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Professor Stephen Kelly

History and Politics
0151 291 3063

Professor Stephen Kelly

Professor of Modern Irish History and British-Irish Relations 


I was born in Dublin, Ireland. I hold a PhD in History from University College Dublin. I have worked in the Higher Education sector for over twenty years in Great Britain and Ireland. 

Teaching Specialisms 

Modern Irish history

Classical European Fascism and the Holocaust

The Northern Ireland conflict

Margaret Thatcher and Thatcherism

British-Irish relations

Modern British history

European Nationalism

The British Union of Fascists

St John Henry Newman

Teaching Duties (selected)

1. Level H (Year 3) module co-ordinator. Ideology and reaction: European Fascism, Nazism and the Holocaust, 1919-1945.

2. Level I (Year 2) core module series: Continental Europe and Britain and Ireland seminars and various Skills and Sources Workshops.

3. Level C Core I (Year 1) core module series: Modern Europe (including Margaret Thatcher's Britain, 1979-1990).

4. Level C Core II (Year 1) core module: War and Peace: A history of the Northern Ireland Troubles, 1969-1998.

5. MA History Module, A study in Varieties in Modern European Nationalism, 1789-1945.


School/Faculty Roles

1. University Academic Committee member

2. School Academic Committee member

3. Director of MA History programme

4. Director of Irish Studies Research Group

5. Unit Assessment Co-ordinator

Recent works


A) Books (monographs): 

1. The Conservative Party Leadership and the Northern Ireland Troubles, 1969-1998: 'No textbook solutions' (Bloomsbury Press, forthcoming, 2027)

2. Gerald Boland, 1885-1973: A Life (Wordwell Books, 2024)

3: Margaret Thatcher, the Conservative Party and the Northern Ireland conflict, 1975-1990 (Bloomsbury Press, 2021; paperback 2022). Winner of the 2022 'CHOICE Outstanding Academic Titles' awards.

4: 'A failed political entity': Charles Haughey and the Northern Ireland question, 1945-1992 (Merrion Press, 2016)

5: Fianna Fail, partition and Northern Ireland, 1926-1971 (Irish Academic Press, 2013) 

6: A conservative at heart? The political and social thought of John Henry Newman (Columba Press, 2012)

B) Books (edited collections): 

1: Frank Aiken: Nationalist, Internationalist (Irish Academic Press, 2014). Joint editors, Stephen Kelly and Bryce Evans. 

C) Articles (peer-reviewed journals, published/accepted for publication): 

1: '"None of us wanted that": Gerald Boland's Irish Civil War, 1922-1924, Etudes Irlandaises, no 49-2, Autumn, 2020, pp. tbc. 

2: ' Poacher turned gamekeeper: Gerald Boland, the IRA and Nazi spies, 1939-1946 ', Irish Studies in International Affairs, Vol. 33, No. 1, 2022, pp. 1-21.

3: "'I was altogether out of tune with my colleagues": Conor Cruise O'Brien and Northern Ireland, 1969-1977', Irish Historical Studies, Vol. 44, No. 167, 2021, pp. 101-121.

4: 'The Anglo-Irish Agreement put us on the side with the Americans': Margaret Thatcher, Anglo-Irish relations and the path to the Anglo-Irish Agreement, 1979-1985', Contemporary British History, Vol. 34, No. 3, 2020, pp. 433-457.

5: "'No textbook solutions to the problems in Northern Ireland": Airey Neave and the Conservative Party's Northern Ireland policy, 1975-1979', Irish Studies in International Affairs, Vol. 29, 2018, pp. 237-260. 

6: '"The totality of relationships": The Haughey-Thatcher relationship and the Anglo-Irish summit meeting, 8 December 1980', Eire-Ireland, Fall/Winter 2017, pp. 244-273. 

7: 'An opportunistic Anglophobe: Charles J. Haughey, the Irish government and the Falklands War, 1982', Contemporary British History, Vol. 30, No. 4, 2016, pp. 522-541.

