Senior Lecturer


Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 272219
The University of Aberdeen Crombie Annexe 203
King's College 
Aberdeen, AB24 3FX

View my books:

Ireland's Empire: The Roman Catholic Church in the English-speaking world, 1829-1914


Religion and Greater Ireland: Christianity and Irish Global Networks, 1750-1950 (edited with Hilary M. Carey)


Nation/Nazione: Irish Nationalism & the Italian Risorgimento (edited with Michele Finelli and Anne O'Connor)


The European Culture Wars in Ireland: The Callan Schools Affair, 1868-1881


Paul Cullen, John Henry Newman, and the Catholic University of Ireland, 1845-65



Colin Barr was born in Canada, raised near Seattle, and received his masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Cambridge, where he was a member of Gonville and Caius College.  He has subsequently held academic appointments in Ireland and the United States, and since 2013 has been based at the University of Aberdeen, where he is presently senior lecturer in modern Irish history.  Barr has published a number of books and articles on the history of Ireland and the Irish, and has been a visiting fellow at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and the University of Newcastle, Australia.  He is also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. His fifth book, Ireland's Empire: The Roman Catholic Church in the English-speaking world, 1829-1914, will soon be published by Cambridge University Press.  Barr regularly appears on the CTV News Channel (Canada) as a commentator on British, Irish, and European politics, has been a guest on BBC Radio 4 'Today', BBC Radio Scotland 'Drive Time', BBC Radio West Midlands, and CKR Radio in Ireland.  He has also consulted on the Abbey Theatre production 'The Big Chapel X' (2019) and the RTE (Ireland) documentary 'Rome v. the Republic'. 


Research Interests

My research interests include the history of Ireland since 1800, including the Irish in the settler empire and the United States, the history of the Roman Catholic Church in the English-speaking world (including the life of John Henry Newman), and the electoral politics of the United Kingdom in the mid-Victorian period.  In all of my work I seek to place the island of Ireland in the widest possible context, including that of the British Isles, British Empire, Europe (including the European Union), and the global Irish Diaspora.

Current Research

I presently have two book projects: Ireland's Empire: The Roman Catholic Church in the English-speaking world, 1830-1914, which will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2019, and Paul Cullen, 1803-1878: Church, State, and Ireland's Devotional Revolution which will be published by University College Dublin Press.


My new book is available for pre-order:





'The Catholic Memory Project': an international collaboartion that seeks to facilitate the identification, preservation, and dissemination of the archival records of the Roman Catholic Church in the English-speaking world.  The Project is housed in the Research Institute for Irish and Scottish Studies at the University of Aberdeen, and partners include the University of Notre Dame, the University of Toronto, University College Dublin, the University of Durham, the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, Victoria University (Australia), the University of Canterbury (New Zealand), the Archdiocese of Dublin, the Archdiocese of Melbourne, and the Scottish Catholic Historical Trust.

The Catholic Memory Project and the Research Institute for Irish and Scottish Studies (https://www.abdn.ac.uk/riiss/) have recently partnered with the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame (https://cushwa.nd.edu/) to co-fund a research project to investigate and map the spatial distribution and archival remains of Irish women religious in the English-speaking world.