Translation in 19th Century Ireland

Changing Words/Changing Worlds

This project widens our understanding of cultural exchange in the nineteenth century by studying translation and translators. Translation history offers new perspectives on key historical, political and cultural debates of the era such as:

» The impact of translation on emergent nationalism
» The active participation of important figures of Irish cultural nationalism in translation
» The close relationship between translation and religious endeavours in this period

Translation: Transmission, Transfer, Transformation

Awarded an Irish Research Council Project Grant (2013-15), the project looks at translation from languages such as French, German, Irish, Italian, Latin and Spanish into English. It considers a series of fundamental questions regarding cross-cultural transfer and transformation; the chief agents driving translation practice; the influence of translation on nationalism, romanticism and Catholicism; the role of women in translation; and the contrast and continuity between native Irish traditions and European influences. This project involves an in-depth study of translation and translators in nineteenth-century Ireland. It uses translation history to widen our understanding of cultural exchange in this period, and will create new perspectives on historical, political and cultural debates of the era. This project will assess how translation was used for informative, creative or transformative purposes in nineteenth-century Ireland.

In Association With

  • Moore Institute
  • NUI Galway
  • Irish Research Council


Dr. Anne O’Connor

Principal Investigator

Dr. Anne O’Connor BA (NUI), MA (Johns Hopkins), Ph.D (Birmingham), is a lecturer in Italian in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, National University of Ireland Galway. Her research interests include translation history, Romanticism, religious translation, as well as nineteenth century Italian literature and history. She is the author of Florence: City and Memory in the Nineteenth Century (published in Italian as Firenze: La Città e la Memoria Nell’Ottocento) (Città di Vita, 2008) and Italian editor and translator of European Romanticism: A Reader (Continuum, 2010). She has also edited Nation/Nazione: Irish Nationalism and the Italian Risorgimento (Dublin: UCD Press 2013). She has contributed articles to many journals such as Italian Culture and Modern Italy and she has translated important nineteenth-century Italian texts into English. She has translated the Italian correspondence of Cardinal Paul Cullen for the Irish Manuscripts Commission as part of an IRC-funded research project.

Michèle Milan

Postdoctoral Researcher

Michèle Milan holds a M.A. in Translation Studies from Dublin City University. She also graduated with a PhD degree from DCU in March 2013. The doctoral research, supervised by Professor Michael Cronin, was on Franco-Irish translation relationships in nineteenth-century Ireland. It was funded under the PRTLI 4 scheme (Government’s Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions), through Maynooth-based An Foras Feasa. Her publications include: ‘Found in Translation: Franco-Irish Translation Relationships in Nineteenth-Century Ireland’ in New Voices in Translation Studies (8), pp.82-98 (2012); ‘For the People, the Republic and the Nation: Translating Béranger in Nineteenth-Century Ireland’ in B. Keatinge and M. Pierse (eds.) France and Ireland in the Public Imagination (2013), Series: Re-imagining Ireland, Vol. 55, Oxford: Peter Lang, pp.79-98.

José Shane Brownrigg-Gleeson

Research Assistant

José Shane Brownrigg-Gleeson is a doctoral candidate in History at the University of Salamanca in Spain, where he is completing a study on the connections between Ireland and Latin America during the latter’s struggle for independence. In addition to having carried out funded research stays at the University of Warwick (UK) and the University of Cape Town (South Africa), he has been a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University in New York (2011-12) and the recipient of a research grant from Harvard University’s International Seminar on the History of the Atlantic World (2013-14). José has contributed to numerous books with chapters exploring Irish migration and mobility in Spanish America in the late colonial period, together with others dealing with Hispano-Irish relations in the 19th century.

Irish Translators Database

Our database contains information on Irish translators in the nineteenth century.
It provides biographical information and details their translation publications. It is searchable under a variety of categories relevant to Irish translation activity in the nineteenth century.

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Upcoming Events

As part of the project, three events are being organised to promote translation, translation studies and translation history. These include an international research conference to be held in February 2015; a public debate on translation practices to be held in January 2015 and a translation competition for Senior Cycle School Students. For more information see below.

Word-Bridges: Translation in Ireland 1700-1900

Friday 20th February 2015
Room THB-G010, Hardiman Research Building,
NUI Galway, Ireland


The Translation Debate

NUI Galway, Ireland
January 2015


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Translate a Poem from a language of your choice to be in with a chance to win a prize of €200


Translators are the shadow heroes of literature, the often forgotten instruments that make it possible for different cultures to talk to one another, who have enabled us to understand that we all, from every part of the world, live in one world.

Paul Auster