About Us

For more than twenty years the Church of Ireland Historical Society (COIHS) has hosted two annual conferences in the fitting surroundings of the eighteenth-century Armagh Robinson Library (spring) and newly refurbished nineteenth-century Music Room in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin (winter). These provide a well established forum for promoting sound academic standards in the study of Irish church history, and encouraging research.

Since its inception the society has had a strong reputation for attracting renowned international scholars. We are especially proud of our record in supporting postgraduate students working on any aspect of the history of the Church of Ireland, offering them a suitable context in which to present their work (students can send a short abstract by emailing the secretary via the contact link). We also hold an essay competition every year. The W. G. Neely Prize, which is named in honour of the Society’s founder, is open to postgraduate students undertaking a major research thesis with an interest in Church of Ireland history. It is an excellent opportunity to develop their findings. A prize fund of €150 is awarded to the winner. Moreover, his/her essay will be considered for publication in Irish Historical Studies.

COIHS warmly welcomes members of the public to attend our conferences for just €10 or £7. Alternatively, you can become a member of the society for an annual subscription of €40 or £35. This will include admission to our biannual conferences, lunch, book discounts, news and information on events of interest, and access to our podcasts.

The programmes for the seminars held since November 2007 can be viewed on the Archive page of this website.

The executive committee members of the Church of Ireland Historical Society are:Christ Church Cathdral, 1681

Honorary Secretary:

Rev. Dr Adrian Empey was principal of the Church of Ireland Theological College between 2001 and 2008. He is an established medieval Irish historian and has published on aspects of Irish political, religious and social history between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries. He edited the accounts of St Werburgh’s Church: The Proctors’ accounts for the parish church of St Werburgh, Dublin, 1481-1627 (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2009) and, more recently, he published Gowran, Co. Kilkenny, 1190-1610: custom and conflict in a baronial town (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2015). He is also on the editorial board of Studies.

Honorary Treasurer:

Mr Brendan Twomey is pursuing an MLitt at Trinity College, Dublin. His particular interest is in the financing of Dublin’s development in the eighteenth century. He is author of Dublin in 1707 (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2009).


Dr Mark Empey is lecturer in early modern British and Irish history at NUI Galway. He was previously a postdoctoral researcher on the ERC-funded project RECIRC: The Reception and Circulation of Early Modern Women’s Writing, 1550-1700. Between 2012 and 2014 he held the NUI Dr Garret Fitzgerald postdoctoral fellowship at Maynooth University examining the career of the seventeenth-century politician and historian, Sir James Ware (Boydell & Brewer, Woodbridge, forthcoming). His most recent publication was Early Stuart Irish Warrants: the Falkland and Wentworth administrations, 1623-1639 (Irish Manuscripts Commission, 2015).

Professor David Hayton is professor emeritus of early modern Irish and British history at Queen’s University, Belfast. He has published extensively on political and religious history in Britain and Ireland from the Restoration to the middle of the eighteenth century. His most recent work include The Anglo-Irish experience, 1680-1730: religion, identity and patriotism (Boydell & Brewer, Woodbridge, 2012) and, as co-editor, Religion, society and politics in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Ireland: essays presented to S.J. Connolly (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2016).

Dr Susan Hood is librarian and archivist of the Representative Church Body Library, Dublin. Her publications focus on urban development, estate records as sources for local history research, genealogical research in Ireland and, as editor, the Register of the parish of Holy Trinity (Christ Church) Cork, 1643-1669 (Dublin, 1999). More recently, she was joint editor of Irish Archives (2016), which is the annual journal of the Irish Society for Archives.

Dr Miriam Moffitt teaches church history at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth and is a member of the Centre for the Study of Irish Protestantism at Maynooth University. She is an expert on Irish church missions in the nineteenth and twentieth century and published The Society for Irish Church Missions to the Roman Catholics, 1846-1950 (Manchester University Press, 2010) and Soupers and jumpers: the protestant missions in Connemara, 1848-1937 (Nonsuch Publishing, Dublin, 2008)

Dr Jennifer Redmond is lecturer in twentieth-century Irish history in the Department of History at Maynooth University. She is a member of the Royal Irish Academic Historical Studies Committee and formerly president of the Women’s History Association of Ireland. She co-edited Sexual Politics in Modern Ireland (Irish Academic Press, Dublin, 2015) and is currently preparing a book on the discourses surrounding Irish female migration to Britain in the 1920s and 30s.

Mr George Woodman worked as librarian in the Northern Ireland Assembly Library for over 30 years and is now undertaking an MA in church history at Nottingham University. He has written on Christian links between Britain and Ireland and Bohemia and Moravia, Nicholas Ferrar and the community of Little Gidding, and Bishop Richard Mant.

Consultants to the committee:

Dr Kenneth Milne is historiographer of the Church of Ireland and keeper of the archives of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. His research interests primarily focus on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Irish history. Among his publications are The Dublin Liberties 1600-1850 (Four Courts Press, Dublin 2009) and, as editor, Christ Church Cathedral: A History (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2010). He recently edited, with Paddy McNally, The Boulter Letters (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2016).

Dr Raymond Refaussé was librarian and archivist of the Representative Church Body Library until 2016. He is series editor of the ‘Text and Calendars’ series with Fourt Courts Press, which aims to publish important archival records from the RCB Library, and is co-editor of the critically acclaimed Directory of Irish archives (5th edition, Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2011).

Honorary Patrons:

The Very Reverend Dermot Dunne, dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.

The Very Reverend Gregory Dunstan, dean of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh.