Making Ireland

To explore, to conquer, to resist.
    To nurture, to build, to create.
        To reflect, to imagine, to perform.

Multiple Irelands have been fashioned through the ages. The Making Ireland theme explores this profoundly complex inheritance in its local and global manifestations, bringing Trinity’s expertise on all things Irish to scholars across the world and to Ireland’s citizens.


“This research theme is an expression of the collective ambition of over 80 researchers in 15 disciplines across all three faculties in the university to tap the transformative potential of purposeful collaboration in Irish Studies.”
David Dickson, Theme Convenor

An overview of the Making Ireland theme and its activities is available to download here.

Featured Publications & Research Outputs

  • Jane Ohlmeyer, The Cambridge History of Ireland. Vol. 2. Early Modern Ireland, 1550-1730 , Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2017
  • Peter Crooks David Green W. Mark Ormrod (eds), The Plantagenet Empire, 1259-1453, Donington, Shaun Tyas, 2016
  • Tom Walker, Louis MacNeice and the Irish Poetry of his Time, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2015

See more publications for Making Ireland

Current Projects

Understand Ireland, understand the world.
Understand the world, understand Ireland.

Research arising from the Making Ireland theme ensures that cutting-edge digital resources for the study of Irish culture are available to scholars across the world as well as to Ireland’s citizens.

Beyond 2022: Ireland’s National Memory

Making Ireland aims to ensure a lasting and inspirational legacy for Ireland beyond the end current decade of centenaries. A century on from the blaze that destroyed the Four Courts, Beyond 2022 will create a virtual reconstruction of the original Public Record Office of Ireland and its archives. Making Ireland will provide imaginative leadership by collaborating with partners at city, national and international level to develop cross-disciplinary research projects on national memory and the making of modern Ireland.

Monastic Ireland: Landscape and Settlement

Funded by the Irish Research Council and in partnership with the Discovery Programme and UCC, Monastic Ireland is revealing the palimpsest of history preserved in Ireland’s rich heritage of medieval monastic ruins. Monasteries were at the core of most settlements in Ireland. This project combines cutting-edge digital survey techniques and original historical research to explore the manner in which the material remains of Ireland’s medieval monasteries have been preserved and adapted, so telling the story of community life in Ireland over the centuries.

Irish Lives in War and Revolution

In 2014 Trinity's Department of History launched Ireland’s most successful MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), Irish Lives in War and Revolution: Exploring Ireland’s History 1912-1923. Over 29,000 learners have participated in the course to date, with a third run planned for March 2016.

Down Survey of Ireland

The Down Survey of Ireland in the 1650s was the first ever detailed land survey on a national scale anywhere in the world. This project has brought together for the first time in over 300 years all the surviving Down Survey maps and made them available as an open-access online resource. The public response has been incredible with over 100,000 visits to the website within weeks of the launch in 2013. With the support of the Irish Manuscripts Commission, the project has now entered its second phase to create an online research platform for the study of early modern Ireland.

National Collection of Children’s Books

The National Collection of Children’s Books (NCCB) is a unique resource uncovering a forgotten aspect of Ireland’s rich and varied cultural heritage. NCCB is the fruit of a two-year interdisciplinary and inter-institutional project funded by the Irish Research Council, which is examining children’s books collections across five libraries: the Church of Ireland College of Education, the National Library, Pearse Street Library, St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, and Trinity. The project will establish Dublin, and Ireland, as a world centre for the study of children's literature.

Rex Ingram Website

This project celebrates the life and work of one of Hollywood’s greatest silent-era directors — the Irish exile, Rex Ingram. Best known now for The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921), this handsome, strong-willed visionary was responsible for a succession of films for Metro Pictures (later MGM) that topped the box office and were hailed as masterpieces by the critics. The project has reclaimed for Irish cinema one of the most successful filmmakers that Ireland has produced.

Marginal Irish Modernisms

The School of English is a key international partner in this AHRC-funded research network, which studies peripheral and non-canonical forms of Irish modernist writing, art and production across Ireland and Britain from 1879 to 1939. The project is shared between Liverpool John Moores University, St Mary¹s College, Twickenham and Trinity College Dublin.


Ireland in Africa/Africa in Ireland
A workshop reflecting on past and recent connections and on new research in Ireland on things African

Venue: The Neill Lecture Theatre, Trinity Long Room Hub
Date: Thursday, 11 May 2017
Full programme available here

Trinity Long Room Hub, Friday 25 November 2016

Given the intensities and instabilities of the last 10 years it seems both timely and necessary to explore cultural constructions of Irish identity in this period. This symposium on Post-Celtic Tiger Irishness, co-organised by Theme member Ruth Barton, in collaboration with colleagues from IT Carlow and UCD, offers an opportunity to discuss and reflect upon the social and cultural landscape that has emerged in recent years.
View Schedule

Trinity Long Room Hub, 28 October 2016

Institutions and Ireland III: Public Cultures is the third and final in an interdisciplinary series of events organised by postgraduates within the Making Ireland theme. The conferences have analysed Irish society’s continuously evolving relationship with institutions across a broad range of themes, including Medicine, Health, and Welfare in February, and then Law, Punishment, and Accountability in June. This last conference will be held in the Trinity Long Room Hub on 28 October 2016 with Professor Geraldine Higgins of Emory University as the keynote speaker.

