Presenter Biographies

Allmond, Gill 

Dr Gillian Allmond is an Early Career Researcher and has previously worked in the Historic Environment Division of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, as a field archaeologist and as a researcher on the Northern Ireland Second Survey of buildings of architectural and historic interest. Gill recently completed a PhD at Queen’s University Belfast entitled, ‘The colony asylum in Scotland and Ireland 1880-1914’.  Her publications include, Allmond, G. 2018. ‘“Levelling up the lower deeps”: the hygiene of light and air in an Edwardian asylum’. In: G. Laragy, O. Purdue and J. Wright, eds. Urban Spaces in Nineteenth Century Ireland. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press;  Allmond, G. 2016 ‘“The outer darkness of madness”: an Edwardian Winter Garden at Purdysburn asylum for the insane poor.’ In: M. Dowd and R. Hensey, eds. The Archaeology of Darkness. Oxford: Oxbow Books and Allmond, G. 2016. ‘Light and darkness in an Edwardian institution for the insane poor – illuminating the material practices of the asylum age.’ International Journal of Historical Archaeology, 20 (1), pp.1-22. 

Barden, Sean 

Sean Barden is a Curator at Armagh County Museum. He has worked in various roles at the museum for 35 years and during the last 10 years has had curatorial responsibilities. In 2016, Sean curated an exhibition ‘Mad or Bad’ exploring crime gender and mental health in nineteenth century Ireland. He wrote the book ‘The Green Lady Mystery’ (Armagh County Museum, 2016) that explored one of the court cases included in the exhibition and is the subject of the proposed paper. He has also written ‘The last Countess’ (2001), an exploration of a land agent’s letters and ‘Elm Park’ (Ulster Historical Foundation, 2004), a history of a county Armagh preparatory school. He has also written several articles for various local history journals on a variety of topics, mostly local studies. 

Bhreatnach, Aoife 

Dr Aoife Bhreatnach is an independent scholar researching the cultural history of Irish garrison towns. A graduate of University College Cork, she has an MPhil in Irish History on the subject of Frank Aiken as Minister for External Affairs. Her PhD from De Montfort University was awarded in 2003 and the subsequent book, Becoming Conspicuous: Irish Travellers, Society and the State was published in 2006 by UCD Press. From 2003-04, she held the Irish Government Senior Scholarship at Hertford College, Oxford and taught at the University of Warwick. A recipient of an Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences Post-Doctoral Fellowship from 2004-06, she worked in NUI Maynooth developing a theory of class in nineteenth-century Ireland. From this research emerged her interest in the role played by the British military in Irish social history. She blogs on and tweets as @GarrisonTowns. 

Blair, Gráinne

Grainne is an independent historian who is returning to her field of interest, whilst learning to live with a permanent brain injury (ABI). She is an activist, mentor and researcher. She has contributed too many recent published works, exhibitions and art installations especially related to women. She has also published on Lola Montez. Her work on The Salvation Army was the first in its field especially related to Ireland and continues to provide a basis for further research particularly into rescue work. She organised the first History Conference  on The Magdalen’s Tale: ‘Prostitution’ in Ireland 1750-1990 in WERRC, UCD in 1996. New Battlegrounds: the development of the Salvation Army  Rescue Network in Ireland. Irish Women’s History: New Research and Perspectives edited by Alan Hayes and Diane Urquhart, 2003, Irish Academic Press/Frank Cass. Equal Sinners: Irish Women Utilising the Salvation Army Rescue Network for Britain and Ireland in the Nineteenth Century: in Gendered Perspectives in Nineteenth-Century Ireland: Public and Private Spheres.  Margaret Kelleher and James H, Murphy (eds), Dublin, Irish Academic Press, 1997. Josephine Butler and Catherine Booth, Political Alliances: The Importance of the Maiden Tribute Agitation and the Eliza Armstrong Case to the Salvation Army in the Nineteenth Century ‘, In From The Shadows: The UL Women’s Studies Collection. Volume II,1996.

Brennan, Damien 

Dr Damien Brennan is Associate Professor at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, where his teaching and research are focused on the sociology of health and illness. His agenda of research examines ‘Contexts of Care Provision’, which seeks to provide an understanding of Irelands problematic institutional past, while also examining the capacity for care provision within communities and families within contemporary ‘post-institutional’ globalised society. This research agenda has been supported with funding from bodies such as the Irish Research Council, the National Disability Authority, and the Irish Penal Reform Trust. 

Crampsie, Arlene 

Dr Arlene Crampsie is a historical geographer in the School of Geography, UCD. Her research interests lie at the intersection of political, socio-cultural and environmental geographies with a particular focus on the role of the state in Ireland in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. 

Dennehy, Coleman 

Trained both as a criminologist and a legal historian, Coleman Dennehy works mostly on legal and constitutional history in early modern Ireland. He is 2nd Secretary-General of the International Commission for the History of Representative and Parliamentary Institutions, a councillor of the Irish Legal History Society, and is Reviews Editor of ParlementsÉtats, et Représentation. A former Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellow, he previously taught at the Department of History at University College London and the Faculty of Law at the University of Vienna.  He has published a number of articles and chapters. Recent and forthcoming books, either as sole author or editor, include Restoration Ireland: always settling and never settledSir Henry Bennet, earl of Arlington, and his worldThe Irish parliament, 1613-89: the evolution of a colonial institutionLaw and revolution in seventeenth-century Ireland. He is contracted to write a history of early modern Irish crime and punishment for Bloomsbury. 

Dennehy, Emer 

Emer Dennehy is an experienced archaeological excavation director and has worked as an Archaeologist with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (formerly the Railway Procurement Agency) since 2008. Emer is the Project Archaeologist for Light Rail works and is responsible for overseeing projects from route selection to construction.  

Dennis, Lorraine 

Until recently Dr Lorraine Dennis was Project Manager for the Visual Voices of the Prisons Memory Archive: preservation, access and engagement project at Queens University Belfast. Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the project aims to develop the recordings from Armagh, Maze and Long Kesh prisons as a sustainable resource which captures some of Northern Ireland’s troubled past. Lorraine’s involvement with the Prisons Memory Archive spans almost a decade beginning with her role as researcher in 2006, when the first recordings were made. In that time she has worked as both policy maker and practitioner in peacebuilding and conflict transformation.  

Farrell, Elaine 

Dr Elaine Farrell is a senior lecturer in History at Queen’s University Belfast. She has published widely on crime and punishment in a nineteenth-century Irish context. She is currently CI on the AHRC ‘Bad Bridget’ project, which examines criminal and deviant Irish women in North America, 1838-1918. 

Frehill, Olivia 

Olivia Frehill is currently a first year PhD student at Trinity College Dublin funded by the TCD Provost’s project studentship. This presentation is based on her previous MPhil research and she also holds a BA from Trinity College Dublin.  

Gibbons, Erin 

Erin Gibbons is a Connemara based Archaeologist and Museum Consultant with a research interest in Historical Archaeology.  She is Director of The Inishlyon Project,( A five season programme of surveying and sample excavating a late 19th century Sunken Village in Sand, begun in 2015) Inishbofin ,County Galway. 

Hamill, Chris 

This paper evolved from research conducted during an MPhil in Architecture & Urban Design at the Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge 2016-18. This research project, entitled ‘Troubled Legacy’ reviewed the architectural remnants of Northern Ireland’s recent conflict and solutions put forward in the post-Belfast Agreement era to allow for their re-use. The project was awarded the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings’ Philip Webb Award 2018 for tabling a community focused critique and alternative proposal to a current scheme which will see the derelict prison in Armagh transformed into a luxury hotel and spa in coming years. The dissertation resulting from this research was also awarded a Special Commendation in the Institute for Historic Building Conservation’s (IHBC) Gus Astley Award 2018.  Chris Hamill is currently completing his registration as a licensed architect in the UK before continuing with a PhD on the architectural heritage of Irish Institutions.  He is also currently engaged in setting up a Civic Trust in Armagh to lobby against the hotel development proposals and generally to help improve the historic built environment in the city. 

Hinson, Erin 

Erin Hinson is the Vice President of Research Development at Abbey Research. She is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh (BA) and Queen’s University Belfast (MA, PhD). Her doctoral research examined how artefacts, through both production and use, facilitated the formation of identities within the Maze/Long Kesh compound prison experiences of the Ulster Volunteer Force and Red Hand Commando. Dr. Hinson’s current research interests include prison systems and reforms, issues of demobilization and reintegration, and their intersections with art and craft work.  

Hutchinson, Jayne and Kelly, Michelle 

Jayne Hutchinson has been an Archivist at PRONI for seven years and has responsibility for the records of healthcare and local government functions which are preserved in PRONI as public records. Her current role includes identifying records of historic value created by NI government departments and their predecessor bodies, and managing their addition to PRONI’s public catalogue. Jayne studied Law and History at Queen’s University Belfast and started her archival career with Louth Local Authorities, studying Records Management and Archives Administration at University College Dublin and Aberystwyth University. 

