When I started this blog back in 2010 I couldn’t have imagined where it would lead, both in terms of the community and friendships that have built up around it, and with respect to my own research. As many of you will be aware, the website–and your support of it–have led me to the publication of two books on the Irish in the Civil War, and also opened up the world of the widow’s and dependent pension files for me. Back in 2017, I decided to take the plunge and leave my employment to pursue a full time PhD on the Irish experience, based on letters I had collected over the years from those files. I’m pleased to say that journey ended last week, with the successful defence of my thesis, which is entitled Recovering the Voices of the Union Irish: Identity, Motivation & Experience in Irish American Civil War Correspondence, 1861-65.

I am extremely grateful to my supervisors Professor David Gleeson and Dr Ann-Marie Einhaus for all their advice and assistance, and to Northumbria University for the scholarship without which I couldn’t have pursued these studies. Thanks are also due to my examiners Dr James McConnel and Professor Aaron Sheehan-Dean, and of course to my family and friends who supported my work over the years. But I wanted to take this opportunity to extend a special thanks to all of you for your continued interest in this topic over the years, and for your engagement with it. A particular note of appreciation is due to the site’s Patreons, without whose support the website could not have continued beyond 2017. In due course I am hoping that the thesis will eventually be worked into a publication, so be sure to keep an eye out for news of that– and thank you again!