IHSA 2016 Proceedings

Dear followers,


We at IHSA2016 have just received some great news! Owing to a budget surplus, we have been fortunate enough to be in a position whereby we can offer those who spoke at our conference in February, the opportunity to have their papers published in our proceedings journal. Retrospective will be the first student led IHSA publication in over a decade and judging by the calibre of the papers heard in February, there should be no shortage of excellent papers to read!


Stay tuned for further information.

Upcoming 1916 Conference with Galway County Council


The Role of Women in 1916 with specific focus on Cumann na mBan


Ballinasloe Library, Society Street, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway


Saturday 15th October 2016



RSVP: Marie Mannion, Heritage Officer, Galway County Council.

Phone 091 509198, mmannion@galwaycoco.ie

Meet our Sponsors – Bank of Ireland

NUI Galway Society recipients of the Bank of Ireland Bursary Award with Dr Jim Browne, NUIG President, Dr pat Morgan, VP for the Student Experience and Dave Barry, Bank of Ireland NUIG Branch Manager

Bank of Ireland very kindly agreed to sponsor a bursary for our recent intervarsity conference, the 66th Irish History Students Association, International Conference, which saw record numbers of under and postgraduate students come to NUI Galway for the weekend of 19-21 February 2016.

We would like to acknowledge that without the very kind monetary support from the Bank, we certainly would not have been in a position to present such a professional conference to our attendees. The bank’s branch on campus is on the Main Concourse and can be contacted on 00-353-91-524555.

Concourse branch, NUI Galway

IHSA 2016 – Photographs


Dear Colleagues,


Apologies the delay in posting our images of the conference weekend, but things have been hectic! Please find below our images taken by our fantastic Official Photographer, Katya Radovanova!



Kind regards,





Eamonn & Team



IHSA 2016 Volunteer – Mary Campbell

Mary Campbell


Name: Mary Campbell

Course: MA Arts Policy & Practice

Historical interest: Social history of the 19th & 20th Centuries, commemoration of history in modern day

Short Personal Bio: Mary has a BA in Heritage Studies from GMIT, and is currently enrolled in the MA in Arts Policy and Practice in NUIG. She has been a committee member of Cumann Staire in NUIG for the last 2 years. Outside of college, Mary is interested in music and pugs. 

Paper Abstracts

Due to the large amount of speakers and concern for the environmental impact, we the organisers have chosen not to publish the accepted speaker abstracts this year. If we had, printing would have exceeded 5,000 pages!


Therefore we hope that you the reader will accept our electronic version of same. Abstracts appear in Round and Panel order, as they would have on paper.



IHSA 2016 Committee





Bernadette O’Brien (NUIG) Abstract for Ossory on the Eve of the Reformation

The Henrician Reformation and the subsequent acts of Dissolution that followed it, presents many challenges to historians. Henry’s ‘Great Matter’ aside, was this an act of a petulant King that was spoiled and wanted everything for himself? Or was it a genuine attempt at reforming a corrupt institution? It is a debate that continues even now, reflecting on the many and diverse questions which can be asked. However, one way of approaching the evidence is through the multi-disciplinary lens which may help us to focus more sharply on what was happening on the eve of the Dissolution.

This paper seeks to do this by examining the existing historical evidence along with archaeological remains and material culture from the Diocese of Ossory for this period. It will begin by delineating the diocese, as well as outlining the monastic structures in place before moving onto the impact of the Henrician Reformation on the diocese.


Dmitri Glass (MIC) St. Brigit’s miracle of the pregnant woman: discussion on the issue.

St. Brigit of Kildare is one of the most important Irish saints (named one of three Apostles of Ireland) and one of the most, if not the most, controversial of them. Many historians, for instance, Pamela Berger, doubt her reality and claim that St. Brigit is merely a christianisation of the pagan goddess Brigid. In the light of that almost eternal controversy, I would like to pay special attention to one of the miracles, attributed to St. Brigit by Cogitosus in his Vita Sanctae Brigidae, namely, the miracle: ‘Of the pregnant woman blessed and spared the birth-pangs’.

According to Cogitosus, St. Brigit met with the nun who had failed to keep her chastity and became pregnant, so St. Brigit blessed her, causing the child to disappear, without coming to birth. That miracle is obviously controversial and led to some debates among historians, theologians and wide public. Some people even see in that the proof of pro-abortionist positions of the Early Irish church. I, in turn, will try to explain the reasons of existance of that miracle in Cogitosus’ Life, the origins of that miracle in pre-Christian pagan tradition and the development of the cult of St. Brigit’s in Early Christian Ireland itself. In my paper I hope to show that this miracle in Cogitosus’ Life was a failed attempt to give a new Christian explanation to an old pagan legend, but neither the official pro-abortionist position of the Church nor personal heretical ideas of Cogitosus.


Nathan Dunphy (NUIG) Is there a Problem of Saint Patrick? If so, is there a solution?

Modern historians attempting to study and write about the centuries old mission of Saint Patrick have found themselves faced with major difficulties in this task. They have been unable to provide answers to the most basic questions regarding the saint’s mission questions such as when and where his mission in Ireland occurred and this problem of Saint Patrick has emerged for a number of reasons.


Therefore it can be seen that historians have found themselves faced with a Patrick problem. This problem is giving Patrick’s mission in Ireland a definite date and area. One solution to this problem, which has emerged is the Two Patrick Theory. This theory incorporates the use of various sources ranging from continental and Irish sources, Patrick’s own writings, linguistic arguments and places names in order to arrive at a date of the late 5th century and an area in Ulster for Patrick’s mission in Ireland.


Gerard Madden (NUIG) Catholic anti-communism, the Cold War, and peace and nuclear disarmament campaigns in Ireland

This paper will examine how anti-communism caused the Irish Catholic hierarchy to endeavour to prevent Catholics, both clergy and lay, from participating in Irish peace and nuclear disarmament campaigns during the early Cold War. Irish communists experienced extreme hostility when engaging in peace and nuclear disarmament campaigns on their own basis in the immediate post-war era, and sought to work inside non-communist groups like the Irish Pacifist Movement and the Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). This prompted concern from the hierarchy, notably from Archbishop John Charles McQuaid of Dublin and Cardinal John D’Alton of Armagh. McQuaid worked to scupper a 1960 Irish Pacifist Movement talk in Dublin by the retired Archbishop of Bombay, Thomas Roberts, a prominent supporter of the British CND, as well as Conor Farrington, a leading Irish CND activist. He and other members of the hierarchy also hindered the activities of Hildegard Goss-Mayr, an Austrian Catholic peace activist, due to the alleged presence of communists within the Irish Pacifist Movement whose meetings she addressed. McQuaid’s position did not go unchallenged in the Archdiocese, with a prominent Dublin priest, James Kavanagh, arguing that Goss-Mayr was a sincere Catholic who should not be unfairly stigmatised due to tenuous links by association. In examining this, this paper will examine how the religious aspect of the Cold War exhibited itself in Ireland, and will increase our understanding of an aspect of Irish Catholicism which is still understudied.


Stuart Mathieson (QUB) A pioneering historian of ideas: Robert Blakey, and the birth of a disciplinary genre.

Today, the history of thought is an established genre within historical study. However, this was not always the case. An organised, coherent approach to the discipline emerged only in the middle of the nineteenth century. This paper investigates the birth of this genre, through the work of one its earliest Anglophone exponents, Robert Blakey. Blakey was, a various times, a hatter and furrier, a radical newspaper proprietor, mayor of his native Morpeth, and professor logic and metaphysics at Queen’s College, Belfast. However, it is as a best-selling writer on angling that Blakey is best known to posterity. This paper unravels the untold story of Blakey’s role as a pioneering historian of ideas, and his attempts to produce comprehensive histories of philosophy and political thought. Using Blakey’s work as a case study, it thus attempts to probe wider questions about the creation of the history of thought as genre within historical study.


Robert Flatley (NUIG) Letting the Sources Speak. ‘Gainsbourg: A ‘Serge’ of Sexual Content in French Popular Culture, 1966-1991’

This audio-visual presentation considers the cultural impact of controversial French singer/songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. Gainsbourg had already achieved renown in the French music industry. His National fame was cemented by writing the winning entry for the Eurovision Song Contest of 1965. The twice-divorced songwriter’s public profile was enhanced by a short, adulterous relationship with quintessential French sex kitten, Brigitte Bardot.

Gainsbourg turned his back on the chanson française music style and embraced ‘pop’ from the mid-1960s. The presentation covers some of the more controversial moments in Gainsbourg’s career from this point. He courted controversy and was particularly noted for referencing sexually taboo subjects. The presentation will consider whether Gainsbourg was an open-minded liberal, a self-promoting narcissist or an erratic eccentric. By adopting the theme of letting the sources speak, Gainsbourg posthumously communicates his personality, allowing the audience to interpret primary sources in tandem with the presentation.

While primarily a biographical study of the public life of an artist, this presentation also considers wider socio-cultural issues. Was Gainsbourg’s style and personality ideally tailored for the transition to pop music, growing counter-culture of the 1960s and increasing Americanization of European culture more generally? How does he fit into modernising narratives of cultural experience? By examining the audio-visual sources in conjunction with written evidence, these questions will be subjected to interpretative analyses.


Jordan Markey (NUIG) “A Rich Man’s Government… A Poor Man’s Fight”: Class Conflict and Unionist Dissent in the Confederate South

Popular histories and Lost Cause mythology like to portray the American Civil War as a war with pitted two dichotomous entities against each other, with the South being defeated not for a lack of national unity, but purely by the industrial might of the Union. Such portrayals are fallacies and underestimate the challenges the Confederacy had on the home front, as wartime hardships fostered Unionist sympathies amongst much of the common populace of the South. While initially fragmented and localised, Southern Unionism would transform into an active and malignant campaign against the vested interests of the Confederacy. Disaffection was expressed in many forms, all of which damaged the ability of the South to wage war. This essay will examine the classist dimensions within the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War and how strife between planter and common whites manifested itself as an inner Civil War of sorts. It will examine the immediate socio-economic context arising from the Secession Crisis and how it would contribute to Confederate wartime policy and everyday experiences. Next, the main reasons for dissent and Unionism to take hold will be outlined. How Unionist dissent actually expressed itself will be examined, and how successful it actually was. Finally, the role of women and slaves in the Unionist effort will be touched upon, and how dissent became a tool of empowerment that allowed them to move beyond their antebellum societal roles, redefining their immediate localities, identifies and the greater South itself.


Leanne McMullan (University of Ulster) ‘Bound to Serve’: White Indentured Labour in Colonial America

Unfree labour formed the economic cornerstone of early America. Yet, alternative systems of bound labour such as indentured servitude, became dwarfed by the Atlantic Slave Trade and consequently remain largely neglected in the historical scholarship of the New World. However, established in the early seventeenth century, indentured servitude proved a necessary element in the solidification of the English Atlantic World. Initially meeting the voracious appetite for labour in the agricultural hubs, servitude became the major source of bound labour prior to the domination of perpetual slavery. Although declining in the face of hereditary enslavement and the growth of free migration, this study argues that servitude continued to play a critical role in the social, economic and cultural development of early America throughout the eighteenth century, only disappearing thereafter.

