that he undertook the restoration of the chapel at Dunluce Castle, County Antrim. In 1642 a William Parrott was Mayor of Coleraine.

PARRY, EDWARD 1600-1650

Edward Parry was born in Newry, County Down, and was educated at Trinity College, Dublin. In 1638 he became Dean of Waterford, and in 1647 Bishop of Killaloe. He died of the plague.

PARSONS, WILLIAM c.1570-1650

William Parsons came from England and in 1602 was appointed Surveyor-General. Between 1610 and 1620 he acted as Commissioner of Plantations and was largely responsible for implementing the scheme for the plantation of Ulster. He obtained for himself a thousand acres of land in County Tyrone, as well as vast tracts in County Wexford and County Leitrim. In 1640 he became Lord Justice. In 1643 he was relieved of his office because he opposed conciliation and in 1648 he returned to England.


George Paterson was born in Canada, but the family returned to Cornascreeb, near Tandragee, County Armagh, when he was an infant. He was educated at the National School, Aghory, County Armagh and was then apprenticed to a grocer in Portadown, County Armagh. In 1911 he became manager of Couser's Provision Store, Armagh. He was an amateur historian who collected traditional tales and dialect phrases and proverbs, and made detailed sketches of local architecture and furniture in South Armagh. In 1931 he became honorary curator, and in 1935, full-time curator of Armagh County Museum, retiring in 1963. When the Ulster Folk Museum was established in 1958, he was a Foundation Trustee. He wrote prolifically, and compiled 25 volumes of Armagh Miscellanea, including many articles of his own. He contributed to the Ulster Journal of Archaeology, and wrote for local newspapers under the pseudonym 'Cornascreeb'. His accounts of archaeological sites were published in the official Preliminary Survey of Ancient Monuments of Northern Ireland, 1940, and he subsequently published Country Cracks. He served on the South Armagh Hospital Committee, the Northern Ireland Committee of the National Trust,and helped re-establish the Ulster Journal of Archaeology in 1938. He was an active member of the Armagh Field Club and of the Naturalists' Society, and in 1941 became a member of the Royal Irish Academy. In 1954 he was awarded an OBE. He was a genealogical researcher and an honorary member of the Disciples of Christ Historical Society in Nashville, Tennessee for his research on the Campbellites. The society established a memorial fund for him.


William Paterson was born in the town of Antrim. Two years later his family emigrated to America and settled in Princeton, New Jersey. He was educated at Princeton University and chose to follow a legal career. In 1775 he was elected to the New Jersey Provincial Congress and became its Secretary. He was later appointed First Attorney General of the State of New Jersey, a position that he held until 1783. In 1787 he represented New Jersey at the Philadelphia Convention, in 1788 he was elected to serve in the Senate of the United States and in 1791 he was elected Second Governor of the State of New Jersey. In 1793 he was appointed Justice of the United States Supreme Court and in 1795 he declined to become Secretary of State. He was given an honorary degree by Harvard University and became a Trustee of the College of New Jersey.

PATRICK, ST c.385/400-c.461/490

Patrick was born somewhere in Roman Britain and was carried off as a slave to Ireland, where he herded sheep on Slemish Mountain, County Antrim. It is said that he escaped, and according to tradition he studied at Auxerre and Tours and was ordained as a bishop. He returned to Ireland, landing at Strangford Lough, and supposedly first preached the Christian faith in Saul, County Down. He founded a settlement in Armagh and wrote a hymn in Irish, a letter to a hostile chieftain named Coroticus, and his Confession, which are the main sources for information concerning his life and are generally accepted as authentic. He is believed to be buried in Downpatrick, and his feast-day as patron saint of Ireland is the 17th of March.


