Kirsty Lusk

Kirsty Lusk

Research Title

Parnell to Partition: Irish-Scottish Connections, 1880-1921

Research Summary

In 1889, Charles Stewart Parnell (1846-1891) was granted the freedom of Edinburgh and Edinburgh-born James Connolly (1868-1916) returned there from Ireland, deserting from the British army. In 2015, comparisons were made between former First Minister Alex Salmond and his political hero Parnell. This thesis focuses on Irish-Scottish connections to provide greater understanding of the unique relationship between Scotland and Ireland. It will concentrate on Scottish and Irish literature, from Parnell and Home Rule to the armed struggle of the Easter Rising and War of Independence. This is a crucial period with lasting impact which has yet to be explored fully from a comparative perspective as being as much about Irish-Scottish as Anglo-Irish relations.


My research will thus compare cultural nationalism surrounding the events of 1916 and the Scottish Independence Referendum of 2014, examining the ways in which the struggles for Scottish and Irish Independence are bound up together, and the influence of the legacy of the Ulster Plantation of 1609 and the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 through to the Rising of 1916 and the Irish War of Independence. More specifically it will concentrate on autobiographical, fictional and commemorative accounts. Together with James Connolly’s political writings, drama, poetry and songs, texts under examination are the autobiographical Doing My Bit for Ireland (1917) by Coatbridge-born sniper, Margaret Skinnider (who was refused her pension because she was not a ‘soldier in the masculine sense’) and Nora Connolly O’Briens The Unbroken Tradition (1918). It shall also focus on the commemorative poetry by Ulster-born Seamus Heaney and C. Day Lewis and the influence of these key events on major authors W.B. Yeats, Sean O’Casey and James Joyce. Furthermore, exploring the influence of this period on Hugh MacDiarmid and the ‘Troubles’ literature of Frank McGuinness and Bernard MacLaverty will provide further insight into the shared issues of independence, equality and commemoration in Scotland and Ireland. 

Research Interests include Irish-Scottish Studies; Irish Writing of the 20th and 21st century; Scottish Literature; Fantasy Literature; Ecological Writing; Children’s Literature; and Romantic Literature.




Book Sections

  • Lusk, K., (pending) ‘Introduction to The Unbroken Tradition (Edinburgh: Luath Press)
  • Lusk, K., (2016) ‘Margaret Skinnider’ in Dictionary of Scottish Women’s Biography (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press)
  • Lusk, K., (2016) ‘Introduction’ to Doing My Bit For Ireland (Edinburgh: Luath Press)
  • Lusk, K. and Maley, W. (2016) ‘Introduction: Remembering the Rising’ in Scotland and the Easter Rising (Luath Press:  Edinburgh), pp.21-23.
  • Lusk, K.,‘Short Skirts, Strong Boots and a Revolver: Scotland and the Women of 1916’ in Scotland and the Easter Rising (Luath Press: Edinburgh, 2016), pp. 124-130.

Edited Books

  • Connolly, Nora, (pending) The Unbroken Tradition (Luath Press: Edinburgh,)
  • Skinnider, Margaret, (2016) Doing My Bit For Ireland (Luath Press: Edinburgh)
  • Lusk K. and Maley W., (2016) Commemorating Connolly: contexts, comparisons and Celtic connections. Irish Studies Review, 24(4).
  • Lusk K. and Maley W.,(2016) Scotland and the Easter Rising (Luath Press: Edinburgh)
  • Co-editing special edition of Irish Studies Review for 2016 with Professor Willy Maley on James Connolly’s Celtic Connections. I will also be publishing an article in this edition. 


  • City of London Anglo-Irish Literature Scholarship, £10,000.
  • June Cockburn Bequest – Prize, £5,000.


Conference Papers


  •  ‘Scotland’s Revolutionary Voices: Nora Connolly O’Brien and Margaret Skinnider’, ‘Writing the Rising’ International Conference, Roma Tre University, Rome, Italy. 14th January 2016.
  • ‘All the World Full of Change: Lord Dunsany’s Fantasy Writing, History and Space’ at College of Arts International Postgraduate Conference University of Glasgow, 26th May 2015.
  • ‘Like the Look of Him?: The Audience and Samuel Beckett’s Catastrophe’ at Scottish Network of Modernist Studies (SNoMS) ‘Space and Place’ Symposium, Strathclyde University, 13th February 2015.


Public Engagement


  • 28th October 2016 – Edinburgh Independent Radical Book Fair, panelist.
  • 24th August: Scotfest panelist – Scotland and the Easter Rising, with Owen Dudley Edwards.
  • 13th August: Edinburgh International Book Festival Panelist – Scotland and the Easter Rising.
  • 27th April 2016: Tradfest, panelist – Scotland and the Easter Rising, with Owen Dudley Edwards.
  • 23rd April 2016. ‘Fighting for the Forgotten: Margaret Skinnider and the Irish Citizen Army’, Scottish Labour History Society Conference, Edinburgh.
  • 21st April 2016: Scotland and Easter Rising event, Irish Consulate.
  • 13th April 2016: Socialist Theory and Movement Seminar, panelist.
  • 1st April 2016: First World War Seminar, University of Glasgow.
  • 29th March 2016: Interview. BBC Radio Scotland, World War One Voices: Margaret Skinnider.
  • 28th March 2016: Interview. BBC Radio Scotland, World War One Voices: James Connolly.
  • 17th March 2016. Aye Write panelist – Scotland and the Easter Rising
  • 16th March 2016. Q&A on Scotland and the Easter Rising, Edinburgh Filmhouse.
  • November 2015: public panel talk on James Connolly at St. Patrick’s RC Church.
  • 25th July 2015/March 2016: Public lecture,‘Schoolteacher, Suffragette, Sniper: Margaret Skinnider and Easter 1916’ at the Glasgow Mitchell Library and St. Patrick’s Day Festival. 


  •  English Literature 1A: Poetry & Poetics