Helen O'Shea

Lecturer in History



Helen O'Shea was awarded her PhD in history from the University of Edinburgh in 2010. Her research interests focus on comparative decolonisation, the British colonial legal service and modern Irish history in transnational and comparative contexts.  Geographical areas of particular interest include Kenya, Malaya, Cyprus, Algeria and Ireland.

She has recently been awarded a Royal Society of Edinburgh Small Research Grant to begin an analysis of the Scottish contribution to the colonial legal service in the post-war British Empire. Three major emergency periods, namely in Palestine (1945-48), Malaya (1948-60) and Kenya (1952-59), are being explored.

Publications and Grants

Publications and Grants


Ireland and the End of the British Empire: The Republic and Its Role in the Cyprus Emergency (London, 2014).


‘“Personally I think it would be positively hilarious”: The European Convention, the Cyprus Question and Frank Aiken's State of Exception’, in Bryce Evans and Stephen Kelly (eds.) Frank Aiken: Nationalist and Internationalist (Dublin, 2014).

‘“Cyprus on the Brain”: Irish Identity, the Imperial Imagination and the Beginnings of British Cyprus’, in Giorgos Georghis and Georgos Kazamias (eds.) Eurodaktylios (Nicosia, 2013). For the purpose of this bilingual publication, the chapter is also provided in Greek.

‘A Case of a “Celtic Twilight”: Irish Law Graduates and Emergency Law in Cyprus, 1955-59’, in David Dickson, Justyna Pyz and Christopher Shepard (eds.) Irish Classrooms and British Empire: Imperial Contexts in the Origins of Modern Education (Dublin, 2012).

‘“Bloody Mavericks” Revisited - A Reappraisal of Irish Foreign Policy Since 1919’, in Shane Alcobia Murphy and Margaret Maxwell (eds.), The Enclave of My Nation: Cross-currents in Irish and Scottish Studies (Aberdeen, 2008).


2015 British Academy Small Research Grant

2014 Royal Society of Edinburgh Small Research Grant