On St Patrick’s Day, we’re taking the opportunity to shine a light on the extensive research into the history and culture of Ireland that takes place at Hertford College.
Prof. Roy Foster, Prof. Ian McBride, Dr Toby Barnard, Dr David Dwan, Lloyd (Meadhbh) Houston and Dr Bethany Marsh.
Hertford has long been associated with Irish studies and can trace its connections back to the 16th century, when Roman Catholics and Irish Protestants studied alongside each other at Hart Hall. Irish satirist Jonathan Swift was also connected to the Hall when he incorporated his Trinity College Dublin degree here in the 1690s.
In the 20th century, two greats of Irish historiography researched and taught at Hertford. Dr Toby Barnard FBA was a Fellow in History from 1976-2012 and was instrumental in bringing about the Chair of Irish History at Hertford. Specialising in the political, social and cultural histories of Ireland and England, c.1600-1800, his published works transformed perceptions of Protestant Ireland’s history and culture in this period.
Another Fellow of the British Academy, Prof. Roy Foster served as the first Carroll Professor of Irish History here at Hertford from 1991-2016 and published extensively on Ireland, including an acclaimed two-part biography of W.B. Yeats. His recent book, Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland, 1890-1923, was particularly successful.
Succeeding him as the newly-named Foster Professor of Irish History, Prof. Ian McBride holds Britain’s only endowed Chair in Irish history. He has broad interests in Ireland between the 17th and 21st centuries, especially its politics, culture and intellectual life. Most recently, he published The Princeton History of Modern Ireland (2016), edited with Richard Bourke, and is currently working on a study of the impact of penal laws in 18th-century Ireland.
Dr David Dwan is Associate Professor and Tutorial Fellow in English. His research addresses the relationship between literature and intellectual history from the late 18th to the early 20th century, particularly in Irish writing. Yeats was again a key figure in Dr Dwan’s first book, published in 2008, The Great Community: Culture and Nationalism in Ireland. His most recent book – on George Orwell – was published by Oxford University Press in 2018.
Also within the History Faculty is Dr Bethany Marsh, our Irish Government Senior Scholar. After completing her PhD at the University of Nottingham, she is now working as a post-doctoral researcher at Hertford and revising her doctoral thesis on early modern Irish migration into a monograph – Distressed Protestants or Irish vagrants?’ Charity and the organisation of relief to ‘Irish’ refugees in England, 1641-1651.
Lloyd (Meadhbh) Houston has recently completed their DPhil at Hertford, working under the supervision of Dr David Dwan. Researching the history of medicine in Ireland, their doctoral thesis was entitled Irish Modernism and the Politics of Sexual Health. Find out more about their research on Twitter.