The Atlas of Irish Mathematics: Leitrim (Oct 2020)

Our 21st bi-monthly regional Irish focused blog highlights mathematical people associated with Leitrim, following on Donegal, Wexford, Armagh, Limerick, Westmeath, Mayo, Belfast, Wicklow, Kerry, Galway, Monaghan, Tipperary, Sligo, Carlow, Down, Cork, Cavan, Laois, [London]Derry and Meath.

There are very few people overall, which is not surprising for a small county with no third level institute or its own, and no city nearby. However, there are probably Irish maths (or maths ed or stats or actuarial or theoretical physics) people missing from this blog because while we know about them we don't yet know they are from Leitrim.

Comments, additions and corrections are, as always, welcome. As are more photographs.

Thanks to Olivia Bree (SPD) and Patrick Heslin for valuable input. Last updated 18 Oct 2021.


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 1. Surveyor Francis McGann (1786-1815) was born in Drumlara, ?Eslin, in east Leitrim. Attending hedge schools, he focussed on the maths of surveying and mapped parts of his native county. He died tragically in a snow storm.

Blog / Bio

 2. James Booth (1806-1878) was born 26 Jul in Lavagh, Leitrim, north of Drumkeeran. He was educated at TCD (Scholar 1830, BA 1832, MA 1840, LLD 1842). His career saw spent time at TCD, Bristol College, Liverpool Collegeate Inst and Bedford College, before he switched to parish work. He maintained his interest in maths, publishing Treatise on some New Geometical Methods in two large volumes late in life.

Wikipedia / TEM

 3. James Tate (1860-1892) was born 20 Feb somewhere in Leitrim.  He was educated at Queen's Belfast (BA 1881, MA 1882) and at Cambridge (St John's, 16th wrangler 1886, MA 1890).  He taught at King's School (Rochester) and at Derby School, then died suddenly during the interview process for a headmaster position.


 4. John Browne (1866-1909) was born 16 Dec in Gortinure, Leitrim, east of Mohill, and was educated at UCD (BA 1899). He taught at SPD 1892-1900, and then at the Colorado School of Mines until his untimely death.

Problem / Death

 5. William Burns (1885-1962) was born 5 Mar in Mohill, Leitrim, and grew up in Richmount, Edgeworthstown, Longford. He was educated at TCD (Scholar, BA 1907). He worked for almost 4 decades for the Calcutta Harbour Commissioners, taking in a Lincoln's Inn degree in 1925.

1901 Census / Obit

 6. (Jane) Margaret White (1909-1975) was born 5 Jun in Aughadark, Bawnboy, Leitrim, grew up there and in Belfast, and was educated at QUB (BA 1932). She taught maths at Victoria College for over 30 years, [Photo courtesy of Victoria College Belfast]

1911 Census / Hockey / Obit

 7. Pat McHugh (1929-1962) was born in Kilnagross, Carrick-on-Shannon, Leitrim. He was educated at Maynooth (BSc 1950?, MSc 1951, HDip), winning an NUI Travelling Studentship Prize, and taught there until 1955. After 2 years at DIAS, he taught at St Saran's in Ferbane, Offaly. He died young following a motor accident.

DIAS / Crash / Death

 8. John Heslin was born in Gortletteragh, south-east Leitrim, and was educated at TCD (BA 2011) and UCD (Dip maths 2012). His career has been in finance.


 9. Seán Mc Weeney was born in Aughnasheelin, south-east Leitrim.  He was educated at NUIG (BA 2012) and UCD (HDip 2013). He has taught at Presentation Warrenmount (2013-2014) and St Paul's CBS 2014-2020 and is now at Ardscoil Rís, Marino. He runs virtual juggling maths workshops for Transition Year students (as "Mr Math Weeney") across the country.

10. Patrick Heslin was born in Gortletteragh, south-east Leitrim, and was educated at Maynooth (BSc 2015, MSc 2016), winning an NUI Travelling Studentship. His PhD on "Two-Point Boundary Value Problems on Diffeomorphism Groups" was done under Gerard Misiolek at Notre Dame (2021), and he is now at Florida State University.