Open main menu

Windele, John (DNB00)


WINDELE, JOHN (1801–1865), Irish antiquary, was born at Cork in 1801. Early in life he showed a strong love of antiquarian pursuits, and made an especial study of Irish antiquities. He became a contributor to ‘Bolster's Quarterly Magazine,’ an antiquarian journal published at Cork, and thus became acquainted with a number of Irish archæologists and literary men, including Abraham Abell, William Willes, Matthew Horgan, and Francis Sylvester Mahony [q. v.], better known as ‘Father Prout.’ With these antiquaries Windele made many excursions, examining and sketching ruins and natural curiosities. His favourite pursuit was searching for the primitive records engraved on stone known as Ogham inscriptions, and he saved many of them from destruction by removing them to his own home, where they formed what he termed his megalithic library.

Windele also devoted much time to the study of ancient Irish literature. He was himself a good Erse scholar, and made a large collection of manuscripts in that language. In 1839 he published an antiquarian work entitled ‘Historical and Descriptive Notices of the City of Cork and its Vicinity’ (Cork, 12mo), which in 1849 was abridged and published as a ‘Guide to Cork’ (Cork, 12mo). Windele died at his residence, Blair's Hill, Cork, on 28 Aug. 1865.

Besides the work mentioned, Windele wrote ‘A Guide to Killarney,’ and frequently contributed to the ‘Dublin Penny Journal’ and to the ‘Proceedings’ of the Kilkenny Archæological Society, of which he was a member from its foundation in 1849. He also edited Matthew Horgan's ‘Cahir Conri,’ an Irish metrical legend, with a translation into English verse by Edward Vaughan Hyde Kenealy [q. v.] (Cork, 1860, 8vo). He left a collection of manuscripts extending to 130 volumes, which were purchased by the Royal Irish Academy in 1865. They included copies of many ancient Irish manuscripts. Selections from a manuscript journal of his archæological expeditions which was found among them were published in the ‘Journal of the Cork Historical and Archæological Society’ between May 1897 and March 1898.

[Gent. Mag. 1865, ii. 519; Allibone's Dict. of Engl. Lit.; Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 1864–6, ix. 306, 381.]

E. I. C.