Dr Patrick Bresnihan

Geography, ICARUS

Associate Professor

Rhetoric House
(01) 708 3756


I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at Maynooth University. I joined the Department in 2019. Before joining Maynooth, I was lecturer in the Department of Geography in Trinity College Dublin (2015-2019). I have a PhD in Sociology from Trinity College Dublin (2012) and an MPhil in History from Cambridge University (2007).

I work across the interdisciplinary fields of political ecology, science and technology studies, and environmental humanities. My research looks at the contested politics of water, land, and energy in Ireland and how these speak to broader questions of colonial and postcolonial development, capitalist political economy, and environmental justice.  My recent book, All We Want is the Earth. Land, Labour and Movements beyond Environmentalism (Bristol University Press, 2023), was co-written with Naomi Millner.

Research Interests

My current research looks at the intersection of data, energy, and climate governance. Ireland has become a hub for energy-intensive data centres. The implications of this go beyond energy consumption or emissions, as tech companies position themselves as 'necessary' agents of decarbonisation via the financing and development of energy generation, grid services and district heating systems. This raises vital questions about the ownership of our energy system, the democratic control of the energy transition, and who and what decarbonisation is for.

This work connects a number of longstanding interests, including how Ireland's colonial and postcolonial history continues to shape present-day development (e.g. dependency on Foreign Direct Investment); the enrolling of rural landscapes within state-led developmental projects and global supply chains; the political ecologies of the 'green' transition and environmental governance; and transnational environmental justice movements centring claims around land, decolonisation and labour.

My book, All We Want is the Earth. Land, Labour and Movements beyond Environmentalism, written with long-time collaborator Naomi Millner (Bristol University), will be published in 2023 with Bristol University Press. 

My research is often collaborative, including working with local community groups, activists, and artists. I am interested in experimenting with creative methods and practices. This interest has been shaped by my involvement in the Provisional University (provisionaluniversity.wordpress.ie) and the Authority Research Network (www.authorityresearch.net)

I am currently supervising:
- Cristóir King on Contested Transitions: Environmental Conflicts and Justice in Rural Ireland (IRC-funded)
- Laure Detymowski on urban environmental justice (IRC-funded)


Year Publication
2023 Patrick Bresnihan and Naomi Millner (2023) All We Want is the Earth. Land, Labour and Movements Beyond Environmentalism. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press.
2016 Patrick Bresnihan (2016) Transforming the Fisheries : Neoliberalism, Nature, and the Commons. Lincoln, United States: University of Nebraska Press.

Book Chapter

Year Publication
2023 Patrick Bresnihan and Patrick Brodie (2023) 'Waste, improvement and repair on Ireland's Peat Bogs' In: Ecological Reparation. Repair, Remediation and Resurgence in Social and Environmental Conflict. Bristol, UK : Bristol University Press.
2021 Bresnihan P. (2021) 'Infrastructural care and water politics in Cochabamba, Bolivia' In: Split Waters: The Idea of Water Conflicts.
2022 Patrick Bresnihan (2022) 'Tilting at Windmills' In: Reactivating Elements. Substance, Process and Method from Chemistry to Cosmology. Atlanta, US : Duke University Press.
2022 Patrick Bresnihan and Naomi Millner (2022) 'Decolonising environmental politics' In: Handbook of Critical Environmental Politics. UK : Edward Elgar.
2021 Patrick Bresnihan and Patrick Brodie (2021) 'Emerging Geographies of Data and Energy Politics in Ireland' In: Entanglement. New York, United States : ACTAR.
2020 Patrick Bresnihan and Monica de Bath (2020) 'Cneasú creathí: Healing the Wound' In: Earth Writings: Bogs, Forests, Fields & Gardens. Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland : Maynooth University Department of Geography.
2020 Sinead Mercier, Patrick Bresnihan, Damien Mcllroy, John Barry (2020) 'Climate Action via Just Transitions Across the Island of Ireland: Labour, Land and the Low-Carbon Transition' In: Ireland and the Climate Crisis. Cham : Palgrave MacMillan. [Link] https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-47587-1_14
2020 Patrick Bresnihan (2020) 'Beyond Limits to Growth: Neoliberal Natures and the Green Economy' In: The Cambridge Handbook of Environmental Sociology. UK : Cambridge University Press. [Link]
2015 Patrick Bresnihan (2015) 'The more-than-human commons: From commons to commoning' In: Space, Power and the Commons: The Struggle for Alternative Futures. UK : Routledge.
2013 Patrck Bresnihan (2013) 'Participation in (a time of) crisis' In: Problems of Participation. Reflections on Authority, Democracy and the Struggle for Common Life. Brighton, UK : ARN Press.