Listen to the Making Ireland podcasts here.

Life on the Edge: IQA Congress to be hosted in Dublin in 2019

Trinity researchers Pete Coxon (Geography/MI) and Fraser Mitchell (Botany/MI/HOS Natural Science) have successfully led a bid to host the International Quaternary Association Congress in Dublin in 2019. The theme for the conference is 'Life on the Edge'. “This is great news and a major milestone for Geoscience in Ireland and reflects on the distinguished history of Irish researchers and Ireland as a field locality for Quaternary studies. From Robert Lloyd Praeger, to Frank Mitchell and now Pete Coxon, Ireland has punched above its weight in this field of study.” Koen Verbruggen, Director of Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI)


Trinity College Dublin is a key partner in the successful bid to bring the European conference of the Renaissance Society of America (RSA) to Dublin in 2021. The RSA conference, which has 3,000-3,500 delegates, will be held at the Convention Centre. Joseph Connors, President of the RSA commented: 'The subject of Dublin and the Irish abroad during the Renaissance is very much a burgeoning and exciting focus of early-modern scholarship now. Many of the 3,000-3,500 delegates who will be coming have never been to Ireland before, and will take advantage of the conference to visit sites in Dublin and beyond.'


Professor of Environmental History at Trinity College Dublin, Poul Holm, has been awarded an EU European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant valued at €2.5 million. The award will see Professor Holm and his team at the School of Histories and Humanities conduct world-leading humanities research into marine environmental history, assessing and synthesising the dynamics and significance of the North Atlantic ‘fish revolution’ of the 1500s and 1600s that reshaped alignments in economic power, demography, and politics.


Dr Tom Walker of the School of English is the recipient of an award of €65,000 funding from the IRC New Horizons Scheme for a 15-month project entitled Yeats and the Writing of Art. The research considers the extensive relationship between Yeats’s work and the visual arts through the prism of art writing – encompassing the many textual forms through which art spectatorship and writing were combined during the nineteenth- and twentieth-centuries.


Dr Ciaran O’Neill of the Department of History is the winner of the James S. Donnelly Sr. Prize awarded by the American Conference for Irish Studies for his monograph Catholics of Consequence: Transnational Education, Social Mobility and the Irish Catholic Elite, 1850-1900 (Oxford University Press, 2014). The Prize Committee congratulated Ciaran O’Neill ‘on producing a work that will stimulate renewed interest and fresh scholarship on the provocative and intertwined subjects of class and education at a pivotal juncture in Ireland’s modern history’.


The crowning of a Scotsman as the last High King of Ireland was marked at a major international conference organized by the Trinity Medieval Research Centre commemorating the 700th anniversary of the Bruce Invasion of Ireland, which was opened by the Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast, on Friday 18 September 2015.

Recent Events

Ireland and the Caribbean in the age of Empire
Trinity Long Room Hub: 11 and 12 November 2016

The complex connections between Ireland and the slave economies of the Caribbean in the seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries are often referred to, but are rarely examined in depth. A major two-day international symposium explored the Irish experience in, and impact on, the Caribbean region from a number of angles, including Irish involvement in trade and slaving, settlement and plantation production on the English, French and Spanish islands, and the role of persons of Irish origin in the making, sustaining and breaking what was a hugely profitable economic system based on slavery.
The complete programme can be viewed here.

Law and the Idea of Liberty in Ireland: From Magna Carta to the Present
Christ Church Cathedral, Friday 25 and Saturday 26 November 2016

What is the place of Ireland in the story of Magna Carta’s global dissemination? Four centuries before the Great Charter crossed the Atlantic, it was already implanted across the Irish Sea. A two-day conference in the Music Room of Christ Church Cathedral explored the legal-historical background to Magna Carta in Ireland, the reception of the charter into English law in Ireland, the political and polemical uses to which the charter was put, and its twentieth and twentieth-first century invocations as a living presence in contemporary Irish law.
Podcasts from the conference are available here
View and download the programme

13-14 November 2015: Women in Medieval Irish History

The Centre for Gender and Women Studies, the Medieval History Research Centre and the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies hosted a conference on 13–14 November 2015, entitled 'Collusion, Subversion & Survival: Women in Medieval Irish History (c. 500-1500)’. The proceedings of the conference will be published by Brepolis in 2017.

18 February 2015: Bandits Live Comfortably In The Ruins.

Ahead of his representation of Ireland at the 2015 Venice Biennale, visual artist Sean Lynch discussed the ideas and methodologies in his installations and publications. Over the past decade, Lynch has explored the subjective layers of Irish history and offered alternative readings of the influences that shape society today

9 December 2014: Ireland & Empire Revisited: Imperialists, Colonisers, Settlers, & Revolutionaries

A workshop was held in Trinity College on Tuesday 9 December 2014 on this theme followed by a public lecture by Professor Stephen Howe (Oxford).