Organisation : Waterford County Museum
Article Title : Ussher, Richard John (1841-1913)
Page Title : Biography
Page Number : 1
Publication Date : 04 October 2010
Expiry Date : Never Expires
Category : Power - Ussher

Ornithologist, Historian & Landowner

Richard was born at Cappagh House on 6 April 1841, the only surviving child of Richard Keily Ussher (1778-1854) and Isabella Grant (d.1881). He is said to have lived abroad for many years returning to Cappagh in the early 1860s. In 1863 he was appointed a Justice of the Peace for Co. Waterford. On 20 January 1866 he married Elizabeth, daughter of John William Finlay of Corkagh House, Co Dublin. They had four boys and a girl.

In 1875 he built a new house at Cappagh just above the old one which still survives. The new house was designed by James Otway and Robert Watt, railway engineers. He developed an interest in ornithology and became obsessed with collecting bird's eggs. He later joined the Irish Society for the Protection of Birds. He began to study rare bird species and also explored caves for fossil remains of birds. He is said too have found remains of the Great Auk in the sand dunes at Tramore. In 1906 he was the co-author of an important book - Birds of Ireland. Towards the end of his life he spent much time excavating caves in Waterford, Cork, Sligo and Clare. His excavation results were published in various archaeological and natural history journals.

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