Originally from Co. Cork in Ireland and now based in Edinburgh, I am currently an Associate Lecturer for A326 (Empire: 1492-1975) and A327 (Europe 1914-1989: War, Peace, Modernity) with the Open University in Scotland. I was awarded my PhD in history from the University of Edinburgh in 2010. Prior to my doctoral studies, I studied at the National University of Ireland, Galway.
My research interests include comparative decolonisation, insurgency and counter-insurgency in the British Empire, the British colonial legal service and modern Irish history in transnational and comparative contexts. Geographical areas of particular interest include Kenya, Malaya, Cyprus, Algeria and Ireland.
My doctoral research explored the Republic of Ireland’s engagement with counter-insurgency efforts in the British Empire using the Cyprus Emergency, 1955-59, as a case study. The methodology included archival research in Cyprus, London and Dublin, the use of private papers and interviews with Irish, British and Cypriot politicians, lawyers, diplomats, heads of state and former insurgents. In examining the Irish interaction with decolonisation in Cyprus, the research exposed a much higher level of Irish participation in the post-war British Empire than previously understood of the 1950s. Thus, it opens the debate on how to think about the Irish interaction with Britain and Empire in the era of decolonisation, and invites further comparative research. The thesis has since been reworked and is published as Ireland and the End of the British Empire: The Republic and Its Role in the Cyprus Emergency (London, 2014).
I am currently researching the Irish contribution to emergency law and order in the post-war British Empire. Three major emergency periods, namely in Palestine (1945-48), Malaya (1948-60) and Kenya (1952-59), are being explored. This research builds on the importance of the discoveries made during, and subsequent to, my doctoral studies surrounding the Irish judicial contribution to counter-insurgency efforts in the post-war British Empire. The case of Cyprus indicates that Ireland, contrary to the new Irish state’s dominant conception of its own identity, remained far more integrated with, and influential in, the post-war British Empire than hitherto assumed, and as such, more in-depth and comparative research is needed. In light of Irish judicial participation being arguably one of Ireland’s most distinctive contributions to empire, given the disproportionate numbers relative to their Welsh, Scottish and, at times, English counterparts, it is anticipated that this work will have an innovative impact on the grand narratives of British imperial and Irish national histories.
I am also undertaking an oral history project of Irish citizens in the British Army who were directly involved in post-war counter-insurgency operations, who then returned to Ireland in an attempt to bring these narratives to light in the context of commemoration, memory and the politics of national narrativisation.