In 2023 Universities Ireland will award at least two bursaries to students undertaking post-graduate study on a topic relating to the 1912-1923 period in Ireland, the decade of the First World War and the division of the island into the states of Ireland (Irish Free State) and Northern Ireland. Applications in 2022 are particularly welcome from students undertaking work on the impact of the events in 1922 on this island.
Applicants are required to write a short essay of 2,000 words outlining their proposed research topic in an area related to the 1912-1923 period in Ireland. The bursaries are worth €13,000 and are open only to students commencing post-graduate study at an Irish or British university.
Please see the Guidance for Applicants.
The winners of the 2022 History Bursary:
Stephen Kelly, Limerick
Stephen will complete his PhD in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. The title of his research is British Military counter-insurgency in the 18th Brigade area during the Irish War of Independence 1919-1921.
Cormac Keenan, Derry
Cormac will complete his PhD in Dublin City University. The title of his research is Demoralised, despondent, and dependent’: An examination of the post-revolutionary lives of the dependents of the Irish Revolution and Civil War, 1923-80.
The winners of the 2021 History Bursary:
Maria Kane, Dublin
Maria will complete her PhD in Trinity College Dublin. The title of her research is Though we might not have been beaten we would not have won ‘The Irish White Cross Society’s national program for relief and reconstruction, 1921-1928.
Jack Traynor, Haggardstown, Co Louth
Jack will complete his PhD at Queen’s University Belfast. The title of his research is ‘Re-examining the Role of Northern Ireland in the Irish Civil War, 1922-23’.
The winners of the 2020 History Bursary:
Noel Carolan, Dublin
Noel will complete his PhD in Dublin City University. The title of his research is The politics of Ireland’s food supply in peace, war, revolution and partition, 1912- 1923: forgotten conflicts, campaigns and opportunities
Michael Loughman, Clonaslee, Co Laois
Michael will complete his PhD in Dublin City University. The title of his research is James Ryan: ‘Architect of the New Ireland’
The winners of the 2019 History Bursary:
Benjamin Ragan, Olympia, USA
Benjamin will complete his PhD in Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. The title of his research is Supernaturalism in the Remembrance and Folklore of the Irish Revolution.
Catherine Rooney, Newry
Catherine will complete her PhD in University College Cork. The title of her research is ‘The Gatekeeper: A Biography of Liam Tobin’.
The winners of the 2018 History Bursary:
Caitlin White, Tipperary
Caitlin will complete her PhD in Trinity College Dublin. The title of her research is The Photographer and the City: The work of A.R. Hogg in recording social conditions in early twentieth- century Belfast.
Kevin Egan, Dublin
Kevin will complete his PhD in University College Dublin and the title of his research is History -Iveagh, the paternalistic peer: social improvement, political revolution, and industrial development in the age of emerging democracy, 1868-1927.
Sean Bolger, Wexford
Sean will complete his PhD in University College Dublin and the title of his research is Establishment, Emergent Forces and Municipal Politics in Britain and Ireland, 1899 – 1914.
The winners of the 2017 History Bursary:
Lucy Wray, Coleraine
Lucy is a Queen’s University Belfast graduate in English and History with an MA in History. She is commencing a PhD in Queen’s University Belfast titled ‘The Photographer and the City: The work of A.R. Hogg in recording social conditions in early twentieth- century Belfast’. The PhD will look at the work of A.R. Hogg, in partnership with National Museums Northern Ireland. It will address the address following questions: What was the role of the photographer either as an observer or an actor in early twentieth-century Belfast: was Hogg simply recording what he saw or did he consider his photographs to be catalysts for improving working-class social conditions? How did Hogg and his contemporaries record and communicate issues relating to public health, housing, and social welfare? What role did this play in raising awareness, exerting political pressure, and stimulating philanthropic initiatives and how did this fit with his work as a commercial photographer? And finally, what does Hogg’s involvement in a wide range of societies and organisations tell us about the underexplored links between photography, associational culture and philanthropy in the British or Irish industrial city.
Neil Richardson, Dublin
Neil is a philosophy graduate from University College Dublin with a MA in Military History and Strategic Studies from National University of Ireland, Maynooth. He is commencing a PhD in History in National University of Ireland, Maynooth titled ‘Why Messines and not Frezenberg? A re-assessment of the Irish ‘shared sacrifice’ battlefields of 1917’. Neil’s research will explore and re-assess this topic by asking the following questions: Why was the Battle of Messines Ridge elevated, in terms of Irish remembrance and commemoration of the First World War, over the action on Frezenberg Ridge?; How were both actions perceived in the contemporary media and political spheres in 1917?; How were they recorded and reflected on in the immediate post-war period, and again in modern times? and what is the significance of the action on Frezenberg Ridge in terms of modern Irish commemoration of the First World War, and in terms of cross-border and cross-community reconciliation between opposing Irish political traditions?
