Professor Enda Delaney (MA, PhD)

Professor of Modern History, School Director of Faculty (2023-24), Director of Research: Edinburgh Futures Institute


Enda Delaney is a Professor at the University of Edinburgh, where he holds a Chair in Modern History.

Born (1971) and raised in Dublin, Ireland, he was educated at Maynooth University (BA, MA)  and Queen’s University Belfast (PhD).

Having previously held posts at a number of British and Irish universities, he joined the University of Edinburgh in 2006, and was promoted to Professor of Modern History in 2015. He was the Director of Research for the School of History, Classics and Archaeology between 2017 and 2020, and is the interim Director of Faculty. In January 2024 he became the Director of Research for the Edinburgh Futures Institute.

Responsibilities & affiliations

Director of Faculty, School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Member, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Promotions Committee

Director of Research, Edinburgh Futures Institute

Affiliate, Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary History

Undergraduate teaching

  • Britain, Ireland and Empire, c.1800-2000 (Level 2 Survey)
  • Immigration and Ethnicity in Modern Britain (Honours Elective)
  • The Great Irish Famine, 1845-1852: Hunger, Modernity and Exile (Honours Elective)
  • The Rise and Fall of the Human Empire? A History of the Anthropocene (Honours Elective)
  • Becoming Modern: Society and Culture in Ireland since 1780 (Final Year Special Subject)

Postgraduate teaching

  • Diaspora, Migration and Exile: The History of the Global Irish since 1600

Current PhD students supervised

  • Mason, Sarah. PhD. Women's Responses to Communal Militancy in West Belfast, 1975-1985. Joint
  • Wheeler, Christopher. PhD. The Influence of Irish Catholic Immigrants on New York City Politics, 1840-1860. Joint
  • Coffey, Niamh. PhD. Emigrant Irish Women and Dundee’s Textile Industry, 1845-1922. Joint (with Strathclyde)
  • Farrell,  Saul. PhD. The Gaelic League and the Irish Nation State, 1893-1922. Primary
  • Northcote, Callum. PhD. For King and Republic: Former British Servicemen and the Republican Movement. Secondary

Past PhD students supervised

  • Fletcher, Abigail. PhD. From Partition to Decriminalisation: Homosexuality in Northern Ireland 1921-1982. Joint. Completed 2023
  • Lively, Anna. PhD. Revolutionary Reverberations: Russia and Ireland in War and Revolution, 1905-1923. Primary. Completed 2022
  • Nolan, Bobbie. PhD. Language and Identity among Irish Migrants in San Francisco, Philadelphia and London, 1850-1920. Primary. Completed 2020
  • Doughty, Roseanna. PhD. Representations of the Troubles within the British Media, 1973-1997. Joint. Completed 2019
  • Clark, Stuart. PhD. The Scots in Ireland under the Union: The Boundaries of Britishness, c.1800-1925.. Joint. Completed 2019
  • Bateson, Catherine. PhD. The Culture and Sentiments of Irish American Civil War Songs. Primary. Completed 2018
  • Curran, Joseph. PhD. Civil Society in the Stateless Capital: Charity and Authority in Dublin and Edinburgh, c.1815-c.1845. Primary. Completed 2018
  • Cooper, Sophie. PhD. Irish Migrant Identities and Community Life in Melbourne and Chicago, 1840-1890. Primary. Completed 2017
  • Watson, Iain. PhD. Changed Lives, Flexible Identities and Adaptable Responses: A Comparative History of post-1950 Scottish Migrants in New Zealand and Hong Kong. Primary. Completed 2017
  • Phemister, Andrew. PhD. ‘Our American Aristotle’: Henry George and the Republican Tradition during the Transatlantic Irish Land War, 1877-1887. Joint. Completed 2017
  • Varricchio, Mario . PhD. From the Mother Country: Oral Narratives of British Emigration to the United States, 1860-1940. Secondary. Completed 2012

Research summary

Modernity in comparative historical contexts; history of human cognition and culture; modern Ireland, including the diaspora, since 1750.


  • Britain & Ireland
  • Europe


  • Comparative & Global History


  • Eighteenth Century
  • Nineteenth Century
  • Twentieth Century & After

Current research interests

Professor Delaney's current research concerns the 'long' history of human cognition from pre-history to the present day, informed by insights from psychology, philosophy and the social sciences.