Essentially a form of debt bondage, servitude enabled Europeans to immigrate, receive maintenance throughout a contractual term, and gain freedom dues on completion in return for a fixed period of labour. Although conveyed as an equal exchange, and in the interest if both planters and servants, evidence illustrates largely contrasting realities, with servant experiences ranging from fair and profitable to harsh and exploitative. Accordingly, this paper focuses on the understudied social experience of white servants. Drawing on a range of personal experiences from British and Irish servants, framed by broad topics including social condition, legal status, rebellion and post servitude opportunities, this paper examines the extent to which indentured labour provided a means of social elevation for underprivileged Europeans, despite the contractual restraints on their freedom.


Florry O’Driscoll (NUIG) Religion, Racism, & Perfidious Albion: Irish Soldiers in the Union Army during the American Civil War

The majority of the Irishmen who served during the American Civil War did so for the Union Army, predominantly because most of them arrived into the North American continent either through Boston or New York City. The surviving letters and other writings of these Irish soldiers help us to understand their attitudes to the three most influential ideologies that affected their sense of Irish and Irish-American identity. These ideologies were anti-British sentiment; Irish Catholic national identity and its interaction with the American version; and finally attitudes to the other nationalities in the multicultural society that they discovered on arrival in the United States of America. Anti-British feeling, strengthened by the events of the Great Famine of 1845-1851, was further exacerbated by British support for the Confederate States of America, unsurprising given that the majority of the Irish fought for the Union. Irish national identity’s growing bond with Roman Catholicism was further enhanced by dependence on their Church in the USA. Lastly, Irish interaction with other nationalities in the United States led sometimes to the forming of lifelong bonds, but in the main to tensions. Once the Irish immigrants arrived in America, the need to prove themselves loyal to their new country, or at least more loyal than other immigrant groups, often took precedence, leading to expressions of severe racism and unwillingness to associate with other non-white groups, even though the Irish themselves were on the receiving end of similar sentiments from American nativists.


Bernadette O’Connell (NUIG) St Vincent de Paul in Dublin, 1844-1918: Friends of the Poor or Self-Serving Religious Zealots?

This paper examines the multi-faceted nature of religious voluntary activism in Dublin during the period 1844-1919 through the prism of the St Vincent de Paul Society. In attempting to unravel the many factors that propelled Christian social action, the lay Catholic St Vincent de Paul Society offers a useful case in point regarding the impact of religious fervour on the provision of poor relief in Ireland during a critical period in her history. This male-dominated Catholic association was established by the devout layman Fredrick Ozanam in 1833; it arrived in the religiously divided city of Dublin in 1844, and from the moment of its inception, the Society was born to do battle for the Catholic faith. Its members were driven not by charitable impulses, as is often assumed, but primarily by devotion to the Catholic Church, and the principle aim of the organization in providing aid to the poor was the sanctification of its members by means of good works. Charity was only the method that this religious body employed to achieve its main objective, which was to keep its members firm in the Catholic faith and to spread the faith to others through charity. In this respect, an examination of the St Vincent de Paul Society, which was one of the premier charities in Dublin at this time, will show that religious charity was motivated by many factors, some of which had little to do with strict humanitarian principles properly understood.


Simone Hickey

Simone Hickey (St. Angela’s College) The Roman Catholic Church in Sligo during the Great War

This paper aims to examine the role played by the Catholic Church in Sligo 1914 – 1918 with a focus on recruitment and anti-conscription. Of the 317 fatalities profiled 78% were registered as Roman Catholic.

My Masters dissertation concentrated on fatalities who volunteered while resident in Sligo in an attempt to uncover possible communal motives for enlisting. Many recruitment ploys were adopted during the war but one interesting observation uncovered while conducting the study was the profound influence Catholic clerics in Sligo played on recruitment in the county.

Data was collected from articles, contemporary newspapers, and published literature relevant to the period. There was particular focus on Dr Coyne, Bishop of Elphin, in relation to the influential role he played during the early war years. Descriptive analysis was used to detail demographics which were illustrated in the form of graphs and tables. Content analysis was used to examine newspapers, journals, and publications as well as local authors.

Coyne was very vocal in his support for the war and opposed any ‘pro German conduct’ among his clergy. Cars belonging to Coyne were made available to transport men to the Connaught Rangers base in Boyle to enlist. An attitude of spiritual authority and infallibility was prevalent amongst Catholics and consequently Coyne’s stance was the bedrock of their beliefs. His actions ultimately influenced and assisted men from Sligo who enlisted. However, the 1916 Rising and the threat of conscription lead to a reversal of his advocacy.


Kate Brophy (TCD) The Irish Catholic Missionary Experience in the Twentieth Century

By the mid-twentieth century missionary activity to ‘pagan’ countries had become an integral feature of Irish Catholic culture. In 1956 it was estimated that over 6000 Irish nuns and priests were working abroad with the aim of ‘winning souls’ for Catholicism. The impetus for this modern revival in Irish missionary spirit lay with the establishment of the country’s first solely missionary congregation in 1917. This revival gained rapid momentum and by the conclusion of World War II Irish missionary endeavours were expanding at an almost frenzied rate. This paper seeks to explore the emergence of this cultural phenomenon and account for Ireland’s unparalleled embrace of missionary activity. Highly dependent on the public to provide the mission’s two greatest requirements, vocations and donations, missionary orders in Ireland were increasingly forced to compete for public attention and support. Seeking to tap into Ireland’s receptive religious and cultural environment, foreign missionary orders vied for permission to access the Irish laity. Missionary Orders operated a populist modus operandi and public engagement with ‘the missions’ became an accepted and routine aspect of the Irish Catholic experience. As a vital component of Ireland’s missionary success, this paper will examine this engagement with the Catholic laity. By the early 1970s missionary orders were in steep decline, falling victim to the theological changes brought about by the Second Vatican Council as well as dramatic shifts in cultural attitudes particularly towards foreign aid. The once glorified missionary orders quickly found themselves struggling to position themselves within a society which was increasingly uncomfortable with the fundamentals of their existence. This paper seeks to provide an overview of the Irish experience of Catholic missions throughout the twentieth century.


Tony King

Tony King (NUIG) Amalgamation; Arbitration; Liberation: Alternative solutions to the intractable Irish question, 1892-1902

Despite the fact that we are only three short years into the Decade of Centenaries there are some voices in the public and private sphere who are already complaining of ‘commemoration fatigue’. As the intellectual battle lines are drawn and the ownership of the state is once again open for contestation it is occasionally worth our while to combat this condition by reflecting on ‘what might have been’. In ‘Amalgamation; Arbitration; Liberation: Alternative solutions to the intractable Irish question, 1892-1902’ Dr Albert Shaw, William O’Brien, and W. T. Stead demonstrate that there was no barrier to creative and imaginative thinking when it came to the search for answers. Shaw’s 1892 suggestion in the periodical Contemporary Review that Ireland might become a state in the American union was only matched in incredulity by O’Brien’s 1896 recommendation in Nineteenth Century that Ireland withdraw her M.P.’s from Westminster and send them en masse to Washington to plea for US arbitration on the Anglo-Irish dispute. Maintaining the American theme W. T. Stead’s 1902 warning in the Review of Reviews that Ireland may seek to be liberated in the same manner as Cuba is yet another indication of how attempts to solve the Irish question continued to elicit some rather radical proposals. Had one of these proposals ever come to fruition it is quite possible that Padraic Pearse would today be remembered solely for his artistic endeavours with John Redmond a competent Parnell loyalist who faded into relative political obscurity.


Kerron Ó Luain The Persistence of Nationalist and Anti-State Sentiment in Ulster, 1848-1867

Between 1848 and 1867 in Ulster there existed numerous modes of political and social collective action which had their antecedents in pre-Famine developments and which Catholics continued to engage in. In these could be discerned nationalist and anti-state sentiment.

Some of these forms were social rather than political in character. A curious mixture of associational Ribbonism and agrarianism had grown out of pre-Famine agrarian secret societies and Defenderism. This form of collective action reared its head in the south Armagh region of Ulster in the early part of the post-Famine years. Meanwhile, the popular anti-Orange action which Catholics had practiced during the times of the Armagh Troubles of the 1780s also persisted, especially in the Mourne region of south Down.

The Ribbon societies were most prevalent on the province’s peripheries and in Belfast. Ribbonism lay somewhere between political network and social club. The Ribbonmen were vaguely nationalist, but certainly anti-state in outlook. They had adopted the mantle of Catholic defence and associational practice from the Defenders as early as 1811 and were still functioning in that role by the 1850s and 60s.

Other modes of organisation were clearly political. The remnants of the Young Ireland movement, by 1847 known as the Irish Confederation, stood in the non-sectarian republican tradition of the United Irishmen. Though an entirely new phenomenon in many ways, the IRB and the Fenian movement from the early 1860s persisted in propagating the advanced nationalist ideology of the Young Irelanders who had come before them.

Scholars such as W. E. Vaughan and R. V. Comerford have portrayed the post-Famine years as ones of Catholic political contentment with the Union and social contentment with the land system and Protestant hegemony. This proposed paper will argue to the contrary; that the continued survival of certain social modes of collective action and political traditions, though often a minority practice, restricted the legitimacy of British rule in Ireland and maintained foundations on which the more explicitly anti-imperial mass movements of Parnellism, Hibernianism and Republicanism could be built in subsequent years.


John O’Donovan (UCC) The Road from Kilmorna: Canon Sheehan, Fenianism, and prefiguring 1916

In February 1915 the final completed novel from the pen of Canon PA Sheehan of Doneraile, who had died just over eighteen months previously, was published. The Graves of Kilmorna was Sheehan’s final, pessimistic, salute to an Ireland which had “changed, changed utterly” since his youth. But it also, following the events of sixteen months later, has been latterly held up as a harbinger of the rebellion.

This paper examines not just Sheehan’s portrayal and use of Fenian characters and motifs in his novel. It also explores the wider context in which this novel was conceived and written. Sheehan and Pádraig Pearse were closer in their ideology than has previously been noted, and this will be teased out as much as possible. Although Sheehan gained huge fame in his lifetime for his popular Catholic novels, focussing on the lives and deeds of priests, this paper will argue that his political novels – of which Kilmorna was the last – have a lasting significance which has only been recently appreciated outside a small coterie of historians and enthusiasts.



George Baldry (NUIG) Pax Romana?: The true triumph of Rome

In Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan he suggests that only fear of death and bodily harm causes humans to seek peace so this begs the question does violence lead to peace? When people think of the Romans they often think of their laws and architecture. But what truly defined the Romans was their ‘professional’ army or their new diplomatic tool. During the period of the early Roman republic (509BC) war was typically fought in seasons, with summer being the time for war and winter the time for recruitment and training. Thus no state had a standing army and this, is where the Romans would change the game forever. Rome at this time was just a small city state with a militia army that was structured by class with the elite on the top. It wasn’t until the adoption of the Samnite manipular organisation and the unification of all the other Italian states (through either fear of annihilation or coercion) into a permanent military alliance that would provide Rome with its greatest triumph. Its professional army, which would lead it to becoming the ‘Leviathan’ of the ancient world and ushering in a new chapter of human history.


