RECIRC Project

RECIRC: The Reception and Circulation of Early Modern Women’s Writing, 1550-1700 is an ERC-funded project led by Marie-Louise Coolahan, involving seven postdoctoral researchers and two doctoral students. The project is producing a large-scale, quantitative analysis of the reception and circulation of women’s writing from 1550 to 1700. The results will enable analysis of how texts, ideas and reputations gained traction in the early modern period. The focus includes writers who were read in Ireland and Britain as well as women born and resident in Anglophone countries; the subject of study is not limited to authors who wrote in English. RECIRC is organised in four interlocking work packages: transnational religious networks; the international republic of letters; the manuscript miscellany; and book/manuscript ownership.


Dr. Conor McNamara

drconormcnamaraDr. Conor McNamara is the 1916 Scholar in Residence for 2016 at the Moore Institute. This year he has spoken at over seventy academic conferences, community events and schools on the topic of the Easter Rebellion. He is the co-curator of the University’s flagship centenary exhibition, A College in War & Revolution 1913-19; The University Experience, currently on display in the Hardiman Library. He is currently compiling a directory of archives covering the revolutionary period in the west of Ireland and is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters on the Revolutionary period in the west.

Dr. Conor McNamara
NUI Galway, 1916 Scholar in Residence, 2016
Author: Easter 1916: A New Illustrated History (2015)
Editor: The West of Ireland: New Perspectives on the Nineteenth Century (2011)

Dr. Anne Karhio




Virtual landscapes? New media technologies and the poetics of place in recent Irish poetry

Irish Research Council and Marie Skłodowska-Curie ELEVATE postdoctoral fellow


The project focuses on the impact of new media technologies on literary representations of landscape in Irish poetry and poetic culture. It addresses the relationship between new media and poetry both thematically, and through the aesthetic and cultural implications of new forms of dissemination. Works included have been published in print as well as in digital formats, and the project also covers poetry’s engagement with visual and audiovisual arts, music, and other forms of artistic production.


Anne Karhio is a holder of the Irish Research Council’s ELEVATE International Career Development Fellowship, co-funded by the European Commission via Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. In 2014-2016, she is based in the Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies at the University of Bergen, Norway, where she is a member of the Electronic Literature and Digital Culture research groups. She is a graduate of the University of Helsinki and the National University of Ireland, Galway.

Anne Karhio
Moore Institute, National University of Ireland, Galway

Dr. Niamh Wycherley

The Language of Relics in Medieval Ireland

NUI Postdoctoral Fellow in Irish/Celtic Studies


This project will construct the first detailed analysis of the terminology and language relating to the cult of relics in early Ireland, from the fifth to the twelfth century. Despite the internationally recognised importance of the cult of relics there has been relatively little historical research undertaken on the cult of relics in Ireland. An obstacle to this research has been the bilingual nature of the early Irish sources, which has produced a large body of terms used to denote relics, deterring scholars. It is only through a detailed analysis of the specific terms used in these sources, by someone like myself, skilled in both Old Irish and Latin, that the nuances within the cult of relics can be revealed. Both Latin and vernacular terms for saints’ relics repay scrutiny. They are often less transparent than modern histories assume, and some Old Irish relic-terms reveal more than their Latin counterparts about prevailing religious customs.

Dr Niamh Wycherley
NUI Postdoctoral Fellow in Irish/Celtic Studies

Dr Darrell Jones

Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellow

Darrell Jones is a graduate of the University of Oxford and Trinity College Dublin. He has a broad range of research and teaching interests in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literary, cultural, and intellectual history. Having completed his PhD in 2014, Darrell joined the Moore Institute two years later in order to begin a postdoctoral project entitled ‘The Early Modern Essay and the New Science’. The project explores the complex relationships among literary form, experimental philosophy, and intellectual discourse in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Britain and Ireland. Work currently in progress includes a study of the composition and early reception of John Locke’s An Essay concerning Human Understanding (1690), and a chapter on Irish responses to the Molyneux problem for the forthcoming volume Irish Literature in Transition 17001780 (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

Dr Darrell Jones



Dr. Emma Creedon

IRC Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellow

Performing Physical Disability: Challenging Representations of the Body in Modern and Contemporary Irish Drama

This project is focusing on the role of physical disability in twentieth and twenty-first century Irish drama. Considering specific stagings of the disabled body, it is investigating how the convention of “cripping up”, an industry term describing the practice of an able-bodied actor playing a disabled character, can perpetuate stereotypes and contribute to the marginalisation of those with physical disability in Irish culture.

