Professor Nicholas Canny

Emeritus Professor

Professor Nicholas Patrick Canny

Member of the ERC Scientific Council

Emeritus Professor of History and Founding Director of the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies at National University of Ireland, Galway (2000-2011):

Former President of the Royal Irish Academy.

He was in 1995, elected member of the Academia Europaea, in 2005 as a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, in 2007 as a Member of the American Philosophical Society, and in 2013 as a Corresponding Member of the Real Academia de la Historia (Madrid). He took up his appointment to the Scientific Council of the European Science Foundation in February 2011.


Telephone : NUI Galway (353 91) 493907

Fax: Business (353 91) 495507

Previous Position:

Assistant and then Lecturer in History at University College, Galway, 1972-9; Professor of History, 1979-2009; Dean of the Faculty of Arts, University College, Galway, 1982-5, and again Spring Term, 1994; Vice-President for Research, National University of Ireland, Galway, 2005-8.

University Education :

BA (1964) and MA (1967) from the National University of Ireland

Ph.D (1971) from the University of Pennsylvania

1969-70: conducted research in London and attended Joel Hurstfield's seminar in Tudor history at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London.

Honors and Awards

Name of Award


Elected Corresponding Member of the Real Academia de la Historia (Madrid)June 2013
Selected as Member of the Scientific Council of the European Research CouncilFebruary 2011
Elected President of the Royal Irish Academy2008-2011

Elected Foreign Member of the American Philosophical Society.


Elected Senior Parnell Research Fellow at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge


Elected Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy


Professeur invité to the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris.

April May, 2005

Awarded the Irish Historical Research Prize

2003. Awarded the Irish Historical Research Prize for 2003 for Making Ireland British, 1580-1650 (Oxford, 2001, paper 2003)

Delivered, by invitation, the Commonwealth Fund Lecture

2002. Delivered, by invitation, the Commonwealth Fund Lecture for 2002 at University College, London.

Fellow in Residence

2001-2002: Fellow in Residence at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study.

Elected as Member of the Academia Europaea.


Editor: 1st volume of Oxford History of the British Empire.

1994. Invited to serve as editor of the first volume of a five volume Oxford History of the British Empire.

Vice- President of the Royal Irish Academy

1991 and 1999

Served on the Council of the Royal Irish Academy

1990-1994 and 1996-1999

Steering committee member of the European Science Foundation

1989-1994: Member of the steering committee of the European Science Foundation's Network on the Expansion of Europe.

Fellow of the National Humanities Center, North Carolina.


Delivered the Atlantic Lectures at Johns Hopkins University.


Elected Member of the Royal Irish Academy.


Visiting fellowship at the Huntington Library, California.


Fellow of the Royal Historical Society


Herodotus fellowship in the School of Historical Studies.

1979-80: Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and holder of the Herodotus fellowship in the School of Historical Studies.

Irish Historical Research Prize

Awarded the Irish Historical Research prize of the National University of Ireland for The Elizabethan Conquest of Ireland.

Fulbright-Hayes Fellowship

1974-1975: Fulbright-Hayes fellowship to support post-doctoral study at Harvard and Yale universities.

Ford Foundation fellowship

1967-1971: Holder of a Ford Foundation fellowship to support four years of study towards the Ph.D. degree in History at the University of Pennsylvania.

Professional Associations and Societies

European Science Foundation: 2003 Appointed to the Steering Committee and the Executive Committee of the new Scientific Programme entitled ‘National Histories in Europe: The Writing of National Histories in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Europe'.

Faculty of History, University of Cambridge: invited to serve on the Advisory Board of The Historical Journal, 2000- present.

Organization of American Historians: invited, April 1997, to act as a consultant on the Internationalization of American History, and to attend their 1997 conference in San Francisco in that capacity. Appointed 1998 to serve for three years on the editorial board of the Journal of American History.

Irish Association for American Studies: committee member 1977-82; vice-chair 1977-8; conference organizer 1978; 1988.

