Interview date: 1 September 2009
What would you do if you were not a historian?
I was a late recruit to academia after trying my hand in a number of different areas – journalism in the Far East; political officer for the UN in Bosnia; running my own business. I enjoyed all these jobs and more recently I’ve developed an interest in media work.
When was the last time you looked at Wikipedia?
Last term – checking some dubious reference in an undergraduate essay.
What event had the greatest impact on history in Ireland?
The Cromwellian Conquest and Settlement transformed Ireland by establishing the Protestant ascendancy class, which dominated all aspects of society until the late 19th century and laid the foundations of Modern Ireland in many ways.
What are you reading now?
Peter Wilson, Europe’s Tragedy: A History of the Thirty Years War – an epic book. very readable and totally engrossing.