Marking the 150th anniversary of the Disestablishment

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Church of Ireland Theological Institute to Host Colloquium on Disestablishment

Saturday, 30th November 2019 · Bookings now open
Speakers: Professor Alan Ford, Dr Miriam Moffitt & Professor Salvador Ryan

To mark the 150th anniversary of the Disestablishment of the Church of Ireland (through the Irish Church Act 1869), the Church of Ireland Theological Institute will host a colloquium on Saturday, 30th November, featuring three historians who will speak on Disestablishment and its context within Irish history.  The event will start at 9.30am and finish for lunch at 1.00pm.

The speakers will address the following themes:

  • Professor Alan Ford – ‘“Flagrant breeches”: the making, breaking and re-making of the Church of Ireland canons, 1870-1974’;
  • Dr Miriam Moffitt – ‘“Truly thankful do I feel”: a constitutional crisis averted by the Queen’;
  • Professor Salvador Ryan – ‘Disestablishment and the Roman Catholic response: a brief survey’.

The Theological Institute is located at Braemor Park, Churchtown, D14 KX24, and the colloquium will take place in the Hartin Room.  This event should be of particular interest to historians, academics, clergy and lay members of the Church of Ireland and members of other Churches with an interest in this period in the history of Britain and Ireland.

The registration fee is €5 (including coffee) and delegates are asked to pay at the registration desk, which will be open from 9.00am.  An optional buffet lunch is available for an additional €10.  Delegates are asked to email to register interest and also to indicate whether lunch will be required.  Car parking is available on site and directions are available here:


9.00am – Registration
9.30am – Start
9.30-11.00am – Papers 1 & 2 (Professor Alan Ford & Miriam Moffitt)
11.00-11.30am – Coffee break
11.30am-12.00noon – Questions on Papers 1 & 2
12.00noon-12.40pm – Paper 3 (Professor Salvador Ryan)
12.40-12.55pm – Questions on Paper 3
12.55-1.00pm – Thanks and Close (The Revd Canon Dr Maurice Elliott, Director, CITI)
1.00pm – Lunch in Dining Room

Speaker biographies

Professor Alan Ford

Alan Ford is Emeritus Professor of Theology at the University of Nottingham and a leading expert on Irish history in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with a particular interest in religious identity.  He is author and editor of a number of books and articles, including The Church of Ireland and its Past: History, Interpretation and Identity (Dublin: Four Courts, 2017) (co-edited with Mark Empey and Miriam Moffitt),James Ussher: theology, history and politics in Early Modern Ireland and England (Oxford: OUP, 2007), The Origins of Sectarianism in Early Modern Ireland (Cambridge: CUP, 2005) (co-edited with John McCafferty, The Protestant Reformation in Ireland (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1997), and As by Law Established: The Church of Ireland Since the Reformation (Dublin: Lilliput Press, 1995) (co-edited with James McGuire and Kenneth Milne).

Dr Miriam Moffitt

Miriam Moffitt obtained a PhD in History from NUI Maynooth. She has also studied History and Church History at Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Wales, Lampeter, and the University of Nottingham. She teaches Church History in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, and St Patrick’s College, Thurles. Her work focusses on the history of religion in Ireland, particularly the issue of how conceptions of identity and ethnicity have been influenced by the manner in which the religious history of Ireland has been written and interpreted.

Her publications include The Church of Ireland community of Killala & Achonry, 1870-1940 (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1999), Soupers and Jumpers, the Protestant Missions in Connemara, 1848-1937(London: Nonsuch Press, 2008), The Society for Irish Church Missions to the Roman Catholics, 1849-1950 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2010), and Clanricarde’s Planters and Land Agitation in East Galway, 1886-1916 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2011). She is co-editor, with Professor Alan Ford and Dr Mark Empey, of The Church of Ireland and Its Past: History, Interpretation and Identity (Four Courts Press, 2017).

Professor Salvador Ryan

Salvador Ryan is a native of Moneygall, County Offaly. He studied Nua-Ghaeilge and History at NUI Maynooth and Theology at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, and St Patrick’s College, Thurles. He completed his doctoral dissertation on ‘Popular religion in Gaelic Ireland, 1445-1645’ at the Department of History, NUI Maynooth, in 2003, and was based in the department as an IRCHSS Postdoctoral Fellow from 2003 to 2005. From 2005 to 2008, he taught Church History at St Patrick’s College, Thurles, and was employed as Academic Coordinator at the college from 2006 to 2008 before returning to St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, as Professor of Ecclesiastical History in 2008.

He has published widely in the area of late medieval and early modern popular religion. Recent publications include (with Henning Laugerud) The Materiality of Devotion in Late Medieval Northern Europe: Images, Objects and Practices (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2016), (with Clodagh Tait) Religion and Politics in Urban Ireland, 1500-1750 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2016), Death and the Irish: a Miscellany(Dublin: Wordwell Books, 2016), and (with Declan Marmion and Gesa E. Thiessen) Remembering the Reformation: Martin Luther and Catholic Theology (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2017). His The Cultural Reception of the Bible: Explorations in Theology, Literature and the Arts (edited with Liam M Tracey) was published by Four Courts Press last autumn.  He is currently guest-editing a special issue of the international peer-reviewed, open-access journal Religions which has as its theme Domestic Devotions in Medieval Europe: Encountering the Sacred in the Everyday.