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300 Years of Growth

Edward Percival/Perceval Wright (1869-1904)

Edward Percival wright

Was awarded his BA from Trinity College Dublin in 1857 and thus began an entire career at the University. He founded and edited the Natural History Review at the age of 20 and after graduating, he became the curator of the University Museum.

In 1857 he joined Alexander Henry Haliday on a excursion to Mitchelstown Caves in County Galway to study the Cave insects. One, Lipura wrightii was subsequently named for him.

One year later, in 1858 he became a lecturer in Zoology whilst undertaking medical studies and lecturing in Botany at the Medical School; he graduated as a doctor of Medicine in 1862. After studying ophthalmic surgery in Vienna, Paris and Berlin, and working as an ophthalmic surgeon at Dr. Steevens's Hospital, he gave up his ophthalmological work in 1866, and at the same time published, in collaboration with T. H. Huxley, an account of the fossil vertebrates from the Jarrow colliery (Castlecomer, Kilkenny).

national history review

He travelled to the Seychelles in 1868 where he worked made many collections of flora and fauna, including whale sharks (the largest living fish species), claiming to have observed specimens in excess of 15m, and to have heard reports of specimens bigger than 21m (the largest whale shark captured ever was).

He was appointed Professor of Botany in 1869 (prior to the passing of the Amended School of Physic Act in I867, the Professor of Botany was one of the Clinical Professors in the School of Physic; but these clinical duties were abolished, so far as he was concerned, by this Act), receiving about 250 a year, plus examiner's fees, and college chambers. He published widely on flora and fauna including Irish birds, fungi parasitic upon insects, mollusc collecting, Irish filmy ferns (Hymenophyllaceae), the flora of the Aran Islands, Irish sea anemones, sponges, and sea slugs.

He became a member of the Royal Irish Academy in 1857 and in 1883 he was awarded the Cunningham gold medal for editing the society's Proceedings. He was admitted ad eundem at Oxford; was a Licentiate of the King and Queen's College of Physicians, and a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He married Emily Shaw in 1872 but they had no children. He died at Trinity College on 2 March 1910, and was buried at Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin.


British Medical Journal Jan 30th 1869 (PDF)

Edward Percival Wright (

Some Irish Naturalists: A Biographical Note-Book (

Irish Naturalists Journal, 1910, vol 19, p61, (portr.).

Internet Archive (portr.)


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Last updated 24 February 2011 by