She was born in Drogheda, County Louth, where her father was the port surveyor. He was transferred to a similar post in County Cork in 1775, where Catherine was raised. She was connected to John Ryder, archbishop of Tuam.
She was an unmarried woman in her late 20s when she was invited to accompany the party of Lord Mountcashel and his wife the former Margaret King on a tour of the continent in 1802. The Mount Cashells entertained lavishly, especially during the first nine months in Paris, and through them she met Napoleon Bonaparte, made friends with Angelica Kauffman and had an audience with the Pope, Pius VII. She then went to Russia to bring home her sister Martha, who was living there as a favourite of Princess Dashkov, and spent two years there.
She settled in France, where she died of tuberculosis in 1824. She never married.
- An Irish Peer on the Continent, 1801-03 (1920)
- The Russian Journals of Martha and Catherine Wilmot (1934)
- More letters from Martha Wilmot; Vienna 1819-29 (1935).
- The Grand Tours of Katherine Wilmot, France 1801-1803, and Russia 1805-07 (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1992)
- Boylan, Henry (1998). A Dictionary of Irish Biography, 3rd Edition. Dublin: Gill and MacMillan. p. 448. ISBN 0-7171-2945-4.
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