The Atlas of Irish Mathematics: Monaghan (Feb 2019)

In past bimonthly Atlas of Irish Mathematics blogs with regional focus, we've shone a light on people associated with Donegal, Wexford, Armagh, Limerick, Westmeath, Mayo, Belfast, Wicklow, Kerry and Galway. This time, it's Monaghan.

Included below are men who played key roles in the early days of TCD, a famous writer who mentored Seamus Heaney, several Maynooth people of note, and three often overlooked people from the almost 100 Irish or Irish-based people who contributed problems or solutions to the Educational Times in the second half of the 1800s (a future blog will highlight all of them).

Comments, additions and corrections are, as always, welcome. As are more photographs of the forgotten faces from the past.  Last updated 6 March 2020.

Thanks to Paul Greaney (NUIG), Olivia Bree (SPD), Tony O'Farrell (MU) & Ciarán P. Mac an Bhaird (MU), ET Trigg and Eddie O'Kane for valuable input. 



 1. William Clement (1707-1782) was born in Carrickmacross, Monaghan, and was educated at TCD (BA, 1726, MA 1731), where he taught for almost half a century, and also served as vice-provost. He lectured in botany, physics, and medicine at various stages of his career, and was Donegall Lecturer of mathematics from 1750 to 1759.

TCD / Bio

 2. Patrick Flood (1827?-1902) was born in Monaghan. Nothing is known about his education. He was a teacher in Wexford, Tipperary, Clare and Dublin. Over a three decade period, he contributed to the Educational Times.

Educational Times / 1901 Census / L /

 3. Physicist and mathematician Francis Lennon (1838-1920) was born in November in Tyholland, Monaghan, near the Armagh border, and was educated at Clogher. He was ordained in 1862 and appointed professor at the diocesan seminary St Macartan's.  Following the death of Nicholas Callan in 1864, he became professor of natural philosophy in Maynooth, a position he held until 1911.  He served terms as chair of the Dublin Scientific Club and examiner for mathematics for the Intermediate Education Board.  He has 2 books to his name: the revised and improved 1872 edition of André Darré's Elements of Geometry with Both Plane and Spherical Trigonometry, and The Elements of Plane and Spherical Geometry (1875).

Grave / Prize / 1911 census

 4. Francis Tarleton (1841-1920) is believed to have been born in Tyholland, east of Monaghan town.  He was educated at TCD (BA 1861, MA 1865) where he was elected a fellow in 1866.   He was called to the bar in 1868, but spent his entire career as an academic and administrator at TCD.  He occupied the chair of natural philosophy from 1890 to 1901, treating physics as a branch of maths.  He also served as bursar, senior dean, and vice provost, and was awarded an honorary ScD (1891).  He authored books on dynamics and the mathematical theory of attraction, and contributed to the Educational Times.  He colourfully viewed Einstein's theory of relativity as being in the same category as Bolshevism.

TCD / Nature / Educational Times 1 / Educational Times 2 / 1901 Census / 1911 Census

 5. William Stoops (1844?-1919) was born in Castleblayney, Monaghan, and was educated at Queen's College Cork (BA 1874).  At first he taught at the Coleraine Academic Institute, then in 1881 he became the headmaster at the Newry Intermediate School, Down, where he stayed until 1917.  He contributed to the Educational Times.

Obit 1 / Obit 2 / Educational Times / 1901 Census / 1911 Census

 6. Francis Rountree (1859?-1944) was born in Cavan and was educated at TCD (BA 1884, MA 1889). His career included spells teaching at the Grammar School in Cork, and in Rockcorry, Monaghan.

Links / 1911 Census

 7. James Mills Stoops (1867-1941) was born 25 September in Alsmeed, Muckno Parish, Cremorne, northeast of Castleblayney, Monaghan, a nephew of William Stoops above.  He was educated at Queen's College Belfast (BSc 1891).  At first he taught at Victoria College in Belfast, contributed to the Educational Times, and authored solutions for some Blackie's Guides to the Intermediate Mathematics.  In 1899 he matriculated at the University of London, and the rest of his career seems to have been spent as a clergyman in Australia and New Zealand.  He taught maths at Emmanuel College in Brisbane from its 1912 opening.  (Thanks to Kerry Mahony for finding the death date.)

Books / Educational Times

 8. Doctor William A. Stoops (1869-1938) was born 20 February in Mullyash just outside Castleblayney, Monaghan.  He was educated at Queen's Belfast (BSc 1897, MD 1903??) and practiced medicine in England.  He was one of the main mourners at the funeral of William above who died in 1919, and may have been a cousin of James above.

