Researchers at UCD


Barbara Hillers

Lecturer/Assistant Professor

School Of Irish, Celtic Stud & Folklore
Newman Building
Dublin 4

Tel: 353-1-716-8438 (


I dtuaisceart na Gearmáine a rugadh is a tógadh Barbara Hillers; in Éirinn agus i Meiriceá a rinne sí a cuid stáidéir.  Chaith sí seal mar thaighdeoir agus léachtóir ag Ollscoil Dhún Éideann in Albain, agus roinnt mhaith de bhlianta i Meiriceá ina hollamh cúnta agus comhlach ag Ollscoil Harvard, áit lena bhfuil dlúthnasc aici go fóill. D'fhill sí ar Éirinn in 2013 agus tá sí ag obair léi, idir thaighde agus theagasc, ar an litríocht bhéil agus gnéithe eile den bhéaloideas. 


Barbara Hillers is a native of Germany. She studied in Belfast (BA in Celtic & English) and Dublin (MPhil in Irish Studies), before pursuing a PhD at Harvard (Celtic Languages & Literatures). She has taught medieval and modern Irish language, literature and folklore at the University of Edinburgh, at Tufts University and at Harvard (where she continues to hold an affiliation as an Associate of the Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures). She has published on aspects of medieval Irish literature and its relationship with modern oral tradition, as well as on other aspects of folk narrative and song. She returned to Ireland in 2013 to pursue  research and teaching in the Delargy Centre for Irish Folklore and the National Folklore Collection.


Honours and Awards

Year: 2017.
Title: UCD College of Arts and Humanities Conference Scheme: The Irish Conference of Folklore and Ethnology
Year: 2016.
Title: Associate of the Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures, Harvard University
Year: 2016.
Title: UCD College of Arts and Humanities Conference Scheme: The Irish Conference of Folklore and Ethnology
Year: 2015.
Title: UCD Distinguished Lecture Series: Almqvist Lectures in Irish and Scandinavian Folklore
Year: 2014.
Title: UCD Distinguished Lecture Series: Almqvist Lectures in Irish and Scandinavian Folklore
Year: 2014.
Title: Seanchas: The Global Gaelic Jukebox

Conference Contributions

Barbara Hillers (2017) Seeking Your Bread Far from Home: Fiction and Reality in the Folktale of The Master's Good Counsels. [Oral Presentation], International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF), Göttingen, Germany , 26-MAR-17 - 30-MAR-17.
Barbara Hillers (2017) Digital Archives and the Future of International Folkloristics. [Oral Presentation], The Future of American Folkloristics, Bloomington, Indiana , 05-MAY-17 - 12-MAY-17.
Barbara Hillers (2017) Lessons from the Field and from the Classroom: The Irish Schools Collection 1937-38. [Oral Presentation], Fallible Folklorists, Tartu University, Estonia , 08-JUN-17 - 09-JUN-17.
Barbara Hillers (2016) Fiction and Reality in the Folktale of the Master's Good Counsels. [Invited Oral Presentation], The Society for Folk Life Studies Annual Conference, University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin , 08-SEP-17 - 11-SEP-17.
Barbara Hillers (2016) Folklore und Philologie: mündliche Volksdichtung und mittelalterliche Schriftlichkeit in Irland. [Invited Lecture], Interdisziplinäres literaturwissenschaftliches Kolloquium, Philipps-Universität Marburg , 02-FEB-16 - 02-FEB-16.
Barbara Hillers (2016) Narrative Charms in Ireland's National Folklore Collection: The Case of the Second Merseburg Charm. [Oral Presentation], Conference on Charms, Charmers & Charming, University College Cork , 06-MAY-16 - 08-MAY-16.
Barbara Hillers (2016) Folktales Old & New: Irish Tales and Legends in Medieval Literature and Modern Folklore. [Keynote Address], New Crops, Old Fields: Reimagining Irish Folklore, The Queen's University Belfast , 22-JUN-16 - 24-JUN-16.
Barbara Hillers (2015) The Demon of Gluttony in Aislinge Meic Conglinne and the Alp Luachra of Irish Folk Tradition. [Oral Presentation], International Congress of Celtic Studies, University of Glasgow , 03-JUL-15 - 09-JUL-15.
Barbara Hillers (2015) The Gaelic Storyteller on Screen. [Invited Oral Presentation], Robert Flaherty's lost Irish Movie Oidhche Sheanchais ('A Night of Storytelling'), Harvard Film Archive, Harvard University , 04-FEB-15 - 04-FEB-15.
Barbara Hillers (2015) (Conference Organiser). [Conference Organising Committee Chairperson], Léachtaí Almqvist: The Bo Almqvist Memorial Lectures in Irish and Scandinavian Folklore, UCD , 28-NOV-15 - 28-NOV-15.
Barbara Hillers (2014) Healing Charms in Modern Irish Folk Tradition. [Invited Oral Presentation], Second Symposium on Magic and Charms in Ireland, National University of Ireland, Maynooth , 09-MAY-16 - 10-MAY-16.
Barbara Hillers (2014) (Conference Organiser). [Conference Organising Committee Chairperson], Léachtaí Almqvist: The Bo Almqvist Memorial Lectures in Irish and Scandinavian Folklore, UCD , 13-DEC-16 - 13-DEC-16.
Barbara Hillers (2014) Supernatural Healers in Irish and Norse Literature and Folklore. [Keynote Address], Sagas, Legends and Trolls, University of Tartu, Estonia , 22-JUN-16 - 24-JUN-16.


