Professor Mairéad Nic Craith BA, BEd, MA, PhD, MRIA, FAcSS


Professor of Public Folklore 

Institute for Northern Studies
Scott's House,Grainshore Road,
KW15 1FLM 

+44 (0)1856 569300


Mairéad Nic Craith is Professor of Public Folklore at UHI. Her academic career began with a lectureship at the Institute of Irish Studies (University of Liverpool)sponsored by the Irish Government. Since then she has held Chairs in Sociology at Ulster University and in Anthropological Studies at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Mairéad held a DAAD Professorship at the University of Göttingen as well as Honorary Professorships in Social Sciences at Exeter University and Ulster University. In 2018, Mairéad was a visiting scholar at the Celtic Studies Department in Harvard University. She has worked with international bodies such as the UN, (and UNESCO), and the European Centre for Minority Issues. Mairéad has extensive experience of peer-reviewing research in Australia, Canada, Europe and the US. She has international experience in research assessment exercises and is currently a full sub-panel member and interdisciplinary advisor to D25 (Area Studies) in REF 2021.  

Research Interests

Culture and Sustainability:  Mairéad is interested in researching this issue from two perspectives (a) how can cultural traditions be sustained in an age of globalisation and (b) how can the cultural context impact on sustainable development. Mairéad is currently working on traditional ecological knowledge inherent in Irish-Gaelic and the disconnect with the land that has occurred with Anglicisation in Ireland.

Islands and Edge Places: A fascination with islands has followed Mairéad throughout her academic career. She is especially interested in Island communities and the representation of island places in art, music, folklore and literature. She has specialised in the Great Blasket Island off the west coast of Ireland, exploring the significance of this island for Irish identity.

Language and Power The theme of language and politics has been a focus throughout Mairéad’s academic career. There are many questions of interest: Do political boundaries impact on concepts of language? How do policies at local, national and European impact on comparative case studies? How important is the issue of language in post-conflict societies? Mairéad has worked with a range of organisations on this issue including the European Centre for Minority Issues, Flensburg, the Northern Irish Assembly and the National Assembly, Cardiff.

Heritage Policy: Mairéad is particularly interested in living (intangible) cultural heritage and its social impact (see her TEDx Talk on intangible heritage). She has co-developed a policy brief on heritage and social cohesion for European Commission; worked with German Institute for Foreign Relations, Milan on heritage under threat; and acted as as expert on heritage and human rights for United Nations.


Prof Mairéad Nic Craith

Academic responsibilities content

Academic responsibilities

Academic responsibilities

Sub-panel member and interdisciplinary advisor to D25 (Area Studies) in REF 2021

External Memberships content

External Memberships

External Memberships

Royal Irish Academy (elected as Member in 2009)

Academy of Social Sciences (elected as Academician in 2020)

Advisory Committee for the Assessment of Candidates for Membership (ACACM), Royal Irish Academy 2020-2023

Editorial board, Irish Journal for Sociology 2021-

Editorial board, Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium, 2020 -

Editorial board, New Area Studies, 2020-

Publications content



Sole authored books

Narrative and Nostalgia: The Vanishing World of the Islandman. Springer 2020, 187p.

Narratives of Place, Belonging and Language: An Intercultural Perspective. Palgrave Macmillan 2012, 197p.

Europe and the Politics of Language: Citizens, Migrants, Outsiders. Palgrave Macmillan 2006, 217p.

Culture and Identity Politics in Northern Ireland. Palgrave Macmillan 2003, 232p.

Plural Identities – Singular Narratives: The Case of Northern Ireland. Berghahn 2002, 248p. [Joint winner, 2004 Ruth Michaelis Jena-Ratcliff Research Prize]

Malartú Teanga: An Ghaeilge i gCorcaigh sa Naoú hAois Déag. European Society for Irish Studies 1993, 179p [repr. 1994]

An tOileánach Léannta. Research Series, Clóchomhar 1988, 148p [bestseller] 

Edited Volumes

Ullrich Kockel, Cristina Clopot, Baiba Tjarve, and Máiréad Nic Craith (eds): Heritage and Festivals in Europe. Routledge 2020, 213p.

William Logan, Máiréad Nic Craith and Ullrich Kockel (eds): A Companion to Heritage Studies. Wiley-Blackwell 201,. 624p.

