As the headline suggests, Law versus Practice is up and running! The project has been active since October 2023 and it has been a busy few months. After an interview process, I was joined on the team by Eoghan Fitzgerald, who is undertaking a PhD on Catholic families in the Registry of Deeds (ROD). Eoghan has started work on the ROD Memorials and is making great progress. As well as establishing the project at UCD School of History under the mentorship of Professor C.I. McGrath, my focus has been on identifying and accessing relevant source material and pre-existing datasets. I have also been working on creating a project website and if you are reading this blog, you will know that lawvpractice.ie is now live – that is thanks to the hard work of digital humanities consultant, Niall O’Leary. Niall is also working with the project team to create the database and GIS that will underpin Law versus Practice.

For those of us working in the field of history, this is an exciting time – the application of digital tools to primary sources has the potential to transform the field, not only improving access and searchability, but creating opportunities for collaboration and increasing the potential for meaningful qualitative and quantitative analysis. Supported by an SFI-IRC Pathway Fellowship, the aim of Law versus Practice is to centre women and gender in this transformational moment, to ensure that digital tools are developed and applied in ways that include, rather than exclude women’s lives and experiences.

In related news, I’m honoured and excited to be delivering a keynote address to the Women’s History of Association of Ireland Annual Conference at Queen’s University Belfast on 26 April 2024. You can register for the conference here. The theme this year is Irish women and relationships, so I will be reflecting on the project through that lens and using the opportunity to explore the importance of women and property ownership more generally.

All in all, exciting times! The team will be posting updates on the project here regularly, so don’t forget to check back in.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *