Research Activity

Research activity in the Discipline of English extends from sexuality to technology, and embraces a wide range of periods and methodologies from early manuscript studies and book history to performance and digital poetics. Keynotes are interdisciplinarity, textuality, and cultural exchange: our researchers compose prize-winning monographs, create scholarly text and online editions, curate groundbreaking exhibitions, and co-ordinate international collaborative projects.

Research strengths

Our track record of successful funding applications at all levels is exemplary. Particular interests within the discipline currently include Chaucerian studies, early modern literature, women’s writing, masculinities, colonial and postcolonial literatures, print culture, travel writing, Victorian literature, theatre history, modernism, Irish writing, digital humanities, contemporary fiction, creative writing, and journalism. New researchers and collaborators in these and other areas of specialization are hugely welcome.

Research community

New researchers join a thriving group of postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers pursuing individual and collaborative projects under expert supervision. Researchers pursue PhD or postdoctoral programmes and participate in an exciting programme of seminars, research days, performances, conferences, symposiums, and invited speakers here on campus. Professional development workshops prepare researchers for speaking at international conferences and give advice on writing, teaching, and publishing.‌

Research facilities

The stunning state of the art research facilities of the Moore Institute and Hardiman Research Building (featuring research hubs and individual workstations for all researchers) provide a space for new ideas and make co-operation with other disciplines and institutions routine. The Moore Insititute’s programme of Visiting Fellows, and easy access to all the resources of the James Hardiman Library, including special collections and archives, helps create what is a vibrant community of scholarship. 


Research Resources


Galway University Foundation Ros Dixon Visiting Research Fellowship

Applications are invited from researchers in the fields of Russian literature, Drama and Performance, and Theatre Studies, for the inaugural Galway University Foundation Ros Dixon Visiting Research Fellowship. This award is endowed in the honour of the late Dr. Ros Dixon, who specialised in Russian drama, and whose collection is housed in the Hardiman Library. The catalogue for the Ros Dixon Library of Drama and Theatre History and Performance, housed in Special Collections, may be consulted at University of Galway Library, using ‘Ros Dixon former owner’ as the search term.
The fellowship, up to the amount of €3,000, is for a maximum duration of 4 weeks. Applicants must be engaged in research in one of the designated fields – Russian literature, Russian literature in translation, Drama and Performance, Theatre Studies – and may be graduate students, early career researchers, or established scholars. The Fellow will be housed at the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies.

Click Ros Dixon Visiting Research Fellowship  for further information and Ros Dixon Fellowship Application Form to apply.  The closing date for receipt of applications is 15 March 2019. 

To listen to the first annual Dr Ros Dixon Memorial Lecture, "The Limits of the Imagination",  please click here.


Full-Text Online Sources

Early English Books Online (EEBO): EEBO is a vast collection of printed material from 1475-1700 in electronic format containing over 125,000 individual full-text titles listed in Pollard & Redgrave’s Short-Title Catalogue (1475-1640), Wing’s Short-Title Catalogue (1641-1700), and the Thomason Tracts (1640-1661).

Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO): ECCO provides access to digital images of every page of 150,000 books published during the eighteenth century. With full-text searching of approximately 33 million pages, the database allows researchers new methods of access to critical information in the fields of history, literature, religion, law, fine arts, science and more.

Intelex Past Masters: Coleridge: Collected Letters: the complete Oxford University Press edition of Coleridge's letters, augmented by his early family letters and the letters of his son, Hartley. The Emerging Tradition, 1500-1700: Oxford University Press editions of correspondence from important figures in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England, including Elias Ashmole, Thomas Bodley, Anne Conway, Thomas Cromwell, Andrew Marvell, Dorothy Osborne, Samuel Pepys, Walter Ralegh, and Henry Wotton. The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats: complete first 3 volumes of the on-going print edition of The Collected Letters published by Oxford University Press, spanning 1865-1904. In addition, the database includes all of the letters from the further 9-12 volumes of the edition, with dating information (so far as this is known), but lacking the full annotation for which the printed volumes are justly famous. A total of 7,378 new letters are featured in the database. Of these, 88 are newly discovered letters belonging to the 1865-1904 period covered by the 3 published volumes. The remaining 7,290 letters belong to the 1905-1939 period which will be published in print and with full annotation in future volumes of the edition.

Literature Online (LION): A fully searchable library of more than 350,000 works of English and American poetry, drama and prose, 175 full-text literature journals, and other key criticism and reference resources.

Women Writers Online (WWO): The electronic database produced by Brown University Women Writers Project, providing electronic editions of over 200 texts in English or in English translation, authored by women, printed between 1526 and 1845.  

Newspaper Databases

LexisNexis Professional: LexisNexis is a powerful on-line research tool offering full-text access to a wealth of news, company, legal, market research and directory sources.

Times Digital Archive: The Times Digital Archive is an online archive of every page published by The Times [London] from 1785-1985. It provides online access to one of the key resources for the study of nineteenth- and twentieth-century history and culture.

Primary Research Tools

The English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC): this database provides extensive bibliographical descriptions and holdings information for materials printed in Great Britain or any of its dependencies in any language from the beginning of printing to 1800—together with materials printed in English anywhere else in the world.

IReL: Humanities and Social Sciences. This major initiative by the HEA provides funding (c. €16 million over four years) for subscriptions to major online journals and databases. The first group includes Taylor and Frances Journals Online (1,191 full-text titles), Blackwell Synergy (319 titles), Cambridge University Press Journals Online (100) titles), and Sage Journals Online (360 titles). Subsequent additions are expected to include Project Muse, Film Index International, and the International Medieval Bibliography.

JSTOR: JSTOR is a comprehensive digital library, containing over 160 full-text journal titles.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: an illustrated collection, published in 60 volumes, of 55,000 biographies of the men and women from around the world who shaped all the history of the British Isles and beyond.

The English Experience: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. A collection of nearly 1,000 facsimiles of early printed books.

Special Collections

Lyric Theatre/O'Malley Collection

The papers of Pearse and Mary O’Malley of Belfast include a considerable amount of material relating to the running of the Lyric Players Theatre Company from its foundation in 1950 to the 1980s, mainly relating to the administration of the theatre and publicity for their productions. There is also material relating to Threshold, a literary journal edited by Mary O’Malley and others, including manuscript contributions and correspondence files with contributors.

Druid Theatre Company

The collection consists of files on each production (usually containing programmes, photographs and posters), as well as files of newspaper clippings relating to the Company and productions.

Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe Theatre

Collection of material relation to the administration of the Irish-language Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe Theatre and publicity for their productions, 1928 to the present.

John McGahern Archive

Literary papers of the Irish novelist and short-story writer John McGahern, currently in cataloguing



Researchers in English: Meet our Postgraduate Research Students

There is a thriving community of researchers in the Discipline of English at University of Galway. Staff, post-doctoral researchers, PhD and MLitt students come together to share ideas and spark projects and collaborations in seminars, workshops, and conferences, and the discipline has a highly successful track record of funding applications. Prospective researchers should in the first instance contact potential supervisors or mentors. A list of staff research interests and contact details is available by clicking here.
Our broad range of research interests is reflected in a wide variety of current and recent projects.  Our current postdoctoral reseachers and PhD candidates are listed below:


Laura Ryan (Post-Doctoral Researcher)

Project Title: "Writing Homelessness: Down and Out in Modernist Literature"
Bio:  Laura has research interests chiefly in literary modernism and African American literature. She completed her AHRC-funded PhD in 2019 at the University of Manchester, with a thesis entitled “‘You are white – yet a part of me’: D. H. Lawrence and the Harlem Renaissance”. A monograph based upon this thesis is in progress and Laura has so far published on various aspects of her work and interests in English Language Notes, Études Lawrenciennes, Resources for American Literary Study and The Modernist Review. Her current project at University of Galway, funded by an IRC Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship, explores how experiences of homelessness impacted upon the work of modernist writers and how conceptions of homelessness were formed and transformed in the modernist period. 

John Carrigy

Project Title: ‘This Brytish Discovery and Recovery Enterprise’: John Dee and Elizabethan empire
Supervisor: Prof Daniel Carey

Michelle Carroll

Project Title: Contextualising the writings of Tom Murphy
Supervisor: Prof Lionel Pilkington

Maureen DeLeo

Project Title: Mother Ireland in early 20th century Irish literature—a Lacanian perspective
Supervisor: Dr Cliodhna Carney

Eamon Doggett

Project Title: The residue of inexpressibility in the fiction of Dermot Healy
Supervisors: Prof Sean Ryder & Mr Mike McCormack

Tiana Fischer

Project Title: Revisionary aesthetics and mediation in the works of W. B. Yeats and James Joyce
Supervisor: Dr Adrian Paterson

Ciara Glasscott

Project Title: ‘Is childhood then so all-divine?’ Investigating representations of the child and pedagogical realism in the work of Anne Brontë
Supervisors: Dr Muireann O'Cinneide & Dr Justin Tonra

Esther Greenfield

Project Title: Dystopian Fiction and Environmental Activism
Supervisor: Dr Muireann O'Cinneide

Ciara Griffin

Project Title: Embodiment and identity in the literature of South Asian women writers
Supervisor: Dr Muireann O'Cinneide

