March 2024 ‘Irish People in Great Britain’ Symposium Issues Call for Papers

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An interdisciplinary symposium on the topic of ‘Irish People in Great Britain (1689-Present)’ taking place at Mary Immaculate College on 12 March 2024, has issued a Call for Papers with a closing date of 15 January next.

Co-organised by MIC PhD candidate and Irish Research Council-funded scholar, Ciara Moloney and MIC Drama Lecturer, Dr David Clare, the event will explore the lives, struggles, and achievements of the Irish people who have settled in Britain, as well as their descendants, since the time of the Williamite War.

Dr Sonja Lawrenson (Manchester Metropolitan University) will be the keynote speaker at the symposium and Dr Clare hopes that the scope of papers presented would be varied. According to Dr Clare: “In November, the passing of Shane MacGowan and the release of the ‘final’ Beatles song reminded us what a great contribution British-born members of the Irish Diaspora have made to Irish culture and, indeed, to world culture. Likewise, Brendan Behan’s recent centenary and Frances Sheridan’s impending 300th birthday remind us that Irish-born people have frequently spent some of the most important years of their lives in Britain (and, in some cases, have had their greatest successes there).”

He added: “Within academia and wider society, discussion of the Irish Diaspora often centres on the USA, but our interdisciplinary ‘Irish People in Great Britain’ symposium aims to remember and highlight the experiences of those who emigrated to a place much closer to home. We look forward to hearing our speakers recover and celebrate the lost, forgotten, or under-regarded stories involving Irish people–and their descendants–living in England, Scotland, and Wales over the past few centuries.”

Ciara Moloney commented: “While Irish and British identity are often viewed as being in conflict, if not mutually exclusive, there have long been huge numbers of Irish and Irish diasporic people on our neighbouring island, forming communities and forging distinct identities, from Liverpool Irish to Glasgow Irish. This symposium aims to explore their lives, identities and works.” And “We are delighted to have Dr Sonja Lawrenson deliver a keynote address about Longford’s own Maria Edgeworth and her relationship to both the English novel and Irish gothic fiction.”

The organisersespecially welcome papers concerned with any of the following cohorts of Irish – and Irish Diasporic – people in Britain:

  • The great Irish Protestant writers who made their names in England
  • Irish migrants (mainly Catholic and working-class Protestant) who moved to Britain to escape privation in Ireland
  • Irish people serving as soldiers, sailors, pilots, and nurses tied to the British military
  • Important Irish political figures, who – at key points in their careers – served as parliamentarians in Westminster, worked in the various offices attached to the British government, or played an integral part in activist organisations
  • Popular British writers of Irish descent (e.g. the Brontë sisters, Arthur Conan Doyle, Martin McDonagh, etc.)
  • The astonishing number of great British musicians over centuries who were/are of Irish descent
  • The highly-successful, British-born directors, scriptwriters, actors, and comedians with strong Irish roots
  • Mid-twentieth through early twenty-first century visual artists and designers who were born and raised in Ireland but who chose to make Britain their home
  • British sports figures of Irish descent

This list is not exhaustive; indeed, proposals for papers from any academic discipline, covering any topic concerned with the Irish Diaspora in Britain, post-1689 are welcomed.

To submit a paper: Please email a 300-word abstract, plus a short bio (max. 150 words) to MIC PhD candidate and Irish Research Council-funded scholar Ciara Moloney ( and MIC Drama Lecturer Dr. David Clare ( by 15 January 2024. To facilitate delegates having sufficient time to make travel plans, prospective speakers will be informed of the decision regarding their proposals by 31 January 2024 at the very latest.

Click here to find out more about the conference.


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