Australia's Irish History

Ireland's Ambassador has launched a new institute at UNSW dedicated to researching the Irish diaspora's contribution to modern Australia.

Ronan inside

The Irish Ambassador, Martin O'Fainin, has launched UNSW's John Hume Institute in Global Irish Studies (JHIGIS).

Based in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the Institute is the result of the first Australian partnership with University College Dublin, which established the original John Hume Institute in 2007.

The JHIGIS will conduct research on modern Irish history, culture and politics and aims to foster understanding of the Irish diaspora globally, including its contribution to the making of modern Australia.

Director of the Institute, Professor Rónán McDonald, a leading literary critic and historian of Irish modernism, said the Institute will promote new and innovative approaches to Irish Studies.

"Our approach will be genuinely interdisciplinary and innovative. We hope to take Irish studies beyond it's traditional home in history and literary studies to find valuable connections in areas like sociology, politics, economics and law - we aim to develop a real sense that the humanities can engage with current social problems," he said.

"Our partnership with University College Dublin will provide exciting possibilities for student exchanges and academic collaborations," said Professor McDonald. "This key relationship linking Sydney and Dublin gives the Institute truly global reach with great potential."

A native of Dublin, Professor McDonald was most recently Director of the Beckett International Foundation at the University of Reading in the UK and has extensive teaching experience in the field of Irish literature. He is a reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement and The Guardian, and author of Death of the Critic. He is also the Australian Ireland Fund Chair in Modern Irish Studies at UNSW.

Media contact: Fran Strachan | fran.strachan@unsw.edu.au | 9385 8732 | 04294 16070