Programme, ICHLC

Irish centre for the histories of labour & class


Inaugural conference


THB seminar rooms, NUI Galway


21-22 November 2013


Round One: THURSDAY 21 NOVEMBER, 9.00 – 10.30


Panel 1: Irish working life and politics: (i) Primitive rebels

Gary Hussey (NUI Galway), ‘Agrarian secret societies and a moral economy: the case of the Threshers’

Maura Cronin (Mary Immaculate College, Limerick) ‘Sawyers and vitriol-throwing in 1830s Cork’

John Cunningham (NUI Galway), ‘The working class revolt of September 1846’


Panel 2: Migrants and transnational labour – session supported by the MA in Culture and Colonialism, NUIG

Kathy Powell (NUI Galway), ‘Mobile labour and violence’

Eilis Ward (NUI Galway), ‘Migrants or Victims? Debating Prostitution Law Reform in Ireland’

Margaret Brehony (NUI Galway), ‘Free Labour and Whitening the Nation: Irish Migrants in Colonial Cuba’

Panel 3: Workers’ art

James Curry (NUI Galway), ‘“An inspiration to all who gaze upon it?” The James Larkin monument on Dublin’s O’Connell Street’

Katy Milligan (TCD), ‘“Artist of the workers”: poverty and politics in the art of Harry Kernoff’

Jean Walker (NUI Maynooth), ‘“Plain and fancy workers”: women knitters and identity in Ireland’s nineteenth and twentieth century’




Round Two, THURSDAY 21 NOVEMBER, 10.50 – 12.20:


Panel 1: Irish working life and politics: (ii) c. 1850-1900


Laurence Marley, (NUI Galway), ‘Georgeite radicals in late nineteenth-century Belfast’

John McGrath (MIC), ‘Organised labour in 19th century Limerick: violence and the struggle for legitimacy’


Panel 2: Causes and Campaigns in the Roaring Twenties

Niall Whelehan (University of Edinburgh), ‘Sacco and Vanzetti and Ireland’

Mark Phelan (NUI Galway), ‘“Strike breaking, union breaking, intolerance and bigotry”: Irish labour and Italian Fascism in the 1920s’

Gerard Watts (NUI Galway), ‘The battle for Liberty Hall, 1923-24’

Panel 3: Mobility and the intelligentsia

Tomás Finn (NUI Galway), ‘The influence of intellectuals in Ireland, 1940-80’

Mary Marmion (UCD), ‘From the land of bulrush and bog to the garden party at the Palace: The role of women in the emerging middle class, 1850-1970’

James O’Donnell (NUI Galway), ‘A Class of News: an all-Ireland managerial class in Irish newspapers c.1912-1939’

Round Three: THURSDAY 21 NOVEMBER, 1.30 – 3.00


Panel 1: Irish working life and politics: (iii) 1900-1950

Donal O’Drisceoil (UCC), ‘Sex & socialism: the class politics of immorality in early 20th century Ireland’
Niamh Puirséil , ‘The Labourers’ Party: class & politics in early 20th century’
Adrian Grant (Univ. Ulster), ‘Radicals: the Irish working class, republicanism and the radical left, c.1900-1939’

Panel 2: Youth, class, and culture

Donal Fallon (UCD), ‘“Quick witted urchins”: Dublin’s newsboys, 1900-25’

Jonathon Hannon (NUI Galway), ‘Class, culture and John Cooper Clarke’

Julie McGrath (MIC), ‘Sir Edward De Vere and William O’Brien’

Paddy McMenamin, (NUI Galway), ‘What would James Connolly have made of it all’? Youth & class in late 1960s Belfast,

Panel 3: Class houses

Thomas Murray (UCD), ‘Ireland’s rebel cities: the untold history of an island’s Housing Action Committees’

Michael Dwyer (UCC), ‘Abandoned by God and the Corporation: The anti-slum campaign in Cork city, 1913-1930’

