ACIS Logo 2015 O'Donnell Fellowship in Irish Studies

The O’Donnell Fellowship commemorates the donation to Newman College, University of Melbourne, of the personal library of Melbourne-based doctor and Irish scholar, Nicholas Michael O’Donnell (1862-1920). This collection of books, pamphlets and manuscripts, many in the Irish language, was presented in 1924, ‘subject only to the condition that Dr O’Donnell’s name should be permanently associated with the gift’ (Letter from Frank Brennan (1873-1950), Dr O’Donnell’s son-in-law and later Australian Federal Attorney-General, to the Rector, Newman College, 3 July 1924).
The O’Donnell library forms the core of an Irish Studies collection that has grown since 1924 with further donations and acquisitions relating to Ireland. Highlights of the collection include many 19th-century Irish histories and Irish-language publications. There are two 19th-century manuscripts, both available online at Irish Script on Screen, Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies:
More recent additions to the collection include a set of books on Irish themes from the library of Daniel Mannix (1864-1963), Irish-born former Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne; and a folder of papers and poems of Seamus Heaney.
The Irish Studies collection is now housed in the Gerry Higgins Room in the Academic Centre shared by Newman College and St Mary’s College. The room’s name pays tribute to a generous donor to Newman College, whose family has also funded the Gerry Higgins Chair of Irish Studies at the University of Melbourne.
The collection is largely catalogued and records are available for searching via the Academic Centre’s library catalogue which has been recently migrated to
In addition there are extensive Irish Studies resources in libraries close by, particularly the University of Melbourne and the State Library of Victoria.

In 2015 the O’Donnell Fellowship will be available for the period
5 January – 13 February 2015

The O’Donnell Fellowship aims to:

  • Support scholars, especially new scholars, in Irish Studies and Irish History;
  • Promote the Irish Studies library to a research audience;
  • Add value to the library by encouraging scholarship based around it;
  • Enhance the Academic Centre’s role as a community of scholars;
  • Strengthen ties between the Centre and the Irish Studies community.

The O’Donnell Fellowship, which is non-stipendiary, offers physical and intellectual space to a scholar with an interest in Irish Studies, for a period of 6 weeks. The offering includes:

  • College living quarters and all meals;
  • Access to the Academic Centre building and collections;
  • Desk and study space in the Gerry Higgins Room;
  • Access to the University of Melbourne library;
  • $2000 for travel and other expenses.

Applicants should have a demonstrated track record in Irish Studies. This could take the form, for example, of a relevant academic degree; and/or the completion of relevant courses or projects; and/or the publication of relevant books or articles. Previous applicants, both successful and unsuccessful, are welcome to re-apply.
Application process
Fellowship applications should address ways in which the Irish Studies collection in the Academic Centre, and wider Irish Studies resources in Melbourne, could be used to further a research project upon which the applicant is engaged.
Selection process
Applications in the form of a letter and including a CV, the names of two referees and a project proposal, should be sent by Monday 4 August 2014 by post or email, to Ms Angela Gehrig, Director of the Academic Centre.
Ms Angela Gehrig,
St Marys Newman Academic Centre
c/o Newman College, 887 Swanston Street
Parkville VIC 3052
Applications will be considered by a committee including the Gerry Higgins Professor of Irish Studies at the University of Melbourne.
Successful applicants
The O’Donnell Fellowship holder will be expected to present a seminar in the Melbourne Irish Studies Seminar (MISS) series, hosted at Newman College by the Irish Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand (ISAANZ). In addition, results of the research must be submitted for publication in the Australasian Journal of Irish Studies. In consultation with the editors, this may be in the form of a research report or a peer-reviewed scholarly article. It is expected that any such work produced will acknowledge the support of the fellowship.
More information
Any enquiries about the O’Donnell Fellowship should be sent by email to Ms Angela Gehrig at:
For more information about the Academic Centre, and about the fellowship please see