To date I have gained expertise in the diverse areas of nineteenth and twentieth-century Irish sports, cultural, and social history, associational culture, youth, childhood, gender and family, Irish institutional history, Church/State relations and the social and political history of the Irish Revolutionary era and its aftermath.
I was awarded my PhD in 2012 for my thesis which examined the social, cultural, and political significance of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) in Irish society between 1884 and 1924 using county Kerry as a case study. In particular, my research explored the immense influence the Association had on Irish social and cultural life; utilising the GAA, and sport more generally, as a window into the ordinary Irish people’s perspective and experience of this critical period of Irish history at both local and national level.
In October 2013 my first monograph, Forging a Kingdom: The GAA in Kerry, 1884-1934, was published by the Collins Press. The book received very enthusiastic reviews and was nominated as one of the Irish Times’ ‘Sports Books of the Year’ in December 2013.
Since completing my PhD, I have developed a strong track record of internationally recognised, high-quality publications in the fields of modern Irish social, sporting, cultural and political history. In addition to my monograph, I have produced thirteen academic publications including an edited collection (Routledge, 2016) and seven published or forthcoming book chapters. My work has also appeared in several prestigious, peer-reviewed and internationally visible journals in the fields of Irish studies, Irish history and sports history including Irish Economic and Social History; Irish Studies Review; Eire-Ireland and Sport in Society.
Between 2015-19, I worked as senior historical researcher for the Irish Government’s Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation under the supervision of Professor Mary Daly. My research was vital to uncovering death rates and burial locations of thousands of children from these institutions. I also conducted an extensive survey of shifting societal views on the issue of unmarried parents and illegitimacy as well as the specific operation of Protestant run Mother and Baby Homes in the Irish State. These research findings were incorporated into the Commission’s final report, which I co-authored. The Report will be of huge significance for our greater understanding of the relationship between the Irish State, the country’s religious orders and the care and protection of some of the most vulnerable members of society during the twentieth century.
I am currently pursuing a new research project entitled: ‘Echoes of War: The Everyday Legacy of the Civil War in Ireland, 1923-1939’. It will be the first to examine the impact and legacy of the Civil War on everyday life and society in the Irish Free State.
Throughout my career I have also worked hard to develop a national profile as a historian of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Irish history through a range of cultural and public engagement activity. I have gained media experience as both a broadcaster on national television and radio and as a regular contributor to many of Ireland’s leading newspapers and magazines, including History Ireland, the Irish Times, the Irish Independent, the Irish Examiner and Ireland's Own. In 2017, I was awarded the prestigious McNamee Award in Irish journalism.
Also in 2017 I was appointed as an expert curator for RTÉ’s innovative and hugely successful National Treasures social history crowd-sourcing project, which culminated in my appearance throughout the major four-part RTÉ One television programme aired in April 2018. Following this, a National Treasures exhibition consisting of items chosen by myself and my fellow curators was put on display at the National Museum of Ireland, Country Life throughout the summer of 2018.
In May 2018, my contribution to the research of childhood in Ireland was recognised when I was invited to join the management board of the Irish Museum of Childhood Project as its historical team leader.
In 2021 I was appointed to the National Museum of Ireland's Public Affairs Committee and was also appointed as a member of the GAA's Historical Committee.
