UCD John Hume Institute for Global Irish Studies 
UCD John Hume Institute for Global Irish StudiesUCD Crest


Laura McAtackney is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the John Hume Institute for Global Irish Studies at University College Dublin exploring issues of memory and identity in Irish landscape through an interdisciplinary methodology based in archaeology. This research intends to explore memory and identity through a number of diverse case-studies – from local perceptions of the Hill of Tara to the experience of peace lines in Belfast - as a means of understanding how people relate to their environment in the island of Ireland and in doing so explore different conceptions of ‘Irishness’ through time and space.

Previous research has included exploring ‘ecologies of heritage’ at Bletchley Park (Research Assistant, EPSRC/AHRC-funded workshop series, University of Oxford), exploring relationships between Historic Environment Record Offices and local universities in England (Research Assistant, HEFCE-funded ‘Archive Archaeology’ project between the Universities of Bristol, Durham and UCL) and conducting historical archaeology at the Long Kesh/Maze prison site in Northern Ireland (PhD, AHRC-funded, ring-fenced study in standing buildings at the University of Bristol). The latter research was conducted over three years and involved taking a multi-scalar approach to the archaeological remains of this recent historical, and highly contentious, prison site to create a complicated narrative relating to its many pasts, presents and possible futures.

I have spoken widely about my research, including to British national newspapers, national radio stations in both the UK and Ireland and at conferences around the world – from Australia to the Middle East. Publications have included co-editing two volumes: on historical and contemporary archaeology and landscape archaeology (please see selected bibliography below). I am currently preparing a monograph based on the study of Long Kesh/Maze as well as producing research papers and conference proceedings on my current research. A monograph based on my current research on memorialisation and commemoration – in Ireland and diasporic - will be submitted for publication in early 2012.

I will be a visiting scholar at the John Hume Institute for Global Irish Studies at the University of New South Wales (June 2011) and I am involved in the SLAM (Survey and Landscape Archaeology on Montserrat) project and will conduct archival, cultural heritage and ethnographic research on the island of Montserrat in June 2011. (Further information)
I have been a member of the standing committee for CHAT (Contemporary & Historical Archaeology in Theory) since 2007 and have co-organised annual conferences in Oxford and Bristol as well as co-edited related publications (2007 and forthcoming). I have organised a day-school at the University of Oxford on archaeological insights into 20th century conflict (2009) and I am currently a lecturer in the archaeology of standing buildings and archaeological theory for Continuing Education at the University of Bristol.


  • McAtackney, L. 2011. Peace maintenance and political messages: the significance of walls during and after the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland. Journal of Social Archaeology 11 (1) 77-98


email:  laura.mcatackney@ucd.ie