Project Title: Embodiment and identity in the literature of South Asian women writers
Supervisor: Dr Muireann O'Cinneide

Jessica Hannon

Project Title: Fairy tales making waves: adaptations in the wake of second and third wave feminism
Supervisor: Dr Lindsay Reid

Siobhán Kane

Project Title: Love and John McGahern
Supervisor Name: Dr John Kenny

Loraine Kavanagh

Project Title: The use of metaphor in academic writing by Chinese writers in an English-language academic environment
Supervisors: Dr Frances McCormack & Dr Tony Hall (School of Education)

Ian Kennedy

Project Title: ‘The Life of a Nation’: Arts policy in Ireland 1948-1968
Supervisor: Prof Lionel Pilkington

Project Description: Focusing on case studies that deal with An Tóstal, the All-Ireland (Athlone), North Cork (Charleville), Clare (Scarriff) and Western (Tubbercurry) Drama Festivals, this research argues that amateur drama festivals, supported by the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon, dynamically contributed to the paradigm shift that took place within post-war Irish society.

Bio: Ian Kennedy has worked in primary, secondary and higher education for over twenty years. A Doctoral Researcher at the Department of English, University of Galway, he is the Access to Post-Primary Teaching Project Co-ordinator and Academic Writing Tutor at St. Angela’s College, Sligo.   His previous research included a cultural history of the Yeats International Summer School (2015) and a phenomenological approach to a Theology of Mission (2002).  His current research examines the cultural impact of the amateur drama movement on the paradigm shift that took place in post-war Irish society.

Ruairí Kennedy

Project Title: 'Disability as Subtext: A Study of the Elision of Disabled Subjects in Young Adult and Children’s Literature'
Supervisor: Dr Emily Ridge and Dr Lindsay Myers (Discipline of Italian)

Project Description: This project aims to explore the representation of subjects with disabled-adjacent characteristics in young adult and children's literature, and how this form of implicit representation of the disabled community may impact the reader's relationship with the text in a different way to that of a more typically explicit depiction. It strives to highlight both the virtues and the pitfalls of this form of representation in comparison to works that hinge around the explicit portrayal of a disability.

Bio: Ruairí Kennedy completed his BA in Ancient and Medieval History and Culture in Trinity College Dublin, where he developed an interest in the relationship between mythological tales from our past and more contemporary stories. He went on to graduate from an MA in Writing at University of Galway, where he solidified his bond with creative fiction, both as an outlet for his own personal projects as well as his research. He was drawn to his topic from both a mixture of his academic disciplines, as well as his own childhood, where he faced the various struggles that his disability presented him, and how they moulded his relationship with literature. 

Ioanna Kyvernitou

Project Title: Modelling women philosophers’ correspondence networks in seventeenth-century Europe
Supervisors: Prof Marie-Louise Coolahan and Prof Mathieu D'Aquin (Insight Centre for Data Analytics)

Des Lally

Project Title: The role of the Gate Theatre in Irish modernism, 1928-1945
Supervisor: Prof Patrick Lonergan (O'Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance)

Tomás Lally

Project Title: ‘To begin with’
Supervisor: Mr Mike McCormack & Prof Felix Ó Murchadha (Discipline of Philosophy)

Project Description: A practice based PhD in English and Philosophy.
1. A Philosophy thesis on the theme of beginning titled: How do ‘I’ begin? An exploration of the self as narrative construct arising in an intersubjective context.
2. A Novel on the theme of new beginnings exploring how received narratives define character and the possibility of deconstructing these narratives. 

Bio: Tomás completed degrees in Philosophy in the 1980's, B.A (NUIM) and M.A, (University of London). He has returned to academia after an absence of 30 years and is combining his interest in philosophy with his interest in creative writing.
Email address:

Andrew Levie

Project Title: he Faerie Queene and the ethnogenesis of Elizabeth I’s realm: Edmund Spenser’s poetic undermining of past tales in relation to his Tudor present
Supervisor: Dr Cliodhna Carney & Prof Michael Clarke (Discipline of Classics)

Project Description: This project analyses how Edmund Spenser’s epic-romance The Faerie Queene (1590, 1596) undermines narrative historicism and then contrarily engages in it. On one hand, it argues that Spenser tries to debunk the mystical vision that the sixteenth-century English were coming to have of themselves and their British-Trojan history. However, it then examines how Spenser manipulates past tales to express Ireland’s barbarity in an attempt to validate its need for colonisation.

