COIHS Postgraduate Prize 2021

2016 COIHS Prize Winner, Ms Kathryn Sawyer, from Notre Dame, Indiana

The Church of Ireland Historical Society is pleased to announce that our postgraduate essay prize is open for 2021! The winner of the COIHS Postgraduate Prize will receive €150. His/her essay, moreover, will be considered for publication by Ireland’s premier history journal, Irish Historical Studies. The candidate with the best essay will also be expected to present his/her paper at either of the Society’s conferences in Armagh or Dublin in 2022 (pandemic permitting) and write a short blog about the essay on the Society’s website.

The Prize provides an excellent opportunity for postgraduate students to promote their work that considers aspects of the Church of Ireland. The prize is open to students pursuing a major research thesis in Ireland or abroad. Candidates interested in submitting an essay may write on any topic of their choosing relating to the history of the Church of Ireland.

The paper should be no more than 5,000 words (including footnotes). Please email it to the joint secretaries, Prof. Alan Ford or Dr Miriam Moffitt, at Essays will be judged anonymously. The deadline for submission is Friday, 3 December 2021.

All enquiries should be directed to the secretary.

Terms and conditions:

  • Candidates for this prize must be pursuing full-time research at MLitt or PhD levels.
  • Submitted essays must be original and independent of the candidate’s draft thesis, i.e. he/she cannot submit an exact replica of a draft chapter intended for inclusion of his/her thesis. The society reserves the right to seek reimbursement if the successful candidate fails to comply.
  • Footnotes should take the format outlined by Irish Historical Studies. You can find the details here: IHS Rules for Contributors
  • Essays are to be submitted in a word document to the Society’s secretary with ‘COIHS Postgraduate Prize‘ in the email title heading.
  • Candidates are required to state their name, university affiliation and supervisor when submitting their essay.
  • Essays will not be accepted after the stated deadline.
  • The winner of the COIHS Prize must present an amended version of his/her winning essay to one of the Society’s conferences in 2022.
  • Candidates do not have to join the Society (but are welcome to avail of the special discount student membership package).
  • The Society reserves the right not to award a prize if entries fail to meet the required standard.
  • Candidates will be informed of the result by the secretary.
  • The winner is obliged to acknowledge the Church of Ireland Historical Society and the COIHS Postgraduate Prize upon completion of his/her thesis AND in his/her article should Irish Historical Studies accept the work for publication.
  • Failure to comply with any of the stipulated terms and conditions will result in an automatic disqualification.

Past winners:


Matthew Houston (Queen’s University, Belfast): ‘The great crusade? The Church of Ireland and interpretations of the Second World War’


Kathryn Sawyer (Notre Dame, Indiana, USA): ‘A “disorderly, tumultuous way of serving God”: prayer and order in Ireland’s church and state, 1660-1689’


Jeffrey Cox (University College Dublin), ‘The pastoral ministry of the established church in County Kildare, c. 1591 to 1633’


Ciarán McCabe (Maynooth University), ‘Suppressing street begging in pre-Famine Ireland: a case study in the use of parish vestry minute books’


Suzanne Forbes (University College Dublin): ‘“Publick and solemn acknowledgments”: occasional days of state-appointed worship in Ireland, 1689-1702’

2018 COIHS Postgraduate prize winner, Matthew Houston, from Queen’s University Belfast