1901 Census

 9. James "Max" Henry (1887-1947) was born 4 January in Monaghan. He was educated at TCD (BA & Gold Medal 1909, MA 1914) and was on the maths staff there from 1914 (when he was one of the last two men to be elected Fellow by examination) to his death. He published a controversial book A New Fundamentalism in 1934 and later served as junior dean. Roy Johnston's appreciation linked below is entertaining.

Appreciation / Campbell College / 1901 Census / 1911 Census

10. John Troughton (1902-1975) was born 24 May in Clones, Monaghan. He was educated at TCD (BA in mental and moral philosophy 1924, LLB 1929), being awarded a maths scholarship in 1925.  He spent his career as a barrister in the British Civil Service in Kenya, Uganda and Swaziland.

1911 Census / Who Was Who  / Link

11. Writer Michael McLaverty (1904-1992) was born 5 July in Carrickmacross, Monaghan, was grew up there and in Belfast. He was educated at QUB (BSc 1927, MSc by thesis 1933), and taught maths and physics at St John's PED for decades before ending his career as headmaster at St Thomas. (Thanks to Eddie O'Kane.)

Wikipedia / Hidden Gems / Ricorso

12. Eoghan Rushe (1917-2001) was born 10 June in Corbane, Corduff, northwest of Carrickmacross, Monaghan.  He was educated at UCD (BSc 1939) and later taught at Belcamp College in Dublin, where he rose to the rank of vice principal. (Thanks to Bernie Ruth & Joe Callan for valuable input here.)


13. Roy Nelson (1920-??) was born 26 June in Corvally, northeast of Monaghan town. He taught maths at UCD 1956-1959. More information is welcome. (He is not the Open University presenter of the same name who previously taught computer science at QUB in the 1960s.)


14. Paul Carragher (1927-1999) was born 28 June born near Annyalla, Castleblayney, Monaghan.  He joined the civil service for a few years, and was then educated at TCD (BAI 1955, MA 1960).  He worked for 2 years as an engineer in Scotland and England, and then taught maths at Izmir Koleji in Turkey.  Moving to Canada in 1958, he taught at Memorial University in Newfoundland until 1966, then for a year at TCD.  Most of the rest of his career (1968-1993) was spent at the University of New Brunswick, also in Canada.  He received his doctorate from TCD (1978) for a thesis on "Heat Transfer on Continuous Solid Surfaces" done under Lawrence Crane.

DIAS / ResearchGate

15. Physicist Thomas (Gerry) McGreevy (1929-2015) was born 25 January in Belfast, and grew up mostly in Togan, southwest of Monaghan town. He was educated at Maynooth (BSc 1949) and then worked at UCG for a while.  He earned his PhD at UCD circa 1957, and was on the staff at Maynooth from then to 1982, serving as registrar along the way.  He spent his later years as a parish priest in Monaghan and Donegal.

Irish Times

16. Dermot Marron was born in Clones, Monaghan and educated at QUB (BSc 1993, PhD 1997). His thesis on "Spittability in Ordered Sets and in Ordered Spaces" was done under Brian McMaster. He published some papers in topology, and then pursued an actuarial career in Dublin.

Allied Risk /

17. Ciarán P. Mac an Bhaird was born 9 July in Lough Egish, southwest of Castleblayney, Monaghan, and was educated entirely at Maynooth (BSc 1998, MSc 2000, PhD 2007), where he has also spent his career.  His doctorate on "Gauss' Method for the Determination of Cyclotomic Numbers" was done under Pat McCarthy.  He authored the book Primality Testing and Gaussian Sums (Logic Press, 2005) based on his master's thesis on "An Introduction to the Mathematics Involved in the APR Primality Test" which was done with the same advisor. His current interests include maths education, the history of mathematics, and algebraic number theory.


18. Biostatistician Siobhán Connolly (Connolly-Kernan) was born in Castleblayney, Monaghan, and was educated at Maynooth (BSc 2012) and TCD (PhD 2016). Her thesis on "Investigating the Parental Role in Autism Spectrum Disorder" was done with Eleisa Heron. She now lectures at DKIT.

DKIT / LinkedIn

19. Jack McDonnell was born in Castleblayney, Monaghan, and was educated entirely at Maynooth (BSc 2013, MSc 2014, PhD 2018+). His thesis on "Predicting Grass Growth at Farm Level to Adapt to Changing and Volatile Weather Conditions" was done under Caroline Brophy & Deirdre Hennessy.  After a postdoc at the Met Service he joined the staff at DKIT.


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