Dr Niamh Gallagher

University Associate Professor in Modern British and Irish History
Fellow of St Catharine's College
Dr Niamh Gallagher

Niamh Gallagher is the author of Ireland and the Great War: A Social and Political History (Bloomsbury, 2020), which won the Royal Historical Society's 2020 Whitfield Prize.  

She lectures in the history of modern Britain and Ireland and convenes a range of courses across the undergraduate and postgraduate year groups. She is the co-editor of The Political Thought of the Irish Revolution with Professor Richard Bourke (forthcoming, CUP) and has written widely on the cultural and social history of the First World War. Her next major research project will be on the history of Ireland and the end of the British Empire.

Niamh has appeared on the media in both Britain and Ireland. She is currently a member of the Independent Historical Advisory Panel for Northern Ireland and leads The Mether Initiative at St Catharine's College with Des Browne (The Rt Hon. the Lord Browne of Ladyton).

Niamh has recently been appointed to a three-year lectureship in modern Irish history, generously funded by the Irish Government's Department of Foreign Affairs' Peace and Reconciliation Fund

Niamh is available for consultancy.

Late nineteenth and twentieth century political, social and cultural history; theories of nations and nationalism (and their limitations); the impact of war on society; the Irish in the British World; transnational and comparative histories; the history of immigrants and minorities; empires and imperialism; emigration and settlement; political thought; gender and class; memory and myth-making

I supervise MPhil students in modern British and Irish political, social and cultural history from 1800 and welcome enquiries from students in these fields. Past students have written dissertations on:

  • Comparing gendered violence during the N. Ireland 'Troubles' and in India's 'partition'
  • An environmental history of the Gaeltachtai: challenging the 'nation'
  • 'Motherhood' and women's experiences of the N. Irish 'Troubles'
  • Imagining and reshaping the border in Ireland's twentieth century
  • Paramilitary loyalism, class and negotiating constitutional and revolutionary politics
  • Anti-imperialism in interwar Britain
  • Government propaganda in Ireland during the First World War 
  • Working-class women in education during the interwar period
  • Scottish ex-patriates in India from 1880-1914
  • A comparative history of the Egyptian and Irish revolutions
  • Memory of the Great Famine in Ireland from 1930 to the present.

For Part II students writing dissertations, I welcome enquiries from students writing on any aspect of Irish history from 1800 (including the history of Northern Ireland), as well as students writing on British history. In British history I am happy to consider topics within both political and social history from 1880 to the present, and to make recommendations if I feel a colleague is more suitable. Past students have written dissertations on topics including:

  • The Gore-Booth sisters and radical politics
  • British public responses to Daniel O'Connell's campaign for Catholic Emancipation
  • Memory and the legacy of the War of Independence and Civil War in North Co. Kerry
  • The Border Commission and the experience of partition in Tyrone and Fermanagh
  • Domestic and sexual violence in London, 1918-1939
  • Changing attitudes to masculinity within the post-WW2 East End Jewish community
  • Ailtirí na hAiséirghe and fascism in 1930s Ireland

I convene the Part I paper, Paper 6, 'British Political History Since 1880', a Part II (third year) Specified paper on Modern Ireland entitled 'Ireland and the Irish Since the Famine'.  At the MA level I teach an option called 'Interpreting Ireland', which allows students to dive into some of the major debates in the history of modern Ireland and to critically think about methodological and conceptual issues when writing Irish history.  I supervise Paper 6 across colleges; at St Catharine's, I was Director of Studies in History for Part II at St Catharine's from 2018-20. I am currently the postgraduate tutor for Finance at St Catharine's.

