Dr Ida Milne

1918-19 influenza pandemic; Infectious diseases of childhood; Protestants and the GAA and the Newspaper industry


I am a social historian who researches the history of infectious disease in the 19th and 20th centuries, in Ireland and wider geographic contexts, and also the history of Irish Protestantism, particularly identity and social networks and practices.  My principal area of disease research is the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic in Ireland, with a secondary field in infectious diseases of childhood.  I have also published on women in journalism, on poverty, labour, the newspaper industry, and the GAA.  I use mixed methodologies and a cross-disciplinary approach in my disease research, drawing on oral history and historical demography methods, and exploring impacts on public health and medical history, economics and politics. I am very interested in setting my research within regional, national and international contexts – the micro picture to inform the macro picture, and vice versa. Before working in academia, I worked in the newspaper business, and in travel journalism.

I continue to research the 1918-19 influenza pandemic, and am currently interested in the post-memory of the disease, looking at how it changes and becomes stronger over time, as new resources – including my own publications – are incorporated into family histories of the disease. I also continue to work on infectious diseases of childhood, collecting oral histories from community groups and individual sufferers or their families.  It is important to tell these stories in an era of vaccination hesitancy, as people forget the damage diseases like measles once did to our society.  I also continue to research on Protestants and the GAA, and on the newspaper industry.   I write on these topics for a variety of publications. present papers at academic conferences, and to interested groups like local history societies and medical organisations.

I also currently have a research fellowship in TCD Dept of History.


I am part of an interdisciplinary international network researching the 1918-19 influenza pandemic from a humanities perspective.

I am co-chair, with Professor Martha Norkunas of the International Committee of the Oral History Association, and a founder member and former vice-chair of the Oral History Network of Ireland.

I serve on the Royal Irish Academy Historical Sciences Committee, where I represent the History of Science, Technology and Medicine in Ireland network.  I am a member of the RIA’s cross-committee organising group for the Church of Ireland Disestablishment conference, in the RIA on 27 February 2020.

I am a member of the Church of Ireland Historical Centenaries Working Group.

I am chair of the Health and Environment Strand of the European Social Sciences History Conference.  This year’s conference will be held in Gothenburg.

I am also a member of the American Conference for Irish Studies, the Women’s History Association of Ireland, the Irish Labour History Society, Sports History Ireland, the Oral History Society, the International Oral History Society, the American Association for the History of Medicine, and the Society for the History of Medicine.

I have peer reviewed applications for academic funded projects in Ireland and New Zealand, and have peer reviewed books and journals for publishers and journals in Ireland, Britain, and Canada.

I am regularly invited to give talks on my work to local history societies, and to professional medical bodies like the Health Services Executive, the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland, and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, as well as presenting at academic conferences and workshops in Ireland and the rest of Europe, North America, and Asia.


Sole-authored books

Ida Milne, Stacking the Coffins, Influenza, War and Revolution in Ireland, 1918-1919,  Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018.

Edited Collections

Milne, Ida and d’Alton, Ian, editors, Protestant and Irish, the minority’s search for place in Independent Ireland (Cork: Cork University Press, 2019).

Peer-reviewed articles

Martin Gorsky, Bernard Harris, Patricia Marsh and Ida Milne, ‘The 1918/19 Influenza Pandemic & COVID-19 in Ireland and the UK’, Historical Social Research Supplement 33 (2021) doi: 10.12759/hsr.suppl.33.2021.193-226.

Milne, Ida, ‘Days of fever:  Ireland and India, a comparative look at the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic’, JMC Review (New Delhi), December 2019.

Milne, Ida, ‘Gender, hierarchies and change: Independent Newspapers since the 1960s’, Saothar, the Journal of the Irish Labour History Society, 39, 2015.

Milne, Ida, The 1918-19 influenza pandemic: a Kildare perspective of a global disaster 301-315. Kildare Archaeological Society Journal, 2012-2013, vol XX.

Book chapters

‘Changing narratives of that other great pandemic’; Guy Beiner, editor, Pandemic Reawakenings (Oxford University Press, 2022).

“The jersey is all that matters, not your religion” Irish protestants and the GAA’, in  Ida Mine and  Ian d’Alton, editors, Protestant and Irish, the minority’s search for place in Independent Ireland, Cork University Press, Cork 2019.

Health and urban poor children in a transitional Ireland:  statistics, activism – and flies’ in Mary Hatfield, Jutta Kruse, and Ríona Nic Conghail, editors, Historical Perspectives on Parenthood and Childhood in Ireland, Arlen House, Dublin, 2017.

‘Stacking the coffins: the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic in Dublin’ in Lisa Marie Griffith and Ciaran Wallace, editors, Grave Matters: death and dying in Dublin 1500 – 2000, Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2016.

‘Captain King Elmes: an Irish medical doctor dies at Messines’ in Terence Dooley and Christopher Ridgeway, editors, Country House at War, Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2016.

‘Influenza: the Irish Local Government Board’s Last Great Crisis,’ in Virginia Crossman and Sean Lucey, editors, Healthcare in Ireland and Britain 1850-1970: voluntary, regional and comparative perspectives. IHR, London,  2015.

‘Through the eyes of a child: childhood experience of the 1918-19 influenza pandemic’ in Anne McLellan and Alice Mauger (eds.) Growing Pains: Childhood Illness in Ireland 1750-1950, Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2013.

‘“The sense of history”: Independent Newspapers as employer’ in Mark O’Brien and Kevin Rafter (eds.) Independent Newspapers. A History, Four Courts Press, Dublin,  2012.