Michelle Kelly has worked in PRONI for 19 years and since 2007 has been part of the team responsible for cataloguing healthcare records and has wide experience of using these records to respond to customer queries relating to people who were adopted, who were born or grew up in a workhouse, or whose relatives were admitted to asylums or workhouses in Northern Ireland. Michelle has also contributed to the research for a major exhibition on the development of Mental Health services which was commissioned by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and part of her role is to assist the Trust’s Post Adoption Team for pre Welfare State Adoption/Boarding Out searches. 

Keane, Kate 

Kate Keane is the Project Archivist for the Visual Voices of the Prisons Memory Archive: preservation, access and engagement project. Her role focuses primarily on the processing, cataloguing, and transfer of the PMA Collection to the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, where it will be publicly accessible. With a background in Irish Studies, and Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies, Kate has previously worked with collections in a number of specialist and academic archives and libraries. Her wider research interests include representations of culture and identity in Northern Ireland; the lived experiences, multiple narratives, and untold stories of people who lived here during the conflict; and the role of archives, museums, and libraries in a society emerging from conflict. 

Kelso, Glynn 

Glynn has worked as a Curatorial Officer for the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) since 2009.  He holds a Doctorate in Historical Geography from the Queen’s University of Belfast, and is an elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He is dedicated to public engagement and learning, and is keen to champion the value of cartographic archives. 

Keown, Bridget 

Bridget Keown received her BA in History and Russian Literature and Language from Smith College and her MA in Imperial and Commonwealth History from King’s College London. She is currently completing her PhD in World History at Northeastern University. Her work focuses on British and Irish women and their experience of war trauma during the First World War and Irish War of Independence. She has been awarded the Larkin Research Fellowship in Irish Studies from the American Conference for Irish Studies to continue this research. During the summer of 2017 she contributed guest blogs for the American Historical Association as one of two AHA Today Blog Contest winners ( She is currently a contributing writer to Nursing Clio ( 

Lenox, Laney 

Laney Lenox is a PhD researcher at the School of Applied Policy and Social Science, Ulster University. Her research focuses on the interaction of perceptions of time with participatory mechanisms for dealing with the past in peace processes. Specifically, her work examines archives documenting experience of prisons in peace process spaces and societies in political transformation. To date, her work with the Prisons Memory Archive has included creating a database for agreements, writing research reports to advise on various aspects of PMA management, and assisting in focus group facilitations. 

Lowry, Alison 

Alison Lowry is a glass artist living and working from her studio, ‘Schoolhouse Glass’ in Saintfield, Co. Down. In 2009 she graduated from Ulster University with an Honours degree in Art and Design. Since then she has won numerous awards including first place in the category, ‘Glass Art’ at the Royal Dublin Society in 2015 and 2009, the Silver Medal at the Royal Ulster Arts Club’s Annual Exhibition in 2010, the Warm Glass Prize in 2010 and 2011 and more recently the Bronze Award at Bullseye Glass’ exhibition for emerging artists, ‘Emerge’. Alison exhibits nationally and internationally, and her work is held in several public collections. In 2016 the National Museum of Ireland acquired a large pâte de
 verre vessel for their ‘Contemporary Collection of Design & Craft’, while the Arts Council of Northern Ireland recently made a fourth purchase for their collection. Alison Lowry is the only Irish artist to have been awarded a month long residency (April 2014) at the Studio of the world-renowned Corning Museum of Glass, Upstate New York. Her current solo exhibition, ‘(A)Dressing Our Hidden Truths’, is primarily  inspired by such traumatic histories as the Tuam Mother & Baby Home, domestic violence and Ireland’s former Magdalene Laundry system. It runs at the National Museum of Ireland- Decorative Arts and History Division, at Collins Barracks in Dublin til May 2020. 

Marsh, Patricia 

Patricia Marsh completed an MA in Archaeology in 2004 and an MA in Irish Studies in 2006, both at Queen’s University Belfast, where her dissertation researched the Spanish Influenza Pandemic in Belfast and she completed a PhD, entitled ‘The effect of the 1918-19 influenza pandemic in the province of Ulster’ in 2010. She has spoken widely at conferences in the United Kingdom and Ireland on the Spanish Flu in Ulster and has published several articles on the flu in Ireland and Ulster in particular.  She has undertaken independent research into public health and welfare with respect to infectious diseases in Belfast in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century.  She has worked as a teaching assistant in the Department of History and Anthropology in QUB and is currently working in the Public Records Office Northern Ireland (PRONI).  

