Silvester O'Halloran

O'Halloran, Silvester, surgeon and historian, was born in Limerick, 31st December 1728. He studied medicine in the schools of London, Paris, and Leyden, and devoted himself to practice in his native city. Before he was twenty-one he published a Treatise on Cataract, the first of several medical essays from his pen. Archaeology divided his attention with medicine; he was an Irish scholar, and one of the earliest members of the Royal Irish Academy. A treatise on the preservation of ancient annals appeared in 1770; An Introduction to the Study of the Antiquities of Ireland, in 1772; his General History of Ireland, in 2 vols. 4to. London, 1774; besides minor papers read before the Academy and elsewhere.

His "History is now but little referred to, as the most valuable and accurate portions of it are to be found in Colgan and O'Flaherty. It is distinguished throughout by great national enthusiasm and considerable erudition, but its topographical descriptions, though on the whole tolerably correct, have been in many instances revised and altered by modern investigators... It was an astonishing performance at the date of its publication."[115]

He is spoken of by a contemporary as "the tall, thin doctor, in his quaint French dress, with his gold-headed cane, beautiful Parisian wig, and cocked hat;. . his entire time nearly given up to literature and the discovery of antiquities." O'Halloran died in Limerick in 1807, aged about 78, and was buried in Kileedy churchyard. His portrait is prefixed to a notice in the Dublin Journal of Medical Science, vol vi. [One of his sons, Joseph, entered the army, served fifteen years in India, and rose to be Lieutenant-General Sir Joseph O'Halloran: he died in London about 1843, aged 80.]


115. Dublin Quarterly Journal of Medical Science. Dublin, 1846-'77.

196. Irishmen, Lives of Illustrious and Distinguished, Rev. James Wills, D.D. 6 vols. or 12 parts. Dublin, 1840-'7.

215. Limerick, Its History and Antiquities: Maurice Lenihan. Dublin, 1866. Lodge, John, see also No. 161.