James McCullagh

Life
1809-1847; ed. TCD, Prof. Math., 1836; secretary to RIA Council, 1840-42; Sec. to RIA, 1842-46; Prof. natural philosophy, 1843; suicide [in ift of temp. insanity due to overwork, DIB]; wrote on physics of light and the geometry of surfaces; delivered paper on surfaces of the second order to RIA 1843; unsuccessfully contested parliamentary seat for Dublin University; committed suicide in fit of insanity reputedly brought on by overwork. ODNB

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Commentary
A. P. Graves, Irish Literary and Musical Studies (London: Elkin Mathews 1913), p. 218: ‘Inspired by Petrie’s scientific spirit in his method of dealing with antiquities, the great Irish mathematician MacCullagh purchased the Cross of Cong, and made that splendid donation to the Academy, besides contributing most generously towards the purchase of the Tara gold torques.

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Notes
Oscar Wilde, reviewing Margaret Stokes, Early Christian Art in Ireland (1887) in Pall Mall Gazette (17 Dec. 1887), remarks that Prof. McCullagh purchased the Cross of Cong after the death of the last abbot of the monastery, where it was concealed after the Reformation, and presented it to the RIA Museum. (See Wilde About Wilde, ed., Carmel McCaffrey, No. 17, 16 Oct. 1994, pp.15-16.)

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