Alexander Thom & Co. are best known for their “Dublin City & County Directories”, which incidentally was a vital tool for James Joyce in his writing of Ulyssees. They made a brief venture into biographical notices with their 1923 “Irish Who’s Who”, which is now available fully indexed and digitised in the Irish directories category of our Irish family history records.

The directory contains 2500 names over 280 pages detailing those who, in the publisher’s words were:

“ conspicuous in the Nation’s History, and includes leaders of thought and action in all fields of enlightenment and civilization”.

According to Thom & Co. the publication would appeal most to:

“the Statesman, the Man of Letters, the Clergyman, the Artist, the Journalist, the Lawyer, the Scientist, and last but in many respects first, the Man of Commerce”.

Typical Entry

A typical entry in Thom’s Who’s Who best shows the level of detail included. The entry for Thomas Patrick Gill, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland includes the following points along with numerous other accreditations:

  • Commissioner for Intermediate Education, Senator of the National University of Ireland, 1910-14
  • Born Ballygraigue, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, 25th October 1858
  • the son of Robert Gill, a civil engineer
  • Educated Trinity College, Dublin
  • Editor of the Catholic World Magazine of New York
  • Associate editor of the North American Review
  • Member of Parliament for South Louth 1885-92


1923 was only two years after the creation of the Irish Free State and barely a year after the cessation of Civil War in Ireland. Consequently, this publication contains listing for many of those who were essential in the formation of the Irish Free State, including:

  • Michael Collins
  • Eamonn De Valera
  • William Cosgrave

Those included from the literary world include:

  • Sir Francis Robert Millington Synge
  • William Butler Yeats

James Joyce however was not deemed sufficiently successful at the time to warrant inclusion.

Whether using this document for genealogical purposes or for pursuing your interest in Irish history or biography this publication is sure to prove extremely interesting.