More than 70 million people worldwide can claim descent from Irish emigrants and this second congress in a triennial series examines the histories, cultures, heritages and identities of Irish communities beyond Ireland’s shores. 


For many decades there has been considerable scholarly interest in the history of emigration from Ireland, from its beginnings in the middle ages (to Britain and parts of Europe) through the 18th and 19th centuries (to all corners of the globe), and in how ‘Irishness’ has been and continues to be maintained and expressed by descendant communities.

The sheer scale of the Irish diaspora previously created obstacles to an international conversation and exchange of ideas. Today growing number of online sources and ease of collaborating online has greatly enhanced global comparative perspectives in our research. Topics include the many causes of Irish migration, the types of people who migrated, the shared or divergent experiences of the migrants in different places and times, the material remains of diaspora, the impact of migrations on host populations and cultures, and relationships between diasporic communities and Ireland.


This congress will pursue new disciplinary alliances and intellectual synergies in the field of Irish diaspora research. Researchers from many fields and from every corner of the world are invited to Durban, South Africa, to attend three days of plenaries and parallel sessions, where they can present their work, meet fellow-researchers, exchange ideas, and establish research networks within and across disciplinary boundaries.


Proposals are invited for RESEARCH PAPERS and/or SESSIONS to be delivered at this congress. 

Contributions may be of an empirical nature, or may address such themes as migration, transnationalism, colonialism and postcolonialism. All perspectives from all disciplines are welcome. 



Congress fees (including lunches and teas for 3 days) (excluding accommodation) will be:

  • International full registration: Early Bird (until 30 April 2020): €210
  • International full registration from 1 May 2020: €260
  • International accompanying person: €90 (including receptions and battlefield excursion)
  • SA & Africa full registration: R1400
  • SA & Africa per day: R500 (excluding field trip)
  • SA & Africa field trip only: R800

The Congress dinner may be extra, the cost to be determined depending on sponsorship raised. 


Delegates will arrange their own accommodation in Durban, South Africa’s premier holiday destination. This ranges from beachfront hotels to bed-and-breakfast establishments on the Berea Ridge (Glenwood, Berea, Morningside). July is South Africa's winter holiday season, so we urge delegates to book accommodation as soon as possible as the town fills up in July. For more information, see our accommodation page



Potential congress sponsors should contact Donal McCracken direct:



Abstract proposals will be considered up to 1 April 2020. To submit a proposal, please fill in the form at the link below. Already proposals have been accepted from universities in Canada, China, Great Britain, Ireland, South Africa and the United States of America as well as from independent scholars from Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States of America


Completed registration forms be returned to Donal McCracken at

Durban Organising Committee

Chris Buckels, Web Developement and Design
Robert Clark, Irish Association of South Africa
Derek Griffin, Irish Association of South Africa
Mary Langa, ARROW
Donal McCracken, University of KwaZulu-Natal (Chair)
Patricia McCracken, Independent scholar
Raymond McNulty, Irish Association of South Africa
Sandren Naidoo, Irish Association of South Africa
Dr Sarah Gibson, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Sihawukele Ngubane, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Mandy Slabbert, Irish Association of South Africa
Ruth Teer-Tomaselli, University of KwaZulu-Natal

International Organising Committee

Stephen Brighton, University of Maryland
Dominic Bryan, Queen’s University Belfast
Heather Burke, Flinders University
Malcolm Campbell, University of Auckland
Christopher C. Fennell, University of Illinois
Pedro Paulo A. Funari, University of Campinas
Martin Gibbs, University of New England
Dianne Hall, Victoria University
Liam Kennedy, University College Dublin
Kevin Kenny, Boston College
Donal McCracken, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Mark McGowan, University of Toronto

Guillermo MacLoughlin Uni. Nacional de La Plata
Kerby Miller, University of Missouri
Bill Mulligan, Murray State University
Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin, Concordia University
Tadhg O'Keeffe, University College Dublin
Chuck Orser, Vanderbilt University
Celeste Ray, University of the South (Sewanee)
Deb Rotman, University of Notre Dame
Regina Uí Chollatáin, University College Dublin (President)
Clair Wills, Princeton University
David Wilson, University of Toronto