Economic & Social History of Ireland: committee member 1976-82; assistant secretary 1977-8; joint conference organizer 1980.

National University of Ireland: Member of the Senate of the University, 1987-92.

European Science Foundation: 1990, organizer of Dublin colloquium on 'European overseas migration, 1500-1800'.

European Science Foundation, 1989-94: member of the steering committee of the Network devoted to the History of European Expansion.

Royal Irish Academy: member of the working committee appointed in 1997 to propose the establishment of a National Endowment for the Humanities for Ireland.

Royal Irish Academy: served on the committee dealing with the Dictionary of Irish Biography, 1986 - present.

National Archives Advisory Council: member 1986 - 1997.

Irish Manuscripts Commission: member 1982 - present.

Irish Committee of Historical Sciences: served as chair 1990 - 1997; committee member 1982 - 1990, 1997-9.

Books published, edited and co-edited

The Oxford Handbook of the Atlantic World, 1450-1850, ed., Nicholas Canny and Phillip Morgan (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2011)

Making Ireland British, 1580-1650 (Oxford University Press, 2001).

The Origins of Empire, British Overseas Enterprise to the Close of the Seventeenth Century ed., Nicholas Canny vol I of the five volume Oxford History of the British Empire (Oxford University Press,1998).

Empire, Society, and Labor: Essays in Honor of Richard S. Dunn, edited together with Joe Illick and Gary B. Nash (College Park, Pa., published Spring 1997 as supplement no. 64 to Pennsylvania History).

Europeans on the Move: Studies on European Migration, 1500-1800 edited by Nicholas Canny (Oxford University Press, 1994).

Colonial Identity in the Atlantic World, 1500-1800, edited with Anthony Pagden (Princeton University Press, 1987).

The Westward Enterprise : English Activities in Ireland, the Atlantic and America, 1480-1650, edited together with K. R. Andrews and P. E. H. Hair (Liverpool University Press, 1978) - a festschrift for David B. Quinn.

Kingdom and Colony : Ireland in the Atlantic World 1560-1800 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987).

From Reformation to Restoration : Ireland 1534-1660 (Dublin 1987); the third volume in the Helicon history of Ireland paperback series.

The Upstart Earl : a Study of the Social and Mental World of Richard Boyle, first earl of Cork, 1566-1643 (Cambridge University Press, 1982).

The Elizabethan Conquest of Ireland : a Pattern Established, 1565-76 (Harvester Press, 1976).

Papers, Articles and Review Articles

'The Haliday Collections: A Printed Source on the Origins of Insurrection in ireland and Civil Conflict in England, 1641-2' in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Section C, vol. 113(2013), pp.279-307.

'1641 in a Colonial Context' in Ireland: 1641, Contexts and Reactions, ed., Micheál Ó Siochrú and Jane Ohlmeyer (Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2013), pp. 52-70

‘Ireland and its People in the Wider World, 1550-1740’, in Los irlandeses y la Monarquía Hispánica (1529-1800): Vínculos en espacio y tiempo , ed., Archivo General de Simancas (Madrid, Ministerio de Educacion, Cultura y Deporte, 2013), pp. 19-30.

The Representation of Slaves and Slavery in the Writing on the West Indies during the Early Modern Centuries: French and English Contributions Compared," in Migration, Trade, and Slavery in an Expanding World: Essays in Honor of Pieter Emmer, ed. Wim Klooster (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 197-224.

Atlantic History and Global History¹, in Jack P.Greene and Philip D.
Morgan, Atlantic History: A Critical Reappraisal (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009, Pp. 317-336

The Rise of Great Britain¹, in The World of 1607: Special Exhibition:
Artifacts of the Jamestown Era from Around the World (Jamestown Settlement, Va., 2007), pp. 62-8.

Englische und schottische Siedler in Irland seit der Frühen Neuzeit¹, in Klaus Bade, Pieter Emmer, Leo Lucassen und Jochen Oltmer, eds., Enzyklopädie Migration in Europa. Vom 17. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart (München, 2007), pp. 548-553.

