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Professor Mary O'Dowd


Professor of Gender History
On sabbatical semester 2 2014-15

History MA (PGT) Co-ordinator (Sem 1)

Tel: +44 (0) 28 9097 3427 

Office: 17UQ.103

Mary O’Dowd’s research interests have focussed on early modern Ireland and more recently on women and gender in Irish history. She is particularly interested in social history and gender and is currently completing a co-authored book on the history of marriage in Ireland.  Professor O’Dowd  is a  member of the Irish Manuscripts Commission and was elected to the Royal Irish Academy in May 2010.  She is an honorary member of the Board of the International Federation for Research in Women’s History.  Professor O'Dowd has supervised a wide range of doctoral theses on Irish and gender history from the sixteenth through to the twentieth century.

Research Interests

Gender and women’s history; history of marriage; social history; early modern Ireland; age.

Select Publications


Articles and chapters:

  • 'Politics, patriotism and women in Ireland, Britain and colonial America, c. 1700-1780' in Journal of Women's History, vol 22, no 4 (2010).
  • ‘Women historians in the academic community and writing popular history’ in Ilaria Porciani and Jo Tollebeek (eds), Institutions, networks and communities of national historiography comparative Approaches (London: Palgrave,  2012)
  • 'Women in Ulster, 1609-1800’ in Liam Kennedy and Philip Ollerenshaw (eds), Ulster Since 1600: Politics, Economy, and Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012)
  • 'Children, youth and the state in early modern Ireland’ in Maria Luddy (eds), Childhood and Irish Society (forthcoming Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2014)

Entry on PURE research portal


Professor Mary O'Dowd teaches on the following programmes / modules:



Women in Modern Ireland, 1850-1990


Love, Life and Death in England and Ireland, 1350-1650


Family, Gender and Household in Ireland, 1740-1840


Current PhD supervision:

  • Mark Benson, 'Abortion and Northern Ireland'
  • Leanne Calvert, 'Gender and the Ulster Presbyterian community, 1780-1840'
  • Jamie Canavan, ‘Girlhood in Ireland: Irish Girls' Youth Organizations, 1900-1970'
  • Lisa Lavery, ‘“Baby Wanted”: pre-legislation adoption in Ireland, 1800-1952’
  • Ruth Thorpe, 'Elite women and material culture in Ireland 1760-1860'
  • Rachel Wallace, ‘“Gay is good”: Gay rights and social justice in Belfast and Boston’

Recent PhD supervision:

  • James O'Neill, 'Military Strategy and Tactics in the Nine Years War'. PhD 2013.
  • Meadhbha ni Bhaoill, 'Women and education in North West Donegal 1831-1960'. PhD 2013.
  • Claire Rush, 'Intermediate educational provision for girls in Northern Ireland, 1867-1947'. PhD. 2010.
  • Elaine Farrell, 'Infanticide and concealment of birth in Ireland, 1850-1900'. PhD. 2010.

Relevant website addresses

Inventing and Reinventing the Irish woman: external influences on gender construction, 1760-2005

Commemorating Women in Irish Society, 1912-1922

International Federation for Research in Women’s History