PHD Research

I recently completed a PhD with the UCD School of History writing a dissertation titled Electioneering, party organisation and political discourse in post-Civil War County Kerry, 1923-1933 under the supervision of Professor Diarmaid Ferriter.

My research was funded by the Irish Research Council through its Employment-Based Programme. More information here: Irish Research Council

Here is a brief summary of my research topic:

County Kerry witnessed some of the bloodiest, most brutal and most protracted engagements of the Irish Civil War with neighbour pitted against neighbour and brother pitted against brother in a violent and bitter internecine conflict. Within a short time however, the county’s new political class, despite their emergence from those vicious hostilities, established, embedded and maintained a stable political and electoral system.

Political business and public administration in the county was regularly impacted by the legacy of the fratricidal war but electoral contests were conducted, for the most part, in a dignified and peaceful manner as political parties managed to develop sophisticated methods of engagement with their electors which helped to normalise the new political structures and systems. Despite the frequent re-emergence of Civil War divisions, such as during the advent of the Blueshirt movement in the 1930s, the county’s electorate adapted to the new political environment and public representatives evolved from paramilitaries to policy makers and servants of their constituents despite the rancour that recent divisions often injected into political discourse and electioneering.

The central question of this research is how did the revolutionaries of Kerry make the transition from rebellion and warfare to parliamentary democracy and representational politics, particularly in a county in which civil war divisions were more notorious and deep-seated than most? How did they cope with efforts from local radical elements intent on subverting the new political regime? And what methods did the new and existing parties and their representatives in Kerry employ to win the support of an expanding electorate in a political system in its infancy?

If you are interested in my research, please get in touch: [email protected]

Recent publications and journal articles:

‘“Foully butchered in a manner so treacherous”: the execution of Lieutenant Jeremiah Gaffney in March 1924’ in History Ireland, Volume 32, No. 2, March/April 2024 History Ireland

“‘The only hope was to work the Treaty’: Local newspaper coverage of the 1923 general election in County Kerry” in Vying for Victory: the 1923 General Election in the Irish Free State by Elaine Callinan, Mel Farrell and Thomas Tormey (UCD Press, 2023): University College Dublin Press (ucdpress.ie)

‘We are almost on the lip of the volcano’: The Blueshirts in County Kerry, 1933-35″ in the Journal of the Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society (Vol. 22, 2022): Series 2, Vol 22 (2022) – Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society (kerryhistory.ie)

Was the assassination of Sir Henry Wilson the ‘murder that triggered the Irish Civil War’?”: Review of Great Hatred: The Assassination of Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson MP by Ronan McGreevy in History Today, (Vol. 72, Issue 9, September 2022): Assassin’s Creed | History Today