Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Civil engineer. David Aher, who is described on his gravestone as being 'of Castlecomer in the county of Kilkenny', was born in 1780 and began his studies as a civil engineer at the age of fifteen. In 1803 he surveyed and superintended several works for Grand Canal Company and later directed collieries in Cos. Kilkenny and Laois, when he was responsible for various innovations and improvements in mining and boring machinery. From 1810-12 he reported to the government commissioners who were inquiring into uses for Irish bogs. He laid out nearly all the new lines of road through Co. Kilkenny and the Great Leinster & Munster Railway from Dublin to Cork. In 1840 he 'met with some disappointments and losses, which weighed heavily on his mind, and were the principal cause of the illness which terminated his life'. He died on 5 May 1842, 'respected for his high professional attainments and strict integrity of character, and regretted by all who knew him'.(1) He was buried in Mount Jerome cemetery. He had married Susan Wilkinson at Corballis, Co. Meath, in 1807; four of their children survived him.(2) His sister Mary married HILL CLEMENTS HILL CLEMENTS , who collaborated with him on the survey and mapping of Co. Kilkenny and other projects.(3)

Inst.CE: member by 1838.(4)
ICEI: committee member, 1842.(5)

Address: 3 College Green, Dublin, and Castlecomer, 1842.(6)


All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from the obituary of Aher in Min.Proc.Inst.CE 3 (1844), 14-15 (shorter version published in Civil Engineer and Architect's Journal 7 (10 Feb 1844), 69) , and from the inscription on his gravestone in Mount Jerome cemetery, Dublin, recorded by Brendan O'Donoghue. There is also an obituary of Aher in B 2, 24 Feb 1844, 92.

(1) References to him as engineer to the Munster & Leinster Railway and as a committee member of the ICEI continue to appear in in Pettigrew & Oulton's Dublin Almanac for 1843 and 1844.
(2) www.familysearch.org.
(3) Brendan O'Donoghue, The Irish County Surveyors 1834-1944 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007), 130.
(4) List of members for 1838 in Trans.Inst.CE 2 (1838), 231.
(5) Pettigrew & Oulton's Dublin Almanac (1842), and see note 1, above.
(6) See note 4, above.