This lecture explores the landscape of Irish elite education within the broader context of global trends in cosmopolitan and elite forms of education. Across Europe, various religious orders and state systems engaged in competition for the patronage of regional elites and sub-elites during the nineteenth century. The lecture will survey the differences in elite education for girls and boys, as well as reflecting on the long and persistent practice of sending boys and girls abroad for a boarding school education. Back home, schools such as St Columba’s College, Clongowes Wood were (and continue to be) important for elite education, while for girl’s prominent day boarding schools run by the Ursulines, Sacred Heart, and Loreto orders dominated.
Ciaran O’Neill is a nineteenth century historian. His first monograph, Catholics of Consequence (OUP, 2014) won the JS Donnelly Prize at the American Conference for Irish Studies. He is editor (with Finola O’Kane Crimmins) of Ireland, Slavery and the Caribbean: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (MUP, 2023) and is currently completing a second monograph entitled Life in a Palliative State. Along with his colleagues Patrick Walsh and Mobeen Hussain he coordinates Trinity’s Colonial Legacies Project. Current research projects focus on the Eastern Caribbean.