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Aodhán Connolly

Aodhán Connolly

Where are you from?

Portadown, County Armagh, Northern Ireland

What degree pathway did you study at Queen’s?

I studied BA Hons Modern History and completed in 2002.

Why did you choose to study History?

I always had an interest in history but hadn’t studied it since 3rd year in secondary school, so after studying law I decided that I would do something that I would enjoy more.

What did you particularly enjoy about studying History at Queen’s?

I really enjoyed the course as a whole and the fact that in second and third year I was able to pick a majority of subjects that I was interested in from the early modern period. I especially enjoyed Chris Marsh’s module on popular culture in the Seventeenth Century and the research on ballads that stemmed from it. I even ended up giving a performance as part of my final assessment! Another thing that made my experience a good one was the fact that the tutors were approachable and fair. If you do the work they will be willing to help you with anything! Even now 5 years later I am still in touch with some of them.

What did you think of the social life in Belfast?

The Belfast social scene is exactly what you make of it yourself. There is something for everyone from rock bars to cheesy discos and trad nights. And for those who want to get involved in more varied pursuits, there are hundreds of societies from drama to sport.  

What is your current occupation? What are you enjoying about your career?

I am the Commercial Executive for The Prince’s Trust in Northern Ireland. My responsibilities include event management, press and media relations, as well sponsorship and fundraising. I had been an event manager for a cultural centre with a theatre and an art gallery directly before that.  I enjoy the fact that I have been able to work in the arts sector, the Irish language sector and presently in the voluntary sector. My present post is challenging but highly rewarding. You can find out more about The Prince’s Trust on our website

Would you recommend studying History to other students? What advice would you give them?

I would recommend studying History as the skills I gained have helped me immensely in my career. From analysis to presentation and from prioritization to assimilating information, I honed these skills while at Queen’s. The course is interesting and engaging and if you are interested in a subject there is a greater chance that you will do well.

As far as advice is concerned don’t leave everything to the last minute. A lot of my old tutors will laugh when they read that as I was always finishing things off at the deadline but it makes your life so much easier if you can prepare in advance.
Another piece of advice is something Prof. David Hayton told me and something I still use today. Slaughter your darlings! Which means if you think that something is perfect go back over it and check it and cut it if needs be. Nine times out of ten you will find something that isn’t right or is simply superfluous. I still use this technique every time I write a press release or brief.