Project Team

Dr Ciara Breathnach, FRHistS

Principal Investigator

Dr Ciara Breathnach, FRHistS, Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Limerick, has published widely on Irish socio-economic, cultural and health histories.

Ciara is author of The Congested Districts Board of Ireland, 1891-1923, poverty and development in the West of Ireland (Dublin, 2005) and editor/co-editor of seven conference proceedings, three of which are guest editorships of special editions of high-impact journals. Apart from eleven chapters in edited volumes, she has published articles in Nursing History Review, Social History of Medicine, Gender & History, Urban History, Medical Humanities, Cultural and Social History, Medical History, Irish Historical Studies, Immigrants and Minorities, History of Family: an International Quarterly, the Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, Historical Research: the Bulletin of the Institute for Historical Research and Social HistoryView a full list of Breathnach’s publications.

Breathnach is a member of the Board of the National Library of Ireland, the National Archives Advisory Council and the Irish Manuscripts Commission. She served as a member of the Heritage Council of Ireland (2012-2016). She is a regular contributor to English and Irish language documentaries on socio-economic, cultural and health history. She has a strong record of grant capture and has been principal investigator of three major grants and several smaller projects.

Dr Breathnach has also held the following awards:

  • 2019: Teaching Excellence Award, Faculty of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Limerick, Ireland.
  • 2019: Visiting Research Leaders Fellowship, University of Wollongong, Australia.
  • 2017: Visiting Fellowship, Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.
  • 2016: CRF/RSE European Visiting Research Fellowships, Royal Society of Edinburgh, with Prof Oonagh Walsh at Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, UK.
  • 2013-2014: Foundation for Women in Medicine Fellow, Center for the History of Medicine, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA.
  • 2013-2014: Faculty Fellow, Faculty of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Limerick, Ireland.
  • 2012-2013: Visiting Fellow, Institute of Historical Research, London, UK.
  • 2012-2013: Flaherty Visiting Fellow, University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA.
  • 2012: Visiting Faculty, New York University, USA.

Contact details:

  • Department of History, University of Limerick, V94 T9PX
  • Email:
  • ORCID: 0000-0002-4065-0660
  • Website:

Dr Rachel Murphy

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr Rachel Murphy is a graduate of the University of Oxford. She completed an MA in History of Family at the University of Limerick, and holds a PhD in History and Digital Humanities from University College Cork (UCC).

While at UCC she also completed a Higher Diploma in Geographical Information Systems. Following her PhD, Rachel worked as a postdoctoral researcher on the Deep Maps: West Cork Coastal Cultures project at UCC. She also acts as a consultant to the Irish Historic Towns Atlas project helping them define their digital strategy and working on a number of Digital Atlases, including most recently the Digital Atlas of Dungarvan, which was launched to coincide with Heritage Week 2020.

Stuart Clancy

Irish Research Council Laureate Scholar

Stuart Clancy is a PhD candidate at the School of History and an Irish Research Council Laureate Scholar. A graduate of the University of Limerick, he has completed a BA in History and Sociology as well as an MA in History of the Family.

Stuart’s MA thesis examined ex-service patients in the Limerick District Lunatic Asylum. His research area focuses on early twentieth-century social and medical history, with a focus on the history of psychiatry.

Stuart is currently researching ‘Tuberculosis, digital humanities and disease mapping, Ireland 1864-1922’ as part of his PhD programme. Stuart is being supervised by Dr Ciara Breathnach and is being funded by the Irish Research Council Laureate Award 2017-18. Stuart’s research uses data from the General Registers Office to analyse and map the outbreak of disease in Limerick city at the beginning of the twentieth-century.

Rafflesia Khan

Irish Research Council Laureate Scholar

Rafflesia Khan is a PhD student at Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, University of Limerick.Rafflesia’s project title is ‘IRC-funded project death and burial data, Ireland, 1864-1922 (DBDIRL)’.

Her supervisors are Prof. Tiziana Margaria, Science and Engineering and Dr. Ciara Breathnach Arts, Humanities and Social Science. Rafflesia’s role in the research is to design and develop software application needed to build a new generation data management platform for the digital humanities. The role includes finding ways to enrich the platform by integrating algorithms and resources. Automating search, enrichment, analysis and management of historical data collected from a variety of data types and data sources available will be one of the most important contributions of the DBDIrl project to the advancement of the fields of computer science and digital humanities for history.

Ian Walsh

Irish Research Council Laureate Scholar

Ian Thomas Walsh is a PhD candidate at the School of History and an Irish Research Council Laureate Scholar. A graduate of the University of Limerick (MA, History of the Family), The Honorable Society of King’s Inns (Diploma in Legal Studies and

Barrister-at-Law Degree), and University College Cork (LL.B., LL.M (by research)), Ian previously worked as an investigator, researcher, tutor and Barrister. He has also published a number of articles in peer reviewed law journals. Ian’s research interests include nineteenth-century social history, the history of the family and legal history.

