Centuries of Childhood Conference

Hosted by the DCU School of History and Geography

DATES: 15-16 June 2018

LOCATION: Dublin City University, St Patrick’s Campus, Drumcondra, Dublin 9, Ireland

This conference explores the history of children and childhood (including adolescence) in Ireland and beyond from the late sixteenth century onward. The conference’s name references Centuries of Childhood, the title of the 1962 English translation of Philippe Ariès’s L’enfant et la vie familiale sous l’Ancien Régime, the book that helped to launch the history of children and childhood as an academic discipline. The conference builds on previous initiatives in Ireland to foster this area of historical enquiry, providing a fresh forum for researchers to present their work. It features papers by 33 speakers from universities in Ireland, Britain, Germany and India.

To book your place at the conference, please email marnie.hay@dcu.ie with ‘Centuries of Childhood Conference’ in the subject line. There is a conference fee of €20 (to cover refreshments and lunch) to be paid in cash at the conference.


FRIDAY, 15 June 2018

1:30 – 2:15 pm            CONFERENCE REGISTRATION

2:15 – 3:45 pm            SESSION 1

Session 1A – Children and the law

Chair: James Kelly (DCU)

Frances Nolan (UCD) – The significance of minors in the Williamite confiscation in Ireland, 1690-1703.

Eoin Kinsella (IAPH) – The penal laws and the guardianship of Catholic children in the long eighteenth century.

Geraldine Curtin (NUI Galway) – ‘The child condemned’: The imprisonment of children in Ireland, 1850-1908.

Session 1B – Irish primary schooling

Chair: Fionnuala Waldron (DCU)

Tracey Connolly (UCC) – Child centred education? Experiences of nineteenth-century primary schooling in Ireland.

Thomas Walsh (Maynooth University) – Concepts of children around the time of political independence in Ireland: A view from the primary school curriculum.

Maurice Harmon (Mary Immaculate College, Limerick) – Whose religion is it? The voice of children on religion and religious education from an Irish Catholic primary school.

3:45 – 4:00 PM           REFRESHMENTS

4:00 – 5:30 PM           SESSION 2

Session 2A – Irish nationalism and British imperialism

Chair: Ríona Nic Congáil (DCU)

Richard McElligott (UCD) – ‘A youth tainted with the deadly poison of Anglicism’? Sport and childhood in Ireland, 1880-1940.

Mary MacDiarmada (DCU) – ‘Those little ones immersed in a sea of foreign influences’: The Gaelic League of London’s focus on teaching Irish language and culture to children in the early 1900s.

Charlotte Bennett (University of Oxford) – The glorious dead? Irish boys and wartime fatalities, 1914-1918.

Session 2B – Children and Colonialism

Chair: TBC

Sharon Murphy (DCU) – ‘I think I shall die soon, Boosy’: Childhood illness and death in The History of Little Henry and his Bearer.

Hia Sen (Presidency University, Kolkata) – Carmichael’s girls: Missionaries and ‘obstinate’ native children.

Mairéad Mooney (UCC) – Lost islands, wizard islands and post-colonial islands: T.C. Bridges’ Martin Crusoe in 1930s Ireland.

5:30 pm                       WINE RECEPTION

SATURDAY, 16 June 2018

9:00 – 9:30 am            CONFERENCE REGISTRATION

9:30 – 11:00 am          SESSION 3

Session 3A – Education and the elite

Chair: Anne Markey (DCU)

Emma Lyons (UCD) – To ‘form the[ir] minds and manners … so as to render them happy in themselves and useful to society’: The education of Catholic children in eighteenth-century Ireland.

Brendan Twomey (TCD) – ‘a propensity to telling lies about some things’: Elite women’s perspectives on childrearing and education in eighteenth-century Ireland; the evidence from the correspondence of Louisa Conolly.

Mary Hatfield (University of Oxford) – The purpose of a modern education? Cultivating manners and masculinity in Irish boys’ schools, 1800-1860.

Session 3B – Education and apprenticeship

Chair: Catherine Cox (UCD)

Leanne Calvert (University of Hertfordshire) – ‘to send them into the world at an earlier age, would be dismissing them … imperfectly educated’: Putting out poor children as apprentices in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Ulster.

Michael Seery (University of Edinburgh) – All the rage: Educating children in Georgian Ireland.

Simon Gallaher (Cambridge University) – Childhood and education in the Irish workhouse school, c. 1851-1911.

11:00 – 11:15 am                    REFRESHMENTS

11:15 am – 12:45 pm             SESSION 4

Session 4A – Children and childhood in institutions

Chair: Sarah-Anne Buckley (NUI Galway)

Jane O’Brien (NUI Galway) – The industrial school child in Ennis: Family background and involvement, 1880-1911.

Fiona Byrne (UL) – Through the eyes of a child: A different perspective of life within the walls of an Irish mental hospital.

Jamie Mackey (St Peter’s College, Wexford) – The committal of children to industrial schools by the NSPCC in County Kilkenny: A challenge to the findings of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.

Session 4B – The ‘perils’ of childhood and youth?

Chair: Áine McGillicuddy (DCU)

Ann Downey (TCD) – Cinema going and children: a cause for concern.

Annika Stendebach (Johannes Gutenberg – University Mainz) – Rock ’n’ Roll Rebels: The Teddy Boys in Ireland and their media portrayal in comparison to the Halbstarke in Germany.

Ciara Meehan (University of Hertfordshire) – ‘Too much instruction in the so-called facts of life’? Debating sex education for children in the 1960s.

12:45 – 2:00 pm          LUNCH  

2:00 – 3:00 pm            PLENARY LECTURE

Professor James Kelly (DCU) – Chimney sweeping, corporal punishment and violence against children: Ireland, 1700-1870.

3:00 – 3:15 pm            REFRESHMENTS

3:15 – 5:00 pm            SESSION 5

Session 5A – Parenting and childrearing

Chair: Mary Hatfield (University of Oxford)

Clodagh Tait (Mary Immaculate College, Limerick) – Parenting for profit: fosterage, wet-nursing and care for orphan children in Ireland, c. 1570-1720.

David Reid (Independent Researcher) – ‘I put pitch-pine oil and a plaster of boiled bread-and-milk to little Humphrey’s leg’: The relationship between a father and his children in a pre-Famine Irish Catholic middle-class household.

Aimie Brennan (Mary Immaculate College, Limerick) – Apollonian and Dionysian constructions of childhood in Ireland.

Liam Kennedy (QUB) – Before childhood, after death: Irish mothers reflect on the fate of unbaptized infants.

Session 5B – Enslaved, orphaned, exiled and abandoned children

Chair: Marnie Hay (DCU)

Isabella Jackson (TCD) – Debating child slavery: child protection in Republican China.

Sarah-Anne Buckley (NUI Galway) – Orphans and informal kinship care in Ireland, 1922-present.

Áine McGillicuddy (DCU) – Operation Shamrock: Experiences of German child exiles in Ireland.

Beatrice Scutaru (DCU) – A ‘country of abandoned children’? Reforming Romania’s post-communist child welfare system.



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