Annie Patterson was born in Lurgan, County Armagh, and was educated at the Alexandra College, Dublin, and the Royal Irish Academy of Music, where she won a gold medal for playing the organ. She was Examiner in Music for the Royal University of Ireland from 1892 to 1895 and gained a Doctorate of Music. She was conductor of the Dublin Choral Union and instigated the Feis Ceoil movement. She lectured on Irish music at University College, Cork, from 1924 and published many works, including The Story of Oratorio; Great Minds in Music and Native Music of Ireland. She composed music and Gaelic songs.


Robert Patterson was born in Ulster and in 1768 went to Philadelphia, where he became Principal of Wilmington Academy in Delaware. He joined the revolutionary army and was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general. From 1779 to 1814 he was Professor of Mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania, later becoming Vice-Provost, and in 1805 he was appointed Director of the United States Mint. He was a Doctor of Laws and President of the American Philosophical Society, and he published several works, including the Newtonian System and Treatise on Arithmetic. He died in Philadelphia.


Robert Patterson was born in Belfast, was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution and entered the family business. He became interested in the study of natural history and was one of the eight founders of the Belfast Natural History Society, serving as its president for many years. He discovered, during dredging excursions, several forms of marine life. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society and a member of the Royal Irish Academy, and he published numerous works, including Zoology for Schools and First Steps to Zoology. He also published Letters on the Insects Mentioned in Shakespere. He was one of the earliest members of the British Association.


Robert Patterson was born in Belfast and was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Instution and at Stuttgart before becoming an apprentice in the linen business. He was President of the Chamber of Commerce on three occasions and served as President of the Natural History and Philosophical Society. In 1902 he was knighted. He published The Birds, Fishes and Cetacea of Belfast Lough. He was an art collector and bequeathed his collection to the city of Belfast.


Saidie Patterson was born on the Falls Road, Belfast, and lived there all her life. When she was twelve years of age she began working in the Belfast Linen Mills. She was active in her union, the Amalgamated Transport and General Workers' Union. She helped to organise many strikes to try and improve the conditions of the mainly female workforce. She became involved with the Moral Re-armament Movement after the Second World War, and she was a founder member of Women Together, an organisation that preceded the Peace People. She won the Methodist Peace Award in 1978 as well as five international peace awards. The prize money she donated to charities for children and arthritis sufferers. In the elections of 1945 she worked for the Northern Ireland Labour Party.


William Patterson was born in Belfast and was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Instution and Queen's College, Belfast. When he was sixteen he entered his father's linen business. He was one of the original members of Belfast Naturalists' Field Club and of Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society and served as president of both societies. He was a member of the Royal Irish Academy and of the Royal Historical and Archaeological Association of Ireland. He served as Honorary Secretary of Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, of which he was a founder member. Some of his paintings were accepted for exhibition by the Belfast Arts Society. He had a fine collection of shell cameos, part of which he bequeathed to the city of Belfast. As a member of the English Dialect Society he published A Bibliography of Anglo-Irish Dialects and A Glossary of Words and Phrases used in Antrim and Down.

PAUL, JOHN 1777-1848

John Paul was born in Tobernaveen, County Antrim, and was educated in Glasgow. From 1805 until 1848 he was Presbyterian minister of Loughmorne near Carrickfergus. He wrote many works, some of which were controversial, such as Refutation of Arianism.

PEERS, RICHARD 1645-1690

Richard Peers was born in Lisburn, County Antrim, and was educated at Oxford. He translated Anthony à Wood's History and Antiquities of Oxford University and compiled a Catalogue of Graduates in 1689. He also published volumes of poetry.


Margaret Pelan completed a doctoral thesis in 1937 and was appointed Lecturer in Mediaeval French at Queen's University, Belfast, in the following year. She became professor of the department in 1966. Her publications include several editions of Floire et Blancheflor and, with Professor Arnold, La Partie Arthurienne du Roman de Brut (1962).


Margaret O'Doherty was born in County Antrim and was educated locally and in Belfast. Her poetry and short stories were published in newspapers, and she wrote several historical novels, among which are The Green Cockade: A Tale of Ulster in '98; The Last of the Irish Chiefs; The Outlaw and Spearmen of the North.


