1989 …2022

Research activity per year

Personal profile


Research Focus

Professor O'Dowd's research interests have focussed on gender and social history in early modern Ireland. In recent years, she has investigated age and gender as criteria for historical analysis.  She has written on the  history of childhood in sixteenth and seventeenth century Ireland and adolescent girls in the eighteenth century. Her current research project is a history of old age in Ireland, 1500-2000. 

Professor O'Dowd was a founding member of the Women's History Association of Ireland and is an honorary member of the Board of the International Federation for Research in Women's History.  She has served on a number of public bodies including the Irish Manuscripts Commission and the Board of the National Museum of Ireland.  She is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy and was Secretary of the Academy, March 2021-March 2024. 

Professor O'Dowd's most recent books are Marriage in Ireland, 1660-1925 published by Cambridge University Press in 2020 and co-authored with Maria Luddy and Sisters, a collection of essays on sibling relations in Irish history, co-edited with Siobhan Fizpatrick and published by the Royal Irish Academy in 2022.


Research Statement

Gender and women's history; social history; history of marriage; family history; early modern Ireland; history of old age




Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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