Judy Bolger

Writing Development Tutor


Judy Bolger works in the Academic Resource Office of Carlow College as the Writing Development Tutor. Her role in Carlow College is grounded in her own research and approach to academic writing. Judy is also a PhD researcher in the department of Modern Irish History at Trinity College, Dublin. Her PhD examines the social discourse surrounding impoverished mothers and women’s experiences of maternity and motherhood in Irish workhouses during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. This project is funded by the Trinity College, Dublin 1252 Postgraduate Research Scholarship. She received a first-class M.Phil. degree in Modern Irish History from Trinity College, Dublin (2017) in which her thesis research examined the social history of Irish breastfeeding during the nineteenth century. She also holds a first-class Honours B.A. degree in English and History from Carlow College, St Patrick’s (2016) where her under-graduate thesis researched reproductive insanity.

Research Interest

Judy is interested in nineteenth-century social and cultural Irish history; in particular, the experience of women, motherhood and infancy. Current interest in institutionalised women is centred upon twentieth-century establishments such as the Magdalene laundries and mother and baby homes, but Judy’s research argues that some of these themes and concerns are predated to the nineteenth century. Therefore, her doctoral research explores and highlights nineteenth-century attitudes towards motherhood to widen the historiography on Irish women.

Professional Associations:

Book Review Editor and Postgraduate Representative, Women’s History Association of Ireland

Member of Irish Association of Professional Historians




2021: ‘Reconstructing a narrative of impoverished motherhood through the lens of Irish institutional records’, Salvador Ryan, ed., Birth and the Irish: a Miscellany (Dublin, 2021).

2020: ‘Book review: Women, Crime and Punishment in Ireland, by Elaine Farrell’, Women’s History Association of Ireland.

2020: ‘Book review: Richmond Barracks: We were there, 77 women of the Easter Rising, by Mary McAuliffe and Liz Gillis’, Irish Studies Review, 28.4 (2020), 524-527.

2019: “A Hopeless Case’: the representation of mothers and the workhouse in Irish newspapers, 1870-1910’,  History Studies, volume 20, 24-39.

2017: “The Deasy Business: an assessment of the final phase of the Irish Civil War’, History Studies, volume 18, 16-28.

2017: ‘The influential role of the Catholic Clergy during the Revolutionary period in Carlow’, Carloviana, volume 65, 137-143.



‘‘A Hopeless Case’: Constructs of Early Twentieth-century Irish Impoverished Motherhood’,



2018: Perceptions of Pregnancy

“so a word to the wise’: reassessing the role of the upper-class Irish father in nineteenth-century childrearing’





B.A. Hons English and History, Carlow College, 2016

M.Phil. In Modern Irish History, Trinity College, Dublin, 2017

Ph.D. in History, Trinity College, Dublin (Submission – 2024)