Irish Lives in the Caribbean: Engaging with Empires.

Irish Diaspora Histories Network.

Jennifer McLaren explores the worlds of Irish men in the Caribbean during the eighteenth century. Her work continues to highlight the place of the Irish diaspora within the British Empire, complicating the idea that Irish people were only colonised subjects. In this, Jennifer’s PhD contributed to an evolving discussion on Ireland and imperialism which Michael Bailey also touched upon.


A recent workshop on ‘Thinking the Empire Whole’ at Macquarie University in Sydney aimed to forge more comprehensive thinking about the British Empire through the long Eighteenth Century. In a panel on ‘living the British Empire,’ I argued for the inclusion of the Irish diaspora within the broader British imperial story. For historians of Ireland, this argument is perhaps not particularly novel, but as the editors recently pointed out in Ireland in an Imperial World, British imperial historiography has “almost entirely ignored Ireland.”[i]

My PhD thesis explored the Irish…

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