The Emergency: Ireland in wartime, 27-28 June 2014
Speakers' profiles


Prof. Desmond Bell is Head of Academic Affairs & Research at the National College of Art and Design. He was Ireland’s first professor of media studies, and the first active film maker appointed to such a post. Over the last ten years, he has written and directed a series of documentary films – including The Enigma of Frank Ryan (2012) – for television and the cinema. Prof. Bell’s films, which explore classic Irish stories of diaspora and displacement, have featured at festivals and venues all over the world and have been broadcast by RTE, TG4, UTV, Channel 4, and the BBC.


 Dr Bozena Cierlik is a Lecturer in History at University College Cork. A graduate of KUL University, Poland (MA in Archival Studies) and UCC (PhD), her research to date has focused on Irish-Polish political relationships (with a particular emphasis on the inter-war Irish and Polish constitutions), and Polish and Eastern European political history more generally.





A Lecturer in International Relations at Dublin City University, Dr Karen Devine holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Dublin, Trinity College. She is a former Chevening Scholar, a former Government of Ireland Scholar, a former Fulbright Scholar, and a former IRCHSS Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for International Studies at DCU, 2008-2009. Her research interests focus on the politics of neutrality in Europe (with a particular emphasis on Ireland, Austria, Sweden, and Finland), and public opinion and foreign policy in Europe and the United States of America.



Dr Bryce Evans is Senior Lecturer in History at Liverpool Hope University. A graduate of the University of Warwick and University College Dublin (where he was awarded his doctorate), he has published widely on modern Irish economic and political history, including the critically acclaimed books Seán Lemass: Democratic Dictator (Collins, 2011), and the first social and economic survey of Emergency Ireland, Ireland During the Second World War – Farewell to Plato’s Cave (Manchester, 2014).



Mary Hawkins has recently submitted a PhD thesis 'Nurses and Midwives in the State Sector in Galway 1922-1970'. This study continues the story of nursing and midwifery past the Registration Act (1919) and on into Ireland in the post- independence era. The fortunes of different groups of nurses and midwives are examined under three headings: training, working lives and unrest.





Dr Gisela Holfter is Senior Lecturer in German and co-founder and Joint Director of the Centre for Irish-German Studies at the University of Limerick. She studied in Cologne, Cambridge and St. Louis, and worked in Belfast and at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, before coming to Limerick. One of her main research areas is Ireland as a destination for German-speaking refugees 1933-1945.




A graduate of NUI Galway, Dr Bernard Kelly is an Honorary Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. His research monograph, Returning Home: Irish Ex-Servicemen after the Second World War (Dublin, 2012), explores how Irish ex-servicemen coped with the difficult task of re-integration into Irish civilian society. It details their impact on government policy, their economic difficulties, struggles with psychological problems, the vexed issue of Remembrance, and the treatment of deserters from the Irish forces.


Dr Leo Keohane is a Lecturer in Irish Studies at NUI, Galway. His PhD explored Anarchism as an alternative perspective in political philosophy and as a kind of mentalité in Irish culture and history. Dr Keohane’s current interests include a re-examination of James Connolly’s political thinking, the phenomena of Irish small town culture, and devotional discourses in twentieth-century Ireland. His biography of Captain Jack White, published by Merrion Press, will be launched in September this year.


Dr Kevin McCarthy recently completed a PhD on the political career of Robert Briscoe. Entitled ‘Exploring the Zionist Evolution of Robert Briscoe: History and Memory’, this study culminates in Briscoe’s engagement with Ze’ev Jabotinsky and the New Zionist Organisation, while it also reveals that he enjoyed a far closer and more complicated relationship with de Valera than previously acknowledged. Subsequently Dr McCarthy’s research interests have broadened to include an understanding of the complex and coded socio-linguistic template of the era, which to various degrees affected all aspects of civil and political society.



Dr Patrick McCarthy holds a PhD in Chemistry and an MBA from NUI, Dublin. He is Correspondence Secretary of the Military History Society of Ireland, and is a frequent contributor to the Society’s prestigious journal, The Irish Sword, and other publications. He is currently completing a book on Waterford during the War of Independence and the Civil War. He recently retired after a 37-year career in the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector.




Neasa McGarrigle is PhD candidate at Trinity College Dublin. She graduated from Trinity in 2008, where she studied the History of Art and Architecture, and Ancient History and Archaeology. Neasa also completed a Masters in Science at Oxford, where she studied the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology. Her doctoral research focuses on the early years of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, which was established in 1940. 



Dr Fearghal McGarry is Senior Lecturer in History at Queen's University Belfast, and joint-editor of Irish Historical Studies. His research specializes in modern Irish history, particularly political violence and radical ideology in revolutionary and inter-war Ireland. His first book examined Irish responses to the Spanish Civil War and he has written biographies of the socialist republican, Frank Ryan, and the fascist politician, Eoin O’Duffy. He has also recently completed a history of the Easter Rising and has published an edited collection of the Bureau of Military History’s witness statements on 1916.