McCann, Michelle 

Dr Michelle McCann holds a PhD in history from QUB and her publications include: Melancholy Madness – A Coroner’s Casebook (2003). The book investigates life, death and the duties and responsibilities of the coroner in post-famine Ireland through the inquests recorded in the coroner’s casebook. Property, privilege and politics: A history of the coroner in pre-Famine Ireland (1801 to1846) (exp. May 2019, SSNCI series). This paper examines the function, status and qualifications required for men serving in the role of coroner in Ireland in the first half of the nineteenth-century. It considers the legislation imposed by the administration and this contested form of authority. 

McCarthy, Rita 

Rita McCarthy holds an MA in local history from the University of Limerick and has a background in adult education and community development. She has worked as a historical researcher for a number of radio documentaries and is currently researching women’s emigration from Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s.  

McDonagh, Sarah 

Sarah McDonagh is a PhD student at Queen’s University Belfast. Her doctoral research investigates the audio description of politically sensitive material related to the Maze and Long Kesh prison in Northern Ireland. Her research reflects on the process of audio describing politically sensitive material for the Prisons Memory Archive (PMA), with the scope of her analysis expanding onto issues of language and identity in the context of Northern Ireland. Her principal research interests are in audiovisual translation and media accessibility, particularly subjects related to accessibility in the arts and digital heritage. She has worked with the Prisons Memory Archive to design accessible content for people of varying sensory abilities, as well as assist the archivist in cataloguing the video tours of Armagh Gaol and the Maze and Long Kesh prison.  

Mulvenna, Gareth 

Gareth Mulvenna is a Belfast-based author and researcher with an expertise on loyalist paramilitaries. In 2016, his book ‘Tartan Gangs and Paramilitaries – The Loyalist Backlash’ was published and was described by renowned journalist Ed Moloney as ‘a classic’. He currently hosts a podcast entitled ‘Hidden Histories of the Northern Ireland Troubles’ and is collaborating with Billy Hutchinson on an autobiography of the PUP leader’s life in paramilitarism and politics. 

Niamh NicGhabhann 

Niamh NicGhabhann is Assistant Dean, Research in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Limerick, and Course Director of the MA Festive Arts programme at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick. Her research focuses on Irish architectural history, and her monograph ‘Medieval ecclesiastical buildings in Ireland, 1789-1915: building on the past’ was published by Four Courts Press in 2015. She was the curator of the World Within Walls exhibition, delivered for the HSE in 2014-15. 

O’Connell, Sean

Sean O’Connell is Professor of Modern British and Irish Social History at Queen’s University. He is an editor of the journal Oral History and founder of the QUOTE Hub website, which promotes oral history in Northern Ireland. He has published widely on historical topics that include making ends meet in working class communities, credit unions, ‘joyriding’, masculinity and violence and the social history of twentieth century Belfast.  With Leanne McCormick (Ulster University), he is currently leading a research project on the history of mother and baby homes and Magdalene laundries in Northern Ireland.

Pearson, Victoria 

Victoria Anne Pearson is in the final year of a MPhil study with the School of History, University College Cork. Her research focuses on the life and work of Bishop Francis Moylan, 1735-1815, a significant figure in in emergence of a renewed and reinvigorated Catholic community in late Eighteenth Century Ireland. Victoria graduated with a BA (First Class) from UCC in 2003. She was an UCC Research Scholar at Washington College Maryland in 2003/2004. Her first article, ‘We Saw A Vision’: The Cork Charitable Society, 1791-1815, will be published in the 20th edition of History Studies, the Journal of the University of Limerick History Society. She currently lives in Derry City and works in education.  

Pope, Jennifer 

Dr Jennifer Pope graduated from the School of Medicine, UCC, with a PhD in Paediatric Epidemiology in 2006. She has lectured in the area of child health and well-being within the Dept. of Reflective Pedagogy & Early Childhood Studies, in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick since 2004. Jennifer’s research has mainly examined the role of early life experiences, past and present, on children’s health and well-being.  

