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Lindsey Earner-Byrne

Lindsey Earner-Byrne

Professor of Contemporary Irish History


My research interests include welfare, poverty, religion, gender and sexuality in modern and contemporary Ireland. My work has been driven by a desire to understand the impact of power on everyday life and how this history continues to inform contemporary Ireland. I have, for example, worked on and fostered scholarship in frontier areas such as gender-based violence, medical humanities, and minority/marginalised groups, all with a particular concern for the intersections of class, gender, ethnicity and race. I have worked with human rights organisations to facilitate social justice in relation to legacy issues, and my work informs public debate, government commissions of inquiry, and policy. In 2019, I co-authored with Prof. Diane Urquhart Written evidence to the Parliamentary Committee (Women and Equalities) Inquiry into Abortion Law in Northern Ireland (first published 25 April 2019).

Like many historians of Ireland, I was actively involved in the Decade of Centenaries during which time I sought to bring the experience of ‘ordinary’ people during the Irish Revolution to the fore. In May 2022 I was invited to speak at President Higgins’s Machnamh 100 series of seminars on the subject of ‘Institutionalising Exclusion: Historicising Marginalisation in Modern Ireland’. It can be viewed here: I also narrated and co-authored the documentary Forgotten: The Widows of the Irish Revolution (RTÉ One, May 2022, available on RTÉ Player) and was part of the script team for RTE’s three-part documentary on the Irish Civil War (RTÉ One, December 2022, available on RTÉ Player). I currently chair the Expert Advisory Panel of the 20th Century History of Ireland Galleries at the Museum of Ireland, which will be the first permanent exhibition on the history of modern Ireland. 

Teaching and supervision:

My teaching areas include the social and cultural history of modern Ireland, Irish gender and reproductive history, emigration and migration in Ireland and the history of welfare and poverty in modern Europe. I welcome dissertations and thesis on the cultural and social history of modern and contemporary Ireland, including gender, sexuality, and welfare.



  • Co-authored with Diane Urquhart, The Irish Abortion Journey, 1920-2018 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019)

  • Letters of the Catholic Poor: Poverty in Independent Ireland, 1920-1940 (Cambridge University Press, 2017, paperback 2019)

  • Mother and Child: Maternity and Child Welfare in Dublin, 1920s-1960s  (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007, paperback 2013)

Articles & Essays:

  • Edited with Efi Avdela and Dimitra Lampropoulou, Historein, Special Issue: ‘Gendering the mixed economies of welfare: ruptures and trajectories in post-war Europe’ [forthcoming 2024]

  • ‘“I felt I should be there, all these people talking on my behalf without consulting me”: Gender, Experience and Expertise in the Irish Mixed Economy of Welfare, 1970-1990s’ Historein, (forthcoming 2024)

  • ‘Religion, Gender and Sexuality, 1922-1968’ in G. Ganiel and A. Holmes (eds), Oxford Handbook of Religion in Ireland (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2024)

  • ‘Please say who are the dependents in this case?’ Female vulnerability, the male-breadwinner model and the Military Service Pensions Collection’ in Anne Dolan and Catriona Crowe (eds), ‘A Very Hard Struggle’: Lives in the Military Service Pensions Collection (Dublin: Department of Defence, 2023)

  • The Irish Family: Blame, Agency and the “Unmarried Mother Problem”, 1980s-2021’, Contemporary European History, Special Issue 2: ‘Agents of Change? Families in Europe’s Quest for Welfare and Democracy, 1945-2000’ 32 ( May 2023), pp. 270-286.

  • ‘Donnybrook Magdalene Asylum and the Priorities of a Nation: A History of Respectability’, Mark Coen and Katherine O’Donnell (eds), Dublin Magdalene Laundry: Church-State Power in Ireland (Bloomsbury, 2023), pp. 47-64.

  • ‘The wife of a plasterer tells the Archbishop of Dublin a secret: gender and poverty in the new Free State’ in D. Gannon and F. McGarry (eds), Ireland 1922 (Royal Irish Academy, 2022), pp. 92-97.

  • With Olwen Purdue, ‘“Please Pardon Me for Taking the Liberty”: Poverty Letters as Negotiating Spaces in 1920s and 1930s Belfast and Dublin’, Cultural and Social History, 19: 5 (June 2022), pp. 567-585.

  • ‘The Family, 1880-2016’ in T. Bartlett (eds). The Cambridge History of Ireland: Volume Four Modern Ireland, 1880-2016 (Cambridge University Press, 2018), pp. 641-672.

Dr. Earner-Byrne on the TCD Research Support System

Contact Details

Room A6007
Department of History
Trinity College
Dublin 2.

Telephone: +353 1 8963473
Email: lindsey.earner