Further Research Outputs

Other publications

Milne, Ida, ‘The 1918-19 influenza pandemic in Ireland, The Consultant, Journal of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association’,2018.

Beiner, Guy, Marsh, Patricia and Milne, Ida,‘ Greatest killer of the twentieth century: the great flu in 1918-19 ‘ in  Tommy Graham, Georgina Laragy, John Gibney, editors, History Ireland commemorative edition, September 2017.

Beiner, Guy, Marsh, Patricia and Milne, Ida,‘ Greatest killer of the twentieth century: the great flu in 1918-19’ in History Ireland, March-April 2009, pp 40-3.

Milne Ida, ‘Day by day our ranks grow thinner: Clongowes Wood College and the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic, The Clongownian, 2013 https://www.academia.edu/10648430/Day_by_day_our_ranks_grow_thinner_the_1918-19_influenza_pandemic_in_Clongowes

Milne, Ida, ‘The 1918-19 influenza pandemic: forcing a reassessment of contemporary scientific knowledge,’   Converse, Journal of the Academy of Medical Laboratory Science, 2013.

Milne,  Ida , ‘The Big Flu in Wexford’, The Past 27, 2006, pp50-55,

Selection of recent Newspaper and Magazine Articles

‘Just how scared should we be of the Wuhan corona virus?‘  Irish Times opinion editorial, https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/just-how-scared-should-we-be-of-wuhan-coronavirus-1.4162908 6 February 2020.

‘Protestants in Ireland: a minority in search of an identity, Irish Times opinion editorial, 12 March 2019. https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/protestants-in-ireland-a-minority-in-search-of-an-identity-1.3821835

‘In St James’s hospital, coffins were stacked up to 18-high in the mortuary’, Irish Times, 24 April 2018.


Milne, Ida, ‘The 1918-19 influenza epidemic’, The Revolution Papers, May 2016.

Articles in the Daily Mail, the Evening Herald and the Irish Independent setting H5N1 or avian influenza and H1N1 (Mexican) influenza 2009 in the context of the 1918-19 and other influenza pandemics. Article on women’s roles in the 1913 Lockout in Liberty, the SIPTU journal.

Media Interactions


TG4 , May 2022, Eipidéim, two part documentary on epidemic disease.

RTE Prime Time February 2022 on the end of pandemics, with Peter Hotez and Rodney Rohde.

RTE Claire Byrne Live February 2022 on creating a Covid time capsule.

RTE Nationwide November 2021 Interviewed by Donal Byrne on Protestant attitudes to the Anglo Irish Treaty.

RTE 1 Ten things about Science series, broadcast December 2019, interviewed on vaccination hesitancy and the re-emergence of measles as a health threat; repeated May 2020.

BBCNI News: Interview May 2020 on corona virus.

RTE 1 Nationwide corona virus and pandemic influenza segment, updated from May 2018 on 3 April 2020.

RTE 1, After the Rising, Interviewed by Catriona Crowe on the great flu pandemic, January 2019. Nationwide

RTE1 (interviewed by Donal Byrne) on the great flu pandemic, May 2018.

10 Things you didn’t know about Science series; interview on the current global drop in vaccination rates, and rise in epidemics of measles and other infectious diseases which are vaccine preventable, RTE1 TV,  December 2018.

1918  Documentary, presented by Caitriona Crowe, RTE1, January 2019; interviewee on the 1918-19 influenza pandemic.

Who do you think you are?  RTE 1 Guest historian February 2019.

Nationwide (RTE1) feature on Stacking the Coffins, May 2018.

Historical advisor on the first programme of Outbreak, a series on epidemic disease, produced by Janet Gallagher, RTE 1, 2 June, 2009. The programme used my research and interviewees about the 1918-19 influenza epidemic in Ireland.

Interviewed for Aicid, produced by Mary Jones, TG4 and BBC Northern Ireland, November 2008, 1 June 2009. Provided research material for this programme.


Near FM  documentary on Protestant and Jewish Dublin, one of two guest historians October 2019.

Near FM documentary on health in Dublin, one of two guest historians, February 2018,

BBC Radio 4 Documentary on Spanish Flu, November, 2018.

South East Radio: hour long feature on my work as a historian, February 2018.

Carlow Kilkenny Radio: Interview on the Sue Nunn Programme, 2018.

Newstalk Talking History:  documentary on 1918-1919 influenza pandemic, 2018.

RTE The History Show: Interview with Howard Phillips and Myles Dungan on the 1918-19 influenza pandemic, October 2018.

Radio interviews


KCLR Live: Thursday 5 March 2020 (Part Two)



Articles for blogs and newspapers





Newspaper Interviews





Awards & Funding

My monograph, Stacking the Coffins, Influenza, War and Revolution in Ireland, 1918-19, was named one of Choice Reviews Outstanding Academic Titles 2019, in December 2019.

From 2014-2018 I was funded by a Irish Research Council Marie Sklowodska Curie Actions Elevate Fellowship, shared between Maynooth University and Queen’s University Belfast, to work on my project ‘Changing the landscape of infectious diseases of childhood in Ireland, 1911-1991.’ This project, which had a monetary value of 380,000 euro, looked at how and why child deaths from diseases like measles, tuberculosis, bronchitis, pneumonia dropped drastically over the course of the 20th century. It also looked at the impact of illness, death and long term damage from these diseases impacted on sufferers and their families.  This work enables people to understand the value of health measures like vaccination, and also helps medical workers to see the historic patient perspective.

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