 A former Lady Gregory and IRCHSS Research Fellow at NUI, Galway, Dr Paul McNamara lives and works in Poland. His recently completed doctoral dissertation examined the “Sovietisation” of Baltic Poland in the aftermath of the Second World War. Dr McNamara is also a leading authority on the Irish diplomat Seán Lester, who was the last Secretary General of the League of Nations (1940-46), and the League’s High Commissioner to pre-war Danzig




Dr Mary Muldowney completed her Ph.D. in Trinity College Dublin. A Research Fellow at the university’s Centre for Contemporary Irish History, she is the author of The Second World War and Irish Women: an oral history (Dublin, 2007). This work explores the wartime experiences of women in Eire and Northern Ireland, and assesses how the conflict influenced their public and private roles. Dr Muldowney is also a consultant and trainer in adult education (particularly in trade union education), and is a founder member and Director of the Oral History Network of Ireland.



Dr Deirdre Mulrooney is a Dance Historian and Documentary Maker (radio and television).  Her book “Irish Moves: An illustrated history of Dance and Physical Theatre in Ireland” was published by the Liffey Press in 2006.  Her short documentary “1943 – A Dance Odyssey” was broadcast on RTE One on Easter Monday, 2013, and her first feature documentary “Dance Emergency/Damhsa na hEigeandala” will be broadcast on TG4 in Autumn 2014.  Her PhD, published by Peter Lang GmbH in 2002 was on Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal, and she has contributed a chapter on Erina Brady to the forthcoming book “Cultural Translators – 
Selected Irish German Biographies II (WVT, Autumn 2014), edited by Sabine Egger.  



Steven Murphy is a PhD Candidate in the School of History at University College Cork. His research focuses on Ireland’s relations with the other European neutrals during the Second World War. He holds an MA in International Relations from UCC and a Postgraduate Diploma in Small State Studies from Háskóli Íslands (University of Iceland), where he has interned at the Centre for Small States Studies. He tutors under-graduate students in European Studies, and has previously tutored in the areas of Politics and International History.




Specialising in British-Irish military connections, Dr Steven O'Connor currently holds a Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Centre for Contemporary Irish History (TCD). He previously held a Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship at the Centre for War Studies (UCD), where he completed his PhD in 2012. His first book, Irish Officers in the British Forces, 1922-45, was published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2014.




James T. O’Donnell recently completed his PhD at the Moore Institute, NUI Galway. His doctoral dissertation, ‘International News Supply in Ireland, c. 1899-1949’ examined the systems and structures of international news supply in an Irish context. In this regard, he has considered how both censorship and the corporate/commercial behaviour of Irish newspapers affected the way in which major wartime events were reported to the Irish public.


Dr Jennifer Redmond is Lecturer in Twentieth Century Irish History at the Department of History, NUI Maynooth, and President of the Women's History Society of Ireland. Her work is rooted in social history, focusing on Irish emigration (especially during the Second World War) and the history of education primarily. The research presented by Dr Redmond at this conference resulted from an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship held at NUI Maynooth between 2009 and 2011.




Dr Peter Rigney is an Industrial Officer with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, where he is responsible for labour market issues. He holds a PhD from Trinity College Dublin. His doctoral dissertation, which explored the wartime difficulties encountered by the Irish railways in an international context, was published as Trains, Coal and Turf: Transport in Emergency Ireland (Dublin, 2010). He is a member and former officer of the Irish Labour History Society and Assistant Archivist of the Irish Railway Record Society.



Joseph Quinn is based at the Centre for Contemporary Irish History at Trinity College Dublin. Originally an undergraduate at NUI Galway, he graduated in 2007 with a BA degree in English and History and in 2008 he also graduated with a Masters in Culture and Colonialism at this same university. He subsequently embarked upon an M.phil in Modern Irish History at Trinity College Dublin, from which he graduated in 2011, and he is now in his final year of a PhD at Trinity. The topic of his thesis is 'Ireland, Britain and the Irish in the British Forces during the Second World War.'



Dr Jackie Uí Chionna is a Thomas McDonogh Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Moore Institute, NUI Galway. Her research to date has focused on the history of Irish family businesses, the history of education, and oral history. In the latter contexts, Dr Uí Chionna has explored the experiences of American servicemen who studied in Galway in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War.




Dr Barry Whelan recently completed his PhD at NUI Maynooth. Grounded in the years 1939-55, his doctoral dissertation focused on the cultural, economic, and political relationship between Ireland and Spain. Dr Whelan has published several articles in international journals on aspects of Irish-Spanish relations during the Second World War, and he is currently preparing a biography on Ireland’s wartime minister to Spain, Leopold Kerney.



Lili Zách, is a graduate of the University of Szeged, Hungary, and PhD candidate at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Her research focuses on Irish foreign policy, with a particular emphasis on Irish links with Central Europe between 1918 and 1948. At present, she is investigating Irish perceptions of the successor states of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. By exploring Ireland’s relationship with Austria, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia, her research provides new insights into the process of how newly independent states developed diplomatic relations in post-war Europe.