Past research interests

Professor Delaney originally worked on migration and population change, centred on the experience of independent Ireland in the twentieth century, and published his first book, Demography, State and Society (2000), based on this research, followed up by a short account in 2002, Irish Emigration since 1921, for the Studies in Irish Economic and Social History series. His next major project was an investigation of the complex history of the Irish in Britain after the Second World War, Britain’s largest migrant group until the 1970s, published by Oxford University Press as The Irish in Post-war Britain (2007), and later issued in paperback in 2013. His interests shifted to the nineteenth century, and in particular, the Great Irish Famine of 1845-1852, the most important event in modern Irish history during which at least 1 million people died. In what was then an original approach, he combined biography and narrative to seek to understand this terrible event through the lives of four individuals. First published as The Curse of Reason in 2012, a new paperback edition, The Great Irish Famine: A History in Four Lives, appeared in 2014. Funded in the first instance by a three-year UK Economic and Social Research Council Fellowship (2010-2013), he took his work in a new direction, exploring the Irish encounter with modernity, starting in the late eighteenth century and covering up to the early twentieth century. His major book, Making Ireland Modern: The Transformation of Society and Culture, will be published in 2024 by Oxford University Press. Throughout his career he has been involved in a number of collaborative projects such as Transnational Ireland and a major AHRC funded project( 2017-2020) on the global history of the Irish Revolution, 1916-1923 , as well as a co-editor of the Liverpool University Press series Reappraisals in Irish History.

The list below is a subset of the information held on the University of Edinburgh PURE system, and includes Books, Chapters, Articles and Conference contributions. For a full list, including details of other publication types (e.g. reviews), please see the Edinburgh Research Explorer page for Professor Enda Delaney.

Books - Authored

Delaney, E. (2014) The Great Irish Famine: A History in Four Lives. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan

Delaney, E. (2012) The Curse of Reason: The Great Irish Famine. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan

Delaney, E. (2007) The Irish in post-war Britain. Oxford: Oxford University PressDOI:

Delaney, E. (2002) Irish emigration since 1921. Dublin: Economic and Social History Society of Ireland

Delaney, E. (2000) Demography, state and society: Irish migration to Britain, 1921-1971. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press

Books - Edited

Delaney, E., McGarry, F. and Graham, T. (eds.) (2019) The Irish Revolution 1919 -21: A Global History (History Ireland Special Volume). Dublin: Wordwell

Delaney, E. and Mac Suibhne , B. (eds.) (2015) Ireland’s Great Famine and Popular Politics. New York: RoutledgeDOI:

Delaney, E. and MacRaild, D. (eds.) (2007) Irish Migration, Networks and Ethnic Identities Since 1750. London: Routledge

Comerford, R. and Delaney, E. (eds.) (2000) Reflections on Daniel O'Connell and Contemporary Ireland. Wolfhound Press


Delaney, E. (2020) ‘There but for the grace of God go I’: Middle-class Catholic responses to Ireland's Great Famine. The English Historical Review (EHR), 135(577), pp. 1433–1460DOI:

Delaney, E. and O'Neill, C. (2016) Introduction: Beyond the nation. Eire-Ireland, 51(1-2), pp. 7-13DOI:

Delaney, E. (2011) Directions in historiography Our island story? Towards a transnational history of late modern Ireland. Irish Historical Studies, 37(148), pp. 599-621

Delaney, E. (2011) Anti-communism in Mid-Twentieth-Century Ireland. The English Historical Review (EHR), CXXVI(521), pp. 878-903DOI:

Delaney, E. (2011) Our Island Story? Towards a Transnational History of late Modern Ireland. Irish Historical Studies, XXXVII(148), pp. 599-621

Delaney, E. (2006) The Irish diaspora. Irish Economic and Social History, 33, pp. 35-45

Delaney, E. (2005) Irish migration, networks and ethnic identities since 1750: an introduction. Immigrants and Minorities, 23 (2-3), pp. 127-42DOI:

Delaney, E. (2005) Transnationalism, networks and emigration from post-war Ireland. Immigrants and Minorities, 23 (2-3), pp. 425-46DOI:

Delaney, E. (2001) Political Catholicism in post-war Ireland: The Revd Denis Fahey and Maria Duce, 1945-54. The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 52(3), pp. 487-511DOI:

Delaney, E. (2001) Irish migration to Britain, 1939-1945 [documents and sources]. Irish Economic and Social History, 28, pp. 47-71