Edited Book

Year Publication
2017 Patrick Bresnihan, Claire Blencowe and Leila Dawney (Ed.). (2017) Problems of Hope. Brighton, UK: ARN Press,

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2023 Arielle Hesse, Patrick Bresnihan and James Merricks-White (2023) 'The data treadmill: water governance and the politics of pollution in rural Ireland'. Local Environment, . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2023 Patrick Bresnihan and Patrick Brodie (2023) 'Data Sinks, Carbon Services: Waste, Storage, and Energy Cultures on Ireland’s Peat Bogs'. New Media and Society, . [Full-Text]
2022 Christopher Phillips, Conor Murphy and Patrick Bresnihan (2022) 'The impacts of and responses to place loss in a coastal community in Ireland'. Local Environment, 27 (7):879-896. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2021 Julian Brigstocke, Patrick Bresnihan, Leila Dawney, Naomi Millner (2021) 'Geographies of Authority'. Progress in Human Geography, . https://doi.org/10.1177/0309132520986227 [Full-Text]
2021 Bresnihan, P; Brodie, P (2021) 'New extractive frontiers in Ireland and the moebius strip of wind/data'. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, 4 :1645-1664. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2020 Patrick Bresnihan and Arielle Hesse (2020) 'Political ecologies of infrastructural and intestinal decay'. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, . [Full-Text]
2018 Patrick Bresnihan (2018) 'O comum mais-que-humano: do comum à comunalização'. Aurora. Revista de Arte, Mídia e Política, . [Full-Text]
2016 Bresnihan P. (2016) 'The bio-financialization of Irish Water: New advances in the neoliberalization of vital services'. Utilities Policy, 40 :115-124. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 Patrick Bresnihan (2018) 'Water, our relative: trauma, healing and hydropolitics'. Community Development Journal, . [Full-Text]
2017 Patrick Bresnihan (2017) 'Revisiting neoliberalism in the oceans: Governmentality and the biopolitics of ‘improvement’in the Irish and European fisheries'. Environment and Planning A, . [Full-Text]
2017 Patrick Bresnihan (2017) 'The (slow) tragedy of improvement: Neoliberalism, fisheries management & the institutional commons'. World Development, . [Full-Text]
2015 Patrick Bresnihan and Michael Byrne (2015) 'Escape into the city: Everyday practices of commoning and the production of urban space in Dublin'. Antipode, . [Full-Text]
2013 Patrick Bresnihan (2013) 'John Clare and the manifold commons'. Environmental Humanities, . [Full-Text]
2013 Patrick Bresnihan (2013) 'From land to sea: unsettling subjectivities'. Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology, . [Full-Text]

Conference Contribution

Year Publication
2022 Patrick Bresnihan (2022) Repair, climate change, and urban transformation ​ Reparative Urbansisms: Informality, infrastructural repurposing, and collective life in the wake of the pandemic Seminar Series (invited panellist) University of Manchester, .
2021 Patrick Bresnihan and Patrick Brodie (2021) Carbon Storage, Enduring Ecologies, and the “Green” Transformation of Ireland’s Peat Bogs RGS-IBG Conference of Geographers RGS-IBG Conference of Geographers, .
2020 Patrick Bresnihan and Patrick Brodie (2020) EASST/4S (Society for Social Studies of Science) Decentering Data Centres Prague, .
2020 Patrick Bresnihan (2020) European Sociological Association Conference Irish Political Ecology Maynooth University, .
2020 Patrick Bresnihan (2020) UCD Seminar Series Bog Futures and the Politics of Repair UCD, Dublin, .
2020 Patrick Bresnihan (2020) Anthropology and Geography: Dialogues Past, Present and Future Toxic Flows: Scale, spatio-temporality, and the lived experiences of toxicity on bodies and the environment London, .
2020 Patrick Bresnihan (2020) Creative Rathangan Layers Layers 3: Remnants, brownlands and wetlands Rathangan, Kildare, .
2020 Patrick Bresnihan (2020) EEAC Just Transition Online Conference Just transition Dublin, .
2020 Patrick Bresnihan (2020) Maynooth Seminar Series Bog Futures and the Politics of Repair Maynooth University, .

Published Report

Year Publication
2021 Patrick Bresnihan, Arielle Hesse and James Merricks-White (2021) Learning from Group Water Schemes: Community Infrastructures for Sustainable Development. Environmental Protection Agency, . [Link]
2019 Patrick Bresnihan and Arielle Hesse (2019) Public engagement in water governance. Report to The Water Forum. An Forum Uisce, . [Link]
2016 Patrick Bresnihan (2016) Valuing Nature – Perspectives and Issues. National Economic and Social Council, .
2015 Patrick Bresnihan (2015) The Dynamics of Environmental Sustainability and Local Development: Aquaculture. National Economic and Social Council, .


Year Publication
2020 Patrick Bresnihan (2020) Rural and urban, green and red, against eco-austerity. [Blog] [Link]

Book Review

Year Publication
2020 Patrick Bresnihan (2020) Red Round Globe Hot Burning: A Tale at the Crossroads of Commons and Closure, of Love and Terror, of Race and Class, and of Kate and Ned Despard. [Book Review]

Invited Lectures

Year Publication
2022 Patrick Bresnihan (2022) Imperial technologies: Marconi, data centres and anti-colonial politics. [Invited Lectures]
2022 Patrick Bresnihan (2022) Emerging Geographies of Data and Energy Politics in Ireland. Galway, Ireland: [Invited Lectures]

Invited papers

Year Publication
2022 Patrick Bresnihan and Patrick Brodie (2022) Media Rurality. McGill University, Montreal: [Invited papers]

Invited Seminars

Year Publication
2022 Patrick Bresnihan (2022) Repair, climate change, and urban transformation. Manchester University: [Invited Seminars]

Magazine Article

Year Publication
2020 Patrick Bresnihan and Patrick Brodie (2020) Energy vacuums: Data centres, renewable energy, and rural politics. [Magazine Article]
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2024) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.