Declan Mills (UL) ‘To defend those who have no swords’: The birth of Crusading as theological disruption and political evolution

The tenth-century social and political collapse in West Francia constituted a major disruption in the order of Frankish society. As the power of the king weakened and minor lordships sprung up all over the south of the kingdom – lordships whose powers were upheld by a new breed of enforcer, violent mail-clad peasants who became knowns as cnichts or knights – the Roman Church became the main bastion of peace and law in the region, enforcing ceasefires through a religious ceremony known as the Peace of God. This led in turn to a second major disruption, the rewriting of the Church’s theology and history to sanctify the concept of religious warfare, a move which led within a century to the First Crusade. This paper will argue that although these two disruptive changes brought major shifts in European society, and fuelled contemporary millennial anxieties, they were also part of a wider context of climactic changes, shifts in how the medieval European economy functioned social pressures, changing approaches to religion and the rise of new social classes. As such, while the tenth-century collapse and the change in Rome’s view of religious warfare could be seen as major breaks from tradition, they could also be seen as part of a series of evolving processes of slow-change, processes that were also connected to the spread of feudalism throughout western Europe, the slow fragmentation of Charlemagne’s territories and the spread of Norman power as far afield as England and southern Italy.


Marie Sophie Hingst (TCD) Between Success and Surrender: Thomas Wentworth, Lord Deputy of Ireland, 1633- 1639.

When Thomas Wentworth took over as Lord Deputy in Ireland in 1632 the conflicts that would break out openly in the mid-seventeenth century were already taking shape. The comparatively unified central kingdom of the Stuart monarchy created in 1603 provided a profound contrast to the political structure of this monarchy during the mid-1630s, when the conflict between king and parliament led to a decline in the central institutions of the government, namely the Parliament. In Ireland, in the meantime, Thomas Wentworth energetically undertook attempts to establish colonial rule as a form of government on its own. As independent as possible from the king and the court, he challenged not the Irish population but went after the various factions among the Protestant office-holders and planters who had settled in Ireland since the reign of Elizabeth I. This latter group – the “colonial” elite of the New English – had, in the past, frequently tried to undermine compromises with Gaelic chieftains, Old English landholders and the colonial administration because they – the New English – were likely to benefit from a more radical policy, both in terms of confiscated land and in other ways. Wentworth had no interest in cutting a deal with those groups. Both his policy of confrontation and his ability to make enemies wherever he went proved to be as effective as they were disastrous in their consequences. As such, my presentation wants to offer insights into both sides of the colonial constellation and the crisis of English government during the 1630s and 1640s.


Cian Moran (NUIG) Operation Provide Comfort: the use of force to protect Kurds 

The allied intervention in Iraq in 1990 is a highly controversial one, involving airpower deployed to end Saddam Hussein’s targeted slaughter of the Kurds for their uprising during the Iran/Iraq war. This paper will analyse the background to the conflict, the resulting intervention and establish its legitimacy within the confines of the Security Council.


John O’Donnell (NUIG) Refugees and Humanitarian Aid as Weapons of War: Cambodia and Rwanda

Despite neutrality and impartiality being the core tenants of nearly every aid organisation in the world the aid provided to refugees from a conflict can in fact be used to prolong the conflict. The refugees themselves can be find that the camps they fled to for sanctuary are run by the very militias and insurgents that they fled. The humanitarian aid provided by the international community intended to relieve the conditions of the refugee camps is subverted and the refugees find themselves trapped once again and used as weapons in the conflict they fled. In examining how refugees can be used as weapons in a conflict and more importantly why this is allowed to happen this essay will compare the Cambodian refugee camps along the Thai – Cambodian border in the 1980s after the expulsion of the Khmer Rouge from Cambodia; and the Rwandan refugee camps in Zaire in 1994 after the expulsion of the Hutu government. In both cases the camps were formed after the expulsion of a regime that committed the two worst genocides in the second half of the twentieth century. In both cases the former regimes were, despite international condemnation for their actions, able to reorganise and retrain in the refugee camps and launch an insurgency into their former countries.


Franceso Conti (University of Bologna) Bullets, Bombs & Blood: Chechen Terrorist Tactics And Beyond

Chechnya and the North Caucasus as a whole was the most violent area in Europe for almost twenty years, from the mid 1990s until the start of the war in Eastern Ukraine in 2014 and is still theatre to the largest counterterrorism/counterinsurgency operations in the continent.

Terrorism in Chechnya started as a tactical response to the overwhelming Russian military superiority during the First Chechen War (1994-1996) in the name of the indipendence of the Chechen people but later gradually acquired the traits of the global jihad movement, albeit with its own peculiar aspects. Terrorism in the North Caucasus has always displayed a staunch adaptability to different circumstances and has caught the Russian security system offguard many times.

As the key to survival is to evolve, the terrorism in the North Caucasus had definitely displayed its will to remain a threat, despite the several crackdowns suffered in the past few years.


Eamonn Gardiner

Eamonn T. Gardiner (NUIG) ‘Scattered, Ambushed and Laid Out’: War and Counterinsurgency in North Galway 1919-1921

The Anglo-Irish War, in which the Irish Republican Army subverted and fought the security forces of the British administration (the RIC, the DMP and British Army), lasted from 1919-1921. During this time, hundreds of men, women and children lost their lives, hundreds more homes and businesses were destroyed (in official and unofficial reprisals by the forces of law and order), with millions of pounds of damages being inflicted. As a result, thousands of persons suffered traumatic incidents and attacks as part of their daily lives. This trauma would manifest for some of those involved as a brief, but intense period of personal suffering, until they took their own lives or succumbed to their wounds.


This paper will examine the microcosm community of North Galway and its constituent towns and villages. It will focus on the police, police supernumerary reinforcements and British Army, as well as examining how counterinsurgency operations were planned and mounted against the growing spectre of the IRA. It will also determine their effectiveness in the larger Crown strategy to quell disturbances in Ireland.


Thomas Tormey

Thomas Tormey (TCD) The importance of Dublin during the Irish War of Independence

The importance of Dublin in the War of Independence was appreciated at the time by the IRA, and has been noted in at least some academic commentary since. A 1921 GHQ memo noted “[t]his is the first Irish war in which Dublin is in national hands. This factor may by itself prove decisive”; while John Bowyer Bell wrote in the 1970s that “although all the romance is on the side of […] the lads on the hillside, the core of Irish resistance was Dublin”. Furthermore Peter Hart’s statistical work seems to show the number of incidents in Dublin City being second only to County Cork. Bearing that in mind, this paper will examine the IRA’s campaign in the city after Bloody Sunday, concentrating on the actions of the Dublin Brigade, rather than Michael Collins’ Squad or other GHQ units. While major academic works, such as those produced by Augusteijn, Kautt, and Townshend, give some space to this aspect of the war, the work remains incomplete. For example the ‘company patrol’ is often credited with providing the IRA’s campaign in Dublin with its distinctive character, such as attacks on ‘targets of opportunity’, and the involvement of non-ASU volunteers in the fighting. Such assertions are difficult to support with references to contemporary documents and there are contradictory first-hand accounts. An analysis of individual actions, set in the context of the war overall, can thus allow for an improvement in the historiography and a further nuanced understanding of the birth of the state.


Bryan Treanor (St. Patrick’s College/DCU) A Cycle of Violence: Analysing the Role of the Bicycle during the Irish Revolutionary Period 1916-1923

This research paper will investigate and assess the role played by the common bicycle in the Irish Revolutionary period 1916-1923. Given the recent plethora of publications focusing on the Irish Revolution, a coherent and detailed examination of the bicycles role and impact in a military sense has evaded scrutiny, despite being mentioned in passing in most accounts. Through the examination of witness statements, newspaper accounts, secondary sources and personal biographies, I will look at how the bicycle impacted on the activities of both sides of the conflict. Also, in this paper I will discuss how widespread usage of the bicycle helped to shape the outcome of the period. The paper has been divided into three main areas of analysis. The first section will examine the role played by the bicycle in despatch carrying. The second section will focus on the bicycle’s involvement in raids and ambushes. Finally I will discuss the direct combative role of the bicycle, looking at how many fatalities were carried out by cyclists still mounted on their machine. This research topic is by no means completed but this paper will present my findings up to this point.


Catriona Delaney (UL) The post-primary school in Ireland, 1940-58: A case study of the Presentation Order

From the earliest days of the Irish Free State, respective governments’ role in the provision and general management of secondary education was limited. Moreover, governments were not concerned with structural or administrative reform in education. The denominational secondary schools that operated in Ireland between 1940 and 1958 were therefore largely private, voluntary institutions which were essentially free to conduct their own affairs.

In 1940, there were 352 recognised secondary schools in Ireland; 160 boys’ schools, 160 girls’ schools and thirty-two mixed sex schools. These schools, for the most part, were established through religious motivation and they were under the control of trustees, patrons and managers of specific religious persuasion. Throughout 1940-58 the Roman Catholic hierarchy was determined to retain responsibility for the secondary education of Catholics in the new Irish Free State. This was a responsibility not to be contested by the Irish government or the Department of Education.

Based on official archives and those of the Presentation order along with other sources including oral history, the aim of this paper is to examine the denominational post-primary school system that dominated Irish secondary education between 1940 and 1958. Using the Presentation school system as a case study the paper will examine the location, size and distribution of the Presentation post-primary. It will then briefly investigate the curriculum offered in these schools and finish by offering some conclusions on what the organisation of the Presentation post-primary school tells us about the provision of education in this period.


AnneMarie Brosnan (MIC) “To Educate Themselves”: African American Teachers in North Carolina’s Schools for the Freed People, 1861-1876

When the American Civil War ended in 1861, millions of former slaves demanded access to education. Between 1861 and 1876 thousands of teachers, northern and southern, black and white, male and female, taught the freed people throughout the American South. Yet, the prevailing interpretation of post-Civil War southern black schooling is clouded by the misconception that the teachers of the freed people were predominantly northern white women, a notion which effectively omits the efforts of thousands of black, male and southern white teachers. Using North Carolina as a case study, this paper reconstructs the accepted image of the freedmen’s teacher by interrogating the role of black teachers. In particular, this paper investigates the teachers’ backgrounds and pre-war experiences, the reasons why they chose to engage in freedmen’s education and their experiences of post-Civil War southern society. To do this, I will analyse a large-scale database, known as the Freedmen’s Teacher Project, which holds biographical information on over 1,400 of the teachers who taught in North Carolina between 1861 and 1876. I will also examine the records of the Freedmen’s Bureau, slave narratives, aid and missionary society archives and the letters, memoirs and diaries of the teachers themselves. By highlighting the significant role these understudied teachers played in the construction of North Carolina’s freedmen’s schools, this paper will demonstrate that African Americans were the driving force behind the growth and development of southern black schooling throughout the Civil war and Reconstruction era, 1861-1876.


Colm Mac Gearailt (TCD) Looking To The Past To Build For The Future’: State-Building, Curricular Developments, And School In Post-Independence Ireland, 1924-69

My topic examines the curricular developments in second-level history education in Ireland, during the first fifty years after Independence. It discusses the socio-political and cultural contexts which shaped education in general and ‘History’ in particular, taking the Intermediate Education (Amendment) Act 1924 and establishing of the Department of Education, as an anchoring point. This Act marked the transition from the institutional framework of the British system to the institutional and examination framework of the Irish state. It looks at the Irish history taught in post-primary schools and its purpose? It also examines how this history was taught, analysing the major textbooks used. What biases or ideologies shaped them; who wrote these works? An overlooked historiographical element is discussed here, the writing of history texts. Considering the lack of expertise and teacher training at the time, a reliance on textbooks by teachers was commonplace, thus granting more weight to what these texts said and how they said it.