Ullrich Kockel, Máiréad Nic Craith and Jonas Frykman (eds): A Companion to the Anthropology of Europe. Wiley-Blackwell 2012, 624p. [paperback edition 2015]

Máiréad Nic Craith, Ullrich Kockel and Reinhard Johler (eds): Everyday Culture in Europe: Approaches and Methodologies. Ashgate 2008, 190p. [paperback edition: Routledge 2017]

Michelle Langfield, William Logan and Máiréad Nic Craith (eds): Cultural Diversity, Heritage and Human Rights: Intersections in Theory and Practice. Routledge 2010, 288p.

Máiréad Nic Craith and Ullrich Kockel (eds): Cultural Heritages as Reflexive Traditions. Palgrave Macmillan 2007, 221p.

Máiréad Nic Craith (ed.): Language, Power and Identity Politics. Palgrave Macmillan 2007, 225p.

Máiréad Nic Craith and Ullrich Kockel (eds): Communicating Cultures. LIT 2004, 314p.

Mairéad Nic Craith (ed.): Watching One’s Tongue: Aspects of Romance and Celtic Languages. Liverpool UP 1996, 272p.

Mairéad Nic Craith (ed.): Watching One’s Tongue: Issues in Language Planning. Liverpool UP 1996, 206p.

Select Journal Essays

Mairéad Nic Craith. and Philip McDermott (2022). “Dialogues and Peace Agreements: Language and Identities in a Divided Society,” Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power. (Online First

Emma C Hill, Máiréad Nic Craith and Cristina Clopot: ‘At the Limits of Cultural Heritage: the Glasgow Bajuni Campaign and the UK Immigration System. A Case-Study’ International Journal of Cultural Property 25 (1), 2018, 35-58.

Ursula Böser, Máiréad Nic Craith, Ashvin Immanuel Devasundaram: ‘The Representation of “Building Events” in Wim Wenders’ Cathedrals of Culture’.  Studies in Documentary Film 11 (1), 2017, 1-15.

Emma C Hill, Máiréad Nic Craith:  ‘Medium and Narrative Change:  The Effects of Multiple Media on the “Glasgow Girls” Story and Their Real-Life Campaign’, Narrative Culture 3 (1), 2016, 87–109.

Máiréad Nic Craith, Ursula Boser, Ashvin Immanuel Devasundaram ‘Giving Voice to Heritage: A Virtual Case Study’ (with Ursula Böser and Ashvin Devasundaram), Social Anthropology 24, 2016, 433-445.

‘Public Space, Collective Memory and Intercultural Dialogue in a (UK) City of Culture’ (with Philip McDermott and Katerina Strani), Identities 23 (5), 2015, 610-627.

Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘Migrant’ Writing and the Re-Imagined Community: Discourses of Inclusion/Exclusion’, German Politics and Society 33 (1-2), 2015, 84-99.

Máiréad Nic Craith  and Emma Hill: ‘Re-locating the Ethnographic Field: From Being “There” to “Being” There’, Anthropological Journal of European Cultures 24 (1), 2015, 42-62.

Máiréad Nic Craith  and Bernadette O’Rourke: ‘Anthropology and Language in Europe: Setting the Context’, Anthropological Journal of European Cultures 24 (1), 2015, 1-6.

Máiréad Nic Craith and Ullrich Kockel: ‘Blurring the Boundaries between Literature and Anthropology. A British perspective.’ Ethnologie Française XLIV (4), 2014, 675-684.

Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘Living Heritage and Religious Traditions: Reinterpreting Columba/ Colmcille in the UK City of Culture’, Anthropological Journal of European Cultures 21 (1), 2013, 42-58.

Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘Europe’s Uncommon Heritage(s)’, Traditiones, 41/2, 2012, 11-28.

Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘Writing Europe: a Dialogue of Liminal Europeans’, Social Anthropology 17 (2), 2009, 198-208.

Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘Culture and Citizenship in Europe: Questions for Anthropologists’, Social Anthropology 12 (3), 2004, 289-300.

Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘Politicised Linguistic Consciousness: The Case of Ulster Scots’, Nations and Nationalism 7 (1), 2001, 21-37.

Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘Contested Identities and the Quest for Legitimacy’, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 21 (5), 2000, 399-413.

Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘Irish Speakers in Northern Ireland, and the Good Friday Agreement’, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 20 (6), 1999, 494-507.

Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘Primary Education on the Great Blasket Island 1864-1940’, Journal of the Kerry Historical and Archaeological Society 28, 1999, 77-137.

Janet Leyland and Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘The Irish Language in Britain: A Case Study of North-West England’, Language, Culture and Curriculum 10 (3), 1999, 171-85.