McElligott, Richard. Forging a Kingdom: The GAA in Kerry, 1884-1934 (Cork: Collins Press, 2013)
McElligott, Richard and Hassan, David (eds), A Social and Cultural History of Sport in Ireland (Oxford: Routledge, 2016)
Co-authored the Final Report of the Irish Mother and Baby Homes Commission, January 2021
McElligott, Richard and Hassan, David (eds), Sport in Society: Special Issue, Sport in Ireland - Social and Historical Perspectives, Vol. 19, No. 1 (January, 2016)
Peer Reviewed/Refereed Journal Articles
McElligott, Richard. ‘“Boys Indifferent to the Manly Sports of their Race”: Nationalism and Children’s Sport in Ireland, 1880-1920’, in Irish Studies Review, Vol. 27, No. 3 (2019), pp. 344-361
McElligott, Richard. ‘Contesting the Fields of Play: The Gaelic Athletic Association and the Battle for Popular Sport in Ireland, 1890-1906’, in Sport in Society: Special Issue, Sport in Ireland - Social and Historical Perspectives, Vol. 19, No. 1 (January, 2016), pp. 3-24
McElligott, Richard. ‘Quenching the Prairie Fire: The Collapse of the GAA in 1890s Ireland’, in Irish Economic and Social History, Vol. 41, No. 1 (2014), pp. 54-73
McElligott, Richard. ‘1916 and the Radicalisation of the GAA’, in Eire-Ireland, Vol. 48, No. 1-2 (Spring/Summer, 2013), pp. 95-111
McElligott, Richard. ‘Richard Blake and the Resurrection of the GAA’, in Ríocht na Midhe, Records of the Meath Archaeological and Historical Society, Vol. 24 (2013), pp. 256-69
McElligott, Richard. ‘Politics or Play? The Tralee GAA Sports of 1885 and the fight for Irish Athletics’, in Journal of the Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society, Series II, Vol. 10 (2010), pp. 148-62
Edited Collection Contributions/Book Chapters
McElligott, Richard. ‘“Every Interest Being Catered For”: Clubs, Societies and Associational Life in Kerry, 1880-1914’, in Maurice Bric, William Nolan and Teresa Nolan (eds), Kerry: History and Society (Dublin: Geography Publications, 2020), pp.447-469.
McElligott, Richard. ‘“A Youth Tainted With the Deadly Poison Of Anglicism”? Sport and Childhood in the Irish Independence Period’, in Ciara Boylan and Ciara Gallagher (eds), Constructions of the Irish Child in the Independence Period, 1910-1940 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), pp. 279-305
McElligott, Richard. ‘“An Abundance of First Class Recruits”: The GAA and the Irish Volunteers, 1913-1915’, in John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy (eds), Atlas of the Irish Resolution (Cork: Cork University Press, 2017), pp. 177-180
McElligott, Richard. ‘Sport and Cultural Identity in Ireland, 1890-1906’, in Richard McElligott and David Hassan (eds), A Social and Cultural History of Sport in Ireland (Oxford: Routledge, 2016), pp. 6-30
McElligott, Richard. ‘Rebellion and Revolution: The Kerry GAA, 1914-1918’ in Mary McAuliffe, Bridget McAuliffe and Owen O’Shea (eds), Kerry 1916-Histories & Legacies: A Centenary Record (Dublin: Irish Historical Publications, 2016), pp. 45-54
McElligott, Richard. ‘The GAA, the 1916 Rising and its Aftermath to 1918’, in Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh (ed.), The GAA and Revolution in Ireland: 1913-1923 (Cork: Collins Press, 2015), pp. 129-152
Edited Collection Contributions/Book Chapters (forthcoming)
McElligott, Richard. ‘The GAA, 1884-1918’ in John Crowley, Mike Cronin, Cormac Moore and Nick Hogan (eds), The Atlas of Irish Sport (Cork: Cork University Press, 2021)
McElligott, Richard. 'Kerry, Sport and the Civil War' in John Crowley, Mike Cronin, Cormac Moore and Nick Hogan (eds), The Atlas of Irish Sport (Cork: Cork University Press, 2021)
McElligott, Richard. ‘The Radicalisation of the GAA after 1916’, in History Ireland: 1916-18 Changed Utterly, Ireland After the Rising (2017), pp. 53-57
McElligott, Richard. ‘The GAA and the Irish Volunteers’, in The Irish Story, 23 May 2014
McElligott, Richard. ‘A Good Ship Going Down with the Tide, The Collapse of the GAA in the 1890s’, in Scolaire Staire, Vol. II, No. I (Spring, 2012), pp. 8-14
McElligott, Richard. ‘“Degenerating, from Sterling Irishmen into Contemptible West Britons”: The GAA and Rugby Football in Kerry, 1885-1905.’, in History Ireland, Vol. 19, No. 4 (July/August, 2011), pp. 28-31