Dr Frances Nolan, Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow, profiles her research

We are delighted to have Dr. Frances Nolan as part of our department as she completes a prestigious fellowship funded by the Irish Research Council .

Version 2Dr. Nolan will give a talk at the History Research Seminar  on Thursday 29th November 2018 at 6pm in the first floor seminar room, Iontas Building, north campus, Maynooth University. The title of her talk is: ‘‘next after God she has been the preservation of our hous’: Frances Talbot, countess of Tyrconnell and religious houses in Ireland, Flanders and France, 1677-1731’’. All are welcome to attend.

Dr Frances Nolan is a historian of women and gender. She is currently undertaking a two-year IRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at Maynooth University, where she is mentored by Professor Marian Lyons. She was awarded an IRC Postgraduate Scholarship to undertake a PhD on the role of Catholic and Jacobite women in the Williamite confiscation in UCD which she completed in late 2015. Alongside Dr C.I. McGrath, she is currently co-editing a modern edition of the printed schedule of claims brought before the trustees for the forfeited estates in Dublin between 1700 and 1703. Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 15.44.36

Dr Nolan was the winner of the Women’s History of Ireland (WHAI) Publication Prize 2017. Her article, titled ‘“The Cat’s Paw”: Helen Arthur, the Act of Resumption and The Popish pretenders to the forfeited estates, 1700-3’, appears in the current issue of Irish Historical Studies.

Dr Nolan’s research project is entitled ‘The Cat’s Paw: Catholic Irishwomen, 1685-1718’. The title of the project is derived from a contemporary pamphlet, entitled ‘The Popish pretenders to the forfeited estates in Ireland’ (London, 1702). Therein, an Irishwoman is cast as a grasping Papist, but also as a dupe (or cat’s paw) in a bigger political game, invariably played by men. Beginning with the accession of James II in the mid-1680s and concluding with the death of his widow, Mary of Modena, in 1718, this project considers the roles and experiences of élite Catholic Irishwomen during a time of significant political, religious, economic and social upheaval.


Lely, Peter, 1618-1680; Frances Jennings (1647-1731), Duchess of Tyrconnel It examines the roles played by women in the creation of a Catholic and Jacobite ascendancy in Ireland (1685-90) and explores those women’s involvement in the War of the Two Kings (1689-91) and the confiscation that resulted from a Williamite victory (1690-1703). It focuses primarily on the impact of forfeiture upon female property owners, and on instances of action and reaction among groups of such dispossessed women. By extension, Dr Nolan’s project also looks at the precarity of Irishwomen’s position in exile, examining available avenues of support and redress, and exploring the impact of political disruption and economic instability on a displaced community. Significantly, it assesses the role of Catholic and Jacobite Irishwomen within transnational networks, exploring possibilities for political activity, religious practice, financial speculation, physical mobility, and cultural exchange. In doing so, it provides a platform for an investigation of women’s role in the endurance of Catholic religious and lay communities in early eighteenth-century Ireland.



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