I am an historian and genealogist. As an independent historical researcher my work is varied and includes research on all aspects of Irish cultural heritage, including family histories. I am currently engaged in writing and lecturing, as well as being involved in a variety of local history societies, organisations and cultural groups. My career to date has been diverse working on data collection both in the field and terrestrially. I have worked on several Oral History projects which included the recording, transcribing, digitisation and mapping of same. I have worked as a tour guide where my customers ranged in age from 5 years to 85 years and I learned very quickly that understanding what your customers interests and wants are paramount to them having a good time. My local walking tours are designed and tailored specifically for groups and are great fun while learning a little about our beautiful city, my home town Limerick.
James Joyce wrote that ‘mistakes are portals to discovery’ and I would add to that by saying that you are never to old to learn. This became my motto and in the year 2000 I began the journey of a lifetime. I had the opportunity of going to College for the first time as a mature student, I was 44 years old. In 2005 I graduated with a BA in History and Media. However, my journey was not over. Having won a prestigious scholarship I continued on with my studies and in 2010 I graduated with a Phd in History at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. My thesis was entitled ‘Newspapers and print culture in eighteenth century Limerick’. The thesis is a systematic study of Limericks newspapers from 1700 – 1800. However, it also an in depth study of Limerick printing and includes analysis on the books, ballads and ephemera printed in Limerick during the Georgian period.
Since 2010 I have lectured on a range of topics, predominantly the social and economic history of the lower orders and middling sort during the Georgian Era. These talks examine the often hidden histories in Ireland, including Garden Design, Georgian Interiors, Print Culture, Georgian Architecture and Newspaper Advertising in the 18th Century. My research allows me to tease out the topics that are often ignored and or treated as mundane or less ordinary, topics such as what the everyman / woman ate, what clothes they wore, their everyday life in the 18th & 19th century in Ireland.
With my genealogist hat on, my work includes dealing with a range of online sources and databases and actually getting up close and personal with tombstones in a number of graveyards and cemeteries across the country. I have been involved in designing and project managing one of the largest graveyard data collections projects undertaken in the Munster region, the Mount Saint Lawrence project. (see my portfolio). The outcome of the project is hugely beneficial to anyone tracing their family in this region. I have lectured on my experience to a number of groups including third level and second level students about Genealogical Research, Death and Dying its culture and folklore and the practicalities of gathering data collection from headstones.
I have been involved in numerous Oral History projects, two of my favourite projects were with Dr Deirdre McMahon and Dr. Maura Cronin. Dr. McMahon worked with Irish missionaries based in India and Dr. Cronin’s work was with Irish soldiers who served in the Congo. Three other Oral History projects I was involved in were joint initiatives between Limerick city archive and Mary Immaculate College and included the recording of employees of Ranks flour mills, the families connected to the Mount Saint Lawrence Cemetery and the Pork butchers of Limerick. These projects produced three publications ‘Ranks Mills, the industrial heart of Limerick city‘, ‘City & Cemetery, a history of Mount Saint Lawrence Cemetery’ and ‘Pigtown, a history of Limerick’s Bacon Industry’
From 2012 to 2015 I was Chairperson of the Limerick Chapter of the Irish Georgian Society and in 2014 I was elected Chairperson of the History & Heritage group for Limerick City of Culture. My role in both these groups resulted in a successful application to the ‘Made in Limerick’ where I designed and project-managed Limericks first Georgian Pop Up Museum as part of the City of Culture initiative. Following on from this in 2015, I was encouraged to become a member of the Stakeholder Group promoting Limerick’s bid for European Capital of Culture 2020.
In 2016 I set up my own business doing what I love best – shining a light on Irish history and heritage through my locally themed walking tours, genealogical research and writing.
I am an active member of the following societies:
Irish Georgian Society
Thomond Archaeological Society