Prior, Pauline 

Dr Pauline Prior, now retired, was formerly a Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at Queen’s University Belfast. Her first degree, BSocSc was gained at University College Cork. She also holds an MSc (Econ) and a social work qualification from the London School of Economics and a DPhil (on mental health policy in NI) from the University of York, England. Before joining academia, she worked as a community development worker in Zambia and Ethiopia, and in social services in Northern Ireland. Her research covers different aspects of mental health policy, including gender, law, and historical trends in mental health services in Ireland. In addition to articles, she has published six books, three of which are historical: Mental Health and Politics in Northern Ireland (Avebury, 1993); Madness and Murder: Gender, Crime and Mental Disorder in nineteenth century Ireland (Irish Academic Press, 2008); and Asylums Mental Health Care and the Irish: Historical Studies 1800-2010 (edited collection, Irish Academic Press, 2012).  Her other books are: Gender and Mental Health (Macmillan Press, 1999); Gender and Health Care in the UK (with B. Hayes) (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2003); Globalisation and European Welfare States (edited with R. Sykes and B. Palier) (Palgrave, 2001).  

Quinlan, Patrick 

Patrick Quinlan graduated with a degree in architecture from UCD in 2008. He specialised in healthcare architecture for several years before joining a Grade I Conservation Practice to pursue his interest in conservation and historic buildings.  Patrick completed a Masters in Urban and Building Conservation at UCD between 2012 and 2014, writing a major thesis titled ‘Cure, Care and Containment, The Architecture of Ireland’s Purpose-built Lunatic Asylums 1814-2014.’ As part of this research, he visited 19 of the 21 purpose built lunatic asylum / mental hospital sites in the Republic of Ireland. A wide range of primary and secondary source material was drawn upon to prepare a detailed history of the conception, development and eventual decline of these institutions over two centuries, with particular focus on their architectural evolution. Having strongly considered pursuing the topic as the basis for a PhD thesis, Patrick instead decided to apply his knowledge professionally and now works in London for a property development and construction company specialising in the reuse of redundant historic buildings – combining conservation theory and commercial viability. His research forms the basis for a forthcoming book, ‘Cure, Care and Containment,’ which is due to be published by Gandon Editions in winter 2019. Patrick’s previous research includes a fourth year B.Arch dissertation, ‘To have and to hold, a study of landscape management and attitudes in the Suir Valley,’ which was awarded a Commendation at the RIBA President’s Medals Student Awards in 2007. In 2008 he also completed a UCD-OPW funded study titled ‘A Framework for the Appraisal of Cultural Significance,’ which was commissioned to inform a potential bid by Dublin City to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  

Reinisch, Dieter  

Dr Dieter Reinisch is an adjunct Professor in International Relations at Webster Vienna  Private University, a lecturer in History at the University of Vienna, and a lecturer in  Gender Studies at the University of Salzburg. He holds a PhD from the European University  Institute in Florence and is an editorial board member of Studi Irlandesi (Florence  University Press). In May 2019, he will be a Moore Institute visiting fellow at NUI Galway.  

Simpson-Kilbane, Lucy 

Having previously studied History at the University of Leicester, Lucy Simpson-Kilbane completed an MA in Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool in 2013.  She received the Institute of Irish Studies MA Dissertation Award for her thesis which presented a critical analysis of the 2013 McAleese Report on state involvement with the Magdalen laundries.  She returned to the University of Liverpool in 2014 as a PhD student on a university fees scholarship. Her current research builds on her MA work through an assessment of the 2009 Ryan Report into child abuse in Ireland’s industrial schools and addresses the idea of Ireland’s culture of inquiry. She is co-history editor of the Liverpool Postgraduate Journal of Irish Studies which published her first article, ‘‘Drunkards and spendthrifts’:  Defining Ireland’s ‘undeserving’ poor’, in 2017. 

Ward, James 

James Ward is a lecturer in English at Ulster University. Memory and Enlightenment: Cultural Afterlives of the Long Eighteenth Century is recently published by Palgrave. 

Waters, Triona 

Recently awarded the Royal College of Physicians’ Ireland ‘Kirkpatrick’ History of Medicine Research award, 2018, Triona Waters is a PhD candidate in medical history at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. Her research centres on the history of Irish insanity and asylumdom, under the supervision of Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley (NUIG), Dr Una Bromell (MIC) and Dr Maura Cronin (MIC). She is funded by a MIC scholarship and her Departmental Assistantship involves tutoring and lecturing in the BA history programme. She is the co-editor of History Studies Journal, University of Limerick. She graduated with a BA and MA awarded by the University of Limerick, with a year of study also based in Syracuse, New York where she was awarded ‘Distinguished International Student of the Year.’