8: '"Mr Haughey's silence condemns him": Charles J. Haughey and the Second Republican Hunger Strike, 1981', Irish Political Studies, Vol. 31, Issue 4, 2016, pp. 1-25.

9: 'A Southern interference in the North's affairs: The prospect of Fianna Fail as an all-Ireland political party, 1926-2011', Irish Studies Review, Vol. 22, Issue 3, 2014 (University of Cambridge Press), 415-431.

10: 'The preservation of the John Henry Newman papers: digitisation and dissemination', Catholic Archives, No. 34, 2014, 52-64. 

11: 'A history of the John Henry Newman archival papers', Newman Studies Journal, Vol. 10, Issue 1, spring, 2013, 68-81.

12: 'Fresh evidence from the archives: the genesis of Charles J. Haughey's attitude to Northern Ireland', Irish Studies in International Affairs, Vol. 23, 2012, 155-170. 

13: 'The Sinn Fein millionaire: James O Mara and the first American bond-certificate drive, 1919-1921', New Hibernia Review, Vol. 15, No. 4, winter, 2011, 9-28. 

14: 'A policy of futility: Eamon de Valera's anti-partition propaganda campaign, 1948-1951', Etudes Irlandaises, no. 36-2, autumn, 2011, 34-49. 

15: 'John Henry Newman and the writing of history', Newman Studies Journal, Vol. 8, No. 2, fall, 2011, 29-41.  

16: 'John Henry Newman, the Young Irelanders and the Catholic University of Ireland', Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, Vol. 101 (autumn, 2011), 8-22. 

17: 'Derry came too soon: The Irish government's reaction to the outbreak of violence in Derry, 12-15 August 1969, University College Dublin History Review (Dublin, 2006), 54-76. 

C) Chapters: 

1: 'Northern Ireland the Troubles', in Adrian Bingham (ed), The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Thatcher (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2026 - forthcoming), pp. tbc. 

2: ‘Peter Brooke’, in Antony Mullen, David Jeffery, Sam Blaxland and Martin Farr (eds) Thatcher’s Ministers (Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2025 - forthcoming), pp. tbc.

3: 'Margaret Thatcher, repartition, cross-border security and the Irish border, 1979-1990', in Neil Fleming and James H. Murphy (eds.) Ireland and partition: contexts and consequences (Clemson University Press, 2021), pp.183-204.

4: 'From anti-partitionism to realpolitik? Frank Aiken, Partition and Northern Ireland, 1948-1954', in Bryce Evans and Stephen Kelly (eds.), Frank Aiken, 1898-1983: Nationalist and Internationalist (Dublin, Irish Academic Press, 2014), 183-208.

5: "'A sympathetic realist": John Henry Newman and Irish Nationalism, 1829-1887', in Kelly, A conservative at heart?, 77-105.

6: "'Conditional constitutionalists": The reaction of Fianna Fail grass-roots supporters to the IRA border campaign, 1956-1962', in William Sheehan and Maura Cronin (eds.), Riotous assemblies: a history of riots and public disorder in Ireland (Cork, Mercier Press, 2011), 210-226. 

7: 'The politics of terminology: Sean Lemass and Northern Ireland, 1959-1966', in Colin Reid and Caoimhe Nic Dhaibheid (eds.), From Parnell to Paisley: constitutional and revolutionary politics in Ireland, 1879-2008 (Dublin, Irish Academic Press, 2010), 139-158.

D) Book reviews: 

1: Review of Tom Feeney, Sean MacEntee, a political life (Dublin, 2009); Irish Historical Studies (May, 2011), 494-495. 

2. Review of Aaron Edwards, UVF: behind the mask (Kildare, 2017). Irish Historical Studies (Nov. 2017), 494-495.

3. Review of Donnacha O Beachain, From partition to Brexit: the Irish government and Northern Ireland (Manchester University Press, 2018). Irish Literary Review (2019).