Michael Twomey, Cork
Michael is a history graduate from Empire State College, State University of New York with a MA in History from the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. He is commencing a PhD in History in University College Cork titled ‘The Protestant community of the Co. Cork Muskerry district – decline in the non-Catholic population of the twenty-six county area’. Michael’s research will be an analytical study of the Protestant population of Muskerry, and any fluctuations within this community over an extended period.
The winners of the 2016 History Bursary:
Conor Heffernan, Castleknock, Dublin 15
Conor has obtained his Masters Degree in MPhil in Historical Studies in University of Cambridge. He is commencing his PhD in History in University College Dublin.
Conor’s research will be based on Ireland’s Physical Culture Movement 1898-1930
Research Question at a Glance: What produced the physical culture movement in Ireland and what did it mean for Ireland’s burgeoning nationalist movement? Understanding physical culture as the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century concern with the ideological and commercial cultivation of the body, this proposal focuses on the rise of Ireland’s physical culture movement from 1898 to 1930. A period of time that encapsulates a rich tapestry of Irish history, beginning with the 1898 performance of Physical Culturist Eugen Sandow in Dublin and covers the concurrent spread of physical culture and nationalist sentiment around Ireland. Furthermore, extending the period of study to 1930 allows the study of not only interactions between physical culture and military warfare in Ireland but also the use of physical culture practices by the incumbent Irish Free State to improve the health of the Irish citizenry. A form of exercise more akin to bodybuilding than organized sport, the proposal seeks to discover how physical culture fed into wider nationalist ideals, thereby examining the extent to which physical culture was used as a subterfuge for training Irish nationalists for armed conflict. Similarly the intense interest exhibited by Irish nationalists in improving the physical prowess of Irishmen and women through physical culture will be considered. Given the interest of key nationalist figures, such as Patrick Pearse, in physical culture, it seems impertinent not to study Ireland’s nationalist movement with reference to this specified form of exercise. Aside from military matters, the proposal is concerned with understanding lay interest in physical culture. Specifically, what motivated numerous Irishmen and women to establish and attend physical culture clubs, which emerged in Ireland from the 1900s onwards? Were their motivations different from those exhibited by Irish nationalists and if so, why? Furthermore how many emulated Ulysses’ Leopold Bloom in taking to Sandow’s exercise courses privately in their own homes away from the public sphere?
Shane Browne, Ballytruckle, Waterford
Shane has obtained his Masters Degree in Arts History (Modern Irish History) at University College Dublin. He is commencing his PhD in Moore’s Military: Understanding Maurice Moore and the National Volunteers in Irish History, 1914 – 1918, ( A critical analysis of the National Volunteer movement in Ireland and the Great War) in University College Dublin.
Shane’s research will be based on Moore’s Military: Understanding Maurice Moore and the National Volunteers in Irish History, 1914 – 1918. A striking aspect in the historiography of Ireland’s revolutionary decade is that John Redmond’s National Volunteers are still overlooked. While a full-scale history of the Irish Volunteer movement also remains unaccomplished, there is far more information concerning the radical and separatist element that would ultimately change the course of Irish history. Historians often tend to encompass the narrative of the National Volunteers in conjunction with their post-split counterparts, rather than focus on the movement as a standalone entity. Therefore, this project shall examine the National Volunteers, the forgotten paramilitary who have been overlooked in the revolutionary narrative to this day. The hypotheses to be tested will be to conduct a critical analysis of the National Volunteer movement in Ireland, while also incorporating an analysis of National Volunteer recruits to join the British Armed Forces. My area of research shall focus on the militarisation of Irish society from the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, with the National Volunteers as the primary focus. I shall also look at the various machinations of the Irish Parliamentary Party that were detrimental in the organisation and running of the movement.
The winner of the 2015 History Bursary:
Gerald Maher, Strokestown, Co Roscommon
Gerald has obtained a BA in English & History from the University of Limerick. He is commencing his PhD on Militant Irish-American Organisations and the Irish Revolution, 1912-23 in September in the University of Limerick.
The primary aim of Gerard’s research is to assess and quantify the impact of militant Irish republicanism in the United States on the military landscape of Ireland during the revolutionary period of 1912-1923. Particular attention will be given to Irish-American organisations that had a distinct physical force outlook. How these organisations operated during Ireland’s revolutionary period and how they usurped the popularity of more constitutionally minded Irish-American organisations in the United States will be a significant aspect of the research as it will attempt to ascertain the tone of Irish-American support for Ireland’s war for independence. The critical matter of the research material will be the effect of Irish-American physical force organisations’ on Irish republican military development and strategies. The project will investigate the logistical, tactical and financial support for Irish republican forces that was both directly and indirectly forwarded from Irish-America. Areas such as gun running, military training and exercises and methods used to raise finances for republican military campaigns in Ireland will be examined in detail, along with the operational relationship between militant Irish-American organisations and Irish republican forces. It is hoped that the project will contribute to the currently underdeveloped historiography of the highly sophisticated republican military campaigns in Ireland and their deep-rooted links with Irish-America.