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Aoife O'Leary McNeice

Aoife O'Leary McNeice

PhD Candidate, History

Aoife O'Leary McNeice is available for consultancy.

Pembroke College
Cambridge CB2 1RF


My doctoral studies, under the supervision of Dr Renaud Morieux, examine transnational networks of aid that emerged during the Great Irish Famine, which took place between 1845-1852. I hope to resituate the Famine within a transational, imperial framework by examining the global systems that enabled transfer of money. These systems include the British Empire, the global Catholic word, personal diasporic networks, and others. I am using a wide range of sources, including reports from charitable societies, newspapers and private correspondences. My background is interdisciplinary, encompassing literature, history and history of art and I hope to imbue my work with this interdisciplinarity. My current research is funded by the Robert Gardiner Memorial Scholarship and a Cambridge Trust European Scholarship. 

I received my BA joint honours in English and History from University College Cork in 2014. In 2012 I was accepted onto the University of California reciprocity exchange programme, enabling me to study at the University of California, San Diego the following academic year. I was awarded the John A. Murphy Prize and the Mansion House Scholarship for my undergraduate thesis which looked at the gender dynamics surrounding the first female university students in Ireland.

I completed my MSc with distinction in Literature and Society: Enlightenment, Romantic, Victorian at the University of Edinburgh in 2015. My MSc dissertation examined the politics of aesthetics in women's travel literature in eighteenth-century Europe. I focused on the work of Helen Maria Williams and Mary Wollstonecraft. 

Before starting my PhD I worked in various collections and digitisation roles in the Edinburgh University Library and the National Library of Scotland.      


Research Interests

  • Eighteenth and nineteenth century philanthropic history 
  • Modern Irish History
  • Transnational history 
  • Movement and travel 
  • Travel literature
  • Humanitarianism and Human Rights 
  • Gender


  • Historical Argument and Practice, The Global 

Other Professional Activities


  • Economic, Social History
  • Global History
  • Modern British History
  • Imperial History

Key Publications

Conference Contributions and Talks 

  • 'The British Relief Association and global philanthropy during the the Great Irish Famine', Voluntary Action History Society Seminar, February 2019 (invited to present).
  • ‘Civilising the Rural Landscape: Feminism and the Genteel Domination of the Countryside’, Cambridge Festival of Ideas, October 2018.
  • ‘The power of subscribers to undermine textual authority in the report of the British Association for the Relief of Distress in Ireland, 1847-1848’, Texts in Motion: Materiality, Mobility and Archiving in World History, University of Cambridge, May 2018.
  • ‘The Politics of Aesthetics in the Travel Narratives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Helen Maria Williams’, Women’s History Network Annual Conference, University of Kent, September 2015.


  • John Gibney, 'A short history of Ireland, 1500–2000', Irish Studies Review, 27:1, 134-135
  • Helen McGonagle, 'A Room of Their Own', Women’s History Association of Ireland, 2018.
  • Niamh O’Sullivan, 'In the Lion’s Den: Daniel MacDonald, Ireland and Empire', Women’s History Association of Ireland, 2016.

Other Publications