Irish Archaeologists Hall of Fame

R.A.S. (Robert Alexander Stewart) Macalister R.A.S. Macalister (1870–1950) archaeologist, epigraphist and Irish scholar, was professor of Celtic Archaeology at University College Dublin from 1909 to 1943. R.A.S. Macalister's publications included: Ireland in Pre-Celtic times, The archaeology of Ireland, Tara: a pagan sanctuary of ancient Ireland, Ancient Ireland: a study in the lessons of archaeology and history, The secret languages of Ireland, with special reference to the origin and nature of the Shelta language.

Seán P Ó Ríordáin (1904–57) Seán P. Ó Ríordáin (1904–1957) was a pioneering archaeologist known for his significant contributions to Irish archaeology. Initially trained as a teacher, he later pursued advanced studies in archaeology, earning his MA and Ph.D. Seán P. Ó Ríordáin conducted extensive fieldwork, notably at Lough Gur in Co. Limerick, where he excavated for eighteen years, shedding light on its multi-period history.

Francis Mitchell 1912-1997 Frank Mitchell (1912-1997) studied Natural Sciences at Trinity College, Dublin. In 1934, he assumed the role of assistant to Geology Professor Knud Jessen, conducting field studies on post-glacial sediments in Ireland. Frank Mitchell acquired Townley Hall from Trinity College, transforming it into a self-funded study center that facilitated research across diverse fields, notably supporting archaeological investigations at Knowth. Elected as a Fellow of Trinity College in 1944, he later became a lecturer in Irish Archaeology.

Michael J. O'Kelly, Irish Archaeologist Michael J. O'Kelly (1915-1982) excavated and restored the megalithic passage tomb at Newgrange from 1962 to 1975. Michael J. O'Kelly discovered that the builders of Newgrange deliberately oriented the passage so that each year around the time of the winter solstice, the rays of the rising sun would shine through a special aperture he called a roofbox to illuminate the chamber. In Newgrange Archaeology, Art and Legend Professor O'Kelly presents the full results of his excavations at Newgrange.

Claire O'Kelly, Irish Archaeologist Claire O'Kelly (1916-2004) was the wife and archaeology associate of Michael J. O'Kelly. Claire qualified as a national school teacher and while working as a teacher decided to study archaeology at night in University College Cork. Claire O'Kelly's working career in archaeology began alongside her future husband at Seán P. Ó Ríordáin's Lough Gur excavation. These were remarkable times, when the foundation of modern Irish archaeology were laid with the uncovering of settlements dating to the Neolithic and the hitherto unknown beaker period.

Ruaidhrí De ValeraRuaidhrí de Valera (1916–1978)an Irish archaeology was born in Dublin in 1916, de Valera's passion for ancient history and culture led him to pursue a career in archaeology. Throughout his career, Ruaidhrí de Valera made significant contributions to the understanding of Ireland's ancient past, particularly through his meticulous studies of megalithic tombs. In 1956, after two seasons excavation at the Mound of the Hostages on the Hill of Tara, Seán P. Ó Ríordáin became ill and died in 1957. Ruaidhrí de Valera completed the excavation of the megalithic passage tomb in 1959.

George Eogan, Irish Archaeologist George Eogan (1930-2021) was an Irish archaeologist known for his significant contributions to the study of prehistoric archaeology in Ireland, particularly the Neolithic and Late Bronze Ages. George Eogan conducted extensive research and excavations, focusing on the Boyne Valley region, where he made several important discoveries related to the Neolithic period and the ancient passage tombs at Knowth.

David Sweetman (1938-2023) was the Chief Archaeologist of Ireland. When David Sweetman was with the Office of Public Works in 1982, there was a significant discovery at Newgrange. A Beaker House alongside a crematorium and burial ground were discovered about 100 yards from the passage grave. David's publications include The Medieval Castles of Ireland and Irish Castles and Fortified Houses.

Peter Harbison, Irish Archaeologist Peter Harbison (1939-2023) was one of the best-known Irish archaeologists. Through his work with Bord Fáilte as its archaeologist from 1966, he was an effective communicator, both here and abroad, of the sheer enormity of the riches of Ireland's cultural past, especially of its medieval past. Peter Harbison played an important role in the development of cultural tourism to and within Ireland.

Peter Woodman, Irish Archaeologist Peter Woodman (1943-2017) was emeritus professor of archaeology at UCC. With 113 publications to his name, he was the leading authority on the Irish Mesolithic (8,000BC-4,500BC), a period during which the first settlers arrived in Ireland. Peter Woodman's book Ireland's First Settlers encompasses 50 years of research to make sense of what initially "appeared to be little more than a collection of beach-rolled and battered flint tools".

Boyne Valley Private Day Tour

Boyne Valley Tours
Immerse yourself in the rich heritage and culture of the Boyne Valley with our full-day private tours. Visit Newgrange World Heritage site, explore the Hill of Slane, where Saint Patrick famously lit the Paschal fire. Discover the Hill of Tara, the ancient seat of power for the High Kings of Ireland. Book Now