John Joseph Lee

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John Joseph Lee (born 9 July 1942) (commonly known as J.J. Lee), is an Irish historian and former senator. He is currently Professor of History and Glucksman Professor for Irish Studies and Director of Glucksman Ireland House, at New York University.

Born in Tralee, County Kerry, he spent his early years in Castlegregory in the same county. He also lived for some years in Ballinasloe, County Galway, where he attended national school. In 1954, he was awarded a Galway County Council scholarship to attend Gormanston College, County Meath.[1]

He graduated in 1962 from University College Dublin with first-class honours in History and Economics. He completed his MA some years later on the history of the railways in nineteenth-century Ireland. He was also a graduate student of Peterhouse, Cambridge.[2]

In 1973, he published The Modernisation of Irish Society, 1848-1918. The following year he moved back to Ireland to become Professor of Modern History at University College Cork, succeeding Oliver McDonagh. He held the chair until 2002.

His 1989 Ireland, 1912-1985: Politics and Society won the Irish Independent/Irish Life Prize for History in 1991; and both the Aer Lingus/Irish Times Prize for Literature and the J.S. Donnelly, Snr. Prize for History and Social Sciences in 1992.

He has been a member of the Royal Irish Academy since 1985.

In 1993, he was elected to the 20th Seanad Éireann as an independent member for the National University of Ireland constituency.


  • Lee, J.J.: The Modernisation of Irish Society, 1848-1918, Claredon Press (1973), ISBN 0-717-14421-6
  • Lee, J.J.: Ireland 1912-1985 - Politics and Society, Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN 0-521-37741-2
  • Lee, J.J. & Marion R. Casey: Making the Irish American: History and Heritage of the Irish in the United States,
    New York University Press (2006) ISBN 0-814-75218-7


  1. ^ "Minutes of Galway County Council" (PDF). 11 September 1954. p. 265. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  2. ^ RIP: Lord Dacre of GlantonPeterhouse contra Trevor-Roper Archived 2005-05-16 at the Wayback Machine.
  • Text of the introductory address delivered by Professor Dermot Keogh, in University College Cork on 2 June, 2006, on the occasion of the conferring of the degree of doctor of literature, honoris causa, on Professor J.J. Lee
  • Oireachtas Members Database
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