  • Member of the Northern Ireland Independent Centenary Historical Advisory Panel. I manage the website dimension of the Panel's activities and work closely with the Nerve Centre to assist the Creative Centenaries website
  • Co-founder of The Mether Initiative at St Catharine's College.
  • Talking head on BBC's 'The Long View' with Jonathan Freedland on subject of 'This Union' (broadcast 13 July 2021)
  • Talking head on Michael Portillo's RTE-Midas Production, 'Partition, 1921', the third documentary in 'The Enemy Files' series (broadcast on RTE, June, 2021)
  • Talking head on LRB podcast with Thomas Jones 'On the Irish Border' (June, 2021)
  • Talking head on Talking Politics podcast with Richard Bourke on 'Northern Ireland: Past, Present, Future', (March, 2021)
  • Invited speaker at Her Majesty's Treasury History Network as part of their Anniversaries Series to deliver lecture entitled 'Houses divided: the 1911 Parliament Act'  (March, 2021).
  • Invited contributor to the President of Ireland's (Michael D. Higgins) Machnamh 100 public seminar series on the theme of Empire: instincts, interests, power and resistance (25 Feb 2021)
  • Discussant on Dan Snow's History Hit podcast to discuss the Partition of Ireland (Jan 2021)
  • One of four panellists invited by the Irish Embassy in London to speak about the Government of Ireland Act (1920). Chaired by Fergal Keane (Dec 2020)
  • Talking head on TV documentary, 'The Hunger', produced by Tyrone Productions in association with RTE, University College Cork and The Atlas Of The Great Irish Famine (Nov-Dec 2020).
  • Discussant on the Cambridge-led podcast, 'Talking Politics', with David Runciman to discuss Sinn Fein and the Irish general election (Dec 2020) 
  • Chaired Mether Initiative panel discussion with former secretaries of state for Northern Ireland, John Reid and Paul Murphy, and the shadow deputy leader of the House of Lords, Angela Smith, to discuss the challenges of delivering the Good Friday Agreement (Nov 2019)
  • Discussant on Radio 4 show 'In Our Time' hosted by Melvyn Bragg on subject of 'The Great Irish Famine' (April 2019) alongside Cormac O'Grada and Enda Delaney 


Tags & Themes


St Catharine's College,
Trumpington Street,


Twitter: @NiamhGal


Key Publications

Ireland and the Great War: A Social and Political History (Bloomsbury, 2020) revises our understanding of Ireland and the Irish in the Great War. Using previously unused sources, it unearths forgotten dimensions of the Irish war effort and builds a picture of Irish societies at war in Ireland and within diasporic communities in Canada, Australia and Britain. From an examination of Irishwomen's involvement in associations set up to support war-relief and the impact of German submarine warfare on coastal communities to exploring Irish emigrant (and their descendants') responses to the imperial war effort, the book argues that the Irish were more supportive of the Allied war effort than orthodox works have suggested despite the 1916 Easter Rising and increase in republican sentiment. It is the first work to demonstrate significant cross-confessional collaboration between Protestants and Catholics (even in Ulster) in many spheres of the war effort. Fundamentally it demonstrates the limitations of analysing the war through a Protestant-Unionist or Catholic-Irish lens and instead highlights the importance of other factors including class, gender and region. The chapters on memory discuss attempts to maintain the cross-confessional solidarity created in wartime and how this was challenged by memories of new wars, state-building, emigration and the wider shift in memory of the conflict throughout the interwar years

Royal Historical Society Whitfield Prize Judges’ citation:

This is a bold and indeed audacious intervention in the historiography of Irish Catholic involvement in British and Allied action during the Great War. Niamh Gallagher’s sophisticated interpretation of the Home Front in towns across Ireland enables us to appreciate the ways in which individuals, families, businesses, civic and political leaders, and their supporters, understood Allied war aims and the reasons for contributing and remembering. Richly detailed and illustrated throughout, this is an unusually substantial contribution to the social and political history of Ireland and Irish communities abroad.”

Other Publications

  • R. Bourke and N. Gallagher (eds), The Political Thought of the Irish Revolution (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press, 2022).
  • N. Gallagher, 'Reordering the world in the aftermath of the First World War' in N. Ireland Centenary Historical Advisory Panel's, N. Ireland: 100 years (forthcoming, Ulster University Press).
  • N. Gallagher, 'Breaking down binaries: empire, the First World War and partition' in President of Ireland's Machnamh 100: Empire (forthcoming, President's Office).
  • N. Gallagher ‘Winston Churchill, the Irish, and the "Irish Question"’ in Allen Packwood (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Winston Churchill, Cambridge (forthcoming Cambridge University Press).
  • N. Gallagher, 'The Great War and Ireland's Twentieth Century' in Mike Cronin, John Crowley and Cormac Moore (eds.), The Atlas of Irish Sport (forthcoming, University College Cork Press).

Select book reviews