Famine Arrival ship sculpture by Behan
   'Arrival - The New Dawn' by John Behan

Ireland's Great Hunger Institute presents the 20th Ulster-American Heritage Symposium: Irish Hunger, Poverty and Migration: A Transatlantic Perspective -- June 18-21, 2014

Ireland's Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac will host the 20th biennial meeting of the Ulster-American Heritage Symposium in June 2014. Since 1976, the symposium has met every two years, alternating between co-sponsoring universities and museums in Northern Ireland and North America.

The purpose is to encourage scholarly study and promote public awareness of the shared history and culture of Ulster and North America, including what is commonly called the Scotch-Irish or Ulster-Scots heritage. The symposium provides an ideal forum for scholars to share new knowledge, research and ideas related to the conference themes.

In addition to academic papers, other activities offered include: visiting the Great Hunger Collection located on the campus of Quinnipiac; the Famine Memorial in New York City; and the St. Patrick's Cathedral Exhibition at the Consulate of Ireland in NYC. There will also be tours of, and receptions in, Ireland's Great Hunger Museum in Hamden, CT, and the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven. Tours of the Lady Sligo Exhibition will also be offered during the program. Registration details can be found below.

We hope that you will join us for this exciting and ground-breaking conference.

Professor Christine Kinealy
Founding Director
Ireland's Great Hunger Institute

Organizers and Keynote Presenters

Keynote speakers:

Christine Kinealy

Christine Kinealy, PhD
Kinealy is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, where she completed her doctorate on the introduction of the Poor Law to Ireland. She then worked in educational and research institutes in Dublin, Belfast and Liverpool. She has published extensively on the impact of the Great Irish Famine and has lectured on the relationship between poverty and famine in India, Spain, Canada, France, Finland and New Zealand. She also has spoken to invited audiences in the British Parliament and in the U.S. Congress. Kinealy is the founding director of Ireland's Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University and a scholarly resource for the study of the Great Hunger.

Kinealy is a noted author of numerous books on the Great Hunger, including "This Great Calamity: The Irish Famine 1845-52, which was named the "Irish Post" Book of Year in 1995. 

Based in the United States since 2007, Kinealy was named one of the most influential Irish Americans in 2011 by "Irish America" Magazine. In 2013, she received the Holyoke, Mass. St. Patrick's Day Parade's Ambassador Award. In March 2014, Christine was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame. 

Read more about Kinealy.

Piaras Mac Einri

Piaras Mac Éinrí, PhD
Piaras Mac Éinrí is lecturer in Migration Studies in the Department of Geography, University College Cork. He was Principal Investigator for the Emigre project in 2012/2013, a major Irish Research Council funded study of current emigration from Ireland. Between 1997 and 2003 he was Director of the Irish Centre for Migration Studies at UCC. He has published, lectured and broadcast widely on migration-related issues and has served on the boards of a number of voluntary organizations working with migrants. He previously served with the Department of Foreign Affairs, with postings in Brussels, Beirut and Paris.

Maureen Murphy

Maureen Murphy, PhD
Maureen Murphy is the Joseph L. Dionne Professor of Curriculum and Teaching in the School of Education, Health and Human Services at Hofstra University, in Hempstead, New York. She was a Fulbright Fellow at University College, Dublin in 1965-66.  She was named the School of Education's Outstanding Teacher in 2013.

A past president of the American Conference for Irish Studies and a past chair of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures, Murphy has lectured and published extensively in Irish and American Irish literature and culture. Murphy was one of the six senior editors of the prize-winning Dictionary of Irish Biography published in nine volumes and on line by the Royal Irish Academy and Cambridge University Press in 2009.  

Murphy has written more than 100 articles and reviews and had given more than 350 invited lectures in eighteen countries. A State Department lecturer to Egypt in 1993 and 2000, Murphy has worked with the Irish Studies Program at the University of Sao Paulo since 1991. Murphy lectured regularly at the Yeats International Summer School where she was Deputy Director in 2005-7 and Associate Director in 2009. She was on the faculty of the 2012 School.

Murphy has been the Features Editor of The Irish Literary Supplement since 1982.  She serves on the Editorial Boards of the Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, Béaloideas and Estudios Irlandeses, on the Selection Board for the Senator George Mitchell Fellowships and on the Boards of the American Irish Historical Society and the Emerald Isle Immigration Center. She has been awarded honorary degrees by the State University of New York at Cortland and by the National University of Ireland.

