A picture of Professor Helen Kelly-Holmes with UL President Professor Kerstin Mey and Professor Pat Guiry, President of the Royal Irish Academy
Professor Pat Guiry, President of the Royal Irish Academy with UL President Professor Kerstin Mey and Professor Helen Kelly-Holmes
Wednesday, May 31, 2023

A University of Limerick academic has been officially admitted as a member of the Royal Irish Academy.

Helen Kelly-Holmes, Professor of Applied Languages in the School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics at UL, was admitted to the Royal Irish Academy at a ceremony on Friday.

Professor Kelly-Holmes is one of 28 newly elected members officially admitted to the Academy for their exceptional contributions to the sciences, humanities, and social sciences, as well as to public service.

A proud UL graduate, Professor Kelly-Holmes joined UL in 2002 from Aston University, Birmingham, and was appointed to the Chair in Applied Languages in 2015. She was also formerly Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

A sociolinguist, she is an international leader in analysing multilingual media communication and has made a major contribution in expanding the scope of language policy research.

Professor Kelly-Holmes is an adjunct professor at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, was Co-Editor of Language Policy and since 2002 has along with Sue Wright edited Palgrave’s long-running book series on Language and Globalization.

Professor Pat Guiry, President of the Royal Irish Academy, said: “These individuals, elected by their peers, have made exceptional contributions in their fields of endeavour. We are delighted to recognise their achievements. As Members of the Academy, they will support the RIA by engaging and leading in activities that strengthen the international recognition of the Academy’s scholarship and serve the public good through their knowledge and insight.

“Today marks another step forward in our commitment to diversity of our Membership with 15 women elected. We have also enhanced the overall diversity of our multi-disciplinary committees and earlier this year we launched Young Academy Ireland providing new impetus to the life and work of the Academy as part of our strategic goal to build a modern Academy.”

At its inception, the Academy had 88 members, now there are 670 (of whom 95 are Honorary Members), almost equally divided between the sciences and the humanities.

Each Member is formally admitted in a special ceremony, during which they subscribe to the Member’s Declaration of Obligations and sign the Roll Book of Members.

The Academy has been honouring Ireland’s leading contributors to the world of learning since its establishment in 1785 and those elected by their peers are entitled to use the designation ‘MRIA’ after their name.

Past members have included Nobel laureates WB Yeats, Ernest Walton, Max Planck, Erwin Schrödinger, Bob Grubbs, and Seamus Heaney.