Newton Penprase was born in Redruth, Cornwall, and studied art at the Redruth School of Art. As a student he had nine sheets of drawings and studies purchased by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. In 1911 he came to Belfast as a teacher in the College of Technology, College Square and retired forty-two years later. He exhibited at the Royal Ulster Academy and at the Ulster Arts Club of which he was president. In 1936 he began to build 'Bendhu House' at Ballintoy, County Antrim. He held an exhibition at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 1977.


Joseph Pentland was probably born in Armagh. He studied in Paris and between 1826 and 1827 surveyed the Andes in Bolivia. He travelled in Peru in 1838 and was the author of several of Murray's Handbooks.


PERCY, THOMAS 1729-1811

Thomas Percy was born in England and was educated at Christ Church, Oxford. He became vicar of Easton Maudit, Northamp-tonshire in 1753, and rector of Wilby three years later. In 1770 he became Doctor of Divinity at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He was appointed chaplain to the Duke of Northumberland and George III, and from 1778 was Dean of Carlisle. In 1762 he pub-lished miscellaneous Pieces, translated from the Chinese. He edited and published a manuscript containing medieval poems, Reliques of Ancient English Poetry,1765, and in 1770 published Northern Antiquities. In 1771 he wrote a ballad, `The Hermit of Warkworth'. He was Bishop of Dromore from 1782 to 1811 and lived in the Bishop's Palace, Dromore, County Down.

PERRIN, LOUIS 1782-1864

Louis Perrin was born in Waterford and was educated in Armagh and at Trinity College, Dublin, where he was acquainted with Robert Emmet. He was called to the Bar in 1806 and served as Member of Parliament for Dublin City, Monaghan and Cashel. He became a judge in 1835.


Anthony Perry was born in County Down. He joined the United Irishmen, having resigned from the Coolgreany Cavalry in County Wicklow. When he was arrested in 1798 he was tortured and revealed information about his comrades. On his release he took part in the rebellion in County Wexford and was one of the principal military leaders at the battles of Arklow and Vinegar Hill. He was arrested after the rebellion had been crushed, and was executed.

PERRY, JOHN 1850-1920

John Perry was born in Garvagh, County Londonderry and was educated at Queen's College, Belfast. He taught at the University of Glasgow and from 1875 to 1879 was Professor of Engineering at the University of Tokyo, Japan. He also taught in South Kensington and was Treasurer of the British Association. He was known as an inventor and a researcher into the properties of electricity.


William Phelan was born in Clonmel, was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and was ordained in 1814. He was a schoolteacher in Derry. He was Rector of Killyman from 1824, and was co-author, with Mortimer O'Sullivan, of Digest of Evidence, a publication about the state of Ireland compiled from evidence given to a committee of parliament in 1825.


George Philips was probably born in Limavady, County Londonderry. He was a soldier and was appointed Governor of Culmore during the siege, and later Governor of Derry, but resigned in favour of Robert Lundy.

PHILIPS, WILLIAM c.1675-1734

William Philips was the son of George Philips, the Governor of Derry, and was born there. He was a soldier and a dramatist and his tragedy The Revengeful Queen was produced at Drury Lane in 1698. Another of his plays, St Stephen's Green, was produced in Dublin in 1700. In 1722 Hibernia Freed was staged and printed in London and Belisarius, a tragedy in blank verse, was published in 1724.

PIM, HERBERT MOORE (pseud. A. NEWMAN) b.1883

Herbert Pim was born in Belfast and was educated at Friends' School, Lisburn. Prominent in Belfast YMCA, he later converted to Roman Catholicism and became a Nationalist. He joined the Irish Volunteers and was imprisoned in Belfast. He published works of poetry which included Selected Poems; Songs from an Ulster Valley and New Poems. Among his novels are A Vampire of Souls and The Man with Thirty Lives. His other works include The Pessimist: A Study of the Problem of Pain, which is partly autobiographical and Unknown Immortals in the Northern City of Success, published under the psuedonym A. Newman. After 1918 he reverted to Unionism, and in 1919 he published Unconquerable Ulster and in 1920 A Short History of Celtic Philosophy. He went to England, where he edited Plain English and its successor, Plain Speech. He was involved with the Fascist movement in Italy in the 1930s. He died in England.

