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Irish Historical Society: Crime and Prisoners in Modern Irish History

Tuesday, 9 April 2019, 6:30 – 8:30pm

Irish Historical Society: Crime and Prisoners in Modern Irish History

A symposium with Dr Elaine Farrell (QUB), Dr William Murphy (DCU) and Dr Catherine Cox (UCD) organised by the Irish Historical Society. 

Register here.

Seen as a victim of the law, ‘a felon of our land’ or a common criminal, the presence (or absence) of prisoners has been a constant feature in Irish History. Drawing on a range of research approaches, this symposium examines the lives of men and women incarcerated in Irish prisons in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Elaine Farrell, Queen's University Belfast

Elaine’s research focuses on nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Irish gender and crime history. She has published on infanticide and concealment of birth, imprisonment and transportation, criminal tattoos, and women in WWI. She leads the AHRC-funded project, ‘“Bad Bridget”: Criminal and Deviant Irish Women in North America, 1838-1918’, with Dr Leanne McCormick (Ulster University). She is also currently working on a history of Irish female convicts in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

Elaine’s publications include:
'‘Poor prison flowers’: convict mothers and their children in Ireland, 1853–1900' in Social History, xli, no. 2 (2016), pp 171-91.

‘The Salvation of Them: Emigration to North America from the nineteenth-century Irish women’s convict prison’ in Women’s History Review, xxv, no. 4 (2016), pp 619-37.

‘“Having an immoral conversation” and other prison offenses: The punishment of convict women’ in Christina Brophy and Cara Delay (eds), Women, Reform, and Resistance in Ireland, 1850-1950 (Basingstoke, 2015), pp 101-18.

William Murphy,  DCU

William’s primary field of research is modern Irish history, with a particular expertise in the history of the Irish revolutionary period. To date this work has centred on three key areas, the history of political imprisonment, the history of sport and leisure, and the history of female suffragism.

His current research includes further work on political prisoners which will contribute to a project entitled 'Prisoners, Medical Care and Entitlement to Health in England and Ireland, 1850-2000'. This project was awarded a Senior Investigator Award by the Wellcome Trust in 2014. William’s work is also engaged with prison protest and suffragist strategies of resistance, including census boycott.

He is co-founder with Dr Paul Rouse (University College Dublin) of Sports History Ireland and co-editor of two collections on the history of sport and leisure. The relationship of sport to the Irish revolution is a particular interest, as is the relationship of the history of sport to wider histories of leisure and popular culture.

Publications include:
Anne Dolan and William Murphy, Michael Collins: the man and the revolution (Cork, 2018)

William Murphy, Political Imprisonment and the Irish, 1912-1921 (Oxford, 2014) 

William Murphy, 'Imprisonment, 1915-1918' in John Crowley, Donal O Drisceoil, Mike Murphy and John Borgonovo (eds), Atlas of the Irish Revolution (Cork, 2017), pp 319-22. 

Catherine Cox, UCD

Catherine’s main research focus is the Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award 'Prisoners, Medical Care and Entitlement to Health in England and Ireland, 1850-2000'. Working with Hilary Marland, the project explores the prison as a site of medical intervention. It investigates health risks, medical interventions and health care in English and Irish prisons between 1850 and 2000. Alongside the production of scholarly outputs, and a wide range of public engagement activities, the study will address current policy debates on prison systems, medical ethics and the management of prisoners' health.
View the project website at

Campus LocationTrinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute
Accessibility: Yes
Room: Neill Lecture Theatre
Research Theme: Identities in Transformation, Making Ireland
Event Category: Alumni, Lectures and Seminars, Public
Type of Event: One-time event
Audience: Postgrad, Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Public
Cost: Free (but registration is required)
Contact Name: Dr Ciarán Wallace

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