Twentieth century and contemporary Irish drama contain numerous examples of physical disability being performed by able-bodied actors. From the Blind Man in W.B. Yeats’ On Baile’s Strand (1904), to Beckett’s dramatic images of disability and bodily fragmentation, to “Cripple Billy” in Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan (1997), there is an Irish dramatic tradition of identifying disabled characters by their physical impairment. Furthermore, disability is often employed as a synecdoche for a thwarted morality (historical examples include the hunchback in Dion Boucicault’s The Colleen Bawn (1860)) or blindness as an allegory for prophecy. However, there are few examples in Ireland, and indeed internationally, of theatres sourcing disabled actors to play these roles. By “cripping up,” an actor demonstrates his/her performative virtuosity, rather than committing to accurate representations of reality. The result is the potential degradation of the disabled body, a stylised performance evoking vaudevillian conventions; performance thus engenders belief in stereotype. This has serious implications regarding preconceptions about normalcy. Irish drama will be examined as a case study and will be contextualised within international debates about corporeality, reconstructive surgery, bodily memory, prosthesis, phenomenology, and theories of the posthuman.

Dr Emma Creedon

IRC Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellow

Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies,

Hardiman Research Building,

National University of Ireland, Galway.

Dr. Deirdre Ní Chonghaile

NUI Postdoctoral Fellow in Irish/Celtic Studies


Deirdre Ní Chonghaile is a graduate of the University of Oxford and University College Cork. She first came to the Moore Institute in 2012 as an IRC Postdoctoral Fellow. Thereafter, she was a Research Associate with the Digital Culture Initiative and she now holds a NUI Postdoctoral Fellowship in Irish/Celtic Studies. Prior to coming to Galway, she was NEH Keough Fellow at the University of Notre Dame and Alan Lomax Fellow in Folklife Studies at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. She is currently completing a monograph about music-collecting in Ireland.


My work focuses on voices, contemporary and historical, especially those that have been marginalized, and on what they have to say or sing. With the NUI Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Irish/Celtic Studies, I hope to complete my historiographical book on music-collecting in Ireland and also to expand my research into Irish cultural history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries by beginning work on the Rev. Daniel J. Murphy manuscripts at NUI Galway. Transcribed in Pennsylvania in 1884-1924, this abundant and untapped collection of Irish-language song and folklore documents the pre-Famine memory of Ireland as performed and preserved by scores of emigrants. As the Rev. Murphy collection pre-empts the work of the Irish Folklore Commission by two generations, the chance to unlock its potential presents an exciting opportunity to diversify and enrich the evidentiary base from which scholars currently draw. Developing the collection into an open-access resource promises to inspire a major re-assessment of Irish and Irish-American history, focusing especially on language and performance practices, migration, assimilation, and identity in a global context. It also promises to generate a new source for genealogy, music repertoire, and to repatriate cultural inheritances to stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic.

Photo: Anne Burke

Dr. Nahuel  Sznajderhaus

Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow Project title:

‘A Realist Approach to Quantum Mechanics and Inter-theory Relations in Physical Theories: the Closed Theories View’.

Current research:

In this IRC Fellowship Nahuel will articulate a philosophical approach to the interpretation of quantum mechanics, with particular focus on the relationship between classical mechanics and quantum mechanics. By contrast with classical mechanics, it is still unclear what quantum mechanics is about. Nevertheless, the tradition considers that classical mechanics can be recovered “in the limit” from quantum mechanics. And yet there are notorious difficulties in describing how that limit works.  His PhD thesis examined these issues, criticised the traditional framework and motivated an alternative view based on the pluralist view of Werner Heisenberg, which he aims to develop further during this project.


After completing his studies in physics at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina, Nahuel obtained a Darwin Trust of Edinburgh scholarship to pursue a PhD in philosophy. He was awarded PhD at the University of Leeds in March 2017 with the thesis “Realism and Intertheory Relationships: Interstructuralism, Closed Theories and the Quantum-Classical Limit”. From March through August 2017 Nahuel conducted research as a short-term post-doctoral researcher at the Leeds Humanities Research Institute. He has also worked extensively in education outreach in England and in Argentina.