Alan McCarthy


Alan McCarthy (UCC) The role of Lord Decies, Press Censor for the British Administration in Ireland, 1916-19, or how I learned to stop worrying and love the Censor

During the Irish revolutionary period newspapers acted as both reporters and active participants. The corollary of the key propaganda role played by these newspapers during this period, which have often been overlooked in revolutionary historiography, would be intense intimidation, censorship and suppression by both the British Administration and the IRA.

At a time when newspapers were the unrivalled medium of communication for ideas and opinions, this research looks to engage with the man orchestrating this censorship, Chief Press Censor for Ireland Lord Decies, and analyse this suppression which was to cause such widespread political and social disruption to the staff of these papers, along with their respective readerships.

Often presented as an inconsequential bureaucrat, this research argues that the censorship and suppression employed by Decies under the Defence of the Realm Act represented a devastating curtailment of freedom of speech, something Decies was both acutely aware of and struggled with. Engaging with both DORA’s application and Decies role, this research also assesses press censorship following the abolition of the office of Press Censor in 1919, querying if the nationalist press had actually been better served by Decies’ inconsistent and often incongruous decisions, as opposed to dealing with by the Competent Military Authority. Similarly, this paper seeks to contrast the suppression carried out by the British Administration with the IRA’s own ad-hoc censorship during the War of Independence and Civil War, which outdid their British counter-parts in terms of severity.

Ultimately, this research serves to highlight the crucial role played by newspapers during this period, whilst showcasing the role of a pivotal, but forgotten figure, from the Irish Revolution.


Patrick Mulcahy (UL) Assessing the contributing factors leading to Sinn Fein’s victory in the 1918 General Election

This is a special decade of commemoration in Irish history. To understand the significance, we must recognise the changing nationalist ideology emerging. This essay examines the changing dynamic in Irish politics in the early 20th century. It assesses the main reasons for Sinn Fein’s comprehensive victory in the 1918 general election.  Essentially, it represents the change of support from the IPP to Sinn Fein after 1916. It assesses why Sinn Fein became the dominant Irish party after 1916.

The Irish Parliamentary Party was the dominant entity in Irish politics in early 20th century. The Parnellite and anti-Parnellite factions of the IPP were reconciled when John Redmond assumed leadership of the party. The split robbed the party of the collective strength which made it a dominant force at Westminster under Isaac Butt and Parnell. It endured forty years as the undisputed leading Irish party. The achievement of Sinn Fein to undermine the IPP must not be underestimated.  Despite its internal difficulties after the downfall on C.S Parnell, it remained hugely significant. This essay considers some of factors associated with the demise of the IPP. The weaknesses of the party leadership, the aftermath of the 1916 rising and the shift to Sinn Fein at the expense of the IPP culminated in the demise of moderate nationalism. The internal and external difficulties within the IPP, the British reaction to the rising, the public response to the executions will be all considered. The final part will evaluate these factors and show why Sinn Fein was the beneficiary at the expense of the IPP.


Martin O’Donoghue (NUIG) ‘Constitutional Nationalists still have considerable strength’? Examining the views of Home Rule activists 1919-21

The Irish Parliamentary Party’s dramatic defeat in the 1918 general election is one of the most significant events in Ireland’s revolutionary decade; the IPP, which had been the country’s major political force for almost half a century was effectively destroyed. Yet, approximately 220,000 voters had still supported the home rulers and the party’s organisational structure, though seriously damaged, remained intact in certain areas. Desire for a middle way or a moderate solution to the question of Irish self-government was expressed by the Party’s six remaining Westminster MPs and by former home rule supporters who formed new parties and organisations.  However, while recent research has examined the efforts of former Irish Party MP Stephen Gwynn in the Irish Centre Party and later the Irish Dominion League, this paper intends to provide an overview of the responses of grassroots home rule supporters to the War of Independence period. This includes stitching together the correspondence of former MPs with the isolated remnants of the United Irish League and the Ancient Order of Hibernians. While their scope for action was undoubtedly limited by the political and military context, this paper highlights that the demise of the party after 1918 was not considered a fait accompli by some activists who remained keen to preserve the party’s organisation. It was, rather, the deliberate lack of action by senior Irish Party figures that ensured that the IPP would remain moribund and that Sinn Féin would be allowed a clear path in its quest for independence.


Erin Rae-McKinney (University of Ulster) Gaelic Revival and the Ulster and Ossian Cycles: National heroes in Cúchulainn and Fionn Mac Cumhail

When the pioneers of the Gaelic Revival lauded Irish mythology as equal to the Classics, they spotlighted the Ulster and Ossian Cycles, establishing national heroes in Cúchulainn and Fionn Mac Cumhaill – representing only a drop of this vast pool of literature. Irish mythology presents a completely unique worldview that has been oversimplified and resigned to children’s literature and nationalistic appropriations of only a few heroes. Where was Lugh? In Lebor Gabala, after Lugh banded Ireland together, threw his spear, and ended the oppression of his father’s people, the long arms for which he was named went to the land, organizing the agricultural cycle. Lugh was victorious in war, but also an excellent king in peacetime. Why is Cúchulainn allowed to be complex and span centuries as champion both of medieval Ulstermen and of contemporary nationalism (even as these “Cúchulainns” differ wildly in characterization and context), while Brigit is divided, either a Saint or a pre-Christian figure? Why has Brigit’s threadbare mantle, with its exposed weave revealing an ability to hold itself together like community, not been praised in the same broad contexts of Cúchulainn’s weapons? In Cath Maige Tuired, Brigit rushes onto the battlefield where her son was slain and mourns him with a sound so new that the warriors, for a moment, stop to listen – the invention of keening. When it comes to mythology, does Ireland still think it is at war? Through close analyses of original tales from the Irish Mythological Cycle, applying postcolonial concepts from Homi Bhabha and new scholarship on the Ulster Cycle including that of Joanne Findon, this paper aims to explore how, in this decade of centenaries, re-envisioning mythic heroism may illuminate past and present.


Aogán Ó hIarlaithe (OÉ Gaillimh) An mháthair chíche sa Mheánaois in Éirinn

Mar atá léirithe ag antraipeolaithe bhí tábhacht ar leith ag baint le cóngas bainne, agus leis na nósanna a lean é, i sochaithe luatha ina raibh an bhó mar bhunchloch an gheilleagair.  D’eascair na nósanna seo ón Meán-Oirthear agus leath go Tuaisceart na hAfraice agus Iarthar na hEorpa.  Tá sé ráite, toisc a laghad tagairtí di sa litríocht, nach raibh ann don máthair chíche i sochaí mheánaoiseach na hÉireann, ról a bhí riachtanach, dar ndóigh, don gcóngas bainne.  Is féidir a áiteamh, áfach, gur ghlac Sinech Cró ról na máthar cíche sa scéal Cath Cairn Chonaill agus go bhfuil tagairtí eile dá leithéid sa litríocht.


Lorraine Grimes (NUIG) “They go to England to preserve their Secret”: The emigration and assistance of the Irish unmarried mother in Britain 1926-1952’

Long before the contemporary abortion trail, in an era before legal adoption in Ireland, emigration to Britain by Irish unmarried mothers was a frequent occurrence. Between 1926 and 1936 approximately 9,500 women left the Free State every year compared with just over 7,000 men. Their reason for emigrating was mostly in search for employment however some young women who found themselves pregnant attempted to escape the humiliation from their local community in Ireland. Legal adoption was introduced in Britain in 1926, from this date, emigration provided an escape for the Irish pregnant girl, who could immigrate to Britain, have her child adopted there and return home without anyone knowing the real reason for her departure.

Legislation on adoption was not introduced in Ireland until 1952. This twenty-six year window witnessed a mass emigration of Irish unmarried mothers to Britain. This presentation will critically examine those women who travelled specifically for accessing British adoption and social welfare services as well as those who travelled in search of employment but became pregnant shortly after their arrival and who also benefitted from social welfare services and legal adoption in Britain. It will critically access the adoption services offered to Irish unmarried mothers in Britain. These include philanthropic, religious and governmental organizations focusing on Liverpool and London as these were the cities which received the highest number of Irish immigrants


Jodie Shevlin

Jodie Shevlin (University of Ulster) ‘Changeling Children in Nineteenth Century Ireland’

Belief in fairies was a major component of the supernatural belief system of both Catholic and Protestant communities in nineteenth century Ireland, particularly among the rural, lower socioeconomic classes. Functionalist interpretations in the past have demonstrated that recourse to these beliefs served a variety of purposes. For example, they were used to explain everyday misfortunes and inexplicable events as well as mysterious physical and mental illnesses. Other historians have suggested that child changeling cases were instances of infanticide; however, recently discovered cases involving murdered ‘changeling’ children suggest otherwise. In this paper I will focus specifically on the murder (accidental and deliberate) of sick and disabled children under the assumption they were changelings. In addition, the response of the judicial and medical authorities will be explored in relation to the supernatural component of these murders to provide an insight into the significance of fairy changeling beliefs within both the Catholic and Protestant communities in nineteenth century Ireland. Despite the decline in supernatural beliefs in the late nineteenth century, cases of child changeling murders occurred as late as 1888; this theme will be explored in relation to the denominational difference in the treatment of these cases by the press.


Annika Stendebach

Annika Stendebach (Gutenberg-University Mainz) “They Called Them Edelweiss Pirates, Their Numbers Were Few,
but where They Blossomed, Resistance Grew!?”
 The Edelweiss Pirates as an Example of Oppositional Youth Movements in Nazi Germany

Since the downfall of the Third Reich, historians as well as the interested public have been keen on discussing the various forms of resistance against the Nazi Regime. One particular movement, the Edelweiss pirates, a loosely organised group of youth opposing the strict regimentation of the Hitler Youth, has, however, been long neglected. Not until the 1980s historians began looking at spontaneous youth resistance, also in this context a Cologne folk group sang: “They Called Them Edelweiss Pirates, Their Numbers Were Few, but where They Blossomed, Resistance Grew”. If and how the two terms “Edelweiss Pirates” and “resistance” are connected, shall be addressed in this paper. It is furthermore aimed at shedding light at the Edelweiss Pirates’ activities by comparing their depiction in Gestapo documents as well as in reports by contemporary witnesses. In order to decide whether it is justified to call the Edelweiss Pirates a resistance movement, their protest forms will be classified using an established model of resistance.



Mark Scannell (NUIG) Irish Catholics within the British Officer Corps: 1829-1899

For the presentation I intent to outline broadly the evolving position of Irish Catholics within the officer corps of the British Army, specifically with reference to the units of the Line infantry, from the period of 1829 (the year of Catholic Emancipation) until 1899 (the outbreak of the South African or Boer War). This will take the form of a brief summary of the nature of Catholic exclusion from the officer corps prior to 1793-1829, a look at the disposition of Irish Catholics officers at the start of the time period, some tentative explanations for this disposition with a view towards the system of promotion, purchase and private income, culminating in a summary of the change in Catholic disposition at the end of the period in question.  Should time permit, the presentation shall also include a view of some of the key Irish Catholic officers of the period, their experiences of the difficulty in being a Roman Catholic in British service and their success, or lack of success in overcoming that and other difficulties.


Finian J. E. Halligan (University of Warwick) ‘Help Wanted! No Irish need apply’. The effects of British prejudice and discrimination against Irish migrants in the early- to mid-20th century.

