Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search

Dr Patrick Geoghegan

Professor Patrick Geoghegan

Professor in Modern History

Professor Geoghegan is an expert on the British-Irish relationship in the late-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as on the competing themes of constitutional nationalism and republicanism.  His work explores the tensions that led to the creation of a new political relationship in 1800, the attempts to overturn this settlement by force, as well as the campaigns to transform the relationship through constitutional means.   He also works on legal and constitutional changes in Ireland and served as the President of the Irish Legal History Society (2018-2021).

Deeply committed to sharing his love of history with the widest possible audience, Professor Geoghegan presents the award-winning Talking History on Newstalk radio.  The weekly radio programme is regular one of the most downloaded podcasts, and since 2006 has been praised for covering all aspects of history, from ancient times to the present day.  Professor Geoghegan served as a special adviser to the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, between June 2017 and June 2020.  He is the Chair of the Advisory Board of the Royal Irish Academy’s Dictionary of Irish Biography project (

Research Interests

A Vice-President of the College Historical Society (and a former gold medallist for oratory at the L&H), Professor Geoghegan has always been interested in the role of oratory in political debate and how oratory shaped political discourse.  His recent work used the example of the College Historical Society in Trinity to explore how various Irish and international political, social and cultural figures succeeded and failed in using oratory to change the nature of different debates over 250 years.

Geoghegan’s acclaimed two-volume study of Daniel O'Connell completed his examination of the tensions and conflicts which emerged following the abolition of the Irish parliament. The first volume provided a new analysis of the winning of Catholic Emancipation in 1829 while the second discussed the attempts to repeal the Union which failed so dramatically in the 1840s.  He has also written on the Irish Act of Union, and the attempts by Robert Emmet to overthrow that settlement, as well as a short study of the contribution to domestic and foreign policy of Lord Castlereagh.

Select Publications

  • Oratory and Debate: The College Historical Society, 1770-2020 (Dublin, 2020).
  • Liberator: The Life and Death of Daniel O'Connell, 1830-1847 (Dublin, 2010).
  • King Dan: The Rise of Daniel O'Connell, 1775-1829 (Dublin, 2008).
  • Robert Emmet: A Life (Dublin, 2002).
  • Lord Castlereagh (Dundalk, 2002).
  • The Irish Act of Union: A Study in High Politics, 1798-1801 (Dublin, 1999).

Edited Collections

  • Reinterpreting Emmet: Essays on the Life and Legacy of Robert Emmet (Co-edited with Anne Dolan and Darryl Jones; Dublin, 2007).
  • The Irish Act of Union, 1800 (Co-edited with Michael Brown and James Kelly; Dublin, 2003).

Teaching and Supervision

A winner of the Provost's award for teaching excellence, Professor Geoghegan employs innovative methods to develop the critical and independent thinking skills, as well as the communication skills that are a key part of the Trinity Education.  Professor Geoghegan has taught in the Department of History since 2001, lecturing on modern Irish history and the history of the United States, and for many years was the History Co-ordinator on the Trinity Access Programme helping students from different backgrounds reach their potential at university. 

Committed to all aspects of outreach and engagement with society, he developed a series of almost seventy mini lectures on Irish history from the late-eighteenth to the early twentieth century, entitled ‘Ireland in Rebellion’ that are available on YouTube. (

Professor Geoghegan serves on the Government’s Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations, and wrote the text for the multiple award-winning O'Connell exhibition at Glasnevin Cemetery. He supervises Ph.D. theses across his various research areas, from the work of Edmund Burke in the eighteenth century to the teaching of Irish history in the twentieth century.

Professor Geoghegan served as the Senior Lecturer/Dean of Undergraduate Studies for Trinity College Dublin between 2011 and 2014, and was the academic officer responsible for admissions and the undergraduate curriculum. During this period he developed a feasibility study to test a new admissions route for undergraduate entry, as well as a Northern Ireland Engagement Programme (and new admissions mechanism) to increase the number of students from Northern Ireland at Trinity.

Professor Geoghegan on the TCD Research Support System

Contact Details

Room 3110
Department of History
Trinity College
Dublin 2.

Telephone: +353 1 896 1880
Fax: +353 1 896 3995