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Robert Lloyd Praeger

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Mr Robert Lloyd Praeger ALS (25/8/1865-5/5/1953)



Robert Lloyd Praeger was born at Holywood near Belfast in 1865 (died 1953), the son of W. E. Praeger of The Hague and Maria, daughter of Robert Patterson F.A.S., from whom he inherited a taste for natural science, as did his uncle Sir R. Lloyd Patterson and his cousin Robert Patterson.

He took his degree in engineering in the Royal University and used the opportunity of dock work in Belfast to study the Estuarine Clays exposed in the excavations and afterwards at various places in Ulster. In the course of this enquiry he demonstrated the climatic optimum of Neolithic times. After a couple of years of museum work he obtained a post in the National Library in Dublin, and remained there till his retirement in 1923. In his earlier years he worked at the raised beaches of the north, and (with Sollas) at glacial deposits chiefly about Dublin. In 1901, as the result of five years of intensive field-work throughout Ireland, he published Irish Topographical Botany and later The Botanist in Ireland and other books relating to the distribution of the higher plants. At the request of the Royal Horticultural Society he undertook monographs of Sedum and of Sempervivum.

He joined the Belfast Naturalists' Field Club at the age of eleven, and took an active part in the Field Clubs and in collective field-work thereafter, organizing team-work like the Clare Island Survey, the Lambay Survey, and the Field Club conferences, and taking part in deep-sea dredging trips and the expedition to Rockall.

The three Irish Universities have conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Science. He is best known by his more popular books The Way that I Went and A Populous Solitude. He was President of the Royal Irish Academy, 1931-1934, of the British Ecological Society, etc., and became first President of the National Trust for Ireland when it was established in 1947. He was an edior of the Irish Naturalist throughout its life of thirty-three years. Southern named the genus Praegeria (Polycliacta) after him. From SOME IRISH NATURALISTS: A BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE-BOOK by R. Lloyd Praeger.

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