About me




I am a historian of twentieth century Ireland, specialising in Irish foreign affairs, women in diplomacy and international relations. I was awarded a Ph.D. from University of Limerick in 2017. This Ph.D. was funded by the Irish Research Council, 2013-16. I have worked on the Documents on Irish Foreign Policy series, volume VIII, 1945-48. Currently I am an Associate Researcher at the Arts & Humanities Institute, Maynooth University. My current research involves publishing my book, 'The ideal diplomat: woman and foreign affairs, 1946-90' and establishing an Irish Diplomatic Oral History Project. I have recently published on Irish women's role in the League of Nations and United Nations.

Areas of expertise

Twentieth century Ireland with a particular interest in women's diplomatic history
Oral history


Irish history; women's history; diplomatic history; Ireland; gender studies

Member Details

Full Name

Ann Marie O'Brien

Membership Type

Professional Historian



Ph.D. in History, University of Limerick, 2013-2016
M.Litt. in History, Maynooth University, 2010-2012
B.A. Double Honours in English and History, Maynooth University, 2006-2009


Research assistant, Georgetown University, 2017
Historical Researcher, Christchurch Productions, 2016
Deputy Editorial Assistant, Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, Royal Irish Academy, 2012


Council on International Educational Exchange, Summer 2019
'The shaping of modern Ireland' – US undergraduate students

University of Limerick, 2015-16
‘The role of Irish diplomats in the early days of the Troubles, 1969-85: an examination of primary sources’ – fourth year undergraduate students

‘The Department of Foreign Affairs: the creation and evolution of a diplomatic service, 1919-39’ – fourth year undergraduate students

‘US foreign policy: American women diplomats’ – postgraduate students

NUI Maynooth 2010-11
Maynooth University Feb 2019 – present

Committees & Associations

Member: Irish Association of Professional Historians
Member: Women's History Association of Ireland


Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences postgraduate research committee, University of Limerick, 2016
Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship, 2013-16
Departmental Scholarship, History Department, Maynooth University, 2010-11

Other activities

'From 'token' woman to Madam Ambassador: the role of women in Irish foreign policy, 1947-1973', Women's History Network annual conference, London School of Economics, September 2019.

‘A century of change: the (in)visibility of women in the Irish foreign service, 1919-2019’, International Affairs Conference, Royal Irish Academy, May 2019.

‘Irish attitudes towards women diplomats at home and abroad: an international perspective, 1919-2019’, Women’s History Association of Ireland, UCC, April 2019

‘Irish America and the propaganda tours of Irish revolutionary women, 1916-23’, Department of History Research Seminar, Maynooth University, March 2019.

‘A comparative view of the appointment and experiences of female ambassadors in Ireland and the US in the twentieth century’, British Association for American Studies and Irish Association for American Studies joint conference, Queen’s University Belfast, April 2016.

‘Ireland’s forgotten diplomats: Nancy Wyse Power and Máire O’Brien’s quest for obtaining recognition for independent Ireland, 1919-23’, Irish History Student’s Association annual conference, NUI Galway, February 2016.

‘‘If it were the case here that women were really not wanted in our Service … It would be quite wrong in such circumstances to go on pretending that women were eligible for consideration’ : The position of women in the Irish diplomatic service, 1923-48’, Outsiders in independent Ireland Conference, Maynooth University, September 2014.

‘Leading the vanguard? An examination of Josephine McNeill’s appointment to The Hague as Irish Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy Extraordinary, 1949-55’, International Women’s Day conference, Queen’s University Belfast, March 2014.



The ideal diplomat? Women and Irish foreign affairs, 1946-1990 – under contract with Four Courts Press.

Peer Reviewed Journals

'Locating women within the Irish Department of External Affairs: A case study of Irish women at the League of Nations and United Nations' in Irish Historical Studies 43, no. 163 (2019), pp 94-110.

'A century of change: the (in)visibility of women in the Irish foreign service, 1919-2019, in Irish Studies in International Affairs – forthcoming December 2019.


Book review: Envoy Extraordinary: Professor Smiddy of Cork. By Eda Sagarra. Pp 186. Dublin: Institute of Public Administration 2018 in Irish Historical Studies 43, no. 163 (2019).

Book review: Winning the vote for women: the Irish Citizen newspaper and the the suffrage movement in Ireland. By Louise Ryan. Pp 212. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2018. Women's History Association of Ireland, https://womenshistoryassociation.com/book-reviews/review-of-louise-ryan-winning-the-vote-for-women/


'On the outside looking in: Ireland attempts to join the United
Nations', The Revolution Papers, issue 90, 19 September 2017.