Royal Irish Academy
|Founder||James Caulfeild, 1st Earl of Charlemont|
|Headquarters||19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2,|
|Michael Peter Kennedy|
The Royal Irish Academy (RIA; Irish: Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann), based in Dublin, is an all-Ireland, independent academic body that promotes study and excellence in the sciences, humanities and social sciences. It is one of Ireland's premier learned societies and cultural institutions, and currently has around 501 members including Honorary Members, elected in recognition of their academic achievements. The Academy was established in 1785 and granted a royal charter in 1786.
Until the late 19th century the Royal Irish Academy was also the owner of the main national collection of Irish antiquities. It presented its collection of archaeological artefacts and similar items, which included such famous pieces as the Tara Brooch, the Cross of Cong and the Ardagh Chalice to what is now the National Museum of Ireland, but retains its very significant collection of manuscripts including the famous Cathach of Colmcille, the Lebor na hUidre (c. 1100), the later medieval Leabhar Breac, the Book of Ballymote, and the Annals of the Four Masters.
The Academy defines itself as Ireland's leading body of experts in the sciences and humanities, and its mission statement says "The Academy champions Irish academic research. One of it principal roles is to identify and recognise Ireland's world-class researchers. It supports excellent scholarship and promotes awareness of how science and the humanities enrich our lives and benefit society."
The Academy is an all-island independent forum of peer-elected experts, which draws on Members' expertise to contribute to public debate and policy formation on issues in science, technology and culture. In doing this it aims to bring together academia, government and industry to address issues of mutual interest, and it leads national research projects, particularly in areas relating to Ireland and its heritage. The RIA also represents Irish learning internationally, operates a major research library, and is an academic publisher.
Election to Membership of the Royal Irish Academy is a public recognition of academic excellence and is sometimes held to be the highest academic honour in Ireland. Those elected are entitled to use the designation "MRIA" after their name. The criterion for election to Membership is a significant contribution to scholarly research as shown in the candidate's published academic work. However some of those elected to membership are not academics at all but receive the accolade in recognition of other contributions to society - these include former public servants, philanthropists, leaders in political and business life, and others (see Notable Members below).
To be elected, a candidate has to be proposed and recommended by five Members, and selection is made by a rotating committee of existing Members, their names not made known outside the Academy. Presently, up to 24 Members are elected each year, equally divided between the sciences and humanities. Membership is open only to those resident in Ireland.
Honorary Membership can be awarded to persons who have made outstanding contribution to their academic discipline, but who are normally resident outside the island of Ireland. At least two existing Members must propose and recommend a candidate for Honorary Membership. Honorary members are entitled to use the designation "Hon. MRIA" after their name.
The Academy is one of the longest-established publishers in Ireland, having commenced in 1787. The Academy currently publishes six journals: Ériu, Irish Studies in International Affairs, Mathematical Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy Section C, Irish Journal of Earth Sciences and Biology and Environment . The Academy's research projects also regularly publish the Irish Historic Towns Atlas series, the Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, Foclóir na nua-Ghaeilge, the Dictionary of Medieval Latin from Celtic Sources, and the New Survey of Clare Island. In 2014 the Academy published (in association with Yale University Press) the five-volume Art and Architecture of Ireland.
The Academy is committed to publishing work which not only influences scholarship, but also the wider community, for example Flashes of Brilliance by Dick Ahlstrom, and Judging Dev by Diarmaid Ferriter. Both of these publications have been accompanied by either a television or a radio series.
During the 1950s the Academy began forming national committees, each relating to a specific discipline. Today the main focus of the Academy committees is to serve as a strategic vehicle for the disciplines they represent, and to act as a national forum, providing input into policy, research priorities and issues of public concern, such as climate change. They also organise public outreach activities, such as lectures and public interviews, and award grants for research and travel. The Academy committees are made up of both Members and non-Members, including representatives from universities, research institutions, government agencies and, where appropriate, industry.
Science Committees: Climate Change and Environmental Sciences; Engineering and Computer Sciences; Geosciences and Geographical Sciences; Life and Medical Sciences; Physical, Chemical and Mathematical Sciences
Humanities and Social Sciences Committees: Ethical, Political, Legal and Philosophical Studies; Historical Studies; Social Sciences; Study of Languages, Literature, Culture and Communication; Coiste Léann na Gaeilge, Litríocht na Gaeilge agus na gCultúr Ceilteach. Standing Committees - Standing Committee for Archaeology; Standing Committee for International Affairs
For more information on all of the Academy's committees and their work visit https://www.ria.ie/
In 1852 the Royal Irish Academy moved from 114 Grafton Street to its current premises at 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2, known as "Academy House". Built in c.1750, the building has some fine decorative plasterwork and a handsome meeting room designed in 1854 by Frederick Clarendon and now used for conferences, exhibitions and public talks. The Academy allows the use of these meeting rooms by external bodies when its own activities permit.