PINKERTON, JOHN 19th century

John Pinkerton was born in Seacon More, County Antrim. He rose to prominence as a member of Ballymoney Debating and Agricultural Societies, and as a radical member of Coleraine Board of Guardians. In 1885 he contested the election for North Antrim as an Independent candidate. Though defeated, he impressed the Parnellites and was adopted as party candidate for Galway in 1886. He won the election, and held the seat until 1900.


William Pinkerton was born in Belfast and became a sailor as a young man. His life was devoted to collecting printed material that related to the history of Belfast, and he owned a large collection of books that had been printed there. He was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and was responsible for the reprinting of Hounslow Heath, which he funded.


Margaret Carlile married Viscount Pirrie in 1879 and became the first woman Justice of the Peace in Belfast and also the first to receive the freedom of the city. She was involved in charity work and was President of the Royal Victoria Hospital. She was elected to the Senate of Queen's University, Belfast and was President of Harland & Wolff, the Belfast shipbuilding firm. She died in London.


William Pirrie was born in Quebec into a County Down family and was educated at the Royal Academical Institution, Belfast. In 1862 he was apprenticed to Harland & Wolff's shipbuilding firm and in 1874 became a partner and later the chairman. He instigated the innovation of design which led to building of large liners. In 1896 he became Lord Mayor of Belfast, and in 1897 he was made a Privy Councillor. He was Controller of Shipping during the First World War and was raised to the peerage and knighted. On his yacht at the Kiel Regatta he hosted the Kaiser. He was Pro-Chancellor of Queen's University, Belfast, and sat in the Northern Ireland Senate. He died on board ship near Panama.


William Plunket was born in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, and was educated at Trinity College, Dublin. He was called to the Bar in 1787 and became King's Counsel in 1797. He was Member of Parliament for Charlemont and voted against the Union. In 1803 he became Solicitor General, in 1805 Attorney General, and two years later was elected Member of Parliament for Midhurst. He was a strong supporter of Catholic Emancipation. In 1812 he became Member of Parliament for Dublin University, and from 1822 to 1827 served a second term as Attorney General. In 1827 he was appointed Chief Justice with a peerage and three years later became Lord Chancellor, remaining in office (with one short break in 1835) until 1841. There is a bust of Lord Plunket in the library of Trinity College, Dublin. [Biography by Hon. D. Plunket].


Oliver Plunkett was born at Loughcrew near Oldcastle, County Meath, was educated at the Irish College in Rome, and was ordained in 1654. He taught theology in Rome and was representative of the Irish Bishops. He composed a poem, 'O Tara of the Kings'. In 1669 he became Archbishop of Armagh and began to reorganise his neglected diocese. He established the Jesuits at Drogheda. In 1673 he was forced to go into hiding, and he was arrested in 1679. All Catholic bishops and regular priests were to be expelled, and in 1680 Oliver Plunkett was brought to Dundalk and charged with activating an uprising. He was tried in London and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn. His death is looked upon as martyrdom, subsequent events proving him innocent of all the charges brought against him. His relics are enshrined in Downside Abbey and his head is preserved in St Peter's Church, Drogheda. In 1920 he was beatified, and in 1975 canonised.