Padraic Kenna (NUI Galway), Historical overview of the development of the Irish housing system


Round Four: THURSDAY 21 NOVEMBER, 3.15 – 4.40

Panel 1: Biographies

Gerard Madden (NUI Galway), ‘Bishop Browne of Galway and anti-communism, 1937-1976’

John Kehoe (TCD), ‘Garda Memoirs: autobiographical writing and occupational identity’

Maeve Casserly (TCD), ‘Rosie Hackett: bridging the divide’

Gerri O’Neill (Mater Dei), ‘The Deportation of James Gralton – de Valera and the 1933 Red Scare’

Panel 2: Religion and class politics

Dan Finn (New Left Review), ‘Irish Republicans and the Protestant working class, 1968-1998’

Tony Varley (NUI Galway), ‘Bobby Burke, Christian Socialism and class politics in post-independence Ireland

Matthew Collins (Univ. Ulster), ‘“Scourge of the bigot and Tory”: The life and times of Jack Beattie’


Panel 3: 1913 and all that

Leo Keohane ((NUI Galway), ‘“Labour in Irish History”: a text in support of a Sorel type Syndicalism?’

Leah Hunnewell (TCD), ‘Irish working class struggle & postmillennial rhetoric 1911-16: a transatlantic perspective’

Meredith Meagher (Univ. of Notre Dame), ‘Ireland & American Labour: an international perspective on Lockout’

John O’Donovan (UCC) Canon Sheehan and Connolly: Labour, Nationality and Religion in Ireland 1910 – 1913


Round Five: THURSDAY 21 NOVEMBER, 4.45 – 6.00

Panel 1: Caipitlí as Oileán Chrapaigh; cumannach as Árainn

Seosamh Ó Cuaig (Independent film maker) ‘Tom O’Flaherty’

Jackie Uí Chionna (NUI Galway), ‘Máirtín Mór McDonogh’


Panel 2: Labour and archives

Kieran Hoare, NUI Galway

Catríona Crowe, National Archives of Ireland


Panel 3: Class, conflict and amelioration in early nineteenth Ireland

Dominic Haugh (NUI Galway), ‘The origins and legacy of the Ralahine commune, 1831-1833’

Terry Dunne (NUI Maynooth), ‘Class in pre-famine Ireland’

Alan Noonan, ‘“Not the slightest appearance of an outbreak”: labour conflict in the mining regions of Ireland’

Round Six: THURSDAY 21 NOVEMBER, 8.00 – 9.30


Mechanics Institute, The Saothar symposium:

‘Forty years on: where next for the history of the Irish working class.’

Established in 1973, the Irish Labour History Society has published its annual journal Saothar since 1975. This discussion will feature the following speakers, who will assess where to for the history of the Irish working class – Mary Jones, Michael Pierse, Sarah-Anne Buckley and David Convery. Caitriona Crowe will occupy the chair

Mechanics Institute: book launch of David Convery (ed.) Locked out: a century of Irish working class life


Round Seven: FRIDAY 22 NOVEMBER, 9.00 – 10.30


Panel 1: In dock, pew and street

Gerard Farrell (TCD), ‘Class divisions amongst the “mere Irish” of colonial Ulster’

Hilary Taylor (Yale University), ‘Rethinking lower-class “inarticulacy” in 18th-century Britain: some evidence from the Old Bailey’

Seán Farrell (Northern Illinois Univ.), ‘Beautiful Vision: Christ Church & Anglican children in early Victorian Britain’


Panel 2: The rights of labour

Cathal Smith (NUI Galway), ‘Irish Landlordism, American slavery and ‘”rural subjection”’

Timothy Keane (NUI Galway), ‘Revisiting Chartism in Ireland’

Brian Casey (Clonfert archivist), ‘Matt Harris and the cause of labourers during the Land War’

Panel 3: Sport, labour and class

Daryl Leeworthy (University of Huddersfield), ‘Class, labour migration and the making of commercial ice hockey in inter-war Britain and Ireland’