Employer: Edinburgh University
Position: Postdoctoral Fellow/ Research Fellow in Celtic, 1997-2000
Employer: Harvard University
Position: Assistant Professor in Celtic Languages and Literatures, 2000-2006
Employer: Harvard University
Position: Associate Professor in Celtic Languages and Literatures, 2006-2009
Employer: Tufts University
Position: Visiting Lecturer, Experimental College, 2010
Employer: University College Dublin
Position: Lecturer in Irish Folklore, 2013-


Year 1990 Institution: University College Dublin
Qualification: MPhil Subject:
Year 1987 Institution: Queen's University of Belfast, UK
Qualification: BA Subject:
Year 1997 Institution: Harvard University, MA. USA
Qualification: PhD Subject:



Outreach Activities

Irish Film Institute, Dublin (July 9, 2015)
Launch and Panel: From the Vaults: Robert Flaherty's Oidhche Sheanchais ('A Night of Storytelling') 

Journals Edited

Aiste: Editorial Advisory Board Member.
Folklore, Journal Of The Folklore Society, London: Reviewer.

Other Activities

Conference Organizer
2017 The Irish Conference of Folklore and Ethnology, UCD (scheduled for November)

2016 The Irish Conference of Folklore and Ethnology, UCD (November)
(incorporating the Annual Almqvist Lecture in Irish and Scandinavian Folklore)

 2015  Léachtaí Almqvist: Current Research in Irish Folkloristics, UCD

 2014  Léachtaí Almqvist: Bo Almqvist Lectures in Irish and Scandinavian Folklore, UCD


 2016 Annual Society for Folk Life Studies Conference, TCD and UCD 



Book Chapters

Barbara Hillers (2016) 'Bhí an saol aoibhinn ait: Cormac mac Airt in Oral Folk Tradition' In: Matthieu Boyd (eds). Ollam: Studies in Gaelic and Related Traditions in Honor of Tomás Ó Cathasaigh. New York: Rowman & Littlefield. , pp.141-159 [Details]
Barbara Hillers (2014) 'The Medieval Irish Wandering of Ulysses Between Literacy and Orality' In: Ralph O'Connor (eds). Classical Literature and Learning in Medieval Irish Narrative. Matlesham, Suffolk: Boydell & Brewer. , pp.84-97 [Details]
Barbara Hillers (2010) 'Cleas a' Choin Sholair: Aesop's Dog Fable in the Poetry of Sìleas na Ceapaich' In: Wilson McLeod et al (eds). Bile ós Chrannaibh: A Festschrift for William Gillies. Ceann Drochaid: Clann Tuirc. , pp.195-210 [Details]
Barbara Hillers (2010) 'The Reception and Assimilation of Continental Literature' In: Julia M. Wright (eds). A Companion to Irish Literature. Malden and Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. , pp.39-56 [Details]
Barbara Hillers (2007) 'The Middle Irish Wanderings of Aeneas' In: Jan M. Ziolkowski and Michael C. J. Putnam (eds). The Virgilian Tradition to 1500. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. [Details]
Barbara Hillers (2007) 'Cuckolds and Faithful Wives: The Genesis of the Gaelic Ballad of Peigín and Peadair' In: F. J. Fischer and S. Rieuwerts (eds). Emily Lyle: The Persistent Scholar. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier. , pp.100-113 [Details]
Barbara Hillers (2007) 'Storytelling and the International Folktale in Scotland' In: John Beech et al (eds). Scottish Life and Society: Compendium of Scottish Ethnology, Volume 10: Oral Literature and Performance Culture. Edinburgh: John Donald. , pp.153-170 [Details]
Barbara Hillers (2006) 'Dialogue or Monologue: Lullabies in Scottish Gaelic Tradition' In: Michel Byrne et al (eds). Litreachas & Eachdraidh / Literature & History: Rannsachadh na Gàidhlig 2 (2002). Glasgow: Roinn na Ceiltis Oilthigh Ghlaschu. , pp.33-55 [Details]
Barbara Hillers (2005) 'Poet or Magician: Mac Mhuirich Mór in Oral Tradition' In: Joseph Nagy (eds). Poetic Heroes and Heroic Poets, CSANA Yearbook 3-4 (2003-2004). Dublin: Four Courts Press. , pp.141-157 [Details]
Barbara Hillers (2001) 'Oidhche Rionnagach Reulagach - A Tale with a Sting' In: Séamus Ó Catháin (eds). Northern Lights: Aistí in Adhnó do Bho Almqvist. Dublin: University College Dublin Press. , pp.72-86 [Details]
Barbara Hillers (1999) 'Sgél in Mínaduir: Dädalus und der Minotaurus in Irland' In: Erich Poppe and Hildegard Tristram (eds). Übersetzung, Adaptation und Akkulturation im insularen Mittelalter. Münster: Nodus Publikationen. , pp.131-144 [Details]
Barbara Hillers (1994) 'The Heroes of the Ulster Cycle' In: J. P. Mallory and G. Stockman (eds). Ulidia: Proceedings of the First International Conference on the Ulster Cycle of Tales. Belfast: December Publications. , pp.99-106 [Details]

