Founding father of USA and a tragic Hollywood actor among 'greats' in new book

Lynda Connolly

Published 07/05/2013 | 05:24

GREAT people from Carlow including a founding father of the United States, publisher, duelist, scientist and actor are all remembered in a new Irish biography that celebrates Irish men and women through the ages.

Author Seamus Moran has compiled a dictionary of Irish biography following 30 years of research and a section of the book, Great Irish People, is entirely devoted to Carlow.

Moran looks at famous Carlow people from the past like duelist and hellraiser Beauchamp Bagenal who gave Bagenalstown its name.

He inherited a huge estate at the age of eleven and lived a lavish lifestyle.

Pierce Butler, who is recognised as a founding father of the United States after defecting from the British army to join the American cause.

He became a primary target of the British campaign but always managed to evade capture.

Publisher Peter Fenelon Collier was from Myshall and founded family magazine, Collier's Weekly, in American which sold more than 30 million books.

Scientist Samuel Haughton was born beside the river Burrin Bridge went on to become a prodigious academic and medical registrar of Trinity Medical School.

Soldier Myles Keogh from Leighlinbridge fought alongside General Custer in the Battle of Little Bighorn and John Lucas from Bagenalstown was awarded the Victoria Cross for coming to the aid of a fallen lieutenant who lay just 30 yards from enemy lines.

John Lyons was another Victoria Cross recipient after picking up a live shell that had fallen among soliders in a trench and hurled it away.

Actor and poet Bill MacNevin from College Street is featured in the book also. He was the presenter of the first radio broadcasted entertainment show following the launch of Radio Eireann and a regular on stage in the abbey Theatre.

Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal Patrick Francis Moran, was born in Leighlinbridge and was behind the building of new schools, churches and hospitals in Sydney and American politician Michael Nicholas Nolan was elected to the 47th Congress after emigrating to the US from Carlow at the age of ten.

Moran remembers Young Irelander Patrick O'Donoghue who was sentenced to work in a chain gang for producing the Irish newspaper, Irish Exile, and politician and newspaper publisher Thomas MacDonald who served in the 45th Congress in the US and later owned Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Times. He looks at the life of Hollywood actor William Desmond Taylor who was a film director with Paramount and president of the Motions Pictures Directors Association before he was shot to death in his bungalow.

The book features also patriot Thomas Traynor who fought alongside Eamon de Valera at the Boland Mills Garrison during the Easter Rising and inventor philosopher John Tyndell from Leighlinbridge who explained why the sky is blue. Great Irish People is available in bookstores nationwide and online.

Carlow People

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