David Toms (UCC) and Alex Jackson, ‘The miner and the darling of the gods: football, work and migration in inter-war Britain and Ireland’

Brian Ward (NUI Galway), ‘Galway press attitudes towards the working classes in 1912’

Round Eight: FRIDAY 22 NOVEMBER, 10.50 – 12.10


Panel 1: Class and politics in Ireland in 1790s Ireland

Niall Gillespie (TCD), ‘The class dynamics of radical literary political culture,1791-98’

Timothy Murtagh (TCD), ‘Dublin’s journeymen – Hibernia’s sans culottes?’

Ultán Gillen (Teeside University), ‘Class and United Irish ideology’


Panel 2: Collective bargains

Alan Power (TCD), ‘Irish Trade Unionism, centralised bargaining and social justice, 1961-79’

Martin Maguire (Dundalk IT), ‘Confronting state power: civil service trade unions in independent Ireland, 1922-38’

Peter Murray (NUI Maynooth), ‘Adult education and labour movement division in Ireland, 1940s to 1960s’

Audrey Cahill, ‘Child poverty, intergenerational transmission of advantage and basic capital’

Panel 3: Oral History, letters and work

Mary Muldowney (TCD), ‘“Trusting to their honours for justice”: insights into class relations in the Irish railway industry after the introduction of the state old age pension in January 1909’

Liam Cullinane (UCC), ‘Fordism and Ford workers in Ireland, 1917-1932’

Ida Milne (Oral History Network), ‘Working in a newspaper industry: the gendering of internal elites’

Round Nine: FRIDAY 22 NOVEMBER, 12.15. – 1.30


Panel 1: Stage left

Aoife Monks (Birkbeck College, University of London) ‘Virtuosity, technique, craft and the immaterials of Performance.’

Charlotte McIvor (NUI Galway) ‘”Take Me Down to Monto, Monto, Monto”: disrupting narratives of economic crisis as states of exception through the experimental Irish community theatre.’

Mark Phelan (Queen’s) ‘Performing class, culture and conflict in Belfast—class politics and labour relations in forgotten figures from the Irish dramatic canon.’

Lionel Pilkington (NUI Galway) ‘1985: Irish theatre and the new spirit of capitalism.’


Panel 2: Sustaining and forming children

Emma O’Toole (NCAD), ‘“Anxious to provide a good nurse”: employing the Irish wet nurse in upper class households in eighteenth-century Ireland’

Geraldine Curtin (NUI Galway), ‘Instilling the habit of labour: children, work and the early Irish reformatories’

Ian Miller (University of Ulster), ‘Undernourished infants and “school-day starvation”: politics, class and childhood feeding, c.1900-1918’

Sinéad Mercier (NUI Galway), ‘The Irish Magdalene Laundry: establishing state and social responsibility in the “disciplinary society”’


Panel 3: Class politics and the Irish revolution – session supported by the MA in Irish Studies, NUIG

Andy Bielenberg (UCC) Protestant emigration during the War of Independence and Civil War’

John Borgonovo, (UCC) ‘Republican civil administration and taxation in the “Munster Republic”, July-August 1922’

Dara Folan (NUI Galway), ‘The Gaelic League and the labour movement: unlikely bedfellows?’


Panel 4: Perspectives on class and resistance

Michael Pierse (Queen’s), ‘Emigration, counter-culture and writing the Irish working class’

Paula Geraghty (Trade Union TV), ‘The dialectics of resistance: digital media offering new possibilities for interpretation?

Paul Garrett (NUI Galway), ‘Destabilizing classifications: thinking with Ranciere about class and history’

7.30 pm Mechanics Institute: Preliminary workshop for conference participants interested in developing an oral history project on 20th century Galway industries.


FRIDAY 22 NOVEMBER: The tenth and final round


Mechanics Institute, ‘Class, conflict and culture: the songs’,



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