Select Book Chapters

Philip McDermott and Mairéad Nic Craith (2022) “When language rights are not enough: Dialogue for reconciliation in post-conflict settings”, Language Problems and Language Planning 46:2 (2022), pp. 192–212. ISSN 0272-2690 | E‑ISSN 1569-9889

Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘Photo-Albums and Life-Stories: The Dilemma of Choice and Representation. In: Michaela Fenske und Susanne Dinkl (eds) Durch Leben wandeln. Neuere biografische Forschungen, Würzburg, 2021, pp. 209-34.

Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘A Sense of Place in Irish-Language Memoirs: the West Kerry Gaeltacht, 1929-1939.’ In: Maurice Bric (ed.), Kerry: History and Society, Geography Publications (Dublin), 2020.

Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘From Bengal to Scotland: Hybridity, Borders and National Narratives.’ In: Cicilie Fagerlid & Michelle A. Tisdel (eds), A Literary Anthropology of Migration and Belonging: Roots, routes, and rhizomes, Palgrave Macmillan 2020, 157-180.

Mairi McFadyen and Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘Performing Scots-European Heritage, “For A’ That”.’ In: Ullrich Kockel, Cristina Clopot, Baiba Tjarve and Máiréad Nic Craith (eds), Heritage and Festivals in Europe, Routledge, 2020, 141-155.

Ullrich Kockel, Máiréad Nic Craith, Cristina Clopot and Baiba Tjarve: ‘Heritages, Identities and Europe: Exploring cultural forms and expressions.’ In: Ullrich Kockel, Cristina Clopot, Baiba Tjarve, and Máiréad Nic Craith (eds), Heritage and Festivals in Europe. Routledge 2020, 1-17.

Máiréad Nic Craith, Ullrich Kockel and Katherine Lloyd: ‘The Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage: Absentees, Objections and Assertions.’ In: Natsuko Akagawa and Laurajane Smith (eds), Safeguarding Intangible Heritage: Practices and Politics, Routledge 2019, 118-32.

Philip McDermott and Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘Linguistic Recognition in Deeply Divided Societies: Antagonism or Reconciliation?’ In: Gabrielle Hogan-Brun and Bernadette O’Rourke (eds), The Palgrave Handbook of Minority Languages and Communities, Palgrave Macmillan 2019, 159-179.

Cristina Clopot and Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘Gender, Heritage and Changing Traditions: Russian Old Believers in Romania.’ In: Wera Grahn and Ross Wilson (eds), Gender and Heritage, Routledge 2018, 30-43.

Máiréad Nic Craith and Ullrich Kockel: ‘Homo Hibernicus Rusticus Revisited: Flann O’Brien’s Parody of National Mythmaking.’ In: Regina Bendix and Dorothy Noyes (eds), Terra Ridens – Terra Narrans, vol. 2, Verlag für Orientkunde 2018, 220-42.

Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘The Anglicization of Anthropology: Opportunities and Challenges.’ In: Helena Wulff (ed.), The Anthropologist as Writer: Genres and Contexts in the 21st Century, Berghahn, 73-90.

William Logan, Ullrich Kockel and Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘The New Heritage Studies: Origins and Evolution, Problems and Prospects.’ In: William Logan, Máiréad Nic Craith and Ullrich Kockel (eds), A Companion to Heritage Studies, Wiley-Blackwell 2016, 1-25.

Máiréad Nic Craith and Ullrich Kockel: ‘(Re-)Building Heritage: Integrating Tangible and Intangible.’ In: William Logan, Máiréad Nic Craith and Ullrich Kockel (eds), A Companion to Heritage Studies, Wiley-Blackwell 2016, 426-42.

Ullrich Kockel and Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘Hybride Ethnologien des Eigenen, Anderen und Dritten: Toposophische Erkundungen am Beispiel der Pfälzer in Irland.’ In: Fabian Jacobs and Ines Keller (eds), Das Reine und das Vermischte, Waxmann 2015, 73-95.

Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘Language, Power and Politics in Europe.’ In: Ullrich Kockel, Máiréad Nic Craith and Jonas Frykman (eds), A Companion to the Anthropology of Europe, Wiley-Blackwell 2012, 373-88.

Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘Legacy and Loss: The Great Silence and its Aftermath’ in John Crowley, William J. Smyth and Michael Murphy (eds), Atlas of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1852, Cork University Press 2012, 580-88.

Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘Heritage Politics and Neglected Traditions: a Case-Study of Skellig Michael’, in Regina Bendix, Aditya Eggert and Arnika Peselmann (eds), Heritage Regimes and the State: Nomination, Implementation, Regulation, Universitätsverlag Göttingen, 157-179.

Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘Europa Schreiben: Yoko Tawada und Emine Sevgi Őzdamar.’ In: Reinhard Johler, Max Matter and Sabine Zinn-Thomas (eds), Mobilitäten. Europa in Bewegung als Herausforderung kulturanalytischer Forschung, Waxmann 2011, 520-28.

Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘Linguistic Heritage and Language Rights in Europe: Theoretical Considerations.’ In: Michelle Langfeld, William Logan and Máiréad Nic Craith (eds), Cultural Diversity, Heritage and Human Rights, Routledge 2010, 45-62.

William Logan, Michelle Langfeld and Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘Intersecting Concepts and Practices.’ In: Michelle Langfeld, William Logan and Máiréad Nic Craith (eds), Cultural Diversity, Heritage and Human Rights, Routledge 2010, 3-20.

Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘Citizenship, Culture and the Nation-State: a European Perspective.’ In: Wenche Ommundsen, Michael Leach and Andrew Vandenberg (eds), Cultural Citizenship and the Challenges of Globalization, Hampton 2010, 111-26.

Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘Language and Belonging in Ireland: Exploring Intercultural Memoirs.’ In: Brigitta Schmidt-Lauber and Gudrun Schwibbe (eds), Alterität: Erzählen vom Anderssein, Schmerse Media 2010, 169-84.

Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘Rethinking Language Policies: Challenges and Opportunities.’ In: Colin Williams (ed.), Language and Governance, University of Wales Press 2007, 159-84.

Máiréad Nic Craith: ‘Sichtbarer Unterschied oder unsichtbare Gleichheit? Ethnische Minderheiten in Nordirland.’ In: Elka Tschernokoshewa and Volker Gransow (eds), Beziehungs-geschichten. Minderheiten-Mehrheiten in europäischer Perspektive, Domowina 2007, 169-79.

Selected Talks and Conferences content

Selected Talks and Conferences

Selected Talks and Conferences

The Folklore Society of Ireland, 2021 (Re)creating Colmcille: A Contemporary Critique

Tony McManus Annual Lecture, Scottish Centre for Geopoetics, 2021, Geopoetics and Climate Change: An Indigenous Celtic Perspective

American Congress of Irish Studies (keynote), Ulster University, 2021, Colmcille: a Shared Icon

Conference on “Culture Crossroads”(keynote), Latvian  Academy of Culture, Riga 2019: Artist or Academic: Research at the Interface

CLOW Conference (Contested Languages in the Old World) (keynote), University of Turin 2016: Routes towards Recognition: Challenges and Opportunities

Irish Social Sciences Platform (keynote), University of Limerick 2010: Going Soft: the Challenge for the Social Sciences

AHRC Conference (keynote), University of Exeter 2010: Mysticism, Myth, Nationalism

DAAD public lecture, University of Göttingen 2010: Language and Belonging in Ireland: Exploring Intercultural Memoirs

Ulster-Scots Symposium, Trinity College Dublin 2009: Ulster-Scots: the European Dimension

Mercator Legislation (keynote), University of Barcelona 2006: Europe, Discourse of Exclusion/ Inclusion

Baltic Area Studies from Socio-cultural Anthropology and Interdisciplinary Perspectives (keynote), Klaipėda University 2005: Crossing Political Boundaries: Towards a Political Anthropology of Europe

International Conference on Cultural Citizenship: Challenges of Globalisation (keynote), Deakin University, Melbourne 2002: Are Conceptions of Culture and Citizenship Compatible? A European Perspective

PACTE conference on “Culture as a Catalyst for Economic Development” (keynote), Shannon, Republic of Ireland 1997: Culture and Economy: Issues for the 21st Century (with Ullrich Kockel, Liverpool

PhD Students content

PhD Students

PhD Students

Current Research students

  • Pádraig Ó Dálaigh (Phd) Director of Studies (2022-26)
  • Niamh MacKenzie (Phd) Director of Studies (2022-26)
  • Alexander Gibbons (Phd) Supervisor  (2023-27)
  • Carole Brooks  (Phd) Supervisor (2022-29)
  • Ronald Bulmer (MRes) Supervisor (2022-24)

Also co-supervising PhD students at Heriot-Watt University 


Suggested PhD Topics

  • Culture and sustainability
  • Island folklore and literature
  • Language and Power
  • Intangible (Living) heritage