A new research centre focussing on Irish and European history and culture was launched in Limerick on Thursday 13th October.

The Centre for Early Modern Studies brings together experts from University of Limerick and Mary Immaculate College to further the study of the history and culture of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

According to Chair of the Centre for Early Modern Studies and Lecturer in History at UL, Dr Richard Kirwan, “the centre will bring together scholars from various academic disciplines to work on specific research themes and projects focussed on the early modern era. It will also serve as a platform for the sharing of expertise via lectures, conferences and seminars”.

“Research in the humanities has been traditionally conducted by individuals working in isolation but this centre will offer opportunities for collaborative cross-disciplinary research, which when combined with the unique resources in the Bolton Library, will no doubt lead to new insights on the history and culture of the early modern period,” Dr Kirwan continued.

With a membership of 18, and with especially strong representation from the fields of history, English, Irish and French, the establishment of the centre responds to existing strengths in early modern studies in the region.

In addition to supporting the individual research projects of its members, the centre aims to facilitate and develop collaborative and interdisciplinary engagement within the humanities and between academics and specialist librarians and archivists.

It will also promote scholarly engagement with the early modern manuscript and print collections of UL’s Glucksman Library. In particular, the centre will avail of its Bolton Collection as a resource for new research. The Bolton Collection at UL is a unique collection of 12,000 early-printed books, manuscripts and incunabula of exceptional academic and bibliographic importance, care of which has recently been assumed by the Glucksman Library.

The Centre for Early Modern Studies also promotes postgraduate studies and postdoctoral research. The centre emerged from the Limerick Early Modern Studies Forum which was established in February 2015 following the award of an Irish Research Council New Foundations grant. This award facilitated numerous start-up activities including a large international conference in November 2015 on the theme of Moments of Becoming: Transitions and Transformations in Early Modern Europe.

The Centre for Early Modern Studies was launched on October 13, 2016 with an inaugural lecture by Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, Erasmus Smith’s Chair of Modern History, Trinity College Dublin, Director of the Trinity Long Room Hub, and Chair of the Irish Research Council. Professor Ohlmeyer spoke on the topic of ‘Early Modern Ireland and the Wider World’.

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