The settlement of Irish migrants, particularly in areas such as Liverpool, Glasgow and London, has bred a level of geographical and cultural propinquity, which might be considered advantageous to such settlers. However, by the early Twentieth-century, public racial stereotypes were common. These prejudices against Irish migrants, particularly labourers, brought with it serious difficulties in finding lodgings and work and being accepted into English communities. Recent studies, however, have shown that Irish immigrants have a relatively high propensity to clinical depression and other mental health issues; psychological research, particularly that of Gerard Leavey, has examined why these tendencies exist in the Irish population of England.

The following research will examine these ideas and contextualise the mental health issues facing Irish immigrants. To support this, I will undertake an interview with an Irish immigrant – henceforth known as ‘Bridey’ – who will provide an insight into the struggles of Irish migrants. In addition to this, I will be analysing a pamphlet, published by the Connolly Association, which defends the free movement of Irish migrants in Britain. Furthermore, a publication by the Trades Union Congress, simply entitled ‘Migration’, provides an overview of the scale of Irish migration between 1935 and 1948, studying both the emigration of British natives and the immigration of ‘Empire’ citizens. Initially, this project will discuss the ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors that influenced Irish migration in the early 20th century. Ultimately, I am examining the extent to which the ‘old wave’ of Irish immigrants struggled for acceptance in England.


Michael B. Mulvey (Maynooth University) Irish Immigrant Entrepreneurs in the Post-war Reconstruction of London

British and Irish socio-economic histories take scant account of the experiences of Irish entrepreneurial builders in post-war London and the Home Counties. Spanning the period 1945-1995, this paper surveys the gradual rise – first within the ‘mailboat generation’ and later the ‘Ryanair’ generation – of ‘pioneer’ and ‘chain-migrant’ entrepreneurs whose opportunistic endeavour and instinctive capitalist tendencies led to the establishment of a significant number of successful construction and property empires.

Key questions addressed include whether these entrepreneurs impacted upon:

  • The creation of a London-Irish ethnic community within the reconstructed multicultural environment?
  • The socio-economic problems of ‘lump’ and labour-only subcontracting in Britain?
  • Ireland’s emergence from post-independence agrarianism?

After contextualising the dominance of Irish labour in post-war reconstruction, this paper will identify and briefly chronicle the stories of these key entrepreneurs, their companies and the people who made them, relying on primary source materials and oral history interviews as well as the documented histories of the businesses themselves. Disentangling reality from the web of stereotypical representations – including the dominant discourse of the ‘forgotten Irish’ embedded in collective cultural memory – allows us to examine whether these success stories tend to emanate from certain parts of Ireland and how much of the myth surrounding these characters and their companies is grounded in fact.

This paper innovatively synthesises elements of British construction history, Irish socio-economic history and London-Irish folklore. The conclusion will seek to locate the London-Irish entrepreneurial builders within the fabric of the emerging field of construction history in the late 20th-century.


Stephen Deyarmin (NUIG) The Age of Larkinism: ‘A Divine Mission’ (1907-1914)

In 1907, James Larkin arrived in Ireland as an organizer for the National Union of Dock Labourers (NUDL).  Over the next seven years he dominated as a controversial champion of the working class and remains a unique historical figure for study a century later.  But the discord he sowed did not impede him from forging a critical niche in Irish Labour, for as Larkin himself asserted, “I care for no man or men.  I have got a divine mission, I believe, to make men and women discontented”.  Though a witticism, Larkin did behave like a man on a mission, working within politics and British and Irish unions to bolster the fledgling Irish Labour movement.  So impressive was Larkin’s influence that his name became synonymous with militant working class agitation.  ‘Larkinism’, his legacy, was introduced by his opponents, the employers, “as a shorthand for militancy, the cult of the agitator and the sympathetic strike”.  However, the term was embraced and accepted by the militant trade unionists that followed Larkin.  This paper attempts to examine Larkinism between Larkin’s arrival in Ireland in 1907 and his emigration in 1914 through a close study of the theoretical heritage of Larkinism, tenets of the belief system proposed by Larkin, and the result of Larkinism when its practitioners were involved in Labour disputes throughout Ireland.


Breandán Ó Conchúir

Breandán Ó Conchúir (NUIG) The Drapers’ Revolution, 1913-1924.

This paper will evaluate the nature and experiences of the Irish Drapers’ Assistants Association in the revolutionary period, covering the period from the 1913 Lockout to the end of the Civil War and the issuing of the general amnesty in 1924. The history of the Irish Drapers Assistants’ Association during this period is primarily analysed through examination of The Drapers’ Assistant, the union’s publication. During this period the Irish Drapers’ Assistants Association was led by Michael O’Lehane and following his death in 1920 Cissy Cahalan; brief biographies of the leadership of both O’Lehane and Cahalan are provided in this paper. The presence of a female general secretary from 1921, reflecting the significant role played by women in the Irish Drapers’ Assistants Association, is also discussed. The paper will conclude by reflecting on the ramifications of these experiences on the Irish Drapers’ Assistants Association, as a unique trade-focused trade union during the revolutionary period.


Jeffrey Leddin (UL) The Irish Citizen Army and the Anglo-Irish War

History has defined the Irish Citizen Army’s role in the Anglo-Irish War as lethargic. The Military Service Pensions Board stated ‘generally speaking, the Citizen Army did not take a fully organised part in the Black and Tan fight.’ Oscar Traynor viewed them as disorganised. Likewise, the 1919-20 minute book of the force has been interpreted as highlighting an interest in day to day issues and formality rather than the wider political struggle. However, their Commandant during the conflict, James O’Neill, took a more contextual understanding arguing that ‘the Tan War was not a stand up fight, it was guerrilla. In proportion to their numbers they gave just as good service as the Volunteers.’ Certainly, it must be recognised that there were other factors which hamstrung the small army. The 1919-21 war was typically most intense in the Munster region while in Dublin full scale urban ambushes were ‘remarkable for their rarity.’ Therefore, it was impossible for the labour army to engage in operations in a comparable sense to the country wide Irish Republican Army.  Despite such limitations, attempts were made to assist the wider movement. While armed confrontation with British authority was both uncommon and insignificant, the army engaged in a series of attempts at arms acquisitions and distribution as well as the provision of intelligence to their republican brethren. This paper examines such projects, as well as their operative relationship with Óglaigh na hÉireann, and reassess if ‘lethargy’ is an accurate definition of their engagement in the war.


Jonathan Best (QUB) The Master of Mystery and the Great War: the spy novels of William Le Queux, 1914 – 1918

This paper will focus on one of Britain’s most popular writers of spy fiction, William Le Queux, who was dubbed the Master of Mystery by his publishers. I shall examine his spy novels published during the years 1914–1918 to demonstrate how his novels reflected the contemporary setting of First World War Britain. It will show that his works can be separated into two types of spy novel – the counter-intelligence story, which revolved around the hunt for enemy spies in Britain, and the secret intelligence story, which focused on the actions of British spies gaining intelligence on enemy operations outside of Britain. These two types of novels appeared at different times during the war and reflected the changing events of the war. The first part of the paper will deal with the counter-intelligence story and will demonstrate that these spy novels tapped into the contemporary public feelings of anti-German sentiment and spy mania which appeared in Britain. The second part will then deal with the secret intelligence story and the use of fictional British spies in action in Europe against Germany and show that these stories were a minority of those published by Le Queux during the war and explain the reasons why. Throughout this paper there will also be discussion of the tentative links between Le Queux and real life secret service operations and how his fictional spy catchers and spies either reflected or did not reflect the reality of British intelligence and security operations during the Great War.


Gavan Duffy (NUIG) The best of enemies: South Africa and the Germans of South West Africa, 1914-1924

At the outbreak of World War One, the Dominion of South Africa, undertook to capture the wireless stations of neighbouring German South West Africa at Britain’s request. Its’ capture, in 1915, marked the beginning of South African administration that endured, in various forms, for decades to come. Drawing on sources in South African, British and League of Nations Archives, my paper examines South African policy towards the resident German population whom they ultimately hoped to integrate into South Africa’s white population. Though wartime enemies the German population were given favourable terms upon surrender and after the war, South West Africa was the one former German colony which retained a large portion of its German population. This unique development must be set in the context of the terms of the Versailles treaty relating to former German colonies which established the concept of colonial mandates as a ‘sacred trust’ for civilization within the covenant of a new international body, the League of Nations.  With annual international scrutiny from the League’s Permanent Mandates Commission in Geneva, South Africa’s policies in fact had broader international ramifications. In the early 1920s, the South Africans instigated a process to make all Germans South African nationals arousing interest both at home and in Geneva. My discussion will encompass South African plans for the wider region which culminated in an international agreement between Germany and South Africa in 1923. Overarching themes addressed shall include, therefore, German minorities in World War One, sub-imperialism, internationalism and nationalism.


Sandra Hartl

Sandra Hartl (University of Bamberg) 1916: Tolkien at the Battle of the Somme

In 1916, J.R.R. Tolkien participated at the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles in human history, fighting for the United Kingdom. Experiences of utter cruelty endured in his mind and shaped many of his later stories, where evil intruded into a peaceful world.

First of all, three of his best friends also fought in the Great War, but two of them died in 1916. This fellowship of the immortal four was later transformed into the four hobbits, two of whom were wounded but – according to the concept of eucatastrophe – not killed.

Furthermore, the death of over one million people and the destruction of nature echo in the description of the Dead Marshes in Middle-earth.

Moreover, Tolkien speaks in German to a captured officer and offers him a drink of water. In a similar sense of humanity, Sam sees a dead warrior of Harad and wonders if he was truly evil, or rather deceived to go to war.

Finally, towards the end of the battle, Tolkien came down with trench fever and convalesced for years. It was at this time that his wife Edith saved him from despair and therefore was the inspiration for the character of Lúthien saving Beren’s life several times.

To sum up, this talk gives an insight into very personal experiences of a British soldier and the gloomy resonances in his later works.


Eoghan Keane (TCD) The Bruce invasion of Ireland, 1315-1318

The Bruce invasion of Ireland, 1315-1318, has received a lot of attention from historians of medieval Ireland. The invasion is often seen as a turning point in the history of the English colony, after which the territorial extent of governmental power began to shrink in the face of resurgent Irish lords, famine, and plague. Little attention, however, has been given to the same timeframe in those areas which were not directly affected by the Bruce invasion. This regional study will trace the warfare that occurred in Connacht during the years of the Bruce invasion. It will be argued that the events of 1315-1318 were extremely important in the history of the province and that although the warfare which took place there could not have occurred in the absence of the conditions created by the Scottish invasion, they were disconnected from the efforts of the Scottish army to install Edward Bruce as king of Ireland.



Dónal Ó Catháin (NUIG) The Early Life of Gearóid Iarla, third Earl of Desmond.

Gearóid Iarla, or Gerald, ‘The Poet Earl’ of Desmond, (†1398) is probably the most famous and interesting of all the FitzGerald Earls of Desmond. Unlike many of the Earls, he had a very long Earldom, 35 years at least, and perhaps longer. Strangely, however, relatively little is known of his life and achievements, and he barely appears in the Latin, English, and Irish records of the time. He was a man who immersed himself in Irish culture and produced over thirty poems in Irish, which are now to be found in two famous manuscripts, The Book of Fermoy, and The Book of the Dean of Lismore. This paper will focus on Gearóid’s early life, in particular looking at the period between ca. 1340 and 1363 in an effort to shed some light on his movements in that period. In particular, it will discuss his possible connection to the court of Edward III of England and the linguistic influences on him as a child. It is hope that this paper will show the vast importance of this Earl as a man who changed the face of Norman Gaelicisation in 14th century Ireland.


