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Patrick Griffin admitted as honorary member to Royal Irish Academy

Patrick Griffin, the Thomas Moore and Judy Livingston Director of the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies in the Keough School of Global Affairs and the Madden-Hennebry Professor of History…

Patrick Griffin, the Thomas Moore and Judy Livingston Director of the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies in the Keough School of Global Affairs and the Madden-Hennebry Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, was admitted to the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) as an honorary member in a ceremony in Dublin on Friday (May 26).

Membership in the RIA is the highest academic honor in Ireland. Members are elected in recognition of their academic contributions to the sciences, humanities and social sciences, as well as to public service. Griffin was one of 28 newly elected members and was recognized for his work on revolution and rebellion, migration, colonization and violence in North America. 

Griffin was also chosen for his leadership and chairmanship of the Analyzing and Researching Ireland, North and South (ARINS) project, a joint initiative between RIA and Notre Dame’s Keough-Naughton Institute that brings together leading experts from Ireland and abroad to examine policy issues affecting the entire island of Ireland in the post-Brexit era. 

“I am so gratified to be recognized by one of the leading learned societies in the world,” Griffin said. “To be named as one of a small number of honorary members, and as an American who studies the United States, makes my election all that more meaningful.”

Griffin, who is a faculty fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, earned a doctorate in American history at Northwestern University and taught at the University of Virginia before joining Notre Dame in 2008. His expertise lies in the intersection of colonial America and early modern Irish and British history, and the ways in which all three countries differed and were linked during the 17th and 18th centuries. 

“Patrick Griffin is the rare scholar who combines impressive erudition, command of the modern histories of three North Atlantic countries, profound insight into contemporary Irish politics and the ability to influence a wide array of publics through his eloquence and openness to dialogue,” said R. Scott Appleby, the Marilyn Keough Dean of the Keough School of Global Affairs. “The Royal Irish Academy, in recognizing these marks of distinction, has honored not only Professor Griffin but also the University of Notre Dame.” 

For the 2021-22 academic year, Griffin was named the Harold Vyvyan Harmsworth Visiting Professor of American History at the University of Oxford, and in 2018 had the distinction of honorary professor conferred on him from the University of Edinburgh.

Griffin’s single-authored books include “The Age of Atlantic Revolution: The Fall and Rise of a Connected World” (2023); “The Townshend Moment: The Making of Empire and Revolution in the Eighteenth Century” (2017); “America’s Revolution” (2012); “American Leviathan: Empire, Nation and Revolutionary Frontier” (2007); and “The People with No Name: Ireland’s Ulster Scots, America’s Scots Irish and the Creation of a British Atlantic World” (2001). 

The RIA, which was founded in 1785, is Ireland’s leading body of experts who support and promote the sciences and humanities. A forum of peer-elected experts, the academy seeks to make significant contributions to public debate and policy formation on issues in culture, technology and science by leading national research projects, particularly those highlighting Ireland and its heritage. 

The RIA draws its membership from the whole island of Ireland, both north and south, with a small number of honorary members being elected each year who have made major international efforts on behalf of their disciplines but who are not residents of Ireland. RIA members assist by providing expert advice as well as representing and promoting the academy and its mission globally.   

Patrick Griffin Nd With Pria And Scroll Crop
Pat Guiry (left), president of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA), bestows honorary membership on Notre Dame's Patrick Griffin (right) on RIA Admittance Day.

“These individuals, elected by their peers, have made exceptional contributions in their fields of endeavor,” said Pat Guiry, president of RIA. “We are delighted to recognize their achievements. As members of the academy, they will support the RIA by engaging and leading in activities that strengthen the international recognition of the academy’s scholarship and serve the public good through their knowledge and insight.”

Griffin joins a cohort of 670 other academy members, 95 of whom are honorary members, with several past members including Nobel Laureates such as W.B. Yeats, Ernest Walton, Max Planck, Erwin Schrödinger, Bob Grubbs and Seamus Heaney.

The Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies is a teaching and research institute dedicated to the study and understanding of Irish culture in all of its manifestations — not only in Ireland but around the world. The institute offers undergraduate- and graduate-level minors in Irish studies; wide-ranging courses in Irish language, literature, politics, culture, history and music; lectures, readings and performances given by scholars, poets and musicians; archeological digs in Western Ireland; and the summer IRISH Seminar, in which graduate students from Notre Dame and other universities engage with key figures in Irish cultural, intellectual and political life. 

In 1996, the institute — along with Notre Dame International — established a presence in Ireland with the creation of Newman House in Dublin and, later on, O’Connell House, both of which serve Notre Dame undergraduates in joint programs with Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and Dublin City University. 

Contact: Tracy DeStazio, assistant director of media relations, 574-631-9958 or

Originally published by Tracy DeStazio at on May 31, 2023.

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