Ireland and the Caribbean; Comparative Perspectives

The Caribbean was the crucible of Atlantic slavery and the plantation system that sustained it. British, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Danish and Dutch plantations can be found on all the Caribbean islands, together with their great houses, sugar works, service buildings, slave huts, circulation routes, designed views and prospects. The trans-imperial design of such exploitative, yet highly considered environments, is the project's primary concern. These complex designs, both productive and defensive, utilitarian and aesthetic, will be comparatively analysed. How were such designs made, drawn, transmitted, built and revised across and between the Caribbean islands and the homelands of Europe?

The project will also examine in detail the design of Irish-Caribbean plantation landscapes, whose origins may lie partly in the plantations of seventeenth-century Ireland. It will consider the reverse impact of the Caribbean on Irish mentalities, networks, towns, houses and landscapes. It is concerned with Ireland's role in slavery's transatlantic web of commerce, improvement and monoculture agriculture and its ongoing complex legacy today.

Project Leader:

Professor Finola O'Kane Crimmins
UCD School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy
+353 1 716 2752

Research Outputs

Ongoing transcription of the Marquis of Sligo's letterbooks and other papers in the National Library of Jamaica in collaboration with research assistant Emma Ranston-Young and funded by UCD seed-funding.

Online Webinar (17 Nov 2020)
Panel member
The Global Irish Network series: Panel Discussion on 'Irish Universities and Imperial Legacies', run in partnership with the Trinity Long Room Hub for Arts and Humanities Research

Peer-reviewed Journal
Finola O’Kane (2018) The Irish-Jamaican Plantation of Kelly’s Pen, Jamaica, Caribbean Quarterly, 64:3-4,452-466, DOI: 10.1080/00086495.2018.1531557

Book Chapter
Finola O'Kane, 'A Cabin and not a Cottage - The Architectural Embodiment of the Irish Nation' in Gisela Hofter & Bettine Migge eds., Ireland in the European Eye, Dublin (RIA), June 2019

Edited Book
Finola O’Kane & Ciarán O'Neill (editors) Ireland, Slavery and the Caribbean; Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Studies in Imperialism (Manchester University Press) forthcoming 2021

Invited Papers
Finola O'Kane, 'The Public Botanic Garden in the budding British Empire; The Ideal Subversive Suburban Space?' in Botanical Gardens and the Urban Future Colloquium, Dumbarton Oaks, Harvard University, Washington DC, 01 Nov 2018 - 02 Nov 2018

Finola O'Kane, 'Fluid Foundations: the Formation of the Town of Darien, Georgia, U.S. and the Surrounding Rice Plantations of the Irishman, Senator Pierce Butler' in Transnational and Translingual Urban Writing Workshop, University College London, Senate House, 25 June 2018

Finola O'Kane, 'Designed in Parallel or in Translation? Plantation Landscapes from Ireland, Jamaica and Georgia 1730-1830', in Architecture, Space and Society Centre Lecture Series, Birkbeck, UCL, 25 May, 2018

Invited Papers - Forthcoming
Finola O'Kane, 'Travelling through the Atlantic World' in Old Ways New Roads Workshop, Kelvin Hall, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow, 23 November, 2018

Finola O'Kane, 'Improving the Atlantic World; Transatlantic Tourists and their Landscape Designs, Comparisons and Routes' in Moving Landscapes: Gardens and Gardening in the Transatlantic World, 1670-1830 Symposium, The Huntington Library , San Marino, California, 07 Dec 2018 - 08 Dec 2018

Funding Applications
Paul Mellon Senior Fellowship 2020-2021 application forthcoming

Fig. 14 Kelly's Pen Sugar Works