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Royal Irish Academy Honours Leading Ulster Academic

28 May 2010

Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, an internationally renowned German Studies expert at the University of Ulster, has been elected to membership of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA).

The RIA, founded in 1785, is Ireland's premier learned society, and has Nobel Prize winners and world famous scholars among its members.

Professor Ó Dochartaigh is also Dean of the Faculty of Arts. He said: “I am thrilled by this honour, which reflects so well on the University of Ulster, where I’ve been able to develop my teaching and research this past sixteen years.

“I feel humbled at the company that I have entered into in the Academy, but I’m also delighted to have been able to share this honour with my wife, Geraldine, and parents at the installation in Dublin.”

Professor Ó Dochartaigh is Professor of German. He is one of the leading academics in German Studies in these islands and has an international reputation as a scholar of German-Jewish literature and history.

Professor Ó Dochartaigh’s main research interest is in anti-Semitism and the legacy of the Holocaust in literature and society, not only in Germany but in an international context, including Ireland, Israel and the USA.

In recent years he has also undertaken pioneering work on the history of Celtic Studies as it developed in the 19th and 20th centuries under the strong influence of German scholars such as Zeuss, Kuno Meyer, Thurneysen and Pokorny.

Professor Ó Dochartaigh, who is a graduate of the Universities of Wales, Nottingham and Ulster, is current Vice-President of the Association for German Studies in Great Britain and Ireland and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

He is a former Chair of the Royal Irish Academy’s Committee for Modern Languages and has published several books, including a history of Germany since 1945 and a biography of the German-Jewish Celticist, Julius Pokorny, and numerous research articles.

Professor Ó Dochartaigh joins five other current members of University of Ulster staff who are members of the RIA.They are: Vani Borooah, Professor of Applied Economics; Professor Peter Flatt of the School of Biomedical Sciences; Professor Séamus Mac Mathúna, Director of the Irish & Celtic Studies Research Institute; Professor Helene McNulty of the School of Biomedical Sciences; Professor Máiréad Nic Craith of the School of Languages, literatures and Cultures; and Professor Seán Strain of the Centre for Molecular Biosciences.