Academy House was home to many of Ireland's finest national treasures, including the Ardagh Chalice and the Tara Brooch, until 1890 when the Academy transferred its collections to the newly established National Museum of Ireland.
The Academy Library holds the largest collection of Old Irish manuscripts in the world. It is an important research centre for studies covering Irish history, language, archaeology and the history of Irish science. The Library is home to the sixth-century Latin psalter, the Cathach, reputedly copied by St Columcille. The Library also holds the personal library and a harp belonging to Thomas Moore and the philological collection of Osborn J. Bergin.
See also Category:Royal Irish Academy Library
The Academy manages a number of high-profile research projects in the sciences and humanities. Past projects have included The Digital Humanities Observatory (DHO), New Survey of Clare Island(NSCI) and The Origins of the Irish Constitution (OIC).
- Dictionary of Irish Biography (DIB)
- Dictionary of Medieval Latin from Celtic Sources (DMLCS)
- Documents on Irish Foreign Policy (DIFP)
- Foclóir na nua-Ghaeilge (Dictionary of Modern Irish) Online Historical Irish Corpus 1600–1926
- Irish Historic Towns Atlas (IHTA)
- Taisclann Dhigiteach na hÉireann Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI)
The President and Council are responsible for the Academy's general government and regulation. They are elected annually at the Stated Meeting on 16 March. The President normally serves a three-year term of office. The membership of Council is drawn from the Sciences and Humanities sections. Council formulates policies, and recommends candidates for membership.
The Executive Committee supports the Council in supervising the day-to-day business of the Academy. The members of the Executive Committee are the President, Senior Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Secretaries of Science and PL&A (Polite Literature & Antiquities, i.e. Humanities), Executive Secretary, Secretary for International Relations, and a staff representative.
The Royal Irish Academy became a prescribed body under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 1997 and the Freedom of Information Act (Amendment) 2003, on 31 May 2006.
Current and past presidents
- 2017: Michael Peter Kennedy
- 2014: Mary E. Daly
- 2011: Luke Drury
- 2008: Nicholas Canny
- 2005: James Slevin
- 2002: Michael E. F. Ryan
- 1999: Thomas David Spearman
- 1996: Michael Herity
- 1993: John O. Scanlan
- 1990: Aidan Clark
- 1987–1990: James Dooge
- 1985–1987: T. K. Whitaker
- 1982: William Arthur Watts
- 1979: Proinsias Mac Cana
- 1976–1979: Frank Mitchell
- 1973: David Greene
- 1970–1973: Vincent C. Barry
- 1967–1970: Joseph J. Raftery (1913–1992)
- 1966–1967: Myles Dillon
- 1964–1966: Joseph Doyle (1891–1974)
- 1961–1964: John Lighton Synge
- 1958–1961: Aubrey Osborn Gwynn
- 1955–1958: James O’Connor, (1886-1974)
- 1952–1955: Patrick Joseph Boylan, (1879–1974)
- 1949–1952: John James Nolan
- 1946–1949: Thomas Percy Claude Kirkpatrick
- 1943–1946: Richard Irvine Best
- 1940-1943: Eoin MacNeill
- 1937–1940: Arthur William Conway
- 1934–1937: Edward John Gwynn
- 1931–1934: Robert Lloyd Praeger
- 1926–1931: Robert Alexander Stewart Macalister
- 1921–1926: Sydney Young
- 1916–1921: John Henry Bernard
- 1911–1916: John Pentland Mahaffy
- 1906-1911: Francis Alexander Tarleton
- 1901–1906: Robert Atkinson
- 1896–1901: Lawrence Parsons, 4th Earl of Rosse
- 1892–1896: John Kells Ingram
- 1891–1892: William Reeves (died 1892)
- 1886–1891: Samuel Haughton
- 1882–1886: Samuel Ferguson
- 1877–1882: Robert Kane
- 1874–1876: William Stokes
- 1869–1874: John Hewitt Jellett
- 1866–1869: James Talbot, 4th Baron Talbot de Malahide
- 1861–1866: Charles Graves
- 1856–1861: James Henthorn Todd
- 1851–1856: Thomas Romney Robinson
- 1846–1851: Humphrey Lloyd
- 1837–1846: Sir William Rowan Hamilton
- 1835–1837: Bartholomew Lloyd
- 1822–1835: John Brinkley
- 1812–1822: Charles Bury, 1st Earl of Charleville
- 1799–1812: Richard Kirwan
- 1785–1799: James Caulfeild, 1st Earl of Charlemont (1st president)
Awards of the Royal Irish Academy
The premier award of the Royal Irish Academy is the Cunningham Medal, which it awards every three years in recognition of "outstanding contributions to scholarship and the objectives of the Academy." Other awards include the Gold Medals which are awarded to two people each year who "made a demonstrable and internationally recognised outstanding scholarly contribution in their fields," and US-Ireland Research Innovation Awards which are awarded annually in three categories HEIs, Multinationals and SMEs.
