James Sheridan is a third year PhD in Irish Early Modern History in Trinity College Dublin. James originally came to Trinity in 2007 to study for his undergraduate degree in Single Honours History from which he graduated in 2011. During this degree James was drawn to the area of early modern Irish history, in particular the period surrounding the 16th century, which formed the basis of his undergraduate dissertation on the Nine Years War (1594-1603). Afterwards James was offered the opportunity to undertake a PhD in the area by his dissertation tutor.
“My thesis titled the “Irish Hydra, English Policy and Gaelic Ulster, 1567-1576″, explores the complex political and social issues that dogged Anglo/Irish relations in Ulster during the latter half of the 16th century. During this period Ulster, the last truly Gaelic Irish part of Ireland came under threat from the expansion of English domination in Ireland. While the crown constructed policies in order to control and govern the province, the Gaelic Irish remained largely independent of each other in nearly a dozen different lordships across the province. Therefore my work explores how Queen Elizabeth sought to install policies in Ireland to assert her power and all the political and social implications that arose as a result.”
“The French philosopher and historian Voltaire once wrote “History is fables agreed upon”, and this to me sums up what the true study of history is about-the use of interpretation, argument and fact to reach a conclusion on an event. History unlike other subjects is accordingly fluid and open to changes in emphasis, understanding and relevance. As a result it can also be used as a method through which we can more comprehensively understand our own world today. Therefore what I really enjoy about my research is that I can get involved with the topic and place in its context my own ideas, perspective and insight into issues that extend into modern times. For this I can consult both primary and secondary sources and support my own conclusions through proper research. By so doing I can compose and prepare my own arguments and interpretations of events and this is why I find history such a fascinating, complex and absorbing subject.”