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Professor Liam Kennedy

BSc, MSc (NUI), PhD (York), FRHistS

Professor Emeritus of Economic & Social History


Liam Kennedy was born in rural Tipperary under the star sign of Leo (or was it Taurus?), well before the era of Radio Telefis Eireann and the Friesian cow. His undergraduate degree was in food science but he experienced a later Pauline conversion to history.  His formative intellectual influences included Raymond Crotty (Irish agricultural production), Sir John Hicks (A theory of economic history), Edna O'Brien (The country girls) and the Tipperary Star. In 2005 he held a visiting professorship at the University of Toronto and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Liam Kennedy retired from the academic staff in September 2011, but remains an active member of the Queen's History community.

Research Interests

Themes of rural social change dominated his earlier research interests, and still retain an emotional charge. Increasingly, however, his interests have shifted towards the study of long-term social change in Ireland, extending from the 17th to the 20th century. Historical studies of wages, prices and living standards, as well as secular change in the political and religious demography of Ireland have come to the fore. Other interests include Belfast in 1911, and bastardy and the Irish. In his darker moments he contests the notion of the MOPE syndrome: that in the comparative historical stakes the Irish were the most oppressed people ever.

Select Publications


  • Unhappy the Land: The Most Oppressed People Ever, the Irish? (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2015)
  • (With Peter Solar), Irish Agriculture: A Price History from the mid-18th century to the eve of the First World War, 1755–1913 (Dublin: Royal Irish Academy, 2007).
  • (Ed., with R.J. Morris), Scotland and Ireland: order and disorder, 1600–2000 (Edinburgh: John Donald, 2005).
  • (With L.A. Clarkson et al), Mapping the Great Irish Famine (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1999).
  • (Ed., with Isabelle Devos), Marriage and the rural economy: western Europe since 1400 (Brussels, 1999).
  • Colonialism, religion and nationalism in Ireland (Belfast: Institute of Irish Studies, 1996)

Articles and chapters:

  • (With K.A. Miller and B. Gurrin), 'Minorities, majorities and demographic power: the Protestant and Catholic communities of Tipperary since 1660' in S. Farrell and M. De Nie (eds), Power and popular culture in modern Ireland (Dublin, 2010)
  • (With Paul Gray), 'Famine, illegitimacy, and the workhouse in western Ireland: Kilrush, County Clare' in Alysa Levene, Thomas Nutt, and Samantha Williams (eds), Illegitimacy in Britain 1700–1920 (Basingstoke, 2005).
  • 'The cost of living in Ireland, 1698–1998' in David Dickson and Cormac O Grada (eds), Refiguring Ireland (Dublin, 2003).
  • (With D.S. Johnson), 'The two economies in Ireland in the twentieth century' in J.R. Hill, ed, A new history of Ireland, vii: Ireland 1921–1984 (Oxford, 2003).
  • 'Was there an Irish War of Independence?' in Bruce Stewart (ed.), Hearts and minds: Irish culture and society under the Act of Union (Gerrards Cross, 2002).
  • (With Dermot Feenan) 'Weights and measures of the major food commodities in early nineteenth-century Ireland: a regional perspective' in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, cii, sect. C (2002).
  • (With Lucia Pozzi & Edoardo Otranto), 'Avversione al Matrimonio? L’Esperienza della Popolazione Irlandese dopo la Grande Carestia (1851–1911)' in Popolazione e Storia, no. 1 (2000).
  • 'Bastardy and the Great Famine: Ireland 1845–50' in Continuity and Change, xiv (1999).

Relevant Websites and Multimedia