Irish Studies Scholar awarded British Academy/Leverhulme Research Grant 2018

Irish Studies Scholar awarded British Academy/Leverhulme Research Grant 2018

‘Sliding Rock’ Mass Rock, Shantalla, Galway City.

Former Moore Institute Visiting Research fellow, Dr Hilary Bishop, from Liverpool John Moores University has been awarded a 2018 British Academy/Leverhulme Research Grant. Building on her connection with the work of Dr Nessa Cronin at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway, Hilary conducted research at the Moore Institute in April 2018 as a Visiting Scholar where she came across details of Mass paths in the archives of the James Hardiman Library. The research enabled her to put together a new grant proposal to work alongside Irish photographer Caitríona Dunnett who is also based in the UK. The project A Well Trodden Path: The History and Heritage of Mass Paths in Ireland will address a much neglected area of study and provide one of the most thorough syntheses of available information in respect to Mass paths at both a regional and townland level. Working alongside multiple partners, including Lackagh Heritage Committee in County Galway, outputs will include a curated public photographic exhibition in Galway in 2020. Some of the photographs will then go on permanent display at Lackagh Museum.

The history of Catholicism is an essential component in the history of modern Ireland. As locations of a distinctively Catholic faith, Mass paths are important historical, ritual and counter-cultural pathways that remain within the contemporary landscape. In an era of rapid cultural change, Mass paths continue to reflect contemporary Irish identity whilst also providing a visible and experiential connection to Irish heritage and tradition.

Dr. Hilary Bishop studied with the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool and is currently a Senior Lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University. Supervised by Professor Marianne Elliott O.B.E, her PhD focused on Mass Rock sites within the diocese of Cork and Ross, county Cork and she has extended her research to encompass other counties in Ireland. She has delivered public lectures and conference papers in the UK, Ireland and America and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. She has a research dedicated website

Caitríona Dunnett is a UK based Irish photographer who has been successfully experimenting with converting digital photographs into contact negatives, creating and then toning cyanotypes, in order to open up a dialogue between photography, painting and etching. Her public website can be accessed at