Professor John Brannigan, UCD School of English, Drama and Film and Meidhbhín Ní Úrdail, UCD School of Irish, Celtic Studies and Folklore, were among six professors from University College Dublin to have been elected to the Royal Irish Academy, the highest academic honour in Ireland.

Posted 25 May 2021 

Professor John Brannigan, UCD School of English, Drama and Film and Meidhbhín Ní Úrdail, UCD School of Irish, Celtic Studies and Folklore, were among six professors from University College Dublin to have been elected to the Royal Irish Academy, the highest academic honour in Ireland.

They were among 27 new RIA members invited to sign the Academy's members book in recognition of their world-class contributions to the sciences, humanities and social sciences. Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions,the admittance ceremony took place virtually on the  21 May 2021.Admittance to the Academy is the highest academic distinction in Ireland, and those elected by their peers are entitled to use the designation ‘MRIA’ after their name.

Welcoming this year's newest entries, RIA President Dr Mary Canning said: ‘These 27 new Members are recognised for their scholarly achievements, typically reflecting many years of research, or for significant contributions to Irish society.

Associate Professor Meidhbhín Ní Úrdail is head of Modern Irish at University College Dublin. Her extensive dossier of learned publications in three languages (Irish, English and German) consistently exhibits high excellence in the depth and originality of its research, the range and versatility of its subject matter, and the meticulous quality of its presentation. She is an outstanding scholar of Modern Irish with an international profile.

Commenting after the admittance ceremony  Ní Úrdail said: "This is indeed a great personal honour, but I owe a special debt of gratitude to those who have formed and informed my scholarship down through the years. Is le buíochas daoibhse a ghlacaim leis an ngradam seo sa ghort is grá linn."

Professor John Brannigan is professor of English and head of the UCD School of English, Drama and Film. .He is the author of seven monographs and many articles and book chapters on authors from Brendan Behan to Virginia Woolf, and has led innovative research projects on literature and the sea. His most recent book is a critically acclaimed account of the ‘Archipelagic Modernism’ of these islands.

About his nomination and admittance, Brannigan said: "I am deeply honoured to be nominated and admitted as a member of the Royal Irish Academy, and I look forward to working with the Academy to promote the value of academic research, especially in the Arts and Humanities"

The other  UCD Professors elected are:

The Academy has been honouring Ireland’s leading contributors to the world of learning since its establishment in 1785.Among the 27 new members elected in 2021 include Mr Justice Gerard Hogan, Advocate General at the European Court of Justice; Professor Philip Nolan, President of Maynooth University and chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group; and pharmacologist Professor Lorraine O’Driscoll who is a leading figure in cancer research. There are now 637 RIA members, of whom over 90 are Honorary or overseas members, and past members include Nobel laureates WB Yeats and Seamus Heaney.

Earlier this year UCD Emeritus Professor and former RIA President Mary E. Daly received the society’s Gold Medal, considered the highest scholarly accolade in Ireland. The celebrated academic, who served for seven years as Principal of UCD College of Arts and Celtic Studies, received the prestigious prize for her ground-breaking historical work. She is the eighth UCD academic to receive the honour since its inception in 2005.