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Stars that died 2010

Sunday, June 24, 2012

R. B. McDowell, Irish historian, died he was 97.

Robert Brendan McDowell  MA, PhD, Litt.D, LLD, MRIA, FTCD, was an Irish historin died he was 97. He was a Fellow Emeritus and a former Associate Professor of History at Trinity College, Dublin. He was born in Belfast. He was referred to colloquially as "RB" or "McDowell".

(14 September 1913 – 29 August 2011) 

University career

McDowell was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, where he discovered his love of history. Here he met T. W. Moody, later an esteemed colleague in the History department at Trinity. He was first appointed a lecturer in Trinity in 1945, and for 13 years (1956–1969) was the Junior Dean of Students, or "Dean of Discipline", a role that involved disciplining students in the tumultuous 1960s and resulted in many amusing anecdotes. He resided in the college until the age of 94, when he retired to Celbridge.
In 2007, The College Historical Society of which McDowell was a vice-president unveiled a portrait of McDowell, which can be seen in the Graduates' Memorial Building, alongside Douglas Hyde & Theobald Wolfe Tone, amongst others.


McDowell's published work concentrated on the era when Britain and Ireland shared a government, and aspects of the Irish-British relationship.
  • British Conservatism 1832-1914 (Greenwood Press) ISBN 978-0-8371-7708-3
  • The Correspondence of Edmund Burke (University of Chicago Press) ISBN 978-0-226-11561-0
  • The Irish Administration 1801-1914 (Greenwood Press) ISBN 978-0-8371-8561-3
  • Irish Public Opinion 1750-1800 (Greenwood Press, 1975)
  • Public Opinion and Government Policy in Ireland 1801-1846 (Greenwood Press, 1975)
  • Proceedings of the Dublin Society of the United Irishmen (Irish Manuscripts Commission, Dublin 1998). ISBN 1-874280-16-9
  • Grattan A Life (Lilliput Press, 2001) ISBN 978-1-901866-72-8
  • Crisis and Decline; the fate of the Southern Unionists (1998)[4]
  • Burke and Ireland essay in The United Irishmen ed. D. Dickson Dublin, 1993.
  • Land and Learning; Two Irish Clubs
  • Ireland in the Age of Imperialism and Revolution
  • Historical Essays 1939-2001
  • The Church of Ireland 1869-1969
  • Trinity College, Dublin, 1592-1952: An academic history, by R. B. McDowell (Author), David A. Webb (Author), F. S. L. Lyons (Foreword), Cambridge University Press (30 Jul 1982) ISBN 978-0-521-23931-8
Co-authored works:

Books about McDowell

As well as his scholarship, McDowell became celebrated for his eccentric dress, his Ulster diction and his ability to talk knowledgeably at great length. Hundreds of anecdotes by former colleagues and students were published in 2 volumes after his retirement:
  • The Junior Dean, RB McDowell - Encounters with a Legend (Lilliput 2003) to celebrate his 90th birthday;
  • The Magnificent McDowell - Trinity in the Golden Era (2006). Both books are edited by Anne Leonard, a graduate of Trinity College Dublin.
  • McDowell on McDowell, memoirs; Lilliput Press, Dublin (2008).

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