Edited Books

Joseph Harris, Barbara Hillers (Ed.). (2012) Child's Children: Ballad Study and its Legacies. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier. [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

Barbara Hillers, Natasha Sumner and Catherine McKenna (2015) 'A Night of Storytelling and Years in the 'Z-Closet': The Re-discovery and Restoration of Oidhche Sheanchais, Robert Flaherty's 'Lost' Irish Folklore Film'. Folklore, Journal of the Folklore Society, London, 126 :1-19. [Details]
Barbara Hillers (2000) ''Ulysses and the Judge of Truth: Sources and Meanings in the Irish Odyssey''. Peritia, 13 :194-223. [Details]
Barbara Hillers (1991) ''The Man Who Never Slept: A Survey of the Redactions and their Relation to the Lai de Tydorel''. Bealoideas, 59 :91-105. [Details]

Other Journals

Barbara Hillers, Sim Innes (2012) 'A Mixed Media Folklore Trove: Celtic Folklore in Harvard Libraries' Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium 31 :173-208. [Details]
Barbara Hillers (2012) 'The Knight of the Green Cloak and Other Irish Folklore Marvels' Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium 31 :137-157. [Details]
Barbara Hillers (1998) ''The Abbot of Druimenaig: Genderbending in Gaelic Tradition'' Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium 15 :175-197. [Details]
Barbara Hillers (1997) ''Music from the Otherworld: Modern Gaelic Legends about Fairy Music'' Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium 14 :58-75. [Details]
Barbara Hillers and Críostóir Mac Cárthaigh (1990) '`Pay Me For My Story: the Etiquette of Storytelling'' Sinsear 6 :50-60. [Details]


Bo Almqvist and Roibeard Ó Cathasaigh (2002) The Stories of Bab Feiritéar (Ó Bhéal an Bhab: Cnuas-scéalta Bhab Feiritéar). Translation [Details]

Electronic Publication

Barbara Hillers (2015) A Fond Farewell: In Praise of the Ediphone. Electronic Publication [Details]
Sim Innes and Barbara Hillers (2014) Seanchas: The Global Gaelic Jukebox, on Digital Archives of Scottish Gaelic website ( Electronic Publication [Details]
Barbara Hillers with Bettina Kimpton (2008) Buntús na Gaeilge: Irish for Adult Learners. Available on internet - see Electronic Publication [Details]


Research Interests

  • Folk narrative in Ireland and Scotland
  • Medieval/modern continuities in Gaelic traditional narrative
  • Oral/literary and popular/elite interactions in Gaelic tradition
  • European narrative charms in Gaelic tradition
  • The international Child ballad and native Gaelic song tradition
  • Joe Heaney, singer/storyteller
  • Gender and the articulation of women's space in folk narrative and song
  • Towards a "global jukebox":Gaelic sound archives and the internet 

Recent Postgraduates

Dr Natasha Sumner (Harvard University, PhD 2015)
Dr Carol Barron (UCD Graduate Diploma in Irish Folklore, 2014)
Denis McArdle (UCD Graduate Diploma in Irish Folklore, 2016)
Liz Ryle (UCD Graduate Diploma in Irish Folklore, 2016)


Internal Collaborators

  Dr Críostóir Mac Cárthaigh, National Folklore Collection, UCD Library & Archives.

External Collaborators

International Academic Affiliations and Links
Associate of the Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures, Harvard University.


With Dr Sìm Innes, Department of Celtic and Gaelic, University of Glasgow
Seanchas: The Global Gaelic Jukebox (
Online directory/dedicated website for Gaelic archival sound recordings held in Ireland, Scotland and North America, hosted by the Digital Archive of Scottish Gaelic at Glasgow University. 

With Professor John Carey, Ilona Tuomi and Ciarán Ó Gealbháin, University College Cork: Charms, Charmers and Charming in Ireland: Tradition and Innovation University of Wales Press [projected publication 2018].

With Professor Catherine McKenna and Natasha Sumner, Harvard University
The Rediscovery and Restoration of Robert Flaherty's Oidhche Sheanchais. Spearheaded recovery of 'lost' Irish-language movie. Harvard launch Febrary 2015; Dublin launch July 2015; UCD Symposium 2016.

With Professor William Gillies, Department of Celtic and Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh
Research project: 'Gaelic amour (dis)courtois: Poetry Attributed to Gearóid Iarla Earl of Desmond.'  (Article in preparation: 'The Fox of Sliabh an Chairn: A Poem Attributed to Gearód Iarla in the Book of the Dean of Lismore')