Current Research 

I am currently working on a history of the Conservative Party and the Northern Ireland Troubles from Edward Heath to William Hague, 1969-1998. 

In April 2024, I published my latest monograph, a biography of Gerald Boland (1885-1973), Irish revolutionary and Fianna Fail government minister.

In January 2021, I published Margaret Thatcher, the Conservative Party and the Northern Ireland conflict, 1975-1990 (Bloomsbury Press, 2021).

In 2016, I published, 'A failed political entity': Charles Haughey and the Northern Ireland question, 1945-1992 (Merrion Press, 2016). 

In 2014, I published an edited collection examining the life and political career of Frank Aiken (1898-1983). Frank Aiken: Nationalist and Internationalist, (Irish Academic Press, 2014) (eds) B. Evans and S. Kelly. 

The previous year, 2013, I published my second monograph, Fianna Fail, partition and Northern Ireland, 1926-1971 (Irish Academic Press, 2013). 

In 2012, I published my first monograph, A conservative at heart? The political and social thought of John Henry Newman (Columba, 2012).


Honours and Prizes


1. Winner of the 2022 'Choice Outstanding Academic Titles' for Margaret Thatcher, the Conservative Party and the Northern Ireland conflict, 1975-1990 (Bloomsbury, 2022 edition).


1. Visiting Fellow, University College Dublin Humanities Institute, 2021-2022 


1. Erasmus Teaching Exchange programme - KU Leuven University, Belgium


1. 2017 Book Prize winner, Political Studies Association, Conservative and Conservatism Specialist Group


1. Archives By-Fellowship (2016-2017) Churchill College, University of Cambridge

2. 2016-2017 John Antcliffe Memorial Fund Grant, The Churchill Archives Centre, University of Cambridge


1. British Higher Education Academy Teaching Fellowship  


1. Teaching and Learning Award, Liverpool Hope University (LHU)


1. Exceptional New Lecturer Award, a student nominated, LHU                                                           


1. The John Henry Newman Resident Fellowship (The National Institute for Newman Studies, Pittsburgh, USA)


1. John Henry Newman IRCHSS Post-Doctoral Fellow, UCD


1. Lord Edward Fitzgerald Memorial Bursary Fund, Silver Medal (UCD, NUI)                                            


1. The James O'Mara Gold Medal Bursary research award


Funding Awards 


1. Research Bursary, LHU, Thatcher and Northern Ireland (£500.00) - to cover index and photograph costs


1. Research Bursary, LHU, Thatcher and Northern Ireland (£644.00) - archival visits in London and Dublin


1. Teaching and Learning Award, LHU (£250.00)     


1. 2016-2017 John Antcliffe Memorial Fund Grant, The Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge University


1. Teaching and Learning Award, LHU (£800.00)   

2. Research Bursary, LHU. Project title 'Margaret Thatcher and Anglo- Irish Relations, 1979-1990'  (£1,275.00)


1. LHU Scholarly Publican Grant ( total £750.00)

2. Organising a Conference Award, LHU (2 awards) (total £2,500.00)


1. National University of Ireland (NUI), Scholarly Publication Grant Award - £1,500.00



Print media

I have published extensively in several newspapers, including The Irish Times, The Belfast Telegraph, The Derry Journal, the Irish News and the


1. BBC 4 Radio

2. BBC Foyle Radio show

3. RTE Radio: The Today programme 

4. RTE Radio: The History Show

5. RTE Television: Gun Plot - Television and podcast series

6. Newstalk's The Pat Kenny Show

7. Newstalk's Talking History

8. Tipp FM

9. Life FM (Cork)



1. Cambridge University Press

2. Liverpool University Press

3. Palgrave Macmillan

4. Irish Academic Press

5. Eire-Ireland

6. Irish Studies Review