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Dr. David Ralph
Assistant Professor, Sociology


My main research interests are in the fields of migration studies and family studies. Currently I am researching a form of post-crisis migration in Europe that I term "Euro-commuting". By Euro-commuting I mean EU citizens who live in one EU country, but work in another, and circulate back-and-forth between the two. Also, I am working on a project about return migrants to the Republic of Ireland. This involves re-interviewing return migrants I initially interviewed for my PhD dissertation seven years ago. As such, it is a longitudinal study, and seek to examine how return intentions and re-integration experiences shift (or not) over time.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

David Ralph, `Between a whisper and a shout": repealing the eighth and pro-choice Irish women"s abortion testimonies, Gender, Place and Culture, 2022, p201-221 Journal Article, 2022 URL

David Ralph, Abortion and Ireland: How the 8th Was Overthrown, 2021 Book, 2021

David Ralph, "The Unsung Heroes of Ireland": Masculinity, Gender, and Breadwinning among Ireland's "Euro-Commuters", Men and Masculinities, 2020, p702-724 Journal Article, 2020

David Ralph, 'Who should do the caring'? Involved fatherhood and ambivalent gendered moral rationalities among cohabiting/married Irish parents , Community, Work & Family , 19, (1), 2016, p63 - 79 Journal Article, 2016 DOI

Jane Gray, Ruth Geraghty, David Ralph, Family Rhythms: The Changing Textures of Family Life in Ireland , Manchester University Press, 2016 Book, 2016 URL

David Ralph, Work, Family and Commuting in Europe: The Lives of Euro-commuters , London, Palgrave Macmillan , 2015, 1 - 150pp Book, 2015 URL

'One of the best members of the family': Continuity and Change in Young Children's Relationships with their Grandparents in, editor(s)Linda Connolly , The 'Irish' Family , London, Routledge, 2015, [Ruth Geraghty, Jane Gray and David Ralph] Book Chapter, 2015

David Ralph, 'New Orleans, Present Simple', Dublin Review , 2015, - Fiction and creative prose, 2015

David Ralph, 'Always on the Move, but Going Nowhere Fast': Motivations for 'Euro-commuting' between the Republic of Ireland and Other EU States, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies , 41, (2), 2015, p176 - 195 Journal Article, 2015 URL

David Ralph, 'Equally at home on Beacon Hill and Hill 16'? Transnational identities among Irish-born return migrants from the United States, Global Networks, 14, (4), 2014, p477 - 494 Journal Article, 2014 DOI

David Ralph, 'It was a bit like the passover': recollections of family mealtimes during twentieth century Irish childhoods, Children's Geographies , 11, (4), 2013, p422 - 435 Journal Article, 2013

Jane Gray, Ruth Geraghty and David Ralph, Young grandchildren and their grandparents: a secondary analysis of continuity and change across four birth cohorts, Families, Relationships and Societies , 2, (2), 2013, p289 - 298 Journal Article, 2013 DOI

David Ralph, Managing sameness and difference: the politics of belonging among Irish-born return migrants from the United States, Social & Cultural Geography , 13, (5), 2012, p445 - 460 Journal Article, 2012 DOI

David Ralph, 'An African Land Rush', Dublin Review, 2012, - Fiction and creative prose, 2012 URL

David Ralph, 'The Vortex: A visit to the world of positive thinking ', Dublin Review, 2012, - Fiction and creative prose, 2012

David Ralph and Lynn A. Staeheli , Home and Migration: Mobilities, Belongings and Identities, Geography Compass, 5, (7), 2011, p517 - 530 Journal Article, 2011 DOI

David Ralph, 'Home is where the heart is'? Understandings of 'home' among Irish-born return migrants from the United States, Irish Studies Review , 17, (2), 2009, p183 - 200 Journal Article, 2009 DOI

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Commuter Marriages in, Macmillian Encyclopedia of Families, Marriages, and Intimate Relationships, 2019, [David Ralph] Book Chapter, 2019

Research Expertise


Broadly, my research interests lie in two main areas: migration studies, and family studies. Specifically, my PhD dissertation examined the re-integration experiences of return migrants to "Celtic Tiger" Ireland. It looked at how returnees understood ideas of home, belonging and identity in the wake of re-settlement. Following this, I worked on the "Family Rhythms" project at Maynooth University. This IRC-funded project examined changes and continuity to the Irish family throughout the 20th century. Next, I moved to University College Cork, where I took up a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship to work on the "Euro-commuters" project. There I examined a novel form of post-crisis migration in Europe, whereby EU citizens live in one EU country but work in another, commuting over and back between the two chronically. Presently, I am developing the various strands of this past research agenda into a new project that will investigate contemporary dilemmas around work, career and family for mobile workers in the burgeoning tech sector across Europe. The common thread running throughout all these projects - which is there in my first publication from 2009 and there in my most recent from 2016 - is how issues around family and migration intersect in often irreconcilable ways in the lives of highly mobile population groups.


  • Title
    • Euro-commuters
  • Summary
    • This project examines a form of post-crisis migration that I term "Euro-commuting" - that is, where an EU citizen lives in one EU country, but works in another, commuting back and forth between the two routinely. The project examines the impacts of this form of mobility on both the cross-border commuter as well as their "left behind" family members.
  • Funding Agency
    • European Commission
  • Date From
    • 2012
  • Date To
    • 2014
  • Title
    • Family Rhythms
  • Summary
    • The "Family Rhythms" project looks at continuity and change in the Irish family over the course of the 20th century. A secondary qualitative data archive project, it examines the domains of parenthood, childhood, grandparenthood, as well as family forms and structures.
  • Funding Agency
    • Irish Research Council
  • Date From
    • 2011
  • Date To
    • 2012
  • Title
    • Revisiting Return Migration
  • Summary
    • This project re-visited two projects carried out originally on return migration to "Celtic Tiger" Ireland. In collaboration with Dr Caitriona Ni Laoire from UCC, this project re-interviewed return migrants we had originally interviewed during the boom years. The aim was to examine the re-integration trajectories of returnee in the context of ongoing austerity and recession. Had our original interviewees re-settled fully now that they were back in their origin country for several years? Or was return just one more sojourn on an ever lengthening migratory career? How would return migrants mobilise their mobility capital in the face of economic contraction?
  • Funding Agency
    • Irish Research Council
  • Date From
    • 01-01-2015
  • Date To
    • 01-09-0215



Trinity representative on the Executive Committee of the Sociological Association of Ireland 1 January 2017


Sociological Association of Ireland 2014 – Ongoing

British Sociological Association 2014 – Ongoing

European Sociological Association 2014 – Ongoing