‘Moving forward from the "New British History"', in Claudia Schnurmann and Hartmut Lehmann, eds, Atlantic Understandings: Essays on European and American History in Honor of Hermann Wellenreuther (Lit Verlag, Hamburg, 2006), pp. 405-416.

‘The Intersections between Irish and British Political Thought in the Early-Modern Centuries', in David Armitage, ed., British Political Thought in History, Literature and Theory, 1500-1800 (Cambridge, 2006), pp. 67-88.

‘The Politics of History: Writing Early Modern History in Parnellian Ireland', The Parnell Lecture, 2004-5, Magdalene College, Cambridge, Occasional Paper no.34.

Religion and Violence in Early Modern Ireland', in Religion und Gewalt: konflikte, rituale, deutungen (1500-1800), ed., Kasper von Greyertz and Kim Siebenhüner (Gottingen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2006), pp. 175-194.

Atlantic History and Global History', in Latin America and the Atlantic World: essays in honor of Horst Pietschmann, ed., Renate Pieper and Peer Schmidt (Cologne, Böhlau, 2005), pp. 25-34.

‘Obituary: Gearóid Mac Niocaill (1932-2004)', in Analecta Hibernica, no 39 (2006), pp. xii-xiv.

Historians, moral judgement and national communities: the Irish dilemma', in above pp. 401-410.

Editor of a Focus section on the issue of Historians and Moral Judgements in European Review, Vol.14. no. 3 (July 2006), pp .369-410. Within this Nicholas Canny, ‘Focus: Historians and Moral Judgements: Introduction, pp. 369-372.

Foreword to Kevin Kenny, ed., Ireland and the British Empire (Oxford, 2004), pp. ix-xviii.

With Karen Ordahl Kupperman (New York University), ‘The Scholarship and Legacy of David Beers Quinn, 1909-2002', in The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 60 (2003), pp. 843-860.

‘Writing Early Modern History: Ireland, Britain and the Wider World', in The Historical Journal, vol. 46 (2003), pp. 723-747.

‘Taking Sides in Early Modern Ireland: the Case of Hugh O'Neill, earl of Tyrone', in Taking Sides?: Colonial and Confessional Mentalitiés in Early Modern Ireland; Essays in Honour of Karl S. Bottigheimer, ed., Vincent Carey and Ute Lotz-Heumann (Dublin, 2003), pp. 94-115.

‘Asia, the Atlantic and the Subjects of the British Monarchy', in A Companion to Stuart Britain, ed., Barry Coward (Oxford, Blackwell Publishing, 2003), pp. 45-66.

‘Atlantic History, 1492-1700: Scope, Sources and Methods', in Atlantic History: History of the Atlantic System, 1580-1830, ed., Horst Pietschmann (Göttingen, 2002), pp. 55-64.

'Atlantic History; what and why?', in European Review, vol. 9 (2001), pp. 399-411.

'Writing Atlantic History; or, Reconfiguring the History of Colonial British America', in The Journal of American History, vol. 86 (1999), pp. 1093-1114.

'Religion, Politics and the Irish Rising of 1641',in Religion and Rebellion: the Proceedings of the Twenty Second Irish Conference of Historians, ed. Judith Devlin and Ronan Fanning, (Dublin, 1997), pp. 40-70.

'Revising the Revisionist', in Irish Historical Studies, XXX (1996), pp. 242-254.

'Reviewing A View of the Present State of Ireland' in Irish University Review: Special Issue: Spenser in Ireland, 1596-1996 XXVI (1996), pp. 252-267.

'Irish, Scottish and Welsh Responses to Centralization, c.1530-c1640', in Uniting the Kingdom? The Enigma of British History', ed Alexander Grant and Keith Stringer (London, Routledge, 1995), pp. 147-69.

