Alfred O’Rahilly (1884-1969)

b. Listowel, Co. Kerry; b. of Thomas Francis O’Rahilly; ed. Blackrock College, a contemp orary of de Valera; prepared for Jesuit priesthood but left; completed MA and PhD both at UCC, and became asst. lect. in mathematics, 1914, and then professor; joined Sinn Féin and led the Sinn Féin faction at UCC, opposing the then President Sir Bertram Windle, who departed for Canada in 1919; proposed Tomás MacCurtain as successor of Terence MacSwiney in to Cork Mayoralty; imprisoned on Spike Island, Jan.-June 1921; acted as advisor to Irish Treaty delegates; he accepted the Treaty, and was elected TD for Cork, 1922-24; represented Ireland at International Conference, Geneva, presiding at one of the commissions;
estab. a chair of Sociology at UCC; appt. Registrar of UCC, and promoted the Catholicity of the College [regarded as a spokesman for the Hierarchy]; encouraged Seán O’Faolain to bid for Chair of English during a transatlantic voyage, Sept. 1929, but later showed ambivalent support for his candidacy; appt. President of UCC, 1944-54; estab. Cork Univ. Press; worked on electrodynamics; served as target for Flann O’Brien’s tirades in his Irish Times “Myles na Gopaleen” column; contrib. The Dublin Review, and co-ed. Studies; ord. by Archbishop McQuaid, 1955, having resumed clerical studies on retirement; appt. domestic prelate, 1960; Patrick Rafroidi was a nephew. DIW DIB


Electromagnetics, A Discussion of Fundamentals (Dublin & Cork 1948); A Life of Fr. William Doyle, S.J., 1873-1917 (1920); Case for the Treaty (1922); Case for a Flour Tariff (1928); Thoughts on the Constitution (1937); Aquinas Versus Marx (1948); Gospel Studies 1: The Family at Bethane (1949); Gospel Meditations (1958).


Liam O’Dowd, ‘The Material Dimension: Irish Intellectuals and the Problem of Identity’, in Irish Review, No. 3 (1988): ‘Few modern university professors could approach the record of Cork’s Alfred O’Rahilly who could boast of publications on topics including money, Catholic social principles, electromagnetics, flour milling and gospel meditation.’ (p.13.)

See also John A. Murphy, ‘O’Faolain and U.C.C.’, in The Irish Review, 26 (Autumn 2000), pp.38-50.


Hyland Books (Oct. 1995) lists Alfred O’Rahilly, The Case for a Flour Tariff (1928), 38pp.

[ top ]