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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 the transnational history of elites and elite education, something very much at the core of both of my books, Irish Elites (FCP, 2013) and the award-winning Catholics of Consequence (OUP, 2014). I also occasionally publish on literature 1890-1940, and on Public History. Recent work appears in Gender & History, Historical Research, Éire-Ireland, and The Public Historian.

From 2014 -18 I was 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 part of a global research network called SPECTRESS, funded by the European Commission. Since 2017 I have been a Series editor of Reappraisals in Irish History for Liverpool University Press.

I am on research leave for the academic year 2018/19. During this time I will be a Visiting CRC Fellow at SMU in Halifax, Nova Scotia; Burns Visiting Scholar at Boston College; and Martin and Carmel Naughton Visiting Professor at the University of Notre Dame.

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 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, hbk 2014, pbk 2016). Winner of the James S. Donnelly Sr. Prize for History and the Social Sciences (2015) Special Commendation: NUI Publication Prize in Irish History (2015).
  • (ed.) Irish Elites in the Nineteenth Century (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2013).

Journal (Special Issue)

  • (ed.) w/ Enda Delaney, ‘Beyond the Nation: Transnational Ireland’, Éire-Ireland, 51/1&2 (Spring/Summer, 2016), 280pp
  • (ed.) w/ Bruce Bradley and Daire Keogh, ‘The Jesuits in Ireland’, Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, 103/412 (2015), 601pp.

Journal Articles/Book Chapters

  • w/ Mary Hatfield, ‘Education and Empowerment: Cosmopolitan education and Irish women in the early nineteenth century, Gender & History, 30/1 (2018)
  • ‘Bourgeois Ireland, or, on the benefits of keeping one’s hands clean’, in James Kelly (ed), The Cambridge History of Ireland, 3 (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2018)
  • w/ Thomas Cauvin, ‘Negotiating public history in the Republic of Ireland: collaborative, applied and usable practices for the profession’, Historical Research (2017). doi:10.1111/1468-2281.12192
  • w/ Maeve Casserly, ‘Public History, Invisibility, and Women in the Republic of Ireland,’ The Public Historian, 39/2 (2017), 10-30.
  • ‘Literacy and Education’, in Eugenio F. Biagini and Mary E. Daly (eds), The Cambridge Social History of Modern Ireland (Cambridge: Cambridge University press, 2017). pp 244-60.
  • ‘Education, cosmopolitan cultural capital, and European elites in the nineteenth century’ in Susan Hegarty and James Kelly (eds), Schools and Schooling, 1650-2000: new perspectives on the history of education(Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2017), pp 93-109.
  • w/ Mo Moulton, Michael De Nie, Enda Delaney, ‘Roundtable Discussion: Teaching Transnational History’, Eire-Ireland, 51/1&2 (2016), 266-76.
  • w/ Enda Delaney, ‘Beyond the Nation’, Eire-Ireland, 51/1&2 (2016), 7-14.
  • 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, 2016), pp 100-20.
  • Exhibition Catalogue Essay, in Mick O’Dea, The Foggy Dew (Dublin: Royal Hibernian Academy, 2016)
  • ‘The Irish schoolboy novel’, in Maria Luddy and James M. Smyth (eds),Children, childhood, and Irish society: 1500 to the present (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2014), pp. 183-197. [reprint]
  • ‘Introduction’, in Ciaran O’Neill (ed.) Irish Elites in the Nineteenth Century (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2013), pp 17-30.
  • ‘Power, wealth and Catholic identity in Ireland, 1850-1900’, in O. Rafferty (ed.), Irish Catholic Identities (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 (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 Ireland, Modernity, and Empire and another on History and Fiction. I directed the M.Phil in Public History and Cultural Heritage 2011-16, and co-directed it for 2016-18, along with Dr Georgina Laragy. In 2015 I won the Provost’s Teaching Award at Trinity College Dublin.

PhD Supervision

I have the privilege of supervising, or co-supervising the following graduate students:

  • Antonia Hart, Irish Women in Business in the nineteenth century (estimated completion c. 2019) co-supervising with Dr Richard McMahon
  • Catherine Healy, A Cultural History of the Irish Domestic Servant in Britain and the US, c. 1870-1945 (estimated completion c.2021) sole supervisor
  • Jack Kavanagh (Maynooth University*) Re-mapping the Irish civil war. (estimated completion 2020) – member of supervision committee
  • Conor Dodd, ‘Glasnevin Cemetery  – Revolution and Commemoration’ (estimated completion 2023) sole supervisor
  • Clare Morrison, ‘Identity and Irishmen in the Chinese Customs Service’ (estimated completion 2022) co-supervising with Dr Isabella Jackson

PhD Graduates & Former Postdoctoral Mentees

  • Dr Sarah Hunter, Health of a nation - the physical and societal impact of Irish medical missionaries working in Bengal, 1885-1935 (Graduated 2016) co-supervised with Prof David Dickson
  • Dr Mai Yatani, Women's Reading Habits in fin de siècle Ireland (graduated 2017) co-supervised with Prof David Dickson
  • Dr Mary Hatfield, Growing up in Ireland: constructions of gender and childhood in nineteenth-century Ireland (graduated 2018) co-supervised with Prof David Dickson
  • Dr Jerome Devitt,, Defending Ireland from the Irish - The British and Irish Executive's reaction to Fenianism 1863-69 (graduated 2018) co-supervised with Prof David Dickson
  • Dr Aidan Beatty, Property: Race, Gender and the History of a Transnational Idea (GOI Postdoctoral Fellow 2016-18) sole mentor.

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