Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Walsh, Robert

WALSH, ROBERT (1772–1852), author, born in Waterford, 1772, was brother of Edward Walsh (1756–1832) [q. v.], and younger son of John Walsh, merchant, of Ballymountain House, co. Waterford. He entered Trinity College, Dublin, on 2 Nov. 1789 as a pensioner, his tutor being Thomas Elrington (1760–1835) [q. v.] He graduated B.A. in 1796. He was elected scholar in 1794, and was ordained in 1802, and, after being for a short time a curate in Dublin under Walter Blake Kirwan [q. v.], was appointed in 1806 to the curacy of Finglas, co. Dublin, where he remained till 1820. It was while he held this curacy that he discovered a notable old cross, called the ‘Cross of Nethercross.’ The tradition of the place was that during Cromwell's victorious march through the country the alarmed inhabitants buried the cross in a certain spot, the precise locality being indicated by some of the older people, who had heard it from their parents. On digging in the place pointed out the cross, an old Celtic one, was discovered in good preservation, and is now erected in the churchyard of Finglas.

Walsh spent several years of his earlier life as a curate in preparing materials for a ‘History of the City of Dublin,’ a valuable work, in which he was aided by the researches of James Whitelaw [q. v.] and John Warburton [q. v.] It appeared in two large quarto volumes in 1815. In 1820—during which year he received a certificate of diploma of M.D. from the Royal College, Aberdeen, as well as a grace for the degree of LL.D. from Trinity College, Dublin—Walsh accepted the offer of the chaplaincy to the British embassy at Constantinople, remaining in that post for some years, during which time he made many extensive expeditions through Turkey and other parts of Asia. Having obtained a medical degree, he practised as a physician on various occasions while in the more remote parts of that continent. From Constantinople he went to the embassy at St. Petersburg, to which he had been appointed chaplain, but only remained there a little while, proceeding in 1828 to Rio de Janeiro. His investigations of the extent of the slave trade in Brazil led to his being placed on the committee of the Society for the Abolition of Slavery. On his return to England in 1831 he was again sent to Constantinople. He finally settled in Ireland about 1835, and was given the living of Kilbride, co. Wicklow, exchanging it in 1839 for that of Finglas, where he died on 30 June 1852. By his wife Ann, daughter of John Bayly, he was father of John Edward Walsh [q. v.]

He wrote largely for the annuals in the thirties, and then and later for the ‘Dublin University Magazine.’ His works include the following:

  1. ‘An Essay on Ancient Coins, Medals, and Gems, as illustrating the History of Christianity in the Early Ages,’ 1828, 12mo; 3rd edit. 1830.
  2. ‘Narrative of a Journey from Constantinople to England,’ 1828, 8vo; 4th edit. London, 1839; it was translated into French in 1828.
  3. ‘Notices of Brazil in 1828–9,’ London, 1830; Boston (U.S.A.), 1831.
  4. ‘Residence at Constantinople during the Greek and Turkish Revolutions,’ London, 1836, 2 vols.; another edit. 1838.
  5. ‘Constantinople and the Scenery of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor,’ illustrated by Allom, London [1839?], 2 vols. 4to.

Also a paper on ‘The Plants of Constantinople’ in ‘Transactions of Horticultural Society,’ vi. 32.

[Walsh's Fingal and its Churches, 1887; Dublin Univ. Mag. 1840, vol. i.; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Britten and Boulger's British Botanists.]

D. J. O'D.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.274
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
224 ii 40-41 Walsh, Robert: omit but though his title pages . . . cannot be traced
225 i 5 for he accepted read during which year he received the diploma of M.D. from the Royal College, Aberdeen, as well as the degree of LL.D. from Trinity College, Dublin, Walsh accepted