MacAdam, Robert Shipboy (1808-1895)


Robert Shipboy MacAdam Industrialist, Antiquarian and Gaelic Scholar. b. Belfast, 1808. Ed. Belfast Royal Academical Institution. Established the Soho Foundry in Belfast as a young man with his brother James in 1832, patenting a design for a steam turbine and trading as far away as Egypt. In 1830 formed the Ulster Gaelic Society, the first such language revival organisation in Ireland. Was particularly interested in this area being fluent in 13 languages and in encouraging the study of the Irish Language. Collected native songs, proverbs, stories and Irish manuscripts while travelling around Ireland on business. Compiled an English-Irish Dictionary around this time. Member of the Belfast Literary Society (President, 1846-47; 1856-57), the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society (Vice-President, 1851-56; 1871-73; 1881-86), the Linen Hall Library and the Harmonic and Harp Societies. Also played a founding role in the establishment of the Belfast Museum and, in 1853, the Ulster Journal of Archaeology, which he also edited and financed for 9 years. d. 1895 Publications included: An Introduction to the Irish Language (Belfast, 1835) Sources: Dictionary of Ulster Biography, Kate Newmann (Belfast, 1993) Robert Shipboy McAdam: His Life and Gaelic Proverb Collection, A.J. Hughes (Belfast, 1998)

Private Collector