I come from Elphin, County Roscommon, in the Republic of Ireland, but live in Saltaire, West Yorkshire, in the UK. I hold BA and MA degrees from the University of Galway (2003-07), and a PhD from Queenâs University Belfast (2008-11). After working as a part-time lecturer in history at Cardiff, Swansea and Leeds Beckett universities c. 2011-16, while also being the main carer for my two children, I then worked in British Labour Party politics c. 2016-20. I returned to academia in 2020 and taught modern British history at Leeds Beckett University and wrote the book I never wrote when I finished my PhD! I now work as a Research Administrator in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Leeds Beckett University while also trying to keep up with my own research and writing.
My doctoral thesis was a study of the political life of Charles Owen O’Conor (1838-1906), more commonly known as ‘the O’Conor Don’. The O’Conor Don was one of the most prominent Catholic landlords and liberal politicians of his generation, serving as MP for County Roscommon between 1860 and 1880.Â I recently converted my thesis into a monograph, namely Charles Owen O’Conor, ‘the O’Conor Don’: landlordism, liberal Catholicism and unionism in nineteenth-century Ireland (Four Courts Press, 2022).
|Areas of expertise||
I am an historian of nineteenth-century Ireland and Britain with particular interests in liberal and conservative Catholicism, Catholic unionism and imperialism, and Irish, English and British Catholic identities. My recent award-winning monograph explores the life of the Irish Catholic landlord, Liberal MP and unionist, Charles Owen OâConor (1838-1906), the OâConor Don. More broadly, I am interested in liberal politics and political thought in Ireland and Britain, Irish and British imperial experiences, thinking and identities, and the political and cultural lives of the Irish in Britain.
Queenâs University Belfast
Jan 2008 â June 2012
PhD History (passed without corrections)
National University of Ireland, Galway
Sept 2006 â Sept 2007
MA history (1.1)
National University of Ireland, Galway
BA History & Philosophy (2.1)
Leeds Beckett University – Research Administrator (full-time)
July 2023 – to present
In the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, I work alongside academic staff, postgraduate research students and other administrative colleagues in the School and wider university in the processing of funding applications for staff and students and in the organisation of research-related inductions, meetings, seminars and conferences.
Leeds Beckett University – Lecturer in History (part-time)
Feb 2022 â July 2023
Teaching and supervision on the following undergraduate modules: Society and Culture in Modern Britain, 1780-1914; Britishness and National Identity, 1707-2016. This involves preparing and delivering lectures and small group seminars, one-to-one supervision of studies, managing module content and maintaining student contact on VLE, and marking assignments and dissertations on Turnitin.
Independent Historian & Writer (part-time)
Sept 2020 â Feb 2022
Completed prize-winning monograph, blogs and newspaper articles, presented seminar and conference papers, and secured research and publication grants.
Labour Party â Regional Organizer (full-time)
Dec 2017â Apr 2020
Managed local and general election campaigns, devised and delivered candidate training programme, chaired candidate interview and selection meetings, and advised on party governance and political management issues.
Richard Corbett MEP â Caseworker & Administrator (full-time)
Jan 2016 â Nov 2017
Managed the MEPâs casework, correspondence and constituency diary, organized regional events and visits, campaigned in the 2016 EU referendum, and wrote blogs on the impact of Brexit.
Leeds Beckett University â Lecturer in History (part-time)
Jan 2014 â Dec 2015
Teaching and supervision on the following undergraduate modules: Britishness and National
Identity, 1707-1997; Society and Culture in Modern Britain, 1780-1914; Trade, Colonization and Empire c. 1600-2000; Atlantic Revolutions, 1760-1840; Theory and Practice. This involved preparing and delivering lectures and small group seminars, one-to-one supervision of studies and dissertations, managing module content and maintaining student contact on VLE, and marking assignments and dissertations on Turnitin.
Cardiff University â University Teacher in History (part-time)
Aug 2011 â Aug 2012
Teaching and supervision on Family and Community History to mature students. This involved preparing and delivering small group seminars, IT and academic skills sessions, one-to-one supervision of studies, and marking assignments.
