Aoife O'Leary McNeice

PhD Candidate, History
Scouloudi Fellow, Institute of Historical Research
Aoife O'Leary McNeice

My doctoral studies, under the supervision of Dr Renaud Morieux, examine global networks of humanitarianism that emerged during the Great Irish Famine, which took place between 1845-1852. I hope to resituate the Famine within a transnational, 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. 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.


Eighteenth and nineteenth century philanthropic history

Modern Irish History

Global history

Movement and travel

Travel literature

Humanitarianism and Human Rights


Historical Argument and Practice: The Global, Gender

Part 1 Paper 10: British Economic and Social History: 1700-1880

Part 2 Paper 25: Ireland and the Irish Since the Famine

‘The Gifts of the Poor to the Poor’: Emigrant remittances and personal sympathy on a global scale”, Cambridge Modern Irish History Seminar, University of Cambridge, 4 June 2020. (online)

‘The Church in Conflict: Global Catholic Giving during the Great Irish Famine’, 5th Cambridge-Edinburgh Graduate Workshop in Modern Irish History, University of Cambridge, 16-17 January 2020.

‘Global Giving and the limitations of Relief during the Great Irish Famine’, ‘An Unhealthy Intersection? Cultural Politics and the Politics of Culture in Ireland, 1789 to Present’, Woolf Institute, Cambridge, 28 – 29 March 2019.

'The British Relief Association and global philanthropy during the Great Irish Famine', Voluntary Action History Society Seminar, Senate House, London, February 2019 (invited to present).

‘Adapting Transatlantic Humanitarianism: The Abolitionist Movement and Famine Relief’, Cambridge Cultural History Workshop, November 2018.

‘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 BritishAssociation 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.


Tags & Themes


Key publications

'Towards a History of Global Humanitarianism’, [review article], The Historical Journal, 2020, 1-12.

‘Dynamics of Gender and the Experiences of the first Female University Students of Queen’s College Cork, 1879-1910’, Irish Studies Review. [Fortcoming] 

‘Pride and Prejudice: Silence and the Undertold Stories of International Law’, with Elizabeth Schweiger, in Renske Vos and Sofia Stolk (eds.), International Laws Selected Stories, (Palgrave MacMillan). [Forthcoming]

‘Visions of the Future in Humanitarian Responses to the Great Irish Famine’, in Richard Butler (ed.), Dreams of the Future in Nineteenth Century Ireland, (Liverpool UP). [Forthcoming, expected December 2020]