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Dr. Ciaran O'Neill

Dr Ciaran O’Neill

Ussher Assistant Professor in Nineteenth-Century History

Research Interests

My research has mostly focused on elites and elite education, something very much at the core of both of my books, Irish Elites (2013) and Catholics of Consequence (2014). I also occasionally publish on Irish literature 1890-1940, and have also become more and more interested in Public History since my time at TCD. My next project will be about power.

Since 2014 I have been the President of the SSNCI - an interdisciplinary society dedicated to the study of nineteenth-century Ireland. In addition to this I have also been involved with a group of likeminded historians working together in the Transnational Ireland Network, and in a global research network called SPECTRESS, funded by the European Commission.

Select Publications

Some of these publications are available to download at




Catholics of Consequence: Transnational Education, Social Mobility and the Irish Catholic Elite, 1850-1900 (external) (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2014). Winner of the James S. Donnelly Sr. Prize for History and the Social Sciences (2015)



Irish Elites in the Nineteenth Century (external) (Dublin, Four Courts Press, 2013).

Journal (Special Ed.)


  • w/ Mai Yatani, ‘Ambition, Women, and the City: Irish women novelists 1890-1910’, in Anna Pilz and Whitney Standlee (eds), Irish Women's Writing 1878-1922: Advancing the Cause of Liberty (Manchester; Manchester University Press, forthcoming 2015).
  • ‘The Irish schoolboy novel’, in Maria Luddy and James M. Smyth (eds), Children, childhood, and Irish society: 1500 to the present (external) (Dublin, Four Courts Press, 2014), pp. 183-197. [reprint]
  • ‘Power, wealth and Catholic identity in Ireland, 1850-1900’, in O. Rafferty (ed.), Irish Catholic Identities (external) (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013).
  • ‘Education, imperial careers, and the Irish Catholic elite in the nineteenth century’, in D.J. Dickson, J. Pyz and C Shepard (eds), Irish Classrooms and British Empire: Imperial contexts for the origins of modern education (external)(Dublin: Four Courts, 2012), pp. 98-110.
  •  ‘Pearse, Parnell & the priests: history and politics in the Irish schoolboy novel’, in Katerina Jencova et al (eds.), The Politics of Irish Writing (Prague: Charles University Centre for Irish Studies, 2010), pp. 69-77.
  • ‘The Irish schoolboy novel’, Eire-Ireland, 44/1-2 (2009), pp. 147-68.


I teach freshman modules on Irish and British social and cultural history. At Sophister level I teach a specialist year-long module on elites and power and a one-term module on Ireland and empire 1801-1949. I have directed the M. Phil programme in Public History and Cultural Heritage since it began in 2011.

PhD Supervision

I supervise, or co-supervise the following graduate students:

  • Mary Hatfield, Growing up in Ireland: constructions of gender and childhood in nineteenth-century Ireland (estimated completion 2016)
  • Jerome Devitt,, Defending Ireland from the Irish - The British and Irish Executive's reaction to Fenianism 1863-69 (estimated completion 2016)
  • Sarah Hunter, Health of a nation - the physical and societal impact of Irish medical missionaries working in Bengal, 1885-1935 (estimated completion 2015)
  • Mai Yatani, Women's Reading Habits in fin de siècle Ireland (estimated completion 2016)
  • Jack Kavanagh, Examining Ireland’s Military Heritage: Military Recruitment, Deployment and Service in Dublin (1914 - 1924) (estimated completion 2017)
  • Katherine Browne, Defining surgical competence, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland 1784-1984 (estimated completion 2018)

Dr. O'Neill on the TCD Research Support System

Contact Details

Room 3111
Department of History
Trinity College
Dublin 2.

Telephone: +353 1 896 1405
Fax: +353 1 896 3995

Last updated 2 December 2015 History (Email).