Delaney, E. (1999) "Almost A Class of Helots in an Alien Land": The British State and Irish Immigration, 1921-1945. Immigrants and Minorities, 18 (2-3), pp. 240-265DOI:

Delaney, E. (1998) State, Politics and Demography: The Case of Irish Emigration 1921-71'. Irish Political Studies, 13, pp. 25-49DOI:

Delaney, E. (1998) The Churches and Irish Emigration to Britain, 1921-60'. Archivium Hibernicum, 52, pp. 98-114


Delaney, E. (2018) Immigration to Scotland since 1945: The Global Context. In: Devine, T. and McCarthy, A. (eds.) New Scots: Scotland’s Immigrant Communities since 1945. Edinburgh University Press, pp. 252-262

Delaney, E. (2018) Making Good Citizens: Ireland under the Union, 1801-1921. In: Ellis, S. (ed.) Enfranchising Ireland: Identity, Citizenship and State. Royal Irish Academy

Delaney, E. (2016) Diaspora. In: Bourke, R. and McBride, I. (eds.) The Princeton History of Modern Ireland. Princeton; Woodstock: Princeton University Press, pp. 490-508DOI:

Delaney, E. (2014) Ireland's Great Famine: A transnational history. In: Whelehan, N. (ed.) Transnational Perspectives on Modern Irish History. New York; Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 106-126

Delaney, E. (2014) Placing postwar Irish migration to Britain in a comparative European perspective, 1945-198l. In: The Irish Diaspora. Taylor and Francis Inc., pp. 331-356

Delaney, E. (2014) Migration and Diaspora. In: Jackson, A. (ed.) Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish History. Oxford University Press

Delaney, E. (2011) Modernity, the Past and Politics in Post-war Ireland. In: Hachey, T. (ed.) Turning Points in Twentieth Century Irish History. Irish Academic Press, pp. 103-118

Delaney, E. (2010) Narratives of Exile and Displacement: Irish Catholic Emigrants and the National Past, 1850 -1914. In: Dooley, T. (ed.) Ireland's Polemical Past: Views of Irish History in Honour of R.V Comerford. University College Dublin Press, pp. 102-22

Delaney, E. and MacRaild, D. (2007) Irish migration, networks and ethnic identities since 1750: An Introduction. In: Delaney, E. and MacRaild, D. (eds.) Irish Migration, Networks and Ethnic Identities since 1750. London: Routledge, pp. vii-xxii

Delaney, E. (2007) Transnationalism, networks and emigration from post-war Ireland. In: Delaney, E. and MacRaild, D. (eds.) Irish Migration, Networks and Ethnic Identities since 1750. London: Routledge, pp. 276-297

Delaney, E. (2005) Emigration, political cultures and the evolution of post-war Irish society. In: Murphy, B. (ed.) The age of Lemass: Ireland, 1945-1973. UCD Press, pp. 49-65

Delaney, E. (2004) Diaspora: The Irish in Britain. In: Donnelly, J. (ed.) Encyclopaedia of Irish History and Culture - Vol 1.Macmillan Gale Reference, pp. 469-42

Delaney, E. (2004) Emigration and Immigration since 1950. In: Donnelly, J. (ed.) Encyclopaedia of Irish History and Culture - Vol 1. Macmillan Gale Reference, pp. 141-2

Delaney, E. (2004) The vanishing Irish? The exodus from Ireland in the 1950s. In: Keogh, D., O'Shea, F. and Quinlan, C. (eds.) A lost decade? Emigration, culture and society in Ireland in the 1950s. Mercier Press, pp. 77-89

Delaney, E. (2003) Famine refugees. In: Lalor, B. (ed.) The Encyclopaedia of Ireland. Gill and Macmillan, pp. 373

Delaney, E. (2003) The Irish diaspora. In: Lalor, B. (ed.) The Encyclopaedia of Ireland. Gill and Macmillan, pp. 294-6

Delaney, E. (2001) Gender and twentieth-century Irish migration, 1921-1971. In: Sharpe, P. (ed.) Women, gender and labour migration: historical and global perspectives. Routledge, pp. 209-223

Delaney, E. (2000) Placing Post-war Irish Migration to Britain in a Comparative European Perspective, 1945-1981. In: Bielenberg, A. (ed.) The Irish Diaspora. Longman: Harlow, pp. 331-56