Bio: Andrew Levie achieved his BA Connect in English and Classics with Creative Writing at University of Galway, where he fostered a research interest in the transmission of classical literature through the Middle Ages. He then pursued an MSc in Medieval Literatures and Cultures at the University of Edinburgh, where he focused on how medieval authors’ works manipulated the classics for their own contemporary means. This lead him to compose his master’s thesis on how Edmund Spenser subtly undermines the Tudor’s claimed Trojan ancestry in the epic-romance The Faerie Queene. Andrew is delighted to continue his research back at University of Galway, where his project is currently funded by the Hardiman Research Scholarship.
Email address:

Brenda Luies

Project Title: Open Educational Resources (OER) in the History of the Book: Towards a New Anthology
Supervisors: Dr Lindsay Reid & Dr Catherin Emerson (Disicpline of French)

Paula Maher Martin

Project Title: "Studies in Growth": Femininity, Community and Reading in Interfeminist fictions of development 1920-1950; modernism; 20th century
Supervisors: Dr Emily Ridge


Jane MacBride

Project Title: Liminality
Supervisors: Dr Cliodhna Carney & Dr Anne Karhio

Nicholas Miller

Project Title: 
Supervisors: Dr Frances McCormack


Pauline Murphy

Project Title: Spaces of Encounter in Irish inter-ethnic literature; 20th century 
Supervisors: Prof Lionel Pilkington & Dr Anne Karhio


Leah Palmer

Project Title: "Studies in Growth": Femininity, Community and Reading in Interfeminist fictions of development 1920-1950; modernism; 20th century
Supervisors: Dr Eavan O Dochartaigh, Prof Daniel Carey, Prof David O'Shaughnessy

Rachel Parry

Project Title: Representing Difference: Danced Narratives of Intellectual Disability Experience
Supervisor: Dr Elizabeth Tilley


Dian Puspita

Project Title: Disaster events and news: Appraisal and evaluation in newspaper discourse and its representation in newspaper articles
Supervisor: Dr Andrew O’Baoill 

Ananya Rajoo

Project Title: Drifting, Contemplating and Creating in Hybrid Space: Rethinking the spatial, social and cultural dimensions of the lived experience by accounting for the fusion of physical and virtual spaces in everyday environments; 21st century
Supervisors: Dr Justin Tonra, and co-supervision by El Putnam (Maynooth)


Clare Robinson

Project Title: Diaspora and the Monstorous in Contemporary Horror
Supervisors: Dr Muireann O'Cinneide


Eoghan Ryan

Project Title: F.R. Higgins and the Irish poetry of his time
Supervisors: Dr Adrian Paterson & Prof Lionel Pilkington

Jennifer Scanlan

Project Title: The Construction of the Pagan Other in Old English Poetry
Supervisor: Dr Frances McCormack

María Sanabria-Barba

Project Title: 
Supervisor: Dr Muireann O'Cinneide


Anna Sikora-Carelse

Project Title: The Construction of the Pagan Other in Old English Poetry
Supervisor: Dr Frances McCormack

Fionnula Simpson

Project Title: Combating the stigmatisation of depression through an exploration of mental illness fiction and memoir.
Supervisor: Dr Dermot Burns

Email address:


Aris Siswanti

Project Title: Reading the Writings of Collaborative Women Writers: A Case Study in Indonesia 
Supervisors: Kevin Davison (Education) and co-supervised by Dr Elizabeth Tilley

Jane Tottenham

Project Title: The journal of Caroline Synge (1818-1862): a digital edition and study in life-writing
Supervisors: Dr Justin Tonra & Prof Sean Ryder


Leung Yan (Ian) Wong

Project Title: Promoting Open Educational Resources (OER) in Early Book Studies
Supervisors: Dr Lindsay Reid & Dr Catherine Emerson (Discipline of French)

Recent Research Graduates

Emily (Emma) Allen
The Power of a Letter:  noble Irish women's use of rhetoric as a means of creating political agency and influence in petition letters to the Elizabethan state.

Alan Bergin
Masquerade, Self-invention and the Nation: Uncovering the Fiction of Katherine Cecil Thurston

Megan Buckley
"Midwives to Creativity": A Study of Salmon Publishing, 1981-2007

Evan Bourke
The Patroness of the Hartlib Circle: Women’s Authorship and Reception 1640-1665
See also the RECIRC project, funded by the European Research Council:

Aislaigh (Ashley) Cahillane
Writing Water Justice in the Twenty-First Century: Embodiment, Privatisation and Hydrofiction

Meaghan Connell
It's in the details the divil is: Corpus linguistics and Irish English literary dialect

Mark Corcoran
Nineteenth-century Irish fiction: Irish Identity, O'Connell and the Transnational

Eamon Doggett
The residue of inexpressibility in the fiction of Dermot Healy

Neassa Doherty
The Dublin Group: Irish Mezzotint Printmakers and the Dublin Print Trade c. 1740 to 1750

Ciaran Dowd
Upon Uncertain Ice: Contingency, Being and Witness in later Cormac McCarthy

Rebecca Downes
Becoming mortal: A study of death in late works by John Banville, Philip Roth and J. M. Coetzee

Lisa Fitzgerald
The Playboy and the Beauty Queen: Druid’s Role in Exporting the West

Gabrielle Fletcher
Dislocating reformist notions of the family in the work of Djuna Barnes, Gertrude Stein, and Edith Wharton

Rosemary Gallagher
Screamingly funny: A critical approach to the comedic anti-war novels of Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Robbins and Tony Vigorito

Anna Gasperini
A Study of the Victorian Popular Periodical Publications known as Penny Bloods and Penny Dreadfuls

Patricia Holmes
Irish Travellers: an Exploration in Criticism and Fiction 

Barry Houlihan
‘Not our line of territory’: A New Study of Social, Political, and Economic influence on Irish Theatre, 1957-1984

Colette Hughes
A carpenter of words: the poetry, engravings and are of David Jones

Kevin Hynes
Hiberno-English: Quo Vadis? : a Study of Four Evolving Phonemes in the Hiberno-English of Secondary-School Students in Galway City and County

Kristin Jones
Literature of the Unword: A Comparative Study of Samuel Beckett and Jack B. Yeats and Mary Swanzy

Ann Keady
Body and Soul: Turning Turk in Early Modern Barbary captivity narratives

Martin Keaveney
A Novel and an Essay on the Process of John McGahern’s 'The Dark’ (practice-based)

Edward Kearns
Measuring Moments: Annotating and Quantifying Narrative Time Disruptions in Modernist and Hypertext Fiction.

Nora King
Confession in Literature from Webster to Defoe

Carmel Lambert
The Shape of Africa: Liberia & Travel Writing

Christopher McCann
Revealing social hierarchy through literature and music

Conor Montague
Big Houses, Epistolary Relationships and the Irish Revival 

Chanté Mouton Kinyon
Postcoloniality in the Irish and Harlem Renaissances 

Mairéad Ní Chualáin
Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe: Staging works derived from English and Hiberno-English (MLitt)

Eavan O’Dochartaigh
From Science to Sensation: A Study of Visual and Literary Representation in Scientific Exploration in the mid C19th

Ciara O’Dowd
The On and Off Stage Roles of Irish Abbey Theatre Actresses of the 1930s

Garret O’Malley
Stories of the Self: Narrative Strategies and the Boundaries of Self-definition in Context and Practice

Emily O’Flaherty
Patrons, Peers and Subscribers: the publication of Mary Barber’s Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1734)

Kathleen Pacious
The Ethics of Narrative Form: The Gentleman and the Socially Marginal in Gaskell, Dickens and Eliot 

Mikyung Park
Gender and Ethnicity in Modern Irish Theatre: Martin McDonagh and Marina Carr

Siobhán Purcell
Deforming Disability in the works of James Joyce & Samuel Beckett

Elizabeth Quirke
 “When They Talk About Mothers”: Investigating Queer Kinship in Contemporary Poetry

Paul Rooney
Readership and Non-Canonical Victorian Popular Fiction 1860-1900: Materiality, Textuality, and Narrative 

Sean Scully
Teaching Richard III

John Singleton 
From The Dark to the Rising Sun: John McGahern and Irish Cultural Development from the Sixties to the Twenty-First Century

Emily Tock
‘On the Origin’: evolution, empire, and the self in Edward Lear

Brian Ward
1912: Cultural Expressions of Irishness in the Periodical Press 

James Casey (with Huston Film School)
Disability, deficiency and excess: a critical re-examination of the construction, production and representations of physical disability in contemporary European film

Hilary Dully (with Huston Film School)
Documentarties on women's experience

Levi Hane (with Huston Film School)

Veronica Johnson (with Huston Film School)
The Representation and Narrative Function of a Character's Unconscious in the Films of Luis Bunuel, Alfred Hitchcock and Krzysztof Kieslowski

Francisco Jesús Rozano García (with Medieval Studies)
A Farewell to Elegy: Generic Redefinition of the Old English Text in the Early Medieval Literary Tradition 

Mairéad Ní Chroinín (with the Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance)
The Live Experience and Mobile Digital Theatre (Digital Arts and Humanities)

Mairead Casey (with Huston Film School)
'Playing Devil's Advocate: Cultural Expressions of Gender, Sexuality, and Sexual Violence in Possession and Exorcism Narratives of 21st-Century American Horror'

Andrea Ciribuco (with Italian)
Emanuel Carnevali: A Translated Italian in Modernist America

Siobhán Morrissey (with Italian)
Secondary worlds and liminal spaces: a study of Enid Blyton

Recent Post-Doctoral Researchers

Dr Marina Ansaldo
Ireland Illustrated
This project resulted in an online database showcasing images of Ireland that appeared as part of travel accounts, both manuscript and printed, created before 1850. The project represents a collaboration between the Moore Institute (University of Galway) and the National Library of Ireland.

Dr Anne Karhio          
Virtual Landscapes? New Media Technologies and the Poetics of Place.
The project focuses on the impact of new media technologies on literary representations of landscape in Irish poetry and poetic culture. It addresses the relationship between new media and poetry both thematically, and through the aesthetic and cultural implications of new forms of dissemination. Works included have been published in print as well as in digital formats, and the project also covers poetry’s engagement with visual and audiovisual arts, music, and other forms of artistic production.




Staff Research Interests

For anyone considering applying for a PhD in English, please consult our 'How to Apply' page and take note of the funding application deadlines such as the Irish Research Council, Hardiman, and Galway Fellowships.
If you are interested in applying, try to identify two members of the English staff whose prior research experience is relevant to your proposed research.  Please also consider making a 'pre-application' proposal along the lines indicated on the 'How to Apply' page.
Departmental meetings to assess PhD applications will be held each semester and, as demand requires, during the summer months.
If you have any further queries, please consult the Departmental Director of Graduate Research, Dr Frances McCormack, at


Our broad range of research interests is reflected in a wide variety of current and recent projects.
Please click on staff names for further information.

Dr Dermot Burns

Medieval literature, chivalric and Arthurian literature, medieval aesthetics and poetic art, Renaissance drama, English Romanticism, fiction of adolescence, monsters and heroes in fiction, service learning: literacy acquisition and learning styles.

Professor Daniel Carey
Early modern travel writing; literature and colonialism; early modern literature and philosophy; John Locke; seventeenth-century literature and science; eighteenth-century fiction, esp. Defoe; the Enlightenment and postcolonial theory.

Dr Clíodhna Carney
Chaucer, medieval poetics, gifts and exchange, Spenser's Faerie Queene

Professor Marie-Louise Coolahan 
Early modern literature especially women's writing, histories of reading, translation and transmission, Renaissance manuscript culture

Dr John Kenny
Twentieth-century literature; contemporary Irish and world fiction; history of criticism, especially literary journalism and reviewing of all periods; the works of John Banville; Creative Writing and Practice.

Dr Frances McCormack
Old and Middle English Literature; in particular the works of Chaucer, religious and devotional literature, and heresy

Mr Mike McCormack
Creative Writing

Dr Andrew Ó Baoill
Political economy of the mass media, with a particular interest in the interplay of technological change, regulation and not-for-profit media

Dr Muireann O'Cinneide
19th-century literature; research specialisms in women's writing, politics and literature, and colonial & post-Colonial writing, particularly travel writing.

Dr Adrian Paterson
Modernism; fin de siècle and twentieth century literature; literature and the arts, especially music; orality, print, performance, technology, including radio broadcasting; the works of W.B.Yeats, Ezra Pound, James Joyce.

Professor Lionel Pilkington
Irish drama, theatre and Irish cultural history, postcolonialism and Irish studies, culture and politics in Northern Ireland..

Dr Lindsay Ann Reid
Early Modern Literature (especially Shakespeare and Spenser); Late Medieval Literature (especially Chaucer and Gower); Mythology and Folklore; Classical Latin Poetry (especially Ovid and Virgil); Adaptation and Reception Studies; Book History and Early English Print Culture 

Professor Sean Ryder
19th-century Irish culture; the works of Thomas Moore and James Clarence Mangan; digital humanities: critical editing; film studies

Dr Elizabeth Tilley
19th century Gothic literature and history of the novel; 19th century serials, Irish publishing history and periodical production; book history; links between art and literature 

Dr Justin Tonra 
19th-Century Literature; Digital Humanities; Book History; Textual Studies; Bibliography; Scholarly Editing.


How to Apply to PhD Programme

Applications to the Structured PhD programme are made via our online system at Ellucian Login Further information can be found here.