“Decoherence and intertheory relations in quantum realism”. Metatheoria UNTREF, Argentina, 2017. In press. “On the received realist view of quantum mechanics”. Cadernos de Historia e Filosofia da Ciencia, UNICAMP, Brazil, v.2, n.1, 2016. In press. “Current debates in the philosophy of quantum mechanics”. Cadernos de Historia e Filosofia da Ciencia, UNICAMP, Brazil, v.2, n.1, 2016. Co-authored with Jonas R. Becker Arenhart. In press.


Twitter: @N_Sznajderhaus URL:



Past Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr. Alice Colombo

The transnational mobility of cheap print: British chapbooks in Italy, 1800-1850

My project compares British and Italian repertoires of popular publishing to determine how and to what extent translation is responsible for the similarities and differences that exist between them. Specifically, it tracks and analyses translations of British chapbooks published in nineteenth-century Italy, mainly between 1800 and 1850. The analysis of the Italian versions and their sources is carried out using an interdisciplinary approach that integrates translation studies with theories of textuality and the histories of the book and of reading. While contributing to translation history and to the bibliographical and historiographical survey of cheap print, my research enhances our awareness of the transnational dimension of popular publishing. This sheds new light on the processes that led to the formation of a shared European heritage of popular culture.

Dr. Alice Colombo
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow
Moore Institute, NUI Galway


Dr. Debora Biancheri

Representing difference: Issues of identity and cultural encounters in the Italian translations of Seamus Heaney

deb-biancheriDr. Biancheri’s research area is literary translation, and her main objective is to investigate to what degree source texts might be transformed by manifold cultural and social aspects inherent to the context of reception that also figure into the specific interpretive inscription of a translation. The focus of her project funded by the Irish Research Council is the critical analysis on the poetry of Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, and its reception in Italy in particular. The goal is to demonstrate that given target texts only corresponds to one interpretation of their sources, and to establish how this interpretation is influenced by factors transcending linguistic constraints. It is questioned, for instance, to what extent translated texts might challenge, or else conform to a given international construction of Irish and Northern Irish identity. This research, by way of a thorough engagement with literary texts in translation, contributes to the understanding of the cultural dialogue between European countries. The work resulting from this research provides a relevant intervention to topical debates in the area of translation studies, as well as to the ongoing discussion about Heaney’s poetic legacy in Ireland and abroad.

Debora Biancheri, MA, PhD
School of Languages Literatures and Cultures, NUI Galway
Ph: +353 086 7318469


Dr. Laura Branch

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Intra-European Fellow

Networks of Trade and Religion in Richard Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations (1589, 1598-1600).

This project investigates the relationship between trade and religion in Richard Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations (1589, 1598-1600), a vast repository of documents concerned with early modern commercial and colonial expansion. The study has two central objectives: the first is to introduce a more sophisticated understanding of religious identity into the discussion of Hakluyt and his sources. Traditionally, scholars have labelled Hakluyt a staunch Protestant, but I argue that his anti-Catholic rhetoric simply reflected state policy, while the extensive material he included in his collection features an important array of interactions between traders of different faiths, suggesting a more diverse, flexible and pragmatic world of commerce. The second objective is to re-establish the centrality of England’s long-distance trading empire to Hakluyt’s vision by considering trading missions to Russia, Persia, and the Levant. Scholars have devoted disproportionate attention to the material relating to the Americas despite the fact that it comprises just one third of the text. This research takes a nuanced approach to cross-confessional trade by considering not only how Protestants traded with Muslims and Orthodox Christians, but also how English Catholics lived and worked alongside English Protestants and how far their attitudes differed towards other faiths. The project is interdisciplinary in engaging with aspects of early modern trade, religion, culture and literature; and blends methodologies of textual analysis with prosopography and social network theory.



Dr. David Clare


The Hibernicising of the Anglo-Irish Playwright, 1904-2013

This project aims to demonstrate that, since the opening of the Abbey Theatre in 1904, Irish theatre-makers have frequently imposed Irish elements onto the English-set plays written by the great, London-based, Irish Protestant playwrights.

As discerning critics have long recognised, George Farquhar, Oliver Goldsmith, R.B. Sheridan, Oscar Wilde, and Bernard Shaw frequently signalled their Irish origins in their plays. Often cited are their satirical portraits of the English, their subversive use of Stage Irishmen, and their inclusion of Irish topical references. In the decades since the Revival, however, Irish theatre-makers have not been satisfied with such coded expressions of Irishness. As an expression of their own cultural nationalism, theatre-makers have made the Irish characters in these plays more central; they have had certain English or continental European characters played with Irish accents; they have re-set plays in Ireland; and they have even included the Irish playwrights in the on-stage action.

This tendency to crudely “Hibernicise” these plays reflects the discomfort that Irish theatre practitioners feel with the Irish-British cultural hybridity of these playwrights. Being from Church of Ireland backgrounds, these writers self-identified as Irish and even possessed what Elizabeth Bowen referred to as the “subtle anti-Englishness” of the “Anglo-Irish”; however, they were also aware that they were, on some level, British (in the same way that a Scottish, Welsh, or Northern Irish person might consider themselves British today). I will argue that, in the wake of the Good Friday agreement (and for historical accuracy’s sake), critics and theatre-makers must understand and analyse the Irish-British hybridity of Irish Protestant writers, including those covered in this project.

Dr. David Clare is an Irish Research Council-funded postdoctoral research fellow based in the Moore Institute at the National University of Ireland, Galway. His first book, Bernard Shaw’s Irish Outlook, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in November 2015, and his journal articles on important figures from Irish literature and drama have appeared (or will soon appear) in the Irish Studies Review, the New Hibernia Review, the Irish University ReviewStudies: An Irish Quarterly Review, the Irish ReviewStudies in Burke and His Time, and Emerging Perspectives.


Dr. Ciarán McCabe



I am currently in receipt of a one-year Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship, which is focused on publishing a monograph arising from my doctoral research. My research examines the practices of begging and alms-giving in pre-Famine Ireland ( c. 1815-45). Section I considers the challenges in defining and measuring beggary in this period, while also analysing the varied ways in which beggars were perceived – as deviant, benign or just simply ubiquitous. Section II explores the roles of lay charities and civil parish vestries in responding to begging and beggars; in the instance of charities, I am undertaking a case study of the mendicity society movement which spread throughout Ireland and Britain in the first half of the nineteenth century. Given the centrality of religion in the practice of charity and philanthropy in this period, Section III analyses how Roman Catholics and Protestants (of different denominations) viewed and negotiated begging and alms-giving, and to what extent can differences or similarities be attributed to confessional affiliation.

Contact Details:

Dr. Regina Donlon

The Tuke Irish in Minnesota: a transnational analysis of assisted emigration to the American Midwest, 1880-1930.

Between 1882 and 1884 over 9,000 people from the Clifden, Oughterard, Belmullet and Newport Poor Law Unions left the west of Ireland as part of James Hack Tuke’s assisted emigration schemes. Of these, an estimated 800 emigrants settled in the US Federal State of Minnesota. Accordingly, this study considers the origins of an Irish emigrant community in the west of Ireland, discussed in tandem with the unique characteristics of their immigrant experience in the American Midwest. The project explores and chronicles the lives of Tuke’s assisted emigrants from counties Galway and Mayo and examines their experience through social, cultural, economic, political and religious lenses. This provides a narrative of the transnational nature of migration and its ability to forge global connections. Ultimately the study reveals some the challenges and opportunities faced by the Irish emigrants to the American Midwest during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Regina Donlon,
Moore Institute,
Hardiman Building,
NUI Galway,

Telephone: 091 493903


Dr Thomas Leahy

Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellow

‘Memory beyond borders: dealing with the legacy of the Northern Ireland conflict in the Republic of Ireland, 1969 to 2016’.

Current research:

This research investigates the impact of the Northern Ireland conflict on the Republic of Ireland between 1969 and 2016. It considers four key questions: what impact has the Troubles had on Irish politics and society? what has been the current contribution of the Irish government towards dealing with the legacy of the Troubles? should any further efforts be made? what role can history play in dealing with the legacy of the Troubles in the Irish Republic? The research involves cross-referencing a range of sources, including original interview material provided by various political parties, victims groups, former paramilitary groups, and government departments in Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK. The research seeks to engage with public debates and to inform Irish government ideas for dealing with the past in relation to the Northern Ireland conflict.


Thomas was awarded his PhD in history from King’s College London in 2015. His PhD work that is currently under consideration for a book is entitled: ‘Informers, the Provisional Irish Republican Army and British counter-insurgency strategy during the Northern Ireland conflict, 1969-1998’. This research partly involved evaluating a unique range of interview material from all sides of the conflict. He has previously lectured at Cardiff University on the Northern Ireland conflict.

Publications: ‘The Influence of Informers and Agents on Provisional Irish Republican Army Military Strategy and British Counter-Insurgency Strategy, 1976–94’ in Twentieth Century British History, (2015), Vol.26, Issue 1, pp.122-146.