• Cromore Road, Coleraine Campus

    BT52 1SA Coleraine

    United Kingdom

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Research activity per year

Personal profile


am a Professor of History and Director of the Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland (CHOMI) at Ulster University. My research interests include women's history, history of sexuality and history of medicine in Ireland/Northern Ireland and the diaspora and I have published widely in these areas.

I was awarded a Distinguished Research Fellowship by Ulster University in 2016 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2018. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

With Dr Elaine Farrell (QUB), I have been working on the AHRC funded 'Bad Bridget: Criminal and Deviant Irish Women in North America, 1838-1918'. We have produced a five part podcast series on the project which is available. An exhibition at the National Museums NI, Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh and an Irish Times #1 bestselling book, Bad Bridget: Crime, mayhem and the lives of Irish emigrant women.

I was the co-author with Professor Sean O'Connell (QUB) of a Department of Health commissioned report on Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene Laundries in Northern Ireland. And I am the Co-Chair of the Independent Truth Recovery Panel appointed in 2023 as part of the Truth Recovery Programme seeking truth, acknowledgement and accountability around Mother and Baby Institutions, Magdalene Laundries, Workhouses and associated pathways and practices, in advance of a statutory Public Inquiry.

From 2022 I have been working on an AHRC funded project, Queer Northern Ireland: Sexuality before Liberation with Dr Tom Hulme (QUB).

I have delivered talks on my research in Ireland, the UK and internationally and I was the Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Advanced Studies JNU New Delhi in 2018. I am a member of the Library and Heritage Committee for the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland, a Stakeholder and User Forum member of Public Records Office of Northern Ireland, committee member of the Ulster Society for Irish Historical Studies and board member of the Irish Humanities Alliance.

I am currently an editorial board member for Irish Historical Studies and a have previously been the Book Reviews Editor for the Women's History Association of Ireland. I was a member of the QAA Subject Benchmark Statement Advisory Group for History, 2021 and have been External Examiner on the UG History programmes at Trinity College Dublin and the University of Strathclyde.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Subject Benchmark Statement Advisory Group for History, Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education


External Examiner , University of Strathclyde


External Examiner , Trinity College Dublin


AHRC Peer Review College member


Stakeholder and Member User Forum, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland


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