Organizing committee: 

Gerard Moran

Gerard Moran, Conference Co-Chair and Academic Adviser
Gerard Moran has lectured in the Department of History at NUI Galway and NUI Maynooth, where he was director of the MA in Irish History. He was coordinator of History at the European School: Uccle, Brussels and from 1995 to 2000, held a fellowship at Wolfson College, University of Oxford.

His research interests include Irish emigration, the Great Famine and the Forgotten Famine of 1879-84. He has published extensively on nineteenth-century Ireland and among his publications are Sending Out Ireland's Poor: Assisted Emigration to North America in the Nineteenth Century; Sir Robert Gore Booth and his Landed Estate in County Sligo 1814-176; Land, Famine, Emigration and Politics (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2006) and The Mayo Evictions of 1860 (Reprint Non Such Publications, Dublin, 2007)

He is joint editor of the forthcoming Mayo: History and Society, which will be published in May, 2014 by Geography Publications Dublin. He is also the Historical Consultant for the Emigration Database which provides information on the 3,300 emigrants from County Mayo who had their passage fares paid to North America by the philanthropist James Hack Tuke between 1883-1884. 

Committee members:
Christine Kinealy, Conference Chair and keynote speaker
Grace Brady, Executive Director of Ireland's Great Hunger Museum
Patrick Fitzgerald, PhD, Development Officer at Mellon Centre for Migration Studies at the Ulster-American Folk Park
Warren Hofstra, PhD, Stewart Bell Professor of History at Shenandoah University
Brian Lambkin, PhD, Director of the Centre for Migration Studies at the Ulster-American Folk Park
Turlough McConnell, President and CEO of Turlough McConnell Communications

Registration and Conference Information


There are two registration options:
  • $200 - Conference-only registration (Wednesday - Friday)
  • $230 - Includes the conference, as well as a trip to New York City (Wednesday - Saturday) -- **Update: The New York City trip is now sold out; this option will no longer be available at registration.

Please review the conference event and academic presentation schedule (PDF).

Register now.

If you have any questions or concerns when registering, please contact Charity Stout at charity.stout@quinnipiac.edu, and she will be happy to assist you.

Accommodations and Travel


We are pleased to offer simple on-campus accommodations from Wednesday to Saturday on a first come, first served basis for $120. For attendees traveling from abroad for the conference, these accommodations are available free of charge to the first 25 registrants.

The single-occupancy rooms are located in our Eastview dormitories and include a bed with linens and towels, as well as a shared bathroom. Please note that guests will need to bring all personal items such as toiletries, clocks, or hair dryers. In order to receive on-campus accomodations, registration must be complete by May 18, 2014.

Click here to take a virtual tour of our campus and conference facilities.

There are 15 rooms available at the special rate of $189 at The Study at Yale.  Reservations must be made by May 18, 2014 to qualify for this discount.

The Study at Yale 
1157 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT 
Toll-free: 1-888-913-2153 -- please mention the Ulster-American Heritage Symposium when booking.
Make your reservations online.


Quinnipiac University is located near many major highways, approximately 20 minutes from New Haven, CT.

To travel via air transportation, we are just 50 minutes from Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, CT, and less than two hours from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. Both have several options for ground transportation upon arrival.

Regional ground travel:

  • Metro Taxi (services greater New Haven area) - 203-777-7777 
  • Amtrak Train (nationwide service)
  • Metro North (train services greater New York City, with nearest station being Union Station in New Haven)

Quinnipiac University will have plenty of free parking available on campus.        

View directions to Quinnipiac University's York Hill Campus.

History of the Symposium

A bridge and river in Ireland

Since 1976, the Ulster-American Heritage Symposium has met every two years to encourage scholarly study and public awareness of the historical connections between Ulster and North America.

The Symposium has as its general theme the process of transatlantic emigration and settlement, and links between England, Scotland, Ireland and North America. Its approach is inter-disciplinary, encouraging dialogue between those working in different fields including history, language and literature, geography, archaeology, anthropology, folklife, religion, music, family history and museum studies.  The Twentieth meeting of the Symposium in June 2014 will have two different programs, with different special themes, which will be hosted at two different venues in the United States.

This year, the first program will be hosted by Quinnipiac University, Wednesday, June 18 to Saturday, June 21. The second program will be hosted by the T.R.R. Cobb House and the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, Wednesday, June 25 to Saturday, June 28. The special theme of the program at Quinnipiac will be 'Emigration before, during and after the Great Hunger'.