Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

English military engineer and geologist, for a full biography of whom see Oxford DNB. During his career in the Royal Engineers, Portlock had two spells of duty in Ireland, the first from 1825 to 1843, when he was working on the triangulation of Ireland for the Ordnance Survey and on the subsequent Ordnance Survey memoir. In 1837 in connection with the compilation of the memoir he established a geological and statistical office, a museum for geological and zoological specimens, and a soil laboratory, but the following year work on the memoir was suspended for financial reasons and was never resumed. Portlock's observations on the geology of Cos. Derry , Fermanagh and Tyrone were published in Dublin in 1843. During his long stay in Ireland, he became actively involved in the Geological and Zoological Societies, and seved as president of both. He was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy in 1830.(1) Portlock left Ireland in the spring of 1843 for duties in Corfu and England but returned in 1849 as officer commanding the Royal Engineers in the Cork district. During the two years he held this post he had charge of the continuation of work on Fort Westmoreland on Spike Island using convict labour. After further duties at Woolwich and Dover, Portlock retired in November 1857 with the honorary rank of Major General. In the same year, on the occasion of the meeting in Dublin of the British Association, of which he was a council member, he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Trinity College, Dublin. In 1862 he moved to Blackrock, Co. Dublin, where he died on 14 February 1864. He was married twice: first to Julia Browne at Kilmaine, Co. Mayo, in 1831, and second to Fanny Turner, daughter of Major General Charles Turner, commander of the Cork District, at Cork in 1849.

Address: 50 Sackville Street Upper, 1843;(2) Lota, Blackrock, 1863.(3)



(1) Thom's Directory (1848).
(2) Post Office Directory (1844).
(3) Thom's Directory (1863).

Author Title Date Details
Portlock, Joseph Ellison Geology of Londonderry, Tyrone, and Fermanagh, with Portions of Adjacent Counties 1843 Dublin, 1843.
Portlock, Joseph Ellison Memoir of the Life of Major-general T. Colby, together with a Sketch of the Origin and Progress of the Ordnance Survey of Great Britain and Ireland 1869 London, 1869.