Ian is currently a researcher on the ‘Death and Burial Data: Ireland 1864-1922’ project which is under the direction of Dr Ciara Breathnach and is funded by the Irish Research Council Laureate Award 2017-18. Using primary sources such as death certificates and coroners’ courts records, the project will analyse a number of issues such as the evolution of power structures, the role of the centralised state, the system of civil registration, and the relationship between registered deaths and burials. Ian’s research, which will also form his PhD, examines Irish coroners’ courts as ‘spectacle’; in particular, Dublin city coroner’s court under the tenure of Dr Joseph E. Kenny (1891 to 1900).

The focus on coroners’ courts as ‘spectacle’ invites analysis from several perspectives. For example, an inquest was intended to assign a cause of death but also to provide reassurance to the public in matters concerning suspicious deaths (Ian A. Burney, Bodies of Evidence: medicine and the politics of the English inquest, 1830-1926 (Baltimore, 2000), pp 3-4, 99, 102-103). Inquests naturally attracted public interest and could, as Ciara Breathnach points out, even cause ‘excitement and horror’ (Ciara Breathnach, ‘Infant life protection and medico-legal literacy in early twentieth-century Dublin’ (2017) Women’s History Review, vol. 26 no. 2, 781 – 798, p. 782). This confirms that inquests were a public spectacle. Dr Breathnach has also suggested that inquests could be ‘viewed as a barometer of vernacular medico-legal knowledge’ and literacy (Ciara Breathnach, ‘Infant life protection and medico-legal literacy in early twentieth-century Dublin’ in Women’s History Review, xxvi, no. 2 (2017), p. 783). For historians then inquests can provide a ‘spectacle’ of provide primary evidence of attitudes towards death, medicine/the medical profession, violence, social class, family structure and poverty; including the attitudes of the coroners themselves. To put it another way, inquests help contextualise deaths and jury verdicts within their social setting. As a result, Ian will consider how and why inquests became a spectacle for public consumption, how they can be used to measure of medico-legal knowledge and literacy and also for what they can tell us about death and its social context.

Prof Tiziana Margaria


Prof Tiziana Margaria is Chair of Software Engineering and Head of Department at the Dept. of Computer Science and Information Systems at the University of Limerick. She also heads the Lero Committee on International Relations Development.

She has broad experience in the use of formal methods for high assurance systems, in particular concerning functional verification, reliability, and compliance of complex heterogeneous systems. She is currently Vice President of the European Association of Software Science and Technology (EASST); President of FMICS (the ERCIM Working Group on Formal Methods for Industrial Critical Systems); steering committee member of ETAPS, the European joint Conferences on Theory and Practice of Software; managing editor of STTT, the Springer Journal on Software Tools for Technology Transfer; and co-founder of the TACAS and ISoLA series of conferences. Tiziana is a Fellow of the Irish Computer Society and of SDPS, the Society for Design and Process Science.

In EuSEM (European Society for Emergency Medicine), she co-chairs the Special Interest Group on Technology and Processes of Care in the Emergency Care (SIG-TPCEC). In Lero, she heads research projects on Scientific Workflows, in particular for data analytics, on model-driven service-oriented Software design for evolving systems, and on holistic HW/SW Cybersecurity. Current application domains are to embedded systems, healthcare, and smart advanced manufacturing. The aforementioned are Tiziana’s research topics and application domains most relevant to ALECS.

Enda O’Shea


Enda holds a BSc in Computer Systems from the University of Limerick (Ireland), a MSc in Rigorous Software Development from Maynooth University (Ireland) and a MSc in Knowledge Based, Distributed and Software Systems from the University of St Andrews (Scotland.)

He finished top of his class on completion of his Bachelors and has awards for Best Overall Student in both his Master degree programs. He also holds a BSc in Accounting and Finance from the Limerick Institute of Technology.

His Bachelors project focused on the development of a module for an Access Control system employing Facial Recognition, with his focus being on the capture and alignment of subjects using the Kinect sensor. The first of his Masters project was the testing and evaluation of the OpenJML Software Verification tool within the Eclipse Environment, with his second Masters project focusing on the development of an NLP pipeline with the goal of developing a language independent POS tagger, using an Hidden Markov Model, that could achieve comparable results to state-of-the-art Neural Network taggers.

His previous work in industry include five years in Dell Computers as the POC for the EMEA region regarding their access control systems. He spent nine months on placement at J&J Vistakon working in the base business section of the I.T. department and has worked in GGL Security across a various number of roles including payroll, security and monitoring.

His PhD research is still to be solidified however it will be focusing on the use of Model Checking and Formal Methods in the development of Artificial Intelligence systems, through the methodology of Model Driven Design. 

Outside of Computer Science, his hobbies include hurling (Limerick Clubs U21 All-Star Award), soccer, rugby, as well as computer games and movies.

Alexander Schieweck