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Research Projects


Reading the Deeds.  Dr Patrick Walsh, Assistant Professor of 18th century Irish History, is Co- PI (with Dr Andrew MacKillop, University of Glasgow) on a project funded by the AHRC and the IRC digital humanities networking scheme entitled  Comparing and Combining Early Modern Irish and Scottish Land Records: New Transkribus and Natural Language Processing Approaches .  This project applies digital humanities techniques to two of the richest collections of early modern records pertaining to property in Europe, the Irish Registry of Deeds and the Scottish Registry of Sasines to uncover new insights into the economic, social, imperial and gender histories of property in these two societies. In doing so it continues in a long tradition of comparative research on Irish-Scottish studies fostered by early modern historians at Trinity.

Trinity Colonial Legacies. The history of Trinity since its foundation in 1592 is bound up within wider narratives about colonialism, plantation and imperialism at home and abroad. Recently attention has been drawn to College’s connections to the Atlantic slave trade through the person of George Berkeley, a globally renowned philosopher for whom one of Trinity’s libraries was named in 1960. Berkeley was also a slave-owner. This has opened up a public debate about Trinity’s financial and other connections to the slave trade.  Like other long-established universities in Europe and America, Trinity is now seeking to address its complex legacy, looking not just at slavery but also its historical and intellectual connections to empire particularly, but not exclusively, in the Atlantic World.

FoodCult is a five-year European Research Council funded project that explores diet and foodways in Early Modern Ireland c. 1550-1650. The project, led by Dr Susan Flavin, Associate Professor of History, is interdisciplinary in focus. It brings together historians, scientists, archaeologists, and machine learning experts to explore trends in food consumption and the cultural meaning of food in diverse social and geographical contexts. The project team is based across numerous institutions in the UK and Ireland including Trinity College, University College Dublin, Durham University, IT Sligo the University of Bristol and Anglia Ruskin in Cambridge. The key methods used include the analysis of household accounts; the development and statistical analysis of a major database of archaeological remains; the chemical analysis of fats surviving in earthenware vessels; isotope analysis of human and animal remains; and the recreation of sixteenth century beer, using experimental archaeological techniques. The evidence from these integrated analyses will be contextualised through the investigation of cultural representations of diet in this period.  The project commenced in 2019, and all the individual work-packages are currently underway.
In 2020, the team recreated a sixteenth century brewhouse to undertake the brewing experiment. This project, due for completion in 2021, involves collaboration between a wide range of experts, including coopers, coppersmiths, wicker workers, artisan grain and hops producers, maltsters, scientists, and microbiologists. A film is being made, in collaboration with Storylab at Anglia Ruskin University, to share the process and results.

The Letters and Papers of Oliver Cromwell
This project, funded by the AHRC, British Academy and IRC involves the publication of three volumes of the letters and papers of Oliver Cromwell by Oxford University Press. W.C Abbott’s four volume work published in the 1930s is very problematic, as is the three-volume edition produced by Thomas Carlyle in the 1840s. Significant numbers of letters and papers are omitted from both editions, neither of which is fully annotated. Moreover, significant advances in historical scholarship over the past 70 years need to be incorporated as commentary into this new critical edition. Professor Micheál Ó Siochrú is the only Irish-based scholar on this project and is co-editor of Volume 2.

The Books of Survey and Distribution
The Books of Survey and Distribution project aims to publish online and in five volumes this crucial source on the massive transfer of land in wake of the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland in the 1650s. This project, which began in 2016, funded by the Irish Manuscripts Commission and lead by Professor Micheál Ó Siochrú and Dr David Brown, is due for completion in 2022. The research platform will be hosted by the Beyond 2022 project to facilitate an integrated search facility across key, related early modern sources, while the five, fully indexed volumes will be published by the Irish Manuscripts Commission. 

The 1641 Depositions
The final stage of 1641 project, which began back in 2007 and attracted over €1 million in funding from the AHRC, IRC and Trinity College, involves the production of 12 volumes in hardcopy by the Irish Manuscript Commission. Five volumes have already appeared in print and the remaining volumes will be ready shortly. In December 2020, the series editor for the IMC volumes, Professor Aidan Clarke, died following a short illness. Aidan, a giant of early modern Irish studies, was a key figure in the Trinity History Department for 40 years until his retirement in 2003. He worked for over ten years on the 1641 project and is greatly missed by all his colleagues and friends.  

Religion and Memory: The 500th anniversary of the Reformation Marking the memory of the Reformation and exploring its legacy after 500 years.

The North Atlantic Fish Revolution: An Environmental History of the North Atlantic 1400-1700 (NorFish) The Fish Revolution was one of the first examples of the disrupting effects of globalization and climate change.

The Books of Survey and Distribution Project. A project to digitize the Quit Rent Office set of the Books of Survey and Distribution in the National Archives. The project is fundd by the Irish Manuscripts Commission and will develop a fully functional research website, integrating the Books and Survey and Distribution, the key textual source for land transfers in seventeenth-century Ireland, with the cartographic and textual material from the Down Survey (available at The project team will provide transcribed text of the Quit Rent Office set of the Books of Survey and Distribution, with indexes, for subsequent publication in four volumes by the IMC, edited by Micheal O Siochru and David Brown.

Religion and Violence in France 1600-2000. This project brings together scholars of the 16th century, the Revolutionary period and 20th century France to explore the relationship between religious conflict and political violence in France from the Wars of Religion to the present day.

Making War, Mapping Europe - This HERA-funded international collaborative research project analyses militarised cultural encounters between Europe and its borderlands from the Revolutionary Wars of the late 18th century to the First World War. It examines the experiences of war and military expedition as one of the most significant forms of mass cross-cultural contacts in the pre-modern period and assesses the impact these encounters had on the society of their respective home country. This project asks how military cultural encounters helped to shape collective perceptions of 'the self', 'the other', of Europe and of its borders in the period between 1792 and 1920? The project team involves researchers from Germany (Freie Universität Berlin), Ireland (Trinity College Dublin) and the United Kingdom (Universities of York and Swansea).

Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Papers - A project instigated by Oxford University Press to produce a new five-volume edition of Oliver Cromwell's letters and papers

Revolution, Revival and Reaction: The Culture and Politics in Revolutionary and Napoleonic France - By tracing the experience of a generation across the Revolutionary and Napoleonic years, this project seeks to analyse the nature of the Revolutionary rupture at its most radical and to understand the limits of cultural change in a time of Revolution.

The Down Survey of Ireland - This project has created a consolidated digital atlas of the 1650s 'Down Survey of Ireland' by overlaying all extant Down Survey maps and related cartographic material onto an Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 base.

Sight, Sin and Sexuality in Early Modern France - This project considers the efforts of French-speaking Reformed or Calvinist churches to reform personal appearance during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.