The Royal Irish Academy also operates a number of prizes including the annual Hamilton Prize for Mathematics which it awards to the best mathematic students as nominated by academic institutions, the Kathleen Lonsdale Prize for Chemistry which is awarded to the most outstanding Irish Ph.D. thesis in the general area of the chemical sciences, and the biennial RIA Michel Deon Prize for Non-Fiction which honours the life of Michel Déon (1919-2016) by continuing his work in supporting and championing writing talent and sustains his legacy in celebrating the richness and diversity of cultural experience in Europe.
- Sir Francis Beaufort, hydrographer and originator of the Beaufort Wind Scale
- Sir William Betham (1779–1853), Ulster King of Arms 1820–1853
- Frederick Boland, diplomat
- Andrew Nicholas Bonaparte-Wyse, civil servant
- Angela Bourke an award-winning Irish author and academic.
- Hugh Carleton, 1st Viscount Carleton, eminent judge and politician
- Éamon de Valera, Taoiseach 1932–1948; 1951–1954; 1957–1959 and President of Ireland 1959–1973
- James Dooge, engineer, Government minister, architect of the European Union; President of the RIA 1986–1990
- Samuel Ferguson (1810–1886)
- Garret FitzGerald, Taoiseach 1981–1982 and 1982–1987
- Aloys Fleischmann (1910–1992), composer
- James Gandon, architect
- Edmund Getty, antiquarian and naturalist
- Henry Grattan, politician
- Seamus Heaney (1939–2013), poet, Nobel laureate
- William Rowan Hamilton, mathematician
- Walter Heitler, physicist
- Thomas Dix Hincks (1767–1857), orientalist and naturalist
- John Houston (1802–1845), surgeon and anatomist
- Richard Kirwan, chemist, meteorologist, and mineralogist
- Seán Lemass, Taoiseach 1959–1966
- F. S. L. Lyons, historian
- Gearóid Mac Eoin, linguist and historian, member since 1975.
- Eoin MacNeill, politician and historian
- William Hunter McCrea, astronomer
- Frank Mitchell, naturalist
- Michael Morris, 3rd Baron Killanin and President of the International Olympic Committee
- Thomas E. Nevin (1906–1986), elected in March 1942, distinguished career in molecular spectroscopy
- Cormac O'Ceallaigh, Irish cosmic ray physicists
- Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh, Attorney General 1946–1948, 1951–1953 and President of Ireland 1974–1976
- Fergus O'Rourke, zoologist
- John O'Donovan (1806–1861), Irish language scholar and place-name expert
- Eva Philbin (1914–2005), chemist and first female senior vice-president
- David Puttnam, Lord Puttnam
- William Reeves (1815–1892), antiquarian and bishop, President of the Academy in 1891
- Erwin Schrödinger (1931), Nobel physics laureate
- Robert William Smith (1807–1873), surgeon and pathologist
- James Henthorn Todd (1805–1869), biblical scholar, educator, and Irish historian
- Johannes Diderik van der Waals (1837–1923), winner of the 1910 Nobel Prize in physics
- Ernest T. S. Walton (1935), Nobel physics laureate
- Trevor West, mathematician and senator
- Robert Anthony Welch (1945-2013), author, educator, and literary historian
- Isaac Weld (1774–1856), topographical author
- William Wilde (1815–1876), polymath and father of the playwright, Oscar Wilde
- Edward Percival Wright (1834–1910), ophthalmic surgeon, botanist and zoologist
- Mary Somerville (1780–1872), science writer, astronomer, mathematician
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