Professor Terence Dooley, MA, Ph.D. (NUI), H. Dip. Ed. was NUI Fellow in the Humanities 2001-03. He specialises in Irish social and political history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, particularly the history of Irish country houses and the landed class; land and politics in independent Ireland; the working of the Irish Land Commission from 1881 to 1992; the revolutionary period 1916-23; and local history in Ireland. He teaches undergraduate and postgraduate modules related to all of these areas of specialism.
Terence is also Director of the Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses and Estates which sits within the History Department at Maynooth University. The establishment of the CSHIHE was directly linked to the academic and popular success of Terence’s first major monograph, The decline of the big house in Ireland (2001), which was described by Desmond FitzGerald, 29th Knight of Glin, and President of the Irish Georgian Society in Country Life as: ‘a brilliant and penetrating study of the reasons why the Republic of Ireland has so few surviving historic houses and collections.’ The book has since been regarded as pivotal in the shift of public and political attitudes towards the country house in Ireland. A report in the Irish Times of 16 July 2011, on the tenth anniversary of its publication, concluded: ‘It is a decade since Terence Dooley published The decline of the big house in Ireland, a work that will surely be seen as seminal in changing attitudes towards the topic. Since then the number of art and architectural students addressing aspects of the Irish country house and its history has grown considerably, not least thanks to the establishment of a Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses and Estates under the auspices of NUI Maynooth’s History Department.’
In 2003, Terence was commissioned by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the Irish Georgian Society to write a report on the issues facing historic houses in Ireland and to make recommendations on how these issues could be addressed in the future. The report, A future for Irish historic houses? A study of fifty houses (2003), highlighted the increasing risks faced by Irish historic houses in both private and public ownership, in particular the challenge of financing their conservation and of finding sustainable uses for them into the future. It emphasised that the preservation of all remaining historic houses, as well as their contents and their surroundings, was a national imperative. The report subsequently informed government policy and led to the establishment of the Irish Heritage Trust in 2006.
Since its establishment, the CSHIHE has raised significant funding from a number of sources including an annual grant from the Office of Public Works (thus creating a unique public-private partnership), private benefactors, government departments and fundraising events such as golf classics. These funds have supported the refurbishment of Junior Infirmary on South Campus of Maynooth University as an office block for the CSHIHE; the day to day administration of the Centre (including a part-time administrative assistant); and marketing and promotion. However, most of the funding has been dedicated to educational research activity with a very strong emphasis on wider outcomes aimed at enhancing the public understanding of the complex history of the country house and landed estate and the promotion of an awareness and appreciation of Ireland’s built heritage. Thus, funding has been allocated to the organisation of the Annual Historic Houses of Ireland Conferences and numerous other seminars and workshops; exhibitions; the creation of databases; publications; the provision of five post-doctoral research fellowships; and numerous minor research projects carried out by undergraduate and postgraduate students of the History Department.
The Annual Historic Houses of Ireland Conferences are an important part of the CSHIHE’s educational brief to provide a forum for debate and the dissemination of new heritage-related research findings. The conferences have attracted audiences from a broad cross section of Irish society and overseas including owners and managers of historic properties; heritage professionals; academics and students; specialists in architecture, landscape and conservation; secondary school teachers; and those with a general interest in the built heritage. The success of these occasions has been determined by the range of topics, the quality of speakers, and the mix of audiences. Moreover, overseas speakers have generously facilitated tours for groups from the CSHIHE to Yorkshire, Paris, Moscow, Sicily and St Petersburgh.
Other educational initiatives have included the development of modules at undergraduate level on the social, political, economic and cultural history of Irish country houses, their architectural evolution, their material culture and the creation (and destruction) of their surrounding landscapes. Teaching modules have also included visits to the UK which have enabled a comparative study of country houses in Ireland and Yorkshire in collaboration with the Yorkshire Country House Partnership.
The work of the CSHIHE is also focused upon linking the fruits of academic study with contemporary heritage issues at historic properties, and collaboration has been at the heart of these activities. The Historic Houses Association of Ireland (founded in 2009) has been a welcome partner, keen to show how many of their properties have educational assets that could be deployed in a number of ways. There is the acknowledgement that countless projects could be fashioned in relation to specific houses that would allow students and owners to work closely to the mutual benefit of both parties; the ‘Music in the Irish Country House Project’ and ‘Famine and the Country House and Estate’ being cases in point.
In 2008 the establishment of the Archive and Research Centre at Castletown, under the joint auspices of the OPW and Maynooth University, has presented further opportunities for those working in architecture, the decorative and fine arts, landscape, and conservation. Launched by President Mary McAleese, the Centre aims to facilitate the care and study of archives that deal with the history of Irish estates, their houses and inhabitants. It now houses about ten significant collections, including Desmond FitzGerald, 29th Knight of Glin’s furniture archive and many of his personal papers.
The CSHIHE, in association with the OPW, has also organised a very successful series of seminars at Castletown, addressing key issues relating to the management and understanding of the historic house in Ireland. These gatherings are aimed at those working across the historic house sector - managers, curators, academics, administrators, guides, education officers, marketing personnel, house staff and other heritage professionals. It has been widely acknowledged within the heritage sector that these events have been instrumental in refashioning the interpretation of the historic house in the UK, Ireland, and Europe.
Moreover, these activities have now placed the CSHIHE at the forefront of European Country House studies, which recently has led to the establishment of a European Forum for the Study of Country Houses and Landed Estates with collaborating partners from the universities of Oxford, Bangor, Dundee, Queens University Belfast, and Groningen, as well as the YCHP. This will expand over time.
Such is the extent of its activities in the eight years since its inception that the Centre can fairly be said to be leading and determining the debate with regard to historic houses in Ireland, and, indeed, much further afield, both in academic terms (through research, teaching and publication), and in a more general political sense. The range of organisations, departments and individuals linked with the Centre through these diverse activities is testimony to the central tenet that those working across the entire spectrum of the built heritage sector cannot do things in isolation.
Academic research needs to demonstrate a public outcome in addition to its own intrinsic requirements; equally for those who work in the heritage sector their knowledge and understanding is best enhanced by taking advantage of such research. Moreover as the historic house grows in significance so too does its appeal as a visitor attraction. Consequently the collaborative efforts of scholars, owners, managers and other professionals can also translate into economic activity with a defined public value.
Terence has supervised six PhDs to successful completion (five of which were funded by the IRCHSS/IRC). He is currently supervising another six PhD students. He has also supervised a large number of M.Litt and MA theses (fifteen of the latter have been published in the Maynooth Studies in Local History Series edited by Raymond Gillespie.) He has also mentored seven Post-doctoral Fellows. He sits on a number of public service committees and is a regular contributor on radio and television.
Peer Reviewed Journal
|2009||Dooley, T. (2009) 'Copy of the marquis of Kildare's household book, 1758'. Archivium Hibernicum, xii :183-220. [Full-Text]|
|2009||Terence Dooley (2009) '‘Castle Hyde and the Great Famine, 1845-51’'. Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies Journal of T, 12 :54-71.|
|2009||Terence Dooley (2009) '‘Copy of the marquis of Kildare’s household book, 1758’'. Archivium Hibernicum, 62 :183-220.|
|2005||Terence Dooley (2005) '• ‘The mortgage papers of St. Patrick’s College Maynooth, 1871-1923’'. Archivium Hibernicum, 59 :106-235.|
|2004||Dooley, T (2004) 'Land and politics in independent Ireland, 1923-48: the case for reappraisal'. Irish Historical Studies, 34 :175-197.|
|2005||Terence Dooley (2005) 'The mortgage papers of St. Patricks College Maynooth, 1871-1923'. Archivium Hibernicum, lix :106-235. [Full-Text]|
|2004||Dooley, Terence (2004) 'Land and politics in independent Ireland, 1923-48: the case for a re-appraisal'. Irish Historical Studies, xxxiv :175-197. [Full-Text]|
|2003||Dooley, Terence (2003) 'Alexander 'Baby' Gray and his death at the Battle of Ashbourne April 1916'. RÍOCHT NA MIDHE, xiv :194-229. [Full-Text]|
|2001||Dooley, Terence (2001) 'A world turned upside down: a study of the socio-economic decline of the Meath nobility, 1870-1935'. RÍOCHT NA MIDHE, xii :188-228. [Full-Text]|
|1998||Dooley, Terence (1998) 'Landlords and mortgagees in late nineteenth century Ireland: the case of Lord Granard and the Trustees of Maynooth College, 1871-89'. JOURNAL OF THE COUNTY KILDARE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY, xviii :612-625.|