Publication of The Cambridge History of Ireland is celebrated in Dublin, with a Seminar and President Michael D. Higgins giving a special address/The Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies is a co-sponsor

Author: Mary Hendriksen


A landmark survey of Irish history from c. 600 to the present day, The Cambridge History of Ireland (Cambridge University Press) presents the Irish story – or stories – from 600 to the present. Four comprehensive volumes bring together the latest scholarship, setting Irish history within broader Atlantic, European, imperial, and global contexts.

Two Notre Dame faculty members are contributing authors to this landmark series:

Patrick Griffin, Madden-Hennebry Professor of History and Director, Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies.  In volume III (edited by James Kelly), Professor Griffin's chapter is titled 'Irish' Migration to America in the Eighteenth Century? Or the Strange Case for the 'Scots/Irish', pp. 593-616.


Brian Ó ConchubhairAssociate Professor of Irish Language & Literature and Director of the Center for the Study of Languages & Cultures at the University of Notre Dame.  In volume IV (edited by Thomas Bartlett), Professor Ó Conchubhair’s article is titled: The Culture Wars: The Gaelic League and Irish-Ireland, pp. 146-169.


The Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies joined with Cambridge University Press and the Trinity Long Room Hub to sponsor a seminar on April 30 and then a celebration at Dublin Castle in the evening, with President Michael D. Higgins offering a special address.


The events were live-streamed and recorded. See here.


At the celebration in Dublin Castle, President Michael D. Higgins commented on the impressive scholarship contained in the four volumes. He highlighted just a few chapters—one of which was the contribution of Patrick Griffin:

The character of this eighteenth-century migration from Ireland of perhaps up to 250,000 people has been cemented in the popular mind through the use of the term of ‘Scots Irish’, which, as Professor Patrick Griffin’s contribution demonstrates, was itself a nineteenth-century appellation rather than one which might be familiar to the migrants themselves, indicating not only the fluid character of migration within these islands and the New World Colonies, but also something of the ideological environment in which ethnic categories were later constructed and mobilised. 

The re-interpretation of the nature of this wave of Irish migration, and I use the term ‘Irish’ deliberately, is important not only for our own historiography but for historical debates within the United States, where the immigration that followed An Gorta Mór is very often thought of as, in an excessively exclusive way, the foundational event in Irish-America, and of what we have come to know as ‘the Irish diaspora’, a term that encompasses all those who claim Irish ancestry today, with all the diversity and complexity that implies. 

See the complete text of President Michael D. Higgins' remarks.


About the Four-Volume Series


The work benefits from a strong political narrative framework, and is distinctive in including essays that address the full range of social, economic, religious, linguistic, military, cultural, artistic and gender history, and in challenging traditional chronological boundaries in a manner that offers new perspectives and insights.

Each volume examines Ireland’s development within a distinct period, and offers a complete and rounded picture of Irish life, while remaining sensitive to the Irish experience.

About the Editors

Thomas Bartlett has held positions at the National University of Ireland, Galway, then as Professor of Modern Irish history at University College Dublin, and most recently as Professor of Irish history at the University of Aberdeen, until his retirement in 2014. He has been a frequent visitor to Notre Dame’s Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, most recently in Fall 2017 as the Patrick B. O'Donnell Distinguished Visiting Professor. Professor Bartlett is the author of numerous publications, including Ireland: A History (Cambridge, 2010).


Brendan Smith is a Professor of Medieval History at the University of Bristol. He is the author and editor of numerous books on medieval Ireland, including several collections of historical documents.


Jane Ohlmeyer is Erasmus Smith's Professor of Modern History at Trinity College, Dublin and the Director of the Trinity Long Room Hub, Trinity's research institute for advanced study in the Arts and Humanities. Since September 2015 she has also served as Chair of the Irish Research Council. Professor Ohlmeyer is the author/editor of eleven books, including Making Ireland English: The Aristocracy in Seventeenth-Century Ireland (2012).


James Kelly is Professor of History at Dublin City University and President of the Irish Economic and Social History Society. His many publications include Sport in Ireland, 1600–1840 (2014), which won the special commendation prize offered by the National University of Ireland in 2016.


More information on the individual volumes


The first volume of The Cambridge History of Ireland presents the latest thinking on key aspects of the medieval Irish experience, focusing on the extent to which developments were unique to Ireland. The openness of Ireland to outside influences, and its capacity to influence the world beyond its shores, are recurring themes. Underpinning the book is a comparative, outward-looking approach that sees Ireland as an integral but exceptional component of medieval Christian Europe.


Volume Two looks at the transformative and tumultuous years between 1550 and 1730, offering fresh perspectives on the political, military, religious, social, cultural, intellectual, economic, and environmental history of early modern Ireland. As with all the volumes in the series, contributors here situate their discussions in global and comparative contexts.


The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was an era of continuity as well as change. Though properly portrayed as the era of 'Protestant Ascendancy', it embraces two phases - the eighteenth century when that ascendancy was at its peak; and the nineteenth century when the Protestant elite sustained a determined rear-guard defence in the face of the emergence of modern Catholic nationalism. This volume moves beyond the familiar political narrative to engage with the economy, society, population, emigration, religion, language, state formation, culture, art and architecture, and the Irish abroad


The final volume in the Cambridge History of Ireland covers the period from the 1880s to the present. This insightful interpretation on the emergence and development of Ireland during these often turbulent decades is copiously illustrated, with special features on images of the 'Troubles' and on Irish art and sculpture in the twentieth century.



For a full list of contributors to each volume, visit


For an author interview or more information please contact

Amy F Lee at Cambridge University Press: