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Humanities and Social Science

Dr Gillian O'Brien


Gillian O'Brien is Reader in Modern Irish History

She is the author of "Blood Runs Green: The Murder that Transfixed Gilded Age Chicago" (University of Chcago Press, 2015) ( and has also published work on the Anglo-Irish relations, newspaper and journalism history, the history of Dublin and the history of Primary Education in Ireland. Her BA and MA are from University College Dublin and her PhD from the University of Liverpool.

Her current research project is a study of the Irish in America from the Civil War to the turn of the twentieth century. She is also working on an architectural and social history of convents in eighteenth and nineteenth century Ireland. In addition she is interested in the history of women journalists in America and representations of the Irish in the illustrations of Thomas Nast. Gillian is also involved in a number of public history projects and works as the historical advisor for museum and heritage schemes. She has recently completed projects including the development of Spike Island in Co. Cork, Ireland and work on Kilmainham Gaol and Courthouse in Co. Dublin and Nano Nagle Place in Cork city. As part of her work on museums and heritage centres she has published 'Inception, Development, Operation: A Report on Best Practice for Site-Specific Museums and Heritage Centres' (June 2018)

She is currently working on a project about 'Dark Tourism' in Ireland.

Gillian is the module leader for 'Ireland 1690-1922'; 'Celebration and Commemoration in Irish History' and 'Revolutionary Traditions in Ireland'

Gillian would welcome proposals from potential postgraduate students on topics including: eighteenth and nineteenth century Ireland; the history of religious orders in Ireland; Irish-America; newspaper history; history of memory and commemoration, 'Dark Tourism' among other topics.

Gillian can be found on twitter: @gillianmobrien and maintains a personal blog:


University of Liverpool, United Kingdom, PhD
University College Dublin, Ireland, MA
Univerity College Dublin, Ireland, BA

Academic appointments

Reader in Modern Irish History, History, Liverpool John Moores University, 2015 - present



O'Brien GPM. 2018. Methodology and Martyrs Herman PC. Terrorism and Literature 0 :70-89 Cambridge University Press. Cambridge 9781108699303 >DOI >Link

O'Brien GPM. 2012. ‘Revolution, Rebellion and the Viceroyalty, 1789-99’ Gray P, Purdue O. The Irish Lord Lieutenancy :114-131 UCD Press. Dublin 978-1906359607

O'Brien GPM. 2012. ”And all her ghosts that walk”: Commemorating the past in Dublin’s future’ O'Brien G, O'Kane F. Portrait of the City: Framing the Significance of the Historic Urban Landscape Four Courts Press 978-1-84682-346-6

O'Brien G. 2011. ‘The Future of the Past’ Dublin’s Future – New Visions on Ireland’s Capital City :209-225 Liffey Press. Dublin 978-1-908308-12-2

O'Brien GPM. 2011. Patriotism, Professionalism and the Press: The Chicago Press & Irish Journalists, 1875-1900’ ‘Not so much a profession as a disease’ Irish Journalism: A Historical Anthology :120-134 Manchester University Press. Manchester 978-0719084522

O'Brien GPM. 2008. ‘“What can possess you to go to Ireland?”: Perceptions of Dublin in the late Georgian Period’ O'Brien G, O'Kane F. Georgian Dublin :9-24 Four Courts Press. Dublin 978-1-84682-122-6

O'Brien G. 2001. “‘Ireland must be our province if she will not be persuaded to a Union”: British policy in Ireland 1795-98’ Keogh D, Whelan K. Acts of Union :106-125 Four Courts Press. Dublin

Journal article

O'Brien GPM. 2017. '"I am building a house": Nano Nagle's Georgian Convents Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies, 19

O'Brien GPM. 1998. “‘Spirit, Impartiality and Independence”: The Northern Star, 1792-97’ Eighteenth-Century Ireland, :7-23


O'Brien G. 2015. Blood Runs Green The Murder That Transfixed Gilded Age Chicago 9780226248950

O'Brien G, FitzGerald G, FitzGerald J, Murphy M, O Grada C. 2013. Primary Education in Ireland Royal Irish Academy. Dublin

O'Brien GPM. 2012. Portrait of the City: Framing the Significance of the Historic Urban Landscape, O'Brien G, O'Kane F. Four Courts Press. Dublin 978-1-84682-346-6

O'Brien GPM. 2008. Georgian Dublin O'Brien G, O'Kane F. Four Courts Press. Dublin 978-1-84682-122-6

Engagement & Impact


Fulbright Scholar, Fulbright Commission,

Hibernian Research Award, Cushwa Centre, University of Notre Dame,

Mayflower Descendats of Chicago Research Award, Newberry Library, Chicago

Media Coverage:,,, Media Coverage relating to "Blood Runs Green"

Membership of professional bodies:

Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy,

Fellow, Royal Historical Society,

Other invited event:

Modern Irish History Seminar, University of Edinburgh, 'Telling the Same Old Story': Memory and Irish History

Blood Runs Green: The Murder that Transfixed Guilded Age Chicago, Chicago History Museum, An invited talk to the Guild of the Chicago History Museum

Hibernian Lecture, University of Notre Dame, Invited lecture