Irish Studies MPhil/PhD

Major code: IRMR


The research interests and activities of individual members of staff cover a wide range of topics: Early Irish History, Modern History and Politics, Language and Literature, Drama, Women’s Studies, Cultural Geography, Northern Ireland, Religion and Identity, and Irish Republicanism.

Subject Overview

In these areas, the Institute has a world renowned, publications, research and international reputation. Training in research and other skills is provided throughout your time as a student. The Institute also provides financial support for research students to give papers at academic conferences in the UK and Ireland. Examples of recent MPhil and PhD research topics include:

  • Caroline Burgess, "Irish middle-class migration to Britain 1960 - 2000"; email:
  • Elizabeth de Young, "Girdwood Barracks: power, politics and planning in the post-ceasefire city"; email:
  • Emma Dewhirst, "The Roots of Radicalism: Networks, Organisation, and the Irish Revolution, 1913-1919"; email:
  • Darren Dunning, A Decade of the Irish Literary Periodical: 1904-1914; email:
  • Dean Farquar, Young People and Democracy: A 'Post-Conflict' Case Study; email:
  • Liss Farrell, 'Homage of understanding’: Discovering Stanislaus Joyce in Finnegans Wake; email:
  • James Gallacher, 'From Parnassus to the Scaffold': The Bohemians of Literary Dublin 1945-60; email:
  • Michael Gill, Jim Phelan and the Atlantic Archipelago; email:
  • Ron Greenwald, The Battle of the Standard AD 1138: a benchmark of English and Norman assimilation; email:
  • Seán Hewitt, J.M. Synge, Nature and the Modernising World; email:
  • Michael Liggett, Social Capital’s role in social exclusion; email:
  • Seamus May, "Joyce's Nomen: A Study of the Gnomonic Structure of Narratives and Characters in Joyce's Work."; email:
  • Lynda McGuigan, Pictish symbols stones in North-East Scotland: case studies and new interpretations; email:
  • Donal Manning, Ulster and Unionism in Finnegans Wake; email:
  • Patrick Murphy, The All for Ireland League in Cork; email:
  • Ernest Purvis, "Community-based resistance to organized crime in Ireland and Mexico"; email:
  • Yasmine Radjabi, ‘Fear not to Fall for the Land Ye Love’: Anti-Imperialism Women's Writing, 1880-1922; email:
  • Edwin Rutherford, Who wore the Sash? The history, identity, tradition and material culture of the Orange Order in Carlisle and North Cumberland, 1830-2015; email:
  • David Shaw, Ireland and the Irish in Post-War British Politics; email:
  • Lucy Simpson, ‘Documents of Truth’?: The Ryan (2009), Murphy (2009), and McAleese (2013) Reports; email:
  • Neil Smith, The Irish middle classes in 19th-century Manchester; email:‎
  • Anna Walsh, The Irish in Leeds from 1955; email:
  • Martin White, Local Government in Dundalk 1880-1935; email:

Key Facts

RAE 2008
The most recent exercise rated 40% of our research activity as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, with a further 35% classed as ‘internationally recognised’.

Based in Abercromby Square, on the main University campus, the Institute has a pleasant student common room and it is close to the Sydney Jones Library and all other University services while being only about 10 minutes walk from the city centre.

Why Institute of Irish Studies?

An important and influential Institute.

The Institute has played a significant part in Ireland’s recent history. The Director, Professor Peter Shirlow, has undertaken conflict transformation work in Northern Ireland and has used that knowledge in exchanges with governments, former combatants and NGOs in the former Yugoslavia, Moldova, Bahrain and Iraq, He has also presented talks to members of the US Senate and House of Representatives and is a regular media contributor.

Links with the Irish community.

Historically, the city of Liverpool has always had strong links with the north and south of Ireland. It has long been the hub of Irish migration and you will be in an ideal position to experience living in a multicultural society with a distinctive Irish component. There are excellent links between the Institute and the Liverpool Irish community providing a rich seam to be mined for research purposes as well as opportunities for students to get involved in voluntary work.

Friendly and supportive

The Institute is based in a fine Regency house in Abercromby Square, on the main University campus where all staff foster a particularly friendly and supportive atmosphere for students.

Renowned speakers

The high external esteem of the Institute is reflected in the calibre of public lecturers it regularly attracts. In recent years, speakers have included the late David Ervine and Dr Mo Mowlam. Other speakers have been former Irish President Mary Robinson and President Mary McAleese, Roddy Doyle, Seamus Heaney, John Hume, Peter Mandelson, US Senator George Mitchell, Paul Muldoon, Tom Paulin, Fintan O’Toole, Jonathan Powell, Dr John Reid and David Trimble. The Institute also hosts events for the Liverpool Irish Festival every October and these have included lectures by the authors Blake Morrison and Patrick McCabe, the filmmaker Peter Lennon and the Keeper of Antiquities of the National Museum of Ireland Dr Eamonn Kelly.