'What Really Happened in Ireland in 1641?', in Ireland: From Independence to Occupation, 1641-1660 , ed. Jane Ohlmeyer (Cambridge, 1995), pp. 24-43.

Irish Resistance to Empire? : 1641, 1690 and 1798', in An Imperial State at War ed. Lawrence Stone (London, Routledge, 1994) pp. 288-321.

'1641 Depositions : a Source for Social and Cultural History', in History Ireland, vol. 1, no.4 (1993), pp.52-55.

'The 1641 Depositions as a Source for the Writing of Social History : County Cork as a Case Study', in Cork: History and Society ed. Patrick O'Flanagan and Neil Buttimer (Dublin, 1993), pp.249-308.

'The Attempted Anglicization of Ireland in the Seventeenth Century: an Exemplar of "British History"', in Three Nations - a Common History c.1600-1920 ed. Ronald G. Asch (Bochum, Germany, Universitatsverlag Dr. N. Brockmeyer, 1993), pp. 49-82; reprinted in The Political World of Thomas Wentworth, earl of Strafford, 1621-1641, ed. Julia Merritt, (Cambridge, 1996).

'Remembering Columbus, 1492-1992', in Journal of Galway Archaeological & Historical Society XLIV (1992) pp. 1-10.

'The Early Planters : Spenser and his Contemporaries', in The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, ed. Seamus Deane (Derry City & London, 1991), pp. 171-234; prepared with Andrew Carpenter.

'Ireland: the Historical Context', in The Spenser Enclyclopedia, ed. A.C. Hamilton et. al. (Toronto, 1990), pp. 404-7.

'The Marginal Kingdom : Ireland as a Problem in the First British Empire', in Strangers within the Realm : Cultural Margins of the First British Empire, ed., Bernard Bailyn and Philip D. Morgan (Chapel Hill, 1991) pp. 35-66.

'In Defence of the Constitution? : the nature of Irish revolt in the Seventeenth Century' in Culture et Pratiques Politiques en France et en Irlande, XVIe-XVIIIe siècle ed. Louis Bergeron and L.M. Cullen (Paris, 1990), pp. 23-40.

'The British Atlantic World : Working Towards a Definition', in Historical Journal, XXXIII (1990), pp. 479-97.

'Uplift', in London Review of Books, 24 May 1990, pp. 22-3 : a review of Oliver MacDonagh, The Emancipist : Daniel O'Connell, 1830-1847.

'Introduction : Spenser and Reform in Ireland' in Spenser and Ireland : an Interdisciplinary Perspective, ed., Patricia Coughlan (Cork, 1989), pp. 9-24.

'Early Modern Ireland, c.1500-1700', in The Oxford Illustrated History of Ireland, ed. R. F. Foster (Oxford, 1989), pp. 104-60.

'Conquest and Colonisation : the implications of these processes for Modern Irish History', in Irish-Australian Studies : Papers Delivered at the Fifth Irish-Australian Conference, ed. Oliver MacDonagh and W.F. Mandle (Canberra, 1988), pp.42-64.

'Upper Ireland', in London Review of Books, 16 March 1989, pp. 8-9: a review of R.F. Foster, Modern Ireland, 1600-1972

'Raleigh's Ireland', in Raleigh and Quinn : the Explorer and his Boswell, ed. H.G. Jones (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1987), pp. 86-101.

Debate with Dr. Ciaran Brady on 'Spenser's Irish Crisis' in Past & Present 120 (1988), pp. 201-15.

'To Establish a Common Wealthe: Captain John Smith as New World Colonist', in Virginia Magazine of History & Biography XCVI (1988), pp. 213-22.

'The Birth of the Modern Constitution', in De Valera's Constitution and Ours, ed. Brian Farrell (Dublin, 1988), pp. 1-17.

'Protestants, Planters and Apartheid in Early Modern Ireland', in Irish Historical Studies, XXV, (1986), pp. 105-15.

'European's Abroad : Problems, Perspectives and Possibilities', in Historical Journal, XXIX (1987), pp. 469-79.

