Explore UCD

UCD Home >

Colonel Michael Hefferon Memorial Scholarship

Colonel Michael Hefferon Memorial Scholarship

The Colonel Michael Hefferon Memorial Scholarship in Irish History will be awarded to a student registered to the MA in Irish History.  The scholarship has been proposed as a result of a generous bequest to support the research of modern Irish history and specifically to promote the use of archival sources in the Irish Military Archives ((opens in a new window)Home | Military Archives). The Military Archives is the official place of deposit for records of the defence forces and the Department of Defence. Its collections span the last 100 years and include invaluable material on the War of Independence, Irish Civil War and the social and economic aftermath of the revolutionary period, as revealed in the recently released files of the Military Service Pensions Collection.

Colonel Michael Hefferon had a distinguished military career. Unusually, he was invited to join the military by the Minister for Defence based on his high marks in the public service examinations. He was commissioned into An Chéad Cath, the army’s Irish-speaking battalion in 1933. During the emergency he was stationed at Rineannna, later renamed Shannon Airport. 

In 1945, he was asked to become the Aide de Camp to President Seán T. O’Kelly, a role which he held until 1959. In this diplomatic role he arranged the first external visits for the president to the USA and the Vatican, as well as the first internal visits of the heads of state of India, Pakistan, Belgium and the Netherlands to Ireland. In 1959, he was appointed Commandant of the Military College at the Curragh. Due to his experience and diplomatic expertise, he was asked by the Government to be personal Aide de Camp to a number of international dignitaries including President Kennedy on his visit to Ireland in 1963.

Also in 1963, he was appointed Director of Military Intelligence. In that capacity, he had overall responsibility for the Defence Forces journal An Cosantóir. He was a key witness at the Arms Trial in 1970. He died in 1985 at the age of 75. He had a lifelong interest in Irish and world history, especially the role of the Allied Armies in the second world war. During his career, he published poetry and history articles of Irish interest.


The Scholarship is open to EU and non-EU applicants. Acceptance and registration into the MA in Irish History is a pre-condition for holders of the Scholarship.