Richard Pockrich was born in County Monaghan. His nickname was 'projecting Pock'. At the age of twenty-five he inherited his father's estate which he spent on impractical ventures such as planting vineyards on reclaimed bogs, rearing huge numbers of geese for the European market, or fitting wings to enable every Irish person to fly. However, some of his ideas were genuinely innovative, such as his lifeboat made from unsinkable tin, a projected system of canals for linking the Liffey to the Shannon, and his design for an observatory to be built on a mountain peak. He invented a new form of dulcimer consisting of pins hammered into a pub table and two pieces of brass wire, and developed musical glasses, which he demonstrated at many concerts in England. Dubbed 'the angelic organ', the glasses caught the imagination of Walpole, Gray, Gluck and Benjamin Franklin. He published Miscellaneous Works in 1750 and a volume of poetry. He died in a fire at Hamlin's Coffee House in London.


William Poe was born in Donaghadee, County Down, and was educated at Gosport. He joined the Royal Marines in 1867 and served in the Sudan, where he was wounded in 1884. The following year he had a leg amputated at Metemneh. He was given the honour of Companion of the Order of the Bath and was promoted to lieutenant colonel. In 1891 he became High Sheriff for Queen's County, and in 1893 for County Tyrone. He was a member of the Land Conference in 1902, in 1904 was appointed a Governor of the National Gallery, and eight years later was created a baronet. In 1915 to 1916 he served in Egypt in the First World War, and from 1916 to 1919 with the Red Cross in France. From 1922 to 1925 he served as a Senator of the Irish Free State. He died at Littlehampton.

POLSON, THOMAS R.J. c.1820-1908

Thomas Polson was born in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. He wrote a novel, The Fortune Teller's Intrigue, set in Ireland of the late eighteenth century, and published in three volumes.


Alexander Porter was born in County Down, son of Rev. James Porter, United Irishman and Presbyterian minister. He is reputed to have fought in the Battle of Ballynahinch in 1798. In 1801 he went to America, and in 1807 was called to the Bar. By 1821 he was a judge in Louisianna and served as a member of Senate from 1834 to 1837, during which time he strongly upheld the institution of slavery, and was himself a slave-owner. He died in Attakapas, Louisiana.


Andrew Porter was born in Belfast and was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, and Queen's College, Belfast. In 1860 he was called to the Bar and by 1872 had become Queen's Counsel. From 1881 to 1884 he was a Member of Parliament for County Londonderry. He became Solicitor General in 1881 and Attorney General in 1883, at which time he was appointed Master of the Rolls. In 1902 he was created a baronet.


Classon Porter was born in Artikelly, County Londonderry, and was educated at York. In 1834 he was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in Larne where he spent the rest of his life. He wrote and published a great deal of local history and biography, some of which was reprinted in a collection in 1883. He died at Ballygally, County Antrim.

PORTER, JAMES 1753-1798

James Porter was born near Ballindrait, County Donegal. In 1773 he taught in Dromore, County Down and later, having studied divinity in Glasgow, became a Presbyterian minister in Greyabbey, County Down. He supported Catholic Emancipation and joined the Volunteers. His contributions to the Northern Star were published as a satire of Lord Londonderry in 1796, entitled Billy Bluff and Squire Firebrand which was regarded as treasonable. He also published Sermon, Wind and Weather in 1797. He was captured at the outbreak of the 1798 rebellion, tried, testified against by an informer, found guilty and, despite the pleas of his wife and seven children, hanged in front of his own meeting-house.


John Porter was born in Limavady, County Londonderry, and was educated locally and at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. For a time he was a schoolteacher and edited The Christian Observer in London. In 1826 he became a Presbyterian minister, and from 1831 he had a congregation at Rosemary Street, Belfast. In 1838 he was appointed Professor of Theology and in 1851 Professor of Hebrew to the Association of Irish Non-Suscribing Presbyterians. He edited the Christian Moderator and the Bible Christian and was a prolific theological writer. Among his works was Principles of Textual Criticism, published in 1848. He was devoted to the preservation of the Irish language.


