My book project explores the failure of global humanitarianism during the great Irish Famine. The suffering caused by the Famine prompted mass and unprecedented global sympathy. Donations were sent from miners in Wales, sailors on the Pacific Ocean, the British royal family, formerly enslaved people in the Caribbean, incarcerated communities from London to Norfolk island, and children both rich and poor. These offerings travelled through global networks facilitated by the British empire, the global Catholic Church, transnational activist groups, and the Irish diaspora, transformed from money into relief for the suffering Irish.
Yet despite the global scale, and the exceptional level of fundraising from across socio-economic, gender and ethnic divides, voluntary relief failed to meaningfully address the suffering of Irish famine victims. My book explores why voluntary famine relief failed. In doing so, it addresses enduring and universal questions regarding how best to provide relief in times of crisis.
I am also developing two future research projects. One is concerned with exploring the trajectories of female humanitarians in the Irish spiritual empire, the second is a social and environmental history of the Gearagh in County Cork.