Applying to undertake PhD research at the Department of English at University of Galway

This is a short guide to the application process. The first part describes the actions you should take before you make your formal application, and the second part describes briefly the formal application process itself.
For fuller details please consult the University’s Guidelines for Research Degree programmes:

These are the types of PhD that you can do in English:

Structured PhD:
Most of our PhD students are doing a Structured PhD. This is a four-year programme. The main focus is research and writing, culminating in the completion of a thesis, but students also take a number of taught modules that are designed to facilitate professional and scholarly development. Students work closely with a supervisor or supervisory team.
Practice-based PhD:
You can do a practice-based PhD in either creative writing or digital arts and humanities. This kind of PhD has two components. The larger part of your project will be your creative or practical work (e.g. if you are doing a creative-writing PhD you might be writing a novel or a collection of poems; if you are doing a PhD in digital arts and humanities you might be creating a digital resource). The second but integrated part will be scholarly/critical/academic. Students work closely with a supervisor or supervisory team.
Please note that for the purposes of your formal application, the practice-based PhD is usually (although there can be exceptions) considered as a kind of Structured PhD, so you will formally apply for the Structured PhD.
Pure-research (traditional) PhD:
You can also do a PhD, usually over four years, in which you focus exclusively on your research and writing, culminating in the completion of a thesis.
Part-time PhDs:
There are also part-time options (where the PhD is completed in six years) in relation to these programmes.

Part I: Before you apply

Before you formally apply you should find out whether there is the prospect of suitable supervision in the English department for your proposed project (please note that informal communication with a possible supervisor does not in itself indicate whether you will be offered a place on the programme, but it is an important preparatory step). And once you have written an initial draft proposal you can send it in to the English department for some (informal) feedback.

Finding a supervisor:
If you are thinking about doing a PhD in English you should try to find a suitable potential supervisor. Read about the interests and research specialisms of our academic staff on the departmental website and follow up if you wish by reading articles/books/chapters by individual lecturers in your areas of interest.
If you are a former student you may already have someone in mind or at least someone to talk to about your plans. If you are unsure, and/or cannot find a member of staff who shares your research interest, you can write to the director of graduate studies in English (in 2023-24 this is Dr Frances McCormack; you can contact her at for further information on
the question of suitable supervision for your proposed project.

Here’s the ‘find a supervisor’ university link:
And here is information about academic staff in English:

Drafting your proposal:
You should develop your idea for the PhD into a coherent proposal. Explain your idea clearly and differentiate between your research topic and your particular research question. Here are the headings under which you should organize your proposal. You need to attach a current CV and the names and contact details of two academic referees. You should also consult the university library ( to familiarize yourself with its holdings, including any special collections and/or archives that may be relevant to your research so that you can address the question of the suitability of University of Galway as a host institution for your research project.

1.Title of project (be succinct)
2. Name/s of prospective supervisor/s
3. Description of proposed research (500 words)
4. Critical context (500 words):
5. Methods/theory/approach (including a methodological reflection on the particular methods/theory/approach you intend to take (300 words)
6. Sources and archives (300 words)
7. Explanation of your reason for wanting to do your PhD at University of Galway

You can either pay for your PhD yourself or you can apply for funding. Funding is very competitive and many excellent applicants do not get awarded funding.
Here are the main sources of potential funding applicable to Galway:

Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholarships (this national scheme pays fees and a stipend; the deadline is in the autumn of 2023 for PhDs starting in September 2024. For details about the application process, and deadlines, see:
Galway Doctoral Fellowships (usually the call for these fellowships is announced in the spring):
Hardiman Research Scholarships (this University of Galway scheme pays fees and a stipend; deadline usually in February)

Information about fees is available online at:

Informal feedback on draft proposals:
Prior to your formal application you should send in a draft of your proposal to the department. We encourage you to send in these drafts at specific times of the year so that we can give feedback in good time for you to prepare an application for funding if that is relevant to you.

Deadlines for informal feedback (for prospective applicants wishing to start in autumn 2023):

 Round 1: 23rd September 2022 (if you wish to apply for the Irish Research Council funding)—
*Please note that the IRC has an eligibility quiz on its website which you should complete before proceeding to prepare your application. You can only complete this quiz once and therefore should make sure that all information you put in is accurate and complete.
Round 2: 2nd December 2022 (if you wish to apply for the Hardiman and/or the Galway Doctoral Fellowship)
Round 3: 9th June 2023 (if you are paying for the PhD yourself)

In all cases you may send your draft proposal (please use a .doc or .docx format) to the director of graduate studies in English, Dr. Frances McCormack, at

Consideration of your draft proposal:

• The quality of the research project itself
• The strengths, academic record and potential of the applicant
• The availability of suitable supervision
• The feasibility of the project and the suitability of University of Galway as a location for the research

If your draft is credible and meets the criteria for eligibility we will recommend that you make a formal application to the university and in most cases (except where a student has indicated a preference for a self-funded degree) we will encourage you to apply for funding. Your proposed supervisor (or suitable deputy if your supervisor is on leave) will give you feedback and guidance in relation to both the revision of the proposal itself and the funding application process.

Please note that the English department’s informal response to your draft proposal is not an official offer of a place on the university’s PhD programme. It is merely an indication that your proposal is feasible and that you are a credible applicant. You still must apply formally to the university and you may or may not be offered a place after a formal review of your application.