'The Irish Background to Penn's Experiment', in The World of William Penn, ed. R. S. Dunn and M. M. Dunn (Philadelphia,1986), pp. 139-56.

'Natives & Other Strangers : settlement, cultural assimilation and conflict', in Community, Culture & Conflict, ed. M.A.G. Ó Tuathaigh (Galway, 1986), pp. 1-16.

'Pádraigín Haicéad : an sagart agus an file i gcomhthéacs a aimsire', in Dúchas, 1983, 1984, 1985 (Dublin, 1986), pp. 8-20 [Pádraigín Haicéad the priest and the poet in the context of his time].

'The Power but not the Gory', in Times Literary Supplement, 19 Dec. 1986, p. 1432 : a review of New History of Ireland, vol. IV.

Debate with Raymond Gillespie on Migration and Opportunity in Irish Economic & Social History, XIII (1986), pp. 96-100.

'Migration and Opportunity : Britain, Ireland and the New World', in Irish Economic & Social History XII (1985), pp. 7-32; subsequently included in slightly revised form as a chapter of Kingdom and Colony.

'Fusion and Faction in Modern Ireland', in Comparative Studies in Society and History XXVI (1984), pp. 352-65.

'Galway : from the Reformation to the Penal Laws', in Diarmuid Ó Cearbhaill ed., Galway : Town & Gown, 1484-1984 (Dublin, Gill & Macmillan, 1984), pp. 10-28.

'Edmund Spenser and the Development of an Anglo-Irish Identity', in Yearbook of English Studies, XIII (1983), pp. 1-19.

'The Formation of the Irish Mind : Religion, Politics and Gaelic Irish Literature, 1580-1750', in Past & Present no. 95 (1982), pp. 91-116; subsequently reprinted in Nationalism and Popular Protest in Ireland, ed. C. H. E. Philpin (Cambridge, 1987), pp. 50-79.

'The Anglo-American Colonial Experience', in Historical Journal, XXIV (1981), pp. 485-503.

'Sixteenth-Century Ireland : Themes and Sources', a debate with Dr. Brendan Bradshaw, Sussex Tapes, 1981.

'Why the Reformation failed in Ireland : une question mal posée', in Journal of Ecclesiastical History, XXX (1979), pp. 423- 50.

'Rowland White's "The Dyssorders of the Irisshery" [1571]', in Studia Hibernica, XIX (1979), pp. 147- 60.

'Rowland White's "Discors Touching Ireland" [1569]', in Irish Historical Studies, XX (1977), pp. 439-63.

'Dominant Minorities : English Settlers in Ireland and Virginia, 1550-1650', in Minorities in History ed. A.C. Hepburn (London, Arnold, 1978), pp. 51-69.

'Early- Modern Ireland : an appraisal appraised', in Irish Economic & Social History, IV (1977), pp. 56-65.

The formation of the Old-English elite in Ireland, the National University of Ireland O'Donnell lecture for 1974 published in pamphlet form, Dublin 1975, pp. 37.

'The ideology of English colonization : from Ireland to America', in The William & Mary Quarterly, XXX(1973), pp. 575-98; subsequently reprinted in Colonial America :

Essays in Politics and Social Development ed Stanley N. Katz and John M. Murrin (New York, Knopf, 1983 ), pp. 47-68; and to be reprinted yet again in Theories of Empire, 1450-1800, ed. David Armitage, (London, Variorum Press, 1998).

'Changing views on Gaelic Ireland', in Topic : 24 : Themes in Irish Culture (Washington, PA. 1972), pp. 19-28.

'The Flight of the earls, 1607', in Irish Historical Studies, XVII (1971), pp. 380-99.

'The treaty of Mellifont and the re-organization of Ulster', in The Irish Sword, IX (1970) pp. 249-62.

'Hugh O'Neill and the changing face of Gaelic Ulster', in Studia Hibernica, X (1970), pp. 7-35.