About me




Research experience and publications in history and neuroscience.
History: Published work in (1) social Catholicism in twentieth-century Ireland, and (2) Roman Catholicism and modern science – both generally and in relation to Ireland.

Areas of expertise

History of Roman Catholicism and modern science, history of social Catholicism in Ireland.
Current research: Bioethics and the Catholic Church in Ireland, 1968-2018, examining contraception, assisted human reproduction, human embryonic stem cell research, abortion and assisted suicide.


Catholicism and science; Catholicism and biomedical ethics; social Catholicism in Ireland

Member Details

Full Name

Dr. Don O'Leary

Membership Type

Professional Historian



Senior Technical Officer. 39 years of research experience, mainly in neuroscience and electron microscopy.
Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University College Cork, September 1978-December 2017.
Retired since 31 December 2017.



Vocationalism and Social Catholicism in Twentieth-Century Ireland (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2000).
Roman Catholicism and Modern Science: A History (New York and London: Continuum, 2006)
Irish Catholicism and Science: From 'Godless Colleges' to the 'Celtic Tiger' (Cork: Cork University Press, 2012).
Biomedical Controversies in Catholic Ireland (Eryn Press, 2020)

Book Chapters

“Vocationalism in Emergency Ireland,” in Ireland in World War Two: Neutrality and Survival, edited by Dermot Keogh and Mervyn O’Driscoll (Cork: Mercier Press, 2004).
“From the Origin to Humani Generis: Ireland as a Case Study,” in Darwin and Catholicism: The Past and Present Dynamics of a Cultural Encounter, edited by Louis Caruana (London and New York: T & T Clark, 2009).
“Canon Sheehan’s dystopia: ‘Godless science’ and ‘Survival of the fittest,’” in Revisiting Canon Sheehan of Doneraile 1852-1913: Author, activist, priest, edited by Gabriel Doherty (Smenos Publications, 2014).

Peer Reviewed Journals

History: “Faith, Nature, and Science in the Works of Canon Sheehan,” New Hibernia Review, vol. 17, no. 2 (Summer 1913), pp. 119-135.
I am a co-author of 6 neuroscience research articles in peer-reviewed journals (Acta Neuropatholigica, 1990; Journal of Anatomy, 1994 and 2007; Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, 2002; and Spinal Cord, 2008.).

Electronic Publications

E book (also paperback): Biomedical Controversies in Catholic Ireland (Eryn Press, 2020).


Artigas, Mariano, Thomas F. Glick, and Rafael A. Martínez. Negotiating Darwin: The Vatican Confronts Evolution 1877-1902 (Baltimore, Maryland: The John Hopkins University Press, 2006); The Catholic Historical Review 94, part 1 (January 2008): 118-120.
Hess, Peter M.J., and Paul L. Allen. Catholicism and Science (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2008); Metascience, vol. 20, issue 2 (July 2011): 313-315; published online 07 August 2010; doi: 10.1007/s11016-010-9426-z
Sharon M. Leon. An Image of God: The Catholic Struggle with Eugenics (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2013); The American Historical Review 120, issue 1 (February 2015): 272-273; doi: 10.1093/ahr/120.1.272