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Burns Visiting Scholars


James Kelly (Spring 2022)

James Kelly

Photo of James KellyJames Kelly is Professor of History at Dublin City University until recently. A graduate of University College Dublin (1985), he has spent his working life in St Patrick’s College then a College of Dublin City University, where he was head of subject between 1999 and 2016, and, since the College was formally incorporated into the University, as Head of the School of History and Geography at DCU. He was acting Dean of Humanities between 2012 and 2016.

His main research interests lie in the areas of Irish political and social history in the period 1660-1860, on which he has published widely. His publications include That damn’d thing called honour: duelling in Ireland, 1750-1860 (1995); Henry Flood: Patriots and politics in eighteenth-century Ireland (1995); Poynings’ Law and the making of law in Ireland, 1660-1800 (2007), Clubs and Societies in eighteenth-century Ireland (edited with Martyn Powell) (2010); The proclamations of Ireland 1660-1821 (5 vols, IMC, 2014); Sport in Ireland, 1600-1840 (Four Court Press, 2014). His most recent monograph is Food rioting in Ireland in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (Four Courts Press, 2017). He is editor of volume 3 of the Cambridge history of Ireland: Ireland, 1730-1880 (Cambridge, 2018), and recently (with Tomás Ó Carragáin) of Climate and Society in Ireland: from prehistory to the present (Royal Irish Academy, 2021).

Kelly was a member of the Irish Manuscripts Commission from 1999 to 2021, and editor of the Commission’s serial Publication Analecta Hibernica. He has also served terms as editor of Studia Hibernica and Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy.

An active member of various historical societies and bodies, Kelly has served as president of the Irish Historical Society, the Eighteenth-Century Ireland Society, and, most recently, of Irish Economic and Social History Society (2012-21).


18th-century Ireland: The Age of Protestant Ascendency
Tuesdays, 12:30pm-2:50pm
Stokes Hall 376S, graduate students welcome

This seminar examined the age of Protestant ascendancy in Ireland in context. It explored and analyzed the exercise of Protestant power between the military triumph of 1689-91 and the early nineteenth Century. It addressed the challenges posed by the emergence of a politically and demographically energized Catholic population led by Daniel O'Connell. The course also engaged closely with the economic and social history of the period.

Public Lecture:

"Satirical Fun: Irish Single Sheet Caricature in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries"
Thursday, March 17, 4:30pm reception, 5:30pm lecture

Burns Library, Thompson Room
Watch/listen to the lecture on YouTube (subtitles available)

For half a century between the late 1770s and the late 1820s a number of Dublin based print-sellers specialised in the production of single sheet caricatures. Much of what they offered for sale consisted of Irish copies of images developed in London by the great names in caricature. There are many examples of  images produced by the likes of James Gillray, Thomas Rowlandson and various members of the Cruikshank family, but Irish printsellers also promoted the production of Irish images. All, whatever their origin, offer a unique perspective on what people living in Ireland found humorous that is equally revealing of the politics and society of the era. This illustrated lecture provided an overview of this phenomenon, identify those who sustained it and outline its main achievements.