Josias Porter was born in Burt, County Donegal was educated in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and was ordained in 1846. He spent ten years as a missionary in Damascus and recorded his experiences. In 1860 he became a professor in the Presbyterian College, Belfast and in 1875, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church. In 1879 he was appointed President of Queen's College, Belfast. He wrote the Life of Dr Henry Cooke, his father-in-law and predecessor as chaplain of Queen's College.


William Porter was born in Artikelly, County Londonderry. He was called to the Bar in 1831, and in 1839 was appointed Attorney General at the Cape. He was offered a knighthood and Premiership of the Cape, both of which he declined. He endowed a university there and was its first chancellor. In 1873 he returned to Ireland. He died in Belfast.


James Potter was born in Belfast, but moved to England with his family when he was still a child. He sang in the choir of All Saints' Church, Margaret Street, London and then became an organ scholar at Clifton College. He was later a composition student at the Royal College of Music. After serving in the Second World War he returned to St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, as vicar. He was appointed Professor of Composition at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in 1955. He was a composer, and his works included a television opera, Patrick, and four ballets, among which were Careless Love and Caitlin Bocht. He arranged traditional music for Radio Eireann Light Orchestra and wrote an opera, The Emigrants.


Eldred Pottinger was born in Mountpottinger, County Down, and entered the Bengal Artillery as a soldier. In 1837 he travelled through Afghanistan disguised as a horse dealer and took part in the siege of Herat a year later. He was made a Companion of the Bath and succeeded William MacNaghten in Kabul. Though he was held a prisoner there in 1842, he was released and went to Hong Kong on leave. He died there of fever.


Henry Pottinger was born in Mountpottinger, County Down, and was educated at Belfast Royal Academy. In 1804 he went to India to serve in the army and explored the lands between the Indus and Persia, travelling in disguise as a Mohammedan merchant and studying native languages. In 1816 he published his Travels in Beloochistan and Sinde. He served in the Mahratta War and rose to the rank of colonel. He undertook a mission to Sind, which is said to have opened up the traffic of the Indus. He was created a baronet when he returned to England in 1839/40. He was sent as a plenipotentiary to China in 1842 and eventually made peace by which Hong Kong was ceded. He became Governor of Hong Kong and later Governor of the Cape and Governor of Madras. The Grand Cross of the Bath was conferred upon him, and he was made a Privy Councillor. He died in Malta on his way home.


Charles Poyntz fought against Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, as an officer in the Elizabethan army. During the battle Poyntz defended a pass five miles south of Tandragee. The village on this site is known as Poyntzpass.


Robert Lloyd Praeger was born in Holywood, County Down, and was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution and Queen's College, Belfast, where he qualified as an engineer. He was a member of the Belfast Naturalists' Field Club, of which he was twice president, and he received their gold medal. He wrote many papers on post-glacial geography, especially on the raised beaches of the northeast of Ireland, which gave information on the climate in Neolithic times. In 1893 he joined the staff of the National Library of Ireland in Dublin as assistant librarian. He organised the Lambay Survey in 1905, which studied the natural resources of Ireland, and this led to the famous Clare Island Survey of 1909 to 1922. He was a prolific writer and was co-founder and editor of the journal, the Irish Naturalist. He published Flora of the County Armagh, Irish Topographical Botany, A Tourist's Flora of the West of Ireland and The Botanist in Ireland. Other publications include his best known book, The Way That I Went; Some Irish Naturalists; The Natural History of Ireland and The Irish Landscape. He was given the gold medal of the Royal Horticultural Society on two occasions and later became its president. He was elected President of the Royal Irish Academy, the British Ecological Society, the Royal Zoological Society of Ireland, the Geographical Society of Ireland and the Bibliographical Society of Ireland, and he was first President of the Library Association of Ireland. An honorary doctorate was conferred on him by Queen's University, Belfast, Trinity College, Dublin, and the National University of Ireland. He was elected an Associate of the Linnaean Society of London, was an honorary life member of the Botanical Society of the British Isles and in 1948 was first President of the National Trust for Ireland.


