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Dr. Rachel A Murphy



I lecture on the MA History of Family in the Department of History and am an Irish Research Council Laureate Fellow on the Death and Burial Data, 1864-1922 (IRCLA) 2017/32. This project is led by Dr Ciara Breathnach. I am also a consultant to the Irish Historic Towns Atlas project based in the Royal Irish Academy.

I hold a BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature from the University of Oxford and an MA in History of Family from the University of Limerick. I completed a PhD in History and Digital Humanities at University College Cork (UCC) in 2017, my thesis examining 'Place, Community and Organisation on the Courtown Estates, 1649-1977'. During this time I also completed a Higher Diploma in Geographical Information Systems.

Following my PhD I worked as a postdoctoral researcher on the interdisciplinary project Deep Maps:West Cork Coastal Cultures project funded by the Irish Research Council and based at University College Cork.

I also hold a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (NUI) and have recently completed studies towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching, Learning and Scholarship at the University of Limerick.

Research Interests

As well as the history of family, a key focus of my research is the history of landholding in Ireland during the early modern and modern periods. This includes the history of the landed estate (landed elites, servants, agents, tenant farmers, the roles of women, agricultural labourers and vagrants). Other areas that interest me include local history, urban history and environmental history.

I frequently use digital tools and technologies to facilitate and present research. Areas such as spatial humanities and digital history are of interest to me, in particular the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). As demonstrated by some of the projects I have worked on, I enjoy taking an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to research, as well as conducting individual research.

Teaching Interests

I lecture on the MA History of Family teaching on the following modules:
HI6041: Introduction to history of family
HI6061: Families and Communities
HI6062: People on the move: Studying Migration
HI6002: History research seminar

I have supervised 11 students to submission of their MA History of Family dissertations.

In the past I have lectured on the MA in Local History and the MA in Irish Literature and Film at University College Cork.

Professional Activities


  • 2017 University College Cork - PhD
  • 2008 University of Limerick - MA
  • 1992 University of Oxford - BA


  • 2013 Irish Historic Towns Atlas Project, Royal Irish Academy - I worked on the Irish Historic Towns Atlas Project's digital strategy and continue to work with them in developing a method for creating their maps in GIS


  • Member, British Agricultural History Society
  • Member, Economic and Social History Society of Ireland
  • Member, Eighteenth-Century Ireland Society
  • Member, Geographical Society of Ireland
  • Member, Group for the Study of Irish Historic Settlement
  • Member, Irish Association for Professional Historians
  • Member, Irish Modern Urban History Group
  • Member, Local Population Studies Society
  • Member, Social History Society
  • Member, The Society for the Study of Nineteenth-Century Ireland
  • Member, Women's History Association of Ireland