Swansea University â Tutor in History (part-time)
Jan 2011 â May 2012
Teaching on the undergraduate module Europe of Extremes, 1789-1989. This involved preparing and delivering tutorials and marking assignments and exam scripts.
Queenâs University Belfast â Tutor in History (part-time)
Sept 2008 â May 2010
Teaching on the undergraduate module Politics and Society in Nineteenth-Century Ireland. This involved preparing and delivering tutorials and marking assignments and exam scripts.
Director of the Bradford Irish Society (appointed Jan 2023)
Duties have included: writing articles of association, a code of conduct, and safeguarding policies, applying for the Irish governmentâs Emigrant Support Fund, co-organizing a St Patrickâs Day Heritage event, and building relationships with the Bradford Civic Society and the Bradford Mechanics Institute.
|Committees & Associations||
Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (elected to Fellowship May 2023)
Member of the British Association of Irish Studies (since September 2020)
Member of the Catholic Record Society (since September 2020)
Member of the Irish Association of Professional Historians (since September 2020)
Barker Fellowship, Durham Residential Research Library
June 2023, ÂŁ2,000
For research on the papers of Richard More OâFerrall, an Irish Catholic MP (1830-47), junior government minister (1835-41), and governor of Malta (1847-50).
British Association of Irish Studies Book Prize 2023
May 2023, ÂŁ200
For my monographÂ Charles Owen O’Conor, The O’Conor Don: Landlordism, liberal Catholicism and unionism in nineteenth-century IrelandÂ (Four Courts Press: Dublin, 2022).
Marc Fitch Fund for Research and Publication
September 2022, ÂŁ1,660
For publication costs pertaining to my monographÂ Charles Owen O’Conor, The O’Conor Don:
Landlordism, liberal Catholicism and unionism in nineteenth-century IrelandÂ (Four Courts Press: Dublin, 2022).
Catholic Record Society Small Research Grant
January 2022, ÂŁ842
For research on the papers of Col. Charles Raleigh Chichester (1830-91), an English Catholic who served in Ireland, the West Indies and the Crimea, married an Irish Catholic, and owned and lived on an estate in Ireland.
Charles Owen O’Conor, ‘the O’Conor Don’: landlordism, liberal Catholicism and unionism in nineteenth-century Ireland (Four Courts Press, 2022).
‘Catholic Elites and the Irish University Question, 1860-80: European Solutions to an Irish Dilemma’ in Brian Heffernan et al, Life on the Fringe? Ireland and Europe, 1800-1922 (Dublin & Portland, Or., 2012), pp 177-97.
âAn upholder of the old liberal opinionsâ: the political career of Charles Owen OâConor, the OâConor Don (1838-1906),Â Victorian Commons, Researching the House of Commons, 1832-1868 Project Blog, 14/12/2022,Â https://victoriancommons.wordpress.com/2022/12/14/an–upholder–ofthe–old–liberal–opinions–the–political–career–of–charles–owen–oconor–the–oconor–don–1838–1906/.
âWhere does the term âWest Britâ come from?âÂ RTE Brainstorm (Irelandâs National Public Service Media), 14/03/2022,Â https://www.rte.ie/brainstorm/2022/1007/1286242–west–brits–ireland–politicslegacy/.
âLanded Catholics in a âfour nationsâ context: class, religion and the politics of the union in the nineteenth centuryâ,Â Four Nations History,Â 01/06/2015,Â https://fournationshistory.wordpress.com/2015/06/01/landed–catholics–in–a–four–nations–contextclass–religion–and–the–politics–of–the–union–in–the–nineteenth–century/.
âUnited Kingdom or United Ireland: how about uniting Northern Ireland firstâ,Â Yorkshire Bylines,Â 5/05/2021,Â https://yorkshirebylines.co.uk/politics/united-kingdom-or-united-ireland-how-aboutuniting-northern-ireland-first/.
âBeing Irish in Britain: Irishness, Britishness and meâ,Â Yorkshire Bylines, 12/04/2021,Â https://yorkshirebylines.co.uk/opinion/being-irish-in-britain-irishness-britishness-and-me/.