Ruth Fleischmann was born in Cork in 1942, the eldest of the five children of Anne and Aloys Fleischmann. She was educated in ScoilIta and Scoil Mhuire; graduated from University College Cork in 1963, won a Travelling Studentship from the National University of Ireland in 1964, continued her studies at the German University of Tübingen. In 1968 she began to teach English at third level in Tübingen and Reutlingen, then in Duisburg. She spent four years teaching at the University of Constantine in Algeria. From 1981 until she retired in 2007 she held a lectureship in the English Department of the University of Bielefeld in Germany. During her last years there she was Dean of Studies of her faculty. Her field of research is Irish studies. She was awarded a Ph.D. by University College Cork in 1983 for the thesis: Novels of 20th Century Rural Ireland by Canon Sheehan, Brinsley McNamara and Patrick Kavanagh. She is married to Rainer Würgau and lives in Germany.
As well as writing over 40 articles, Ruth has also published a number of books including Catholic Nationalism in the Irish Revival: A Study of Canon Sheehan (1852-1913), Basingstoke, Macmillan 1997; Aloys Fleischmann (1910-1992): A Life for Music in Ireland Remembered by Contemporaries, (Editor), Cork, Mercier Press 2000; Aloys Georg Fleischmann (1880-1964): Immigrant Musician in Ireland (with Joseph P. Cunningham and Séamas de Barra), Cork University Press 2010.