Sam Manning (QUB) Post-war cinema-going and working-class communities: a case study of the Holyland, Belfast, 1945-1962.

In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, cinema-going was the predominant commercial leisure activity in urban centres across Britain and Ireland. In 1948, Belfast was served by forty cinemas. During the 1950s, however, increased affluence, the introduction of television and the diversification of leisure activities meant that cinema attendance declined rapidly. Between 1956 and 1962, eighteen cinemas closed in Belfast. This paper utilizes oral history testimony and local newspaper articles to investigate cinema-going practices and the decline in cinema attendance in the Holyland, a largely Protestant working-class community in post-war Belfast. This paper provides a  case study of cinema-going in post-war Belfast  and follows the proponents of the ‘new cinema history’ who shift emphasis away from film texts to conceive cinema-going as ‘a social act performed by people of flesh and blood… situated within specific social, cultural, historical and spatial confines’. It investigates the place-specific nature of cinema attendance, assesses the social practices of cinema-going and examines the reasons for the decline in cinema attendance and consequent cinema closures. Oral history testimony demonstrates the close link between the nature of cinema attendance, changes in the life-cycle and urban mobility. By linking this oral history to broader social and economic developments in Belfast, and assessing Northern Ireland’s relationship to the rest of the United Kingdom, this paper investigates the reasons for the closure of the Apollo, the local neighbourhood cinema for residents of the Holyland.


Thomas Earls-Fitzgerald (TCD) Experiences of women in the Anglo-Irish War

This paper examines incidents of women having their hair forcibly cut during the Irish War of Independence. All recorded cases of forced hair cutting of young women conducted by the I.R.A. and the Crown Forces are examined.  The paper shows that the women singled out were selected on the basis of their connections with the combatants. Republicans would cut the hair of women in relationships or ‘associated’ with members of the Crown forces. The Crown forces, on the other hand, tended to cut the hair of women related to known republicans or members of Cuman na mBan. The motivations behind the men involved are also explored. Motivations ranged from the desire for national and moral purity on the part of the I.R.A. together with a more basic desire for revenge and to humiliate on the part of the Crown forces. The paper notes that while the motivations differed between the I.R.A. and the Crown forces the latter, in fact, adopted the hair cutting tactic from the I.R.A. The paper makes comparisons with violence against women conducted by the German Army, in occupied Belgium and France in 1914, and with other paramilitary groups in post 1918 Europe. The paper concludes by showing how the tactic of hair cutting was also intended be a message to other women of either the very real dangers of associating with the R.I.C. and, on the other side, of the very real dangers of being in any way connected to the I.R.A.


Seaneen Larkin (University of Ulster) ‘Admitting the Mad’: Insanity in the Ulster District Lunatic Asylums, 1845-1914.

This paper focuses on those who were admitted to three Ulster District Lunatic Asylums between 1845-1914. It is based on a quantitative and qualitative examination of the admittance records for the Belfast, Londonderry and Omagh district lunatic asylums. This approach provides a new insight into how and why the patients were admitted into these asylums as well as the socio-economic profiles of the patients admitted. In particular it will focus on the role of gender as an important influencing factor in terms of admittance as well as the issues of class and religion. The issue of religion has particular resonance in Ulster as an area of religious division, and this paper will discuss how far these sectarian divisions were reflected in the admittance registers of these three asylums. There has been very little research carried out on lunatic asylums in Ulster in comparison with the growing body of research on asylums in other parts of Ireland and Great Britain and this paper will take a comparative approach to consider whether the unique political, religious, and social context of Ulster was reflected in the running of district asylums.


John Phayer

John Phayer (Independent Scholar) ‘Where one journey ends, the next begins…’ Dr. Thomas Raleigh Phayer, Medical Doctor, Apothecarist, Surgeon and Physician of Newcastle West, Co. Limerick.

This paper explores the life and medical career of Dr. Thomas Raleigh Phayer, an apothecarist, medical doctor, surgeon and physician of Newcastle West, Co. Limerick. It provides information about the man, his approach to medicine and different property holdings owned by him and his family. The paper discusses other members of Thomas Phayer’s family who were involved in a similar career and concludes with a list of those who operated an apothecary business in Limerick City in the 19th Century.


Cillian Moran (NUIG) Historical development and economic impact of obesity

The issue of obesity is one that has come to the fore of many modern healthcare systems across the world and developed significantly since the 1960’s. While up to 50 years ago only one in ten people were classified as being overweight or obese, the developments since then have caused obesity and overweight levels have doubled in America and tripled in Ireland.

While there have been numerous attempts to implement measures to reduce and curtail the rise in obesity. The economic inefficiency that occurs with obesity will have profound impacts on the healthcare systems into the future. While the effects of obesity were hardly felt up until number of years ago, given the project growth of numbers of people classified as obese are set to rise to 71% in America and  around 50% in Ireland the UK, pressures placed on national healthcare systems as a result of diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer and coronary heart disease will be unprecedented.

The development of obesity in both adults and children seen as early as the 1960’s has caused significant knock on effects that will be felt for generations to come. This paper will examine the development of obesity since the 1960’s, the health and economic consequences that occur as a result, and the potential measures that can be taken to help improve social health into the future.


Ryan Mallon (QUB) Truth and Error: Anti-Catholicism and the Free Church of Scotland in the mid-nineteenth century

This paper will assess the prevalence of anti-Catholic sentiment within the Free Church of Scotland in the mid-nineteenth century, focussing on individuals and events between the 1845 Maynooth Grant and the 1865 Tercentenary of the Scottish Reformation, a period in which Scottish, and British, anti-Catholicism was at its most fervent and ubiquitous. It will analyse three major themes that contributed to this rise of anti-Catholic sentiment within Scotland, and more particularly, the newly formed Free Church: the anti-Maynooth agitation, the Papal Aggression and the onset of Irish immigration after 1845. This paper will focus on the reaction to the Peel government’s decision to increase the state endowment to Maynooth within the Free Church, including the controversial nationwide political pact with their erstwhile Voluntary enemies, in order to only elect MPs of ‘sound Protestant principles’. Following soon after, the Papal Aggression triggered the formation of numerous anti-Popery organisations across Britain, including the Free Church-led Scottish Reformation Society, directed by the violently anti-Catholic James Begg, editor of the Bulwark. Begg’s role as the spokesmen of the Free Church in its anti-Catholic campaign, including his conversionist ethos, will be particularly scrutinised. Finally, this paper will address and challenge the historiographical tendency to depict mid-nineteenth century Scottish anti-Catholicism as largely emanating from anti-Irish tensions brought about by post-Famine immigration. This paper will argue that, at least within the Free Church, opposition to Maynooth and the Papal Aggression was deemed more important than the new Irish immigrants to Scottish anti-Catholics concerned about safeguarding British Protestantism.


Krysta Beggs-McCormick (University of Ulster) ‘We shall not shrink, where Justice demands it..’ Belfast Quaker influence on British Abolitionism utilising ‘The Irish Friend’, 1838-1842

In recent years there has been an increase in research of British slavery and abolition amongst historians and much focus has been placed on British slavery, abolitionism and abolitionist rhetoric. There has however, been little discussion of these issues within the context of Ulster in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This proposed paper will consider a neglected aspect of this historiography which is the Ulster Quaker involvement in the British abolitionist movement.  This involvement will be considered through the prism of the Ulster Quaker periodical The Irish Friend. This monthly newspaper was founded and produced in Belfast and had a substantial circulation throughout the British Isles. It frequently discussed issues such as slavery, abolition and temperance and provides a unique insight into the attitudes of Ulster Quakers towards these issues. It also identifies the importance of the Ulster Quaker community in the growing Quaker networks that were established to oppose slavery and highlights that Quakers in Belfast and Ulster were leading proponents of abolitionism both at home and further afield. Ulster Quakers were clearly aware of what was going on in the wider world in the period and were actively involved in change, yet the current historiography of Belfast does not reflect this.



Bridget Harrison (QUB) Women Religious in Nineteenth Century Ireland: Personal and Corporate Identity

Nuns played a vitally important role in nineteenth century Ireland.  They ran countless schools and orphanages, visited the sick and poor, and provided a socially respectable alternative for women of all classes who were unwilling or unable to marry.  Yet despite this, women religious have been understudied in Ireland to date.  What has been written has largely focused on women’s reasons for entering convents and on nuns’ philanthropic and educational output.  Research so far has dealt with nuns as a body of women.  As a result of this, very little is still known about how nuns were thought of in their own communities.

This paper will examine how women religious were perceived by their contemporaries.  In particular, it will explore the interplay of corporate and personal identity in accounts of nuns.  Using nineteenth century biographies and obituaries, this paper will identify literary tropes common in descriptions of women religious.  It will then establish to what extent reports of nuns’ lives are dependent on these tropes, and how much of nuns’ individual character comes through in writing about them.

This talk, therefore, will investigate the idiosyncratic situation where women religious as a collective were acknowledged, but in such a way that they appeared to be part of the fabric of the Catholic Church, rather than independently acting groups or individuals.  It will provide a contribution to Irish religious and gender history, as well as information on the development of Irish literary and journalistic traditions.


Robin Adams (St Peter’s College, Oxford) Shadow of a Taxman: How, and by whom, was the Republican Movement Financed in the Irish War of Independence?

As we approach the centenary of the Irish War of Independence, it is timely to re-examine the events of the period with a new perspective. Much of the historiography concentrates on the gunman, while the question of who paid for the gun has been left unanswered. By answering that question, this paper seeks to shine a light on the nature of broader support for the Republican Movement during this period.

The particular focus of this paper is the ‘National Loan’, a 5% war bond issued by the First Dáil in 1919. Having provided a brief overview of the Loan’s organisation and promotion, the main contribution of this paper is to provide an analysis of the subscribers to the National Loan. Who were they? How representative were they of the population as a whole? What determined the propensity of the Irish people to subscribe to the Loan and what determined how much money they contributed?

In this approach, I am following in the footsteps of David Fitzpatrick, Peter Hart and others who have studied the social composition of the IRA volunteers. However, by focussing instead on those who funded the revolution, it is possible to gain a far better understanding of public support for it. Making a financial contribution requires less commitment than taking part in a raid or joining an Active Service Unit, but more than simply casting a vote. This new approach also broadens the demography of the analysis, bringing women into the story, as well as the elderly.


Mary MacDiarmada (St Patrick’s College/DCU) Art Ó Briain and the Irish National Relief Fund of London, 1916-1919.

This paper outlines the work of the Irish National Relief Fund of London (INRF) which was founded within days of the 1916 rising. Fund-raising, visits to prisoners, advocacy on their behalf with the British authorities and the provision of food and accommodation to those released were among the many elements of care provided. The organisation also played a key role in maintaining London-Irish interest in the nationalist cause. The paper also focuses on the extensive involvement of Art Ó Briain in the INRF and his contacts with key leaders of the Irish revolutionary period. This involvement led to the consolidation of his position as leader of the Irish in London and to his appointment as London envoy of Dáil Éireann in early 1919.


