Huguenot Lives in Ireland

What activities and work were they involved in?

Huguenots brought new techniques to Ireland and were skilled in a wide variety of crafts. There were brewers, map makers, glass blowers, goldsmiths, horticulturalists, printers, bakers, silversmiths, tanners, watchmakers, linen makers and weavers. In addition, there were significant numbers of soldiers, seafarers, engineers, farmers, scientists, pastors, merchants, musicians and shopkeepers.

Famous Huguenots and Their Descendants in Ireland

Some well known Huguenots and their descendants in Ireland include:

  • Richard Gandon, the architect who designed the Four Courts and the Custom House;
  • Richard Cassells who designed Leinster House, Powerscourt and Carton House;
  • Artists – Gabriel Béranger and George Victor Du Noyer;
  • The La Touche family who started the Bank of Ireland;
  • Goldsmiths and Silversmiths – the D’Olier and Le Bas families;
  • Linen manufacturers – the Crommelin and De La Cherois families in Lisburn;
  • Writers – Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, Charles Robert Maturin, Dion Lardner Boucicault and Samuel Beckett;
  • William Dargan, the engineer who constructed Ireland’s first railway line;
  • Oceanographers – Mathew Fontaine Maury, Peter Mazière and Francis Beaufort, famous worldwide for the Beaufort Windscale.

Leaving Their Mark

Many place names, street names and family names that sound quintessentially Irish now, are actually French Huguenot in origin such as Dublin’s D’Olier Street, and Digges lane, Cork’s French Church Lane and Lavitt’s Quay.
StreetSign01Surnames like Champ, La Touche, Maury, Vignoles and Le Fanu no longer sound ‘foreign’ to the Irish ear, although they are all descendents of Huguenot refugees. Even the word ‘refugee’ is believed to trace its origin to the forced Huguenot migration from France (réfugier, to seek refuge).