Colin Barr

Colin Barr is professor of modern Irish history in the Keough School of Global Affairs. He is director of the Clingen Family Center for the Study of Modern Ireland, which is housed at the Keough School’s Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies.

Dr. Barr joined the University of Notre Dame faculty in 2022, having previously been a faculty member at the University of Aberdeen.

He was born in Canada, raised near Seattle, and received his masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Cambridge, where he was a member of Gonville & Caius College. He has held academic appointments in Ireland and the United States and, since 2013, has been a faculty member at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

Dr. Barr’s academic interest is centered on the history of modern Ireland, with a particular focus on the Catholic Church both in Ireland itself and in the wider worlds of the Irish Diaspora. During his time at Notre Dame, he will be pursuing several projects, including the completion of a biography of Paul Cullen, Ireland’s first cardinal. Titled Ireland’s Pope, this will be the first sustained study of a man who many consider to be the most important public figure in the generation between the death of Daniel O’Connell and the rise of Charles Stewart Parnell.  It will draw on dozens of archives in numerous countries and is scheduled for publication in 2022.

Dr. Barr’s many articles and books include Paul Cullen, John Henry Newman, and the Catholic University of Ireland, 1845-65 (2003); The European Culture Wars in Ireland: The Callan Schools Affair, 1868-1881 (2010); Nation/Nazione: Irish Nationalism and the Italian Risorgimento (edited with Michele Finelli and Anne O’Connor)(2014); and Religion and Greater Ireland: Christianity and Irish Global Networks, 1750-1950 (edited with Hilary M. Carey)(2015).

His fifth and newest book,  Ireland's Empire: The Roman Catholic Church in the English-Speaking World, 1829-1914,  was published by Cambridge University Press in 2020 and has met with widespread acclaim.

Dr. Barr  teaches undergraduate courses, for example, the History of Modern Ireland and The Troubles

He regularly appears on the CTV News Channel (Canada) as a commentator on British, Irish, and European politics, and has been a guest on BBC Radio 4 “Today,” BBC Radio Scotland “Drive Time,” BBC Radio West Midlands, and CKR Radio in Ireland.  


Phone: (574) 631-2327