Attending the conference: dining arrangements

If you are interested in attending the conference, and wish to join the speakers for one or both of the dinners scheduled for the nights of the 18th (from 19.40) and 19th (from 19.00), please RSVP to


Finalised conference schedule

For abstracts please click on the paper title.

Saturday 18th April 

14.00-16.00 – Conference registration

16.00-18.00 – Plenary session: Reconstituting Poverty

Chair: Prof Bronwen Walter (Anglia Ruskin University)

Dr Olwen Purdue, (QUB) ‘Poverty Crisis and Class in Interwar Belfast’

Dr Lindsey Earner-Byrne, (UCD) ‘A Discriminating Culture: Priests and the Role of Charity in Forging Class Distinctions in Ireland 1920-1940’

Dr Ciara Breathnach (University of Limerick) ‘Lines from Limbo: Seán Ó Ríordáin and TB in modern Ireland’

Dr Carole Holohan, (UCD) ‘Rediscovering poverty and class? Ireland in the 1960s’

18.00-18.20 – Tea break 

18.20-19.20 – Opening keynote: Prof Joe Cleary (Yale; Maynooth University) ‘Class as a category in cultural analysis’

19.40-20.40 – Dinner (Pizza Express, 7A Jesus Lane, Cambridge CB5 8BA)

Sunday 19th April

09.00-11.00 – Panel 1: Elites: trauma and transformation

Chair: Dr Donal O’Drisceoil (UCC)

Dr John Borgonovo (UCC), ‘Republican civil administration, taxation, and class tensions in the “Munster Republic”, July-August 1922’

Dr. Jackie Uí Chionna (NUIG), “Mr. Galway”: Martin ‘Máirtín Mór’ McDonogh: A Case Study in Class and Culture in Twentieth-Century Ireland

Dr Guy Woodward (Maynooth University), ‘The Northern Irish Aristocracy and the Second World War’

Dr Tony Varley (NUIG), ‘From Landlords’ Man to Farmers’ Man: Col. George O’Callagan-Westropp, Class Politics and Identity in interwar Ireland’

11.00-11.20 – Tea break

11.20-13.20 – Panel 2: Discipline, gender and sexuality

Chair: Dr Máire Ní Mhaonaigh (St John’s, Cambridge)

Dr Clara Fischer (LSE), ‘Ireland’s politics of shame: gender sexuality and Irish nation building’

Prof Cara Delay (College of Charleston), ‘“Relieve Me and I Will Pay You Well”: Culture, Class, and Abortion in Twentieth-Century Ireland’

Dr Jennifer Redmond (Maynooth University) ‘Class, Gender and Moral Philanthropy: ‘Fixing’ the ‘Girl Emigrant Problem’ in Twentieth Century Ireland’

Dr Ciara Meehan (University of Hertfordshire), ‘“Is There a Clear Yes or No Now Any More?”: Attitudes Towards Sex in Women’s Magazines in 1970s Ireland’

13.20-14.20: Buffet Lunch (Main hall, Divinity School, St John’s College)

14.20-16.20 – Panel 3: Ideology and popular culture

Chair: Prof Joe Cleary (Maynooth University; Yale)

Dr Aidan Beatty (University of Chicago), ‘Irish Nationalism as Capitalist Consumer Culture’

Dr David Toms (UCC), ‘Popular Culture in Ireland during the interwar period: work, unemployment and leisure’

Donal Fallon (UCD), ‘Contested working class history: Radical commemoration in 1930s Dublin’

Dr Liam O’Callaghan, (Liverpool Hope), The ‘Catholicisation’ of rugby football in twentieth century Ireland: transformation and resilience?

16.20-16.40 – Tea break

16.40-18.40 – Panel 4: Work, state and resistance

Chair: Prof Patrick Joyce (University of Manchester; University of Edinburgh)

Dr Bryce Evans (Liverpool Hope), ‘Farewell to Plato’s Cave: Ireland during the Second World War, 1939-45’

Liam Cullinane (UCC), Workplace Culture in Three Irish Factories, 1932-1990’

Dr Sinéad Moynihan (University of Exeter), ‘“Lording it over them”: The Returned Yank and the Land Commission in the Irish Cultural Imagination’

Dr Daryl Leeworthy (University of Huddersfield), ‘Making Room for Jesters: Class, Sexuality, and the Irish in the Miners’ Strike, 1984-1985’

19.00-20.00 – Dinner (Côte Brasserie, 21-24 Bridge Street, Cambridge CB2 1UF)

Monday 20th April

09.00-11.00 – Panel 1: Panel 2: Articulating class

Chair: Prof Eugenio Biagini (Sidney Sussex, Cambridge)

Dr Julie Bates (International University of Sarajevo), ‘Beckets Bowler hats: maligned relics of the Irish Protestant middle class’

Dr Ian D’Alton (Sidney Sussex), ‘The Borrowers:  southern Irish Protestant writers, cultural appropriation, and purgatory’

John Porter (TCD), ‘“The Squeezed-Middle”: The Johnson Committee and the Irish Middle class under Fianna Fail, 1932-47’

11.00-11.20 – Tea break

11.20-13.20 – Panel 2: The making of youth and infancy

Chair: to be seen

Dr Jutta Kruse, (University of Limerick) ‘Medicalisation of poor infants – Class and the construction of infancy in Ireland, 1900-1930’

Dr Eleanor O’Leary, (Maynooth University) ‘Teddy Boys and Youth Culture in 1950s Ireland’

Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, (NUIG) ‘Children on Strike’: an examination of child labour and resistance in Ireland, 1880-1970’

13.20-13.40 – break                                       

13.40-14.40 – Closing keynote:  Prof Patrick Joyce, (University of Manchester; University of Edinburgh) ‘Rethinking political history: the state’


For a PDF copy of the schedule, please click here.


For a map of Cambridge with directions to the Lightfoot room as the Divinity School of St John’s College, please click here.

It can be found here on Google Maps: St John’s Divinity School, University of Cambridge, Saint Johns Street, Cambridge, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB2 1TW, UK

Conference Blog

This blog is related to the two-day conference entitled ‘Class and culture in twentieth-century Ireland’ to be held at the Lightfoot Room at St John’s College, University of Cambridge on the 18th and 19th of April, 2015. The conference is generously supported by the Trevelyan Fund of the History Faculty, University of Cambridge and the Cambridge Group for Irish Studies.

A PDF of the Call for Papers can be accessed here. (for Word document, click here)

Please send submissions to with an abstract of  no more than 300 words by 30 January, 2015. For those interested in attending, there is a registration fee of £10. All are welcome.


Accommodation will be provided free of charge for speakers for the nights of the 18th and 19th of April. For those interested in attending who will not deliver papers, please contact the conference organiser, Peter Hession, at as early as possible to organise potential accommodation arrangements at a discounted rate.


A contribution toward the costs of travel will be provided to speakers generally sufficient to cover the cost of a flight between most Irish airports and London Stansted when booked in advance (Stansted is just a 25 minute train journey from Cambridge) or a return train ticket from London to Cambridge.