Rosamond Praeger was born in Holywood, County Down, and was educated at Sullivan School, Holywood, the School of Art, Belfast, and the Slade School, London. Before returning to Ireland to open a studio in Belfast and then in Holywood, she studied art in Paris. She wrote and illustrated children's books, but achieved fame with her sculpture 'The Philosopher' which was exhibited in the Royal Academy, bought by an American collector, and is now on display in the Colorado Springs Museum and Art Gallery. She mostly worked in plaster, but also used stone, marble, terracotta and bronze, and her work included relief panels, memorial plaques and stones. She exhibited in London and Paris, at the Royal Hibernian Academy, as well as at the Irish Decorative Art Association Exhibitions. She was a member of the Guild of Irish Art Workers. Among her other works are 'The Waif'; 'Johnny the Jig'; 'These Little Ones'; 'St Brigid of Kildare' and 'The Fairy Fountain'. For the Causeway School near Bushmills, County Antrim, she carved 'Fionnula the Daughter of Lir' in stone. She modelled a heraldic figure for the Northern Bank in Donegall Square West, Belfast, and bronze plaques for the front door of the Carnegie Library, Falls Road, Belfast, as well as the angels on Andrews Memorial Hall in Comber, County Down, and some work in St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast. She illustrated three books fro her brother, Robert Praeger. She was President of the Royal Ulster Academy, and she received an honorary doctorate from Queen's University, Belfast. In 1939 she was awarded the MBE.


Thomas Prendergast was implicated in plans to assassinate William III in 1696 at Turnham Green. He informed the king of the conspiracy and was created a baronet in 1699. In 1703 he was Member of Parliament for Monaghan. He was a brigadier and was killed leading his forces at the Battle of Malplaquet.


Thomas Preston was born in Kilmore, County Armagh, and was educated at the Royal School, Armagh, the Royal University of Ireland and Trinity College, Dublin. From 1891 to 1900 he was Professor of Natural Philosophy at University College, Dublin. He was a Fellow of the Royal University of Ireland and of the Royal Society, London and was a distinguished spectroscopist. Among his works are The Theory of Light and The Theory of Heat.

PRIOR, JAMES 1790-1869

James Prior was born in Lisburn, County Antrim. He became a naval surgeon and was present at Napoleon's surrender in 1815. He was a member of the Royal Irish Academy and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and in 1843 became Deputy Inspector of Hospitals. He was knighted in 1858. He wrote many biographies, including those of Burke and Goldsmith, and several volumes recording his travels such as Voyage to the Indian Seas. He died in Brighton.


Samuel Pullen was born in Dromore, County Down, and educated in Newry and Trinity College, Dublin. He won the Madden Prize given by the Royal Dublin Society for a poem, 'The Silk Worm', which he translated from Latin and which was judged the written work of the year in 1750. He was also the author of other works.

PURSER, JOHN 1835-1903

John Purser was born in Dublin and was educated in Wiltshire and Trinity College, Dublin, where he distinguished himself in mathematics. He was tutor to the children of Lord Ross at Parsonstown. In 1863 he became Professor of Mathematics at Queen's College, Belfast, where he remained until 1901. In 1878 he was made Registrar of the college. He was a member of the British Association, and his seminal paper The Source from which the Kinetic Energy is Drawn that Passes into Heat in the Movement of the Tides was presented at the meeting of the British Association in Belfast in 1874.


Louis Purser was born in Dungarvan, County Waterford and was educated at Middleton, Portora School, Enniskillen and Trinity College, Dublin, where he was appointed a fellow in 1881. He was appointed Professor of Latin from 1898 to 1904 and received honorary degrees from Glasgow, Durham and Oxford. He was Vice-President of the Royal Irish Academy and a Fellow of the British Academy. He translated many works and collaborated with R. Y. Tyrrell in publishing Cicero's Correspondence in seven volumes.

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