Part 2: Making a formal application

If you have received a positive response to your draft proposal and been provisionally assigned a supervisor or supervisors, you can then start the formal application process. Remember that the application for funding (which you will work on with your prospective supervisor/s, is a separate process). The application process itself is online. For further information on the application process, and the link to the application online portal:

Once you have formally applied, the research committee in the Department of English will convene to consider your application. Your application will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:

• The quality of the research project itself
• The strengths, academic record, and potential of the applicant (including eligibility)
• The availability of suitable supervision
• The feasibility of the project and the suitability of the University of Galway as a location for the research

Once a decision has been made you will be notified. If you are successful you will be made a formal offer of a place on the PhD programme. When you accept the offer (on the assumption that you are self-funded or have been successful in your funding application) you will then be informed of the steps (e.g. fees, registration, etc.) that you need to take. Once you are fully registered you will have an orientation session and will meet with your supervisor/s to plan a schedule of work and further meetings for the first year.
For further information, please email the convenor of postgraduate research in English, Dr. Frances McCormack, at

Further information:

Current PhD projects in English at University of Galway: Current PhDs in English
Guides to writing a research proposal: There are numerous books and also websites that provide advice on the process of planning, designing and conducting research. It is a good idea to consult a sample of these before you organize your own proposal.
James Hardiman Library website: Library
Research in English at University of Galway: schools/arts-social-sciences-and-celtic-studies/humanities/disciplines-centres/english/
PhDs in English and Creative Arts
Rules and guidelines for research degrees at University of Galway: Research Degree Guidelines

1. Illustrative example from the first paragraph of a successful research proposal

“This thesis aims to expand our understanding of the Irish harp as a key cultural signifier in 18th- and 19th-century Ireland. Using a combination of sociological and literary analysis, it will contextualise the position of the harp in relation to the ideological, political and economic structures of the period. More specifically, it will trace the various visual, literary and musical representations of the harp alongside an examination of the harp as an actual object of musical performance and as an economic commodity. A particular focus will be given to the harp’s evolving role within Irish nationalist discourse from the period of the United Irishmen (and the crucially important Belfast Harper’s festival of 1792), to the Sinn Féin movement of the early twentieth century.”

Note the power of the short declarative verbal expressions:This thesis aims to expand our understanding of the Irish harp as a key cultural signifier in 18th- and 19th-century Ireland. Using a combination of sociological and literary analysis, it will contextualise the position of the harp in relation to the ideological, political and economic structures of the period. More specifically, it will trace the various visual, literary and musical representations of the harp alongside an examination of the harp as an actual object of musical performance and as an economic commodity. A particular focus will be given to the harp’s evolving role within Irish nationalist discourse from the period of the United Irishmen (and the crucially important Belfast Harper’s festival of 1792), to the Sinn Féin movement of the early twentieth century.”

2. Illustration of research questions

“The thesis will pose the following specific questions:

·         What are the specific ways that the figure of the Irish harp been mobilised in Irish discourse, and with what purpose and effect? Were there variations in the cultural meanings of the harp among different socio-economic and political groups? What factors might explain these variations or evolutions?

·         What is the relationship between literary/iconographic representations of the harp, and the manufacture, performance and reception of the harp as a musical instrument? How did economic and sociological factors affect the role of the harp as popular performance instrument? How do these material factors relate to the literary, scholarly and iconographic representations of the harp?

·         To what extent does the position and meaning of the Irish harp enable us to understand the general evolution of Irish nationalism in the period?”

3. Description of the relationship of the proposed thesis to existing research

·         Describe briefly what you know of the existing field already, showing that you know what the major works in the field are at present, and what you need to read

·         Do not give bibliographical lists or footnotes – discuss and briefly evaluate the scholarship in plain prose, perhaps categorising by theme or chronology

Suggest how your work will EXTEND and/or CHALLENGE this work (what are the gaps and problems in the existing field that you will address?)

“The iconographic and ideological significance of the Irish harp has not been explored in a comprehensive interdisciplinary context to date. Some excellent musicological examinations exist, such as Colette Moloney’s recent synthesization of Bunting’s collections which deals authoritatively with one specific area, but is therefore limited in range. While Joep Leerssen has expertly examined the creation of a ‘self-image’ of Ireland in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the prominence of the harp as an agent in the formation of culture, ideology and society is not a central concern of his. Barra Boydell’s research into the iconography of the harp offers interesting overviews; however much of his information on the subject comes from the visual or historical. In no case are the theoretical perspectives of semiotics and feminist theory deployed.”

Dr Frances McCormack
Director of Graduate Research (English)