John Porter

John Porter (TCD) Foreign versus Fashion: Chinese bacon and Parisian clothing in the Irish Free State

Ireland in the 1930s can accurately be characterised as economically nationalist. Policies, often associated with Fianna Fáil, but begun under Cumann na nGaedheal, such as, increased tariff boundaries, restrictions on foreign direct investment, and import substitution aimed at creating a self-sufficient nation. Much has been written on economic policy in this period, but so far societal attitudes towards Protectionism have largely been ignored. This paper seeks to explore how imported products were conceptualised in Irish society by considering two contrasting examples. Chinese bacon produced almost paranoid anxiety in 1920s and 1930s Ireland. Repeatedly questions were raised in the Dáil and at tribunal hearings over this suspect foodstuff, and fears over Chinese bacon were significant in leading to the 1931 Merchandise Marks Act. The term even appears to have entered parlance as a term for junk. In contrast, Parisian clothing, despite the condemnations of such figures as Eamon de Valera, always retained an aura of elegance and superiority to Irish-made garments. Consumer desire for haute-couture could not be eliminated despite the efforts of economic nationalists. These two products, therefore, are excellent examples of the complex and contradictory attitudes held toward imported products. Chinese bacon, a synonym for junk, was understood clearly as foreign; a danger to the national social body. Parisian clothing, though technically foreign was often not presented as such, but rather as fashionable and desirable. The paper will suggest that contradictions such as these were essential to the practical functioning of Protectionism.



Eoghan Moran (Queen Mary University, London) Migrant, Refugee, Terrorist: Asylum in Interwar France. The Case of the Spanish Exiles (1934-35)

In the turbulent context of interwar Europe, the new concept of the political refugee took on renewed relevance as adverse constitutional and economic circumstances stimulated flight from political persecution. The same France that had prided itself as the pays d’hospitalité during its postwar reconstruction now found the welcome towards non-nationals sour remarkably fast, as economic crisis, socio-political polarization, and high-profile acts of political violence rocked the country. The migrant worker, the political émigré and the communist or fascist terrorist had, by mid-1934, become interchangeable to the public mind.

At this key moment, the flight of three-hundred Spanish political exiles to France offered an easy proxy to domestic clashes, demonized as Bolshevik assassins or lionized as democratic defenders. This paper proposes that this cause célèbre lay at the heart of the clashes between the emerging blocs of the United Front and National Union, offering a propitious mobilizing tool to reconfigure political alliances. Moreover, though small-scale, their cause set in stone the attitudes that would endure for much larger subsequent migration crises, most famously the Spanish Civil War.

Indeed, this case presents us with a familiar process of constructing categories of exclusion. In the context of acute panic over political violence and economic stagnation, dubious distinctions on the refugees’ authenticity placed them in a growing double bind, repudiated as either labour competitors or potential assassins. The response of the overwhelmed state, anticipating public hostility through the increasing surveillance and problematization of asylum, was one more symptom of the imperceptible erosion of civic rights and the liberal Republic’s trajectory towards the ‘strong state’ of the 1940s.


Joseph Quinn (TCD) “The children of war and revolution?”: The influence of the First World War, the 1916 Rising and the Irish revolutionary period upon the Irish volunteers who joined the British forces during the Second World War, 1939-45.

The role that men and women from neutral Éire and Northern Ireland played as volunteers in the Allied forces throughout the Second World War was, until recent times, a fact which had largely remained unacknowledged within Irish society. The same stigma that had clung to the Irish veterans of the Great War after their return in 1918, to a lesser extent, also affected those volunteers who returned home after 1945, many of them having spent many long years in the British armed services fighting against the Axis forces. For the better part of fifty years, Irish veterans of this conflict were forced to remain silent about their experiences due to the threat of militant republicanism during the Troubles, an ideology which would enjoy certain sympathies within the community, and this furthered the ostracisation and rejection of these individuals. Few wore their poppies on Armistice Day, or attended services on Remembrance Sunday, out of a fear of intimidation and attack, one that became heightened after the bomb explosion at a Remembrance Ceremony in Enniskillen in November 1987.

It was only after the violence of the Troubles began to subside and the Peace Process began to take effect that the stories of Irishmen and women who served in the Second World War finally came to the attention of the public in northern and southern Ireland. Ironically, it would also come to light that it had been their family’s involvement in the events of the Irish revolutionary period, particularly during the First World War, the Easter Rising, the War of Independence and the Irish Civil War, that had served as the key influence on those who had volunteered during the Second World War. The majority of veterans so far interviewed have stated that a tradition of military service, particularly with the British forces, but also with the republican forces that were active during the revolutionary period, was quite evident in their family background. A majority would also attribute their enlistment during the Second World War to the participation of parent, uncles, aunts and other relatives in the First World War. In some cases, veterans reported that they had family members who served both the British and Irish republican causes during this period, and even some who had relatives in the Free State Army after the foundation of the state.

To commemorate the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rebellion this paper is dedicated towards exploring the theme of endo-recruitment in the context of voluntary enlistment in the British forces during the Emergency, citing the family military tradition which is highlighted by a sample of Ireland’s veterans of the Second World War, the last of the volunteers. It will show that this family tradition of military service was, ironically, rooted in the experiences of the previous generation during the tumultuous period of 1914-1922. This would have directly impacted upon Ireland’s future volunteers during their upbringing, possibly contributing the key causal factor in their decision to abandon the safety of neutral Éire’s shores and enlist in the armed forces of the ‘traditional enemy’ during the Second World War.


Carla Lessing (NUIG) “[…] to restrayne the Englishe from soche evells as Irishe infeccion poysoned theim with.” Creating a pathology of Irishness during the ‘Tudor Conquest of Ireland’.

Before a disease can turn into an epidemic – before it can even break out at all – there has to be a moment of infection. The one defining point in time, when the whole miserable condition has its beginning. Thus, the term infection carries a lot of metaphorical weight: it embodies a moment of weakness, the moment when the healthy body lets down its guards and its defences are not strong enough to fight off the emerging threat. This carries an element of surprise as well: infection happens in silence often unnoticed. Lastly, it is dangerous, once the healthy body has been infected a painstakingly long period of trying to find the right cure and eventually overcoming it can follow: if a cure cannot be provided the patient is at risk of dying. It is the aim of this paper to discuss how Tudor writers described the way in which Irishness infected the English body politic as a consequence of the Tudor conquest of Ireland. It shall examine how this infection was connected to early modern English ideas of acculturation and degeneration of the English inhabitants of Ireland as well as the effemination of the Gaelic inhabitants of the country.


Deirdre Fennell (NUIG) “The best of times, the worst of times – the thoughts of a Tudor administrator in Ireland”

Sir William Fitzwilliam lived during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, Elizabeth I, and the era of Mary Queen of Scots, Shane O’Neill and Hugh O’Neill. Fitzwilliam served in Ireland, and occupied the offices of Treasurer-at-War, Lord Justice and Lord Deputy. His brothers John and Bryan were also active, appearing in France, Scotland, and Ireland.

The focus of this paper is on the earlier period of Fitzwilliam’s career, ending in 1575. A particular focus is correspondence. Fitzwilliam corresponded extensively with secretary Cecil, the queen, the earl of Sussex, and several female relatives. Cecil had married Fitzwilliam’s cousin, Mildred Cooke. Both Fitzwilliam and Sussex had married sisters of Henry Sidney.

Fitzwilliam writes on political and personal matters. Early on in January 1560/1 he writes to Elizabeth, expressing himself willing to serve to the uttermost, though he acknowledges that there are others both by their long experience and with more ‘mett for the servis than I’. In 1568 he writes to Lady Cecil, announcing the he hopes to make his slanderous and envious enemies ashamed. In 1571, after serving thirteen years and four months in Ireland, he informs the Privy Council ‘I must discover my self a wreck’ and seeks to be discharged before he is thoroughly perished. These and other contemporary reflections, as revealed through correspondence, offer an insight into both the personal thinking and policy articulation of a senior Tudor administrator in Ireland.


Joyce Ní Ghiobúin (TCD) ‘Obscure Lives’: A Biographical Portrait of Queen’s District Nurses in Ireland (1890-1907)

‘Obscure Lives’ was how Virginia Woolf, biographer and daughter of a district nursing patron, referred to the lives of women whose social and practical contribution went largely undocumented in the pages of history. While the Queen Victoria Jubilee Institute’s nursing in Irish districts at the turn of the century has been well documented, we are still left the question: who were these nurses? This paper attempts to address this question by recreating their prosopographical profile in the period 1890-1907 using career-line analysis. The findings lend support to a picture of the nurses as drawn from diverse religious, national and class backgrounds, and considering themselves united against the common enemy of disease. By correlating a variety of primary source material from the Wellcome Collections, London, the National Archives of Ireland, and An Bord Altranais collection (UCD), it has been possible to consider these ‘quiet revolutionaries’ against a background of the QVJIN’s position in nursing reform and preventative healthcare in Ireland.


Chelsea Brownlee (QUB) ‘With fingers weary and worn’?: Factory legislation and the treatment of women workers in the Londonderry shirt industry, c.1860-1920

For over a century Londonderry’s economic and social life was dominated by the shirt-making industry. At its height at the beginning of the twentieth century, the industry employed 18,000 factory workers, and 80,000 outworkers in Counties Londonderry, Donegal and Tyrone, ninety per cent of whom were women.

The 1878 and 1895 Factory and Workshop Acts introduced tougher restrictions on the hours and working conditions of women and children. However, by the early twentieth century inspectors were still confronting issues such as excessive fines and deductions from wages, low temperatures, poor ventilation, and illegal overtime. New forms of state paternalism in the form of such legislation contrasted with the more traditional efforts of factory owners to ensure the welfare of their workers through education and housing initiatives. Employers in Derry began to gradually adapt to changing factory laws, yet some issues remained. The situation was further complicated by the labour of home-workers, who outnumbered factory workers, but remained outside the protection of legislation.

The paper will explore the treatment of workers in the Londonderry shirt industry, with specific reference to working conditions, fines and deductions, and hours of labour. Moreover, it will assess how effective factory owners in Derry were in making the transition from the old form of paternalism to the new state paternalism characterised by labour legislation.


Alex Tierney (TCD) Devolution, Northern Ireland, and the Illegitimate Children (Affiliation Orders)

Act, 1924.


This paper examines the advocacy surrounding the introduction of the Illegitimate Children (Affiliation Orders) Act (Northern Ireland), 1924. This Act was modelled after the British Bastardy Acts of 1872 and 1923, and it allowed unmarried mothers to sue the father of their child for payment of child maintenance. While in practice the Act ultimately provided little material welfare for unmarried mothers or their children, this paper will argue that the law’s historical significance lies in the debates surrounding the drafting of the Act and what implications this had for Northern Irish social policy relating to women.


The main debate throughout this drafting process focused on a criticism of the government’s step-by-step policy with Westminster. Step-by-step was the policy of Sir James Craig’s Ulster Unionist Party government to introduce social legislation on a parallel basis with Westminster. This paper will examine how civil society groups, particularly the Belfast Women’s Advisory Council, and MPs, specifically those with a medical or legal background, challenged this policy during the drafting and debating process of the Affiliation Orders Act. It will examine how these legal and medical MPs, who were all Ulster Unionist Party members, argued against the government to suggest that the affiliation orders legislation was a case where Northern Ireland should depart from the British precedent. Building from this analysis, this paper will examine how Northern Irish social policy was a complicated balance of maintaining parity with the rest of the United Kingdom while trying to legislate specifically for its own jurisdiction. As such, while this law proved to be ineffective, it is significant in a historical context as it allows for the tracking of the development of, and issues relating to, Northern Irish social policy.



Madeleine O’Neill (NUIG) The Colonel, the Canadian and the Cork man: The Irish Diplomatic Mission to South Africa in 1921

In a decade of commemorations; it seems appropriate to re-examine this largely overlooked 1921 Irish diplomatic mission to South Africa, and to question the basis of its advocacy. The two envoys dispatched by the nascent Foreign Affairs office of the Dáíl, were Colonel Maurice Moore, ex-British officer, inspector-general of the Irish Volunteers and Boer sympathiser in the second South African war, and P.J. Little, of Canadian extraction, the Sinn Féin parliamentary secretary and  editor of An Phoblacht, New Ireland, Éire and. Moore’s objective was to persuade Premier Jan Smuts to raise the Irish Question at the upcoming Imperial conference to be held in London, while Little was to engage in publicity and counter propaganda throughout the South African Union. In Cape Town they joined forces with the third man, Cork-born classics professor and member of Sinn Féin, Ben Farrington who was also the founder and editor of the South African counter propaganda organ, The Republic. The experience of the three men in South Africa illustrates the global reach of early Irish diplomacy. It also throws light on the relationship between the republican Afrikaners of the National Party and Irish republicanism.


Ann Marie O’Brien (UL) Ireland’s forgotten diplomats: Nancy Wyse Power and Máire O’Brien’s quest for obtaining recognition for independent Ireland, 1919-23.

The ‘decade of centenary’ has resulted in an increasing interest in the role of women during the Easter Rising, the War of Independence and Civil War. The involvement of female organisations in the pursuit for Irish independence has featured prominently in discussions, debates and publications. However, little has been offered on how women served the cause for independence abroad. In January 1919, the first Irish Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) was established with two foreign policy objectives in mind, firstly, to obtain support for Irish independence abroad, and secondly, to secure recognition for an Irish Republic from foreign governments. Between 1919 and 1921 the DFA appointed diplomatic agents throughout Europe and North America. Just two women served as Irish representatives: Nancy Wyse Power in Berlin and Maíre O’Brien in Madrid.

By using DFA files in the National Archives of Ireland, and personal papers held in the National Library of Ireland, this paper will examine the appointment and duties of Wyse Power and O’Brien. This paper has two objectives, firstly, it will analyse their respective roles and duties as identified by the department, and secondly, it will investigate their effectiveness in the host country. This paper also aims to highlight the role of female diplomatic agents who worked towards achieving independence for Ireland but are largely absent from the historical record.


Aaron Ó Maonaigh (St Patrick’s College/DCU) ‘“Who were the Shoneens?”: Irish militant nationalists and association football, 1913-1923’

The conflation of one’s choice of sporting activities with one’s political sympathies was something which was, in many instances, vehemently stressed by many influential figures throughout the Gaelic Revival period. As such it was a frequent topic of discussion in many periodicals throughout the early twentieth century in Ireland. The assignation of political values to one’s sporting choices was something which drew the ire of many Irish nationalist revolutionaries who chose association football as their main athletic and leisurely activity. Refuting the validity of the conflation of politics and sports, the ex-IRA Commandant and ardent soccer enthusiast Oscar Traynor commented that ‘the game a man played did not influence his convictions one iota’. Sportsmen of various hues contributed to movement for Irish independence during the period 1916-1923. This paper attempts to fill the gap in historical writing regarding these individuals, detailing the involvement of several prominent Irish militants who chose to play ‘foreign games’ during the Irish Revolution; providing where possible, the motivating factors in their decision to play said games, as well as presenting their opinions on Gaelic games. In the process of this examination, the difficulties and opposition faced by those who chose to play non-Gaelic games will be examined and discussed.


Olivia Martin (NUIG) After the Expiry Date: Wills of the lesser gentry in East Mayo, 1760-1880 

Wills and their probity were governed by ecclesiastical regulation, until 1857.  This jurisdiction was originally based on the grounds that wills were made to ensure a healthy soul in the afterlife of the testator.  Wills also formalised provision made in marriage settlements for widows and younger children. In the case of married women, wills were seldom made by them, as almost everything legally belonged to their husbands.  However, their more financially independent widowed sisters, and even their spinster sisters, were allowed ownership of property and possessions, and, did make wills.

This paper will explore wills of both men and women of the Protestant lesser gentry, based on research carried out on the Ormsby family of Ballinamore House; the Jackson and Pratt families of Enniscoe House, the family of Bishop Stock of Killala and other families of this genre in East Mayo, between 1760 and 1880.  It will look at language used within wills in relation to funeral arrangements, and paternal control exercised over guardianship of children, and the widow’s long-term future even after the demise of the testator.

It will also examine financial consequences to one family when the father of young sons dies without signing his will.  It will witness long-standing chaos arising within another family when the deceased father’s will cannot be found.  Differing treatment of legitimate and illegitimate children will be examined.  Finally, this paper will look at differences in legacies gifted by men and women and their motivation.


John McGrath (MIC) Nineteenth century urban Irish artisans and protectionism: a study of popular economic nationalism.

Whilst protectionism, in the Irish context, is today an almost pejorative term, inextricably associated with economic policy of the early Free State, it once constituted a fundamental part of the Irish artisan’s world view. Given that it was never fully accommodated by the popular political leaders of the nineteenth century, urban artisans generally alternated their support between utilitarian reformers who opposed legislative independence or Repealers/Nationalists who ignored their economic nationalism.

This paper explores protectionism as a popular concern with specific examination of how Limerick artisans understood the idea. Whilst due reference is given to the language and arguments of national political figures, the real exercise of this work will be to shine a light on the under-researched topic of nineteenth century economic nationalism. How is economic nationalism defined in this context? What was motivating the artisans who promoted protectionism and what does it tell us about their understanding of economics?

Efforts to improve understanding of Irish economic nationalism have previously been confined to purely economic histories and it is only recently that effort have been made to explore how the foremost political personalities of the day related to this issue or how such popular movements were frustrated by politics and political agendas. This paper will play some part in addressing this problem and show how the issues of protectionism and economic nationalism formed a central part of the Irish urban artisans world view.


Declan O’Brien (MIC) Closing Cowtown – the demise of the Dublin Cattle Market

The sight of thousands of cattle being driven on foot through Dublin’s city centre would be unthinkable today. But it was a weekly occurrence in a not-so-distant past when the capital was the nerve centre of the nation’s livestock trade. At its peak in the 1950s the Dublin Cattle Market – located on Prussia Street in Stoneybatter or ‘Cowtown’ as it was known locally – claimed to be the largest weekly livestock sale in Europe. The institution sold most of the one million cattle, sheep and pigs exported ‘on the hoof’ annually through Dublin port. Established in 1863, the Dublin market was akin to the national ‘stock exchange’ – effectively setting cattle and sheep prices at fairs and markets throughout the country. It survived two world wars, the Great Depression and Ireland’s Economic War with Britain and was still very much in its pomp in 1957 when the number of cattle sold there peaked at 249,776 head. A record number of sheep were sold in 1960 when the figure topped 425,000. But just thirteen years later the market was closed. Employing a mix of oral history and documentary evidence, this paper will examine the reasons for the demise of the Dublin Cattle Market and how its decline reflected the radical changes that reshaped Irish farming in the 1960s.


Elspeth Payne (TCD) ‘a bit of news, which you may, or may not, care to use’: the influence of the Beaverbrook-Healy relationship on the construction of Ireland in the British press post-independence

By the end of the formal Anglo-Irish union the friendship between Tim Healy, Irish nationalist politician and the first Governor-General of the Free State, and Lord Beaverbrook, the Canadian former British politician and infamous newspaper proprietor, had entered its second decade of existence. While the effect of the Beaverbrook-Healy connection on Anglo-Irish relations has been examined extensively for the pre-independence era, with its role in shaping Irish independence acknowledged, the Beaverbrook-Healy relationship post-1922 has largely been forgotten.

This paper explores how the relationship functioned in this new era of Anglo-Irish relations. Removing the Healy-Beaverbrook link from the narrow confines of the narratives of biographies and high political manoeuvrings, it is analysed as part of a complex enduring connection between Britain and Ireland and as a case study of the British press barons’ place in the new Irish Free State.

The paper begins by examining the continued use of the friendship as a means to obtain information on Britain and Ireland, both by the men themselves and by a broader network of individuals. It then seeks to demonstrate how this Beaverbrook-Healy nexus, and its wider network, influenced British press content. In doing so, it analyses both the construction and the consumption of the news source by individuals, and the response of the Irish mass readership to British newspapers. The ramifications for more lasting publications, that is to say the men’s memoirs, are also scrutinised. Finally, the paper considers the nature of the friendship itself to understand why this was all possible.


Fiona McKelvey

Fiona McKelvey (University of Ulster) Anglo-Irish Relations During the Falkland’s War of 1982.

Taoiseach Charles Haughey’s actions during the Falkland’s War of 1982 were to poison the Anglo-Irish relationship in the years ahead. Sanctions by the European Council against Argentina were suggested by Britain as a form of punishment. As a fellow member of the Council, Ireland had to consider its own position. Although Haughey voiced his concerns about the effectiveness of economic sanctions, he initially agreed to ‘support Community action and demonstrate … solidarity.’

Ireland’s support lasted only a few weeks. An official statement was released announcing its return to a traditional state of neutrality. Anglo-Irish relations suffered a sharp decline with Britain expressing its disappointment that Ireland did not privately consult her before announcing the decision. The British Government told the Irish that they were ‘angrier … than they would wish to display publicly.’ This paper will follow and comment on the state of Anglo-Irish relations during the early months of 1982, with the aim of discovering why the Anglo-Irish fallout that ensued was so serious.


Eamonn McNamara

Eamonn McNamara (Australian National University) “A peace of sorts”: Changing expectations in Northern Ireland after the Belfast Agreement, 1998-2007.

The 1998 Belfast or Good Friday Agreement (GFA) ended ‘the Troubles’ in Northern Ireland (1968-1998) and espoused both ‘peace’ between paramilitaries, and ‘reconciliation’ between Catholics and Protestants. The expectation that the GFA would foster peace and reconciliation was understandably high. This thesis asks – how did expectations reflected in, generated by, and legitimated through the GFA shift when acts of violence occurred after the Agreement? What can responses to violence tell us about shifting expectations of the GFA? In what ways does a formal, symbolic agreement, such as the GFA acquire its power and relate to the management of endemic conflict in society? I focus on three incidents of violence – the Omagh Bombing (1998), Holy Cross dispute (2001), and murder of Robert McCartney (2005). These events stimulated the public, journalists and politicians to reflect publicly on their expectations of the GFA. I treat these groups’ reactions as case studies which explore how the GFA framed responses to violence, while managing a public agenda of reconciliation. Whereas most scholarship on the GFA’s cultural impact has assessed ‘public opinion’ through opinion polls, I contend that responses to violent incidents more clearly reveal the terms in which violence and peace were actively reassessed after the GFA. I argue that these responses challenged the terms of the GFA, while reflecting its new paradigms. The project on which this paper is based will contribute to a better understanding of how symbolic and formal politics influenced the deeper political culture of Northern Ireland after the GFA.











IHSA 2016 Volunteer – Cian Moran



Name: Cian Moran

Course: PhD law

Historical interest: UN peacekeeping, the Middle East, Military history,

military intervention

Short Personal Bio: Cian is currently a PhD candidate at NUIG School of Law where he is researching the use of military force for protecting civilians. Cian graduated with an LLM from the University of Nottingham and an LLB from NUI Galway. Outside of academia, Cian worked for